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In this week’s vlog I want to talk about the future of the CDJ.
When I started DJing, the online EDM DJ community was still heavily into the CDJ vs vinyl debate. Those in favor of vinyl pushed the sound quality and feel of the record while those in favor of CDs promoted the light weight of CDs as opposed to vinyl and the increase in the number of tracks that could be taken with you. Instead of taking a crate of vinyl, you could carry around an entire music collection in a cd wallet. Eventually people stopped bickering on and on about the differences as the CDJ1000 took over the scene. There was once a time when CDJs and turntables shared the booth, but the turntables were taken out as the industry moved over to using CDs. A similar battle ensued with the introduction of software and controllers many years later, but it didn’t have the same ferocity as the CD vs vinyl discussions.
The latest version of Pioneer’s flagship CD player is the CDJ2000nexus. This thing is crazy. Forget bringing a CD wallet with you to your gig. You could bring days worth of tracks with you on a USB flash drive the size of a pack of gum. Not only that, but you can share the drive between the players and automatically sync your tracks together. When you compare the CDJ2000 to even the CDJ1000mk3, they are worlds apart in terms of features. This is due in part to Pioneer’s Rekordbox software. It allows you to prepare your tracks ahead of time, like you would in a program like Traktor Pro 2.
So the question is, where does the CDJ go from here? To start, they’ll probably get rid of the CD player portion. The the large hard drive capacities in flash drives and tablets, it doesn’t make sense to carry around physical CDs. If no one is using the CD drive in the player, maybe they can use the space inside the player for additional processing chips. I guess that would mean that they’d have to rename it though. Can you call it a CDJ if there is no capability to use CDs?
As far as I’m concerned, the future is already here. When I started DJing I wanted the physical controls of a CDJ, but to access music on my computer. I had to spend an extra couple of hundred dollars on Serato Scratch Live to do so. Now you can just plug a CDJ2000 into your computer and control your favorite software applications like Traktor Pro 2.
I’m interested in hearing what you think the future of the CDJ is. Will it go in a direction we’ve never seen before or continue to become ever more dependant on your computer? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.