Using CDJs For The First Time: 5 Tips for Controller DJs


Do you find the idea of DJing on CDJs scary? It really isn't, and there's lots you can do to easily add this skill to your DJing.

It's a wise move, learning to use CDJs. And while using vinyl is a definite skill and one that can only be nailed with lots of practice, luckily CDJs are easier - and every digital DJ really ought to be at least capable of using them, at least in a basic fashion.

Why? Well, while nowadays you'll probably not be called on to DJ with vinyl at all, you may well roll up to a DJing situation where, for whatever reason, CDJs are your only option for playing a set.

So what are you going to do? Refuse the gig because you can't plug your beloved controller in? What happens if you're at an after-party and there's a CD DJ who's had enough, and you're there, burning for a set? Wouldn't it be nice to be able to just take over? Furthermore, I think it's true to say that a good DJ should be able to rock the party on any gear. While CDJ DJing is undeniably tedious compared to controller DJing because you're so limited in what you can do, that doesn't mean you shouldn't know how to do it.

So here are some tips especially for the controller DJ who's wisely decided it's time to get proficient with CDJs.

(These tips assume you can't just borrow a two-CDJ-and-mixer set-up, or even better, go to a bar or club and practise on one. I am guessing most readers can't.)

1. Plan how you're going to organise your tunes

One of the great things about controllers is that once you've got a system, navigating your playlists and music library is really easy. With CDJs, you're back in the dark ages. So make sure you've thought through how you're going to arrange your music. Of course, if you can use a USB key drive that's great, but it pays to have CDs burned and in your bag too, just in case. Remember, many CDJs won't accept USBs, some accept memory cards but not USBs, etc. Cover your bases.


Do yourself a favour and be careful when choosing what to burn to CD and take with you. Less is definitely more, and navigating a whole pile of CDs containing all of your collection isn't fun.

Don't use rewritable CDs; use write-once to be sure they'll play properly. And don't burn the MP3s as MP3s to the disks, either; burn them as audio files, playable in anything. Again, covering your bases.

As you're not switching permanently to CDJs, just having them as a backup, you're obviously not going to burn all of your music, but a representative set of what you'll probably want to play. A good rule of thumb is to take at least twice as much music to cover any set you may be called to play (so for a two or three hour set, maybe six CDs-worth of material). This means you'll not spend all your time looking for tunes, but have enough to pick and choose.

If you're using USB drives because you know the club's CDJs have sockets, take two containing the same music, because you don't know how sophisticated the CDJs will be with regards to playing from the same USB. Plan for old, simple, half-broken equipment and you'll be covering your bases Finally, make sure your metatags are all properly up to date as non-tagged music is not going to be of much use to you when trying to locate it on a small LED screen.

2. Practise on your controller with no sync or waveforms

This is basically what CDJ DJing feels like. You can see the BPMs but apart from that, at least on basic models, you're beatmatching by ear. And the easiest way to replicate this at home with a controller is quite literally to cover up the extra information that DJ software gives you by sticking bits of paper over your computer screen!

You'll soon realise that like it or not, you've come to rely on the visual feedback and on that lovely, simple "sync" button - and I'm sure you'll find it frustrating at first. But it's best to put in the practice long before you may need to call on the skills.

Plus, teaching yourself manual beatmatching in this way (which is basically what you're doing) is a good extra skill to have for so many other reasons as well.

3. Mock up some "CDJ players" at home

This is a step further, and it isn't as hard to do as you may think. If you have or can borrow a simple two-channel DJ mixer, and have a spare laptop or an iPad, then you can have a go at doing this. Here's how:

1. Set up your first laptop, plugged into one channel of the DJ mixer, with your DJ software running. For extra realism, put one of the CDs you've burned in the CD player and only play tunes from that CD (by navigating to it in your DJ software's browser), so you don't access your iTunes. This laptop is "CDJ player number one". As before, cover up the waveform information and don't use sync. Control this either with the keyboard shortcuts or your DJ controller - but remember, we're only using one deck of the two or four you have available

2. Do the same with another laptop running whatever DJ controller software you can find. Alternatively, if you have an iPad, use that - there's software out there such as MixmoDJ that can approximate a single CDJ on the iPad, which makes things even easier. Again use one of your CDs, or in the case of an iPad, have a playlist that is the same as the CDs you've burned to take with you. This iPad or laptop is plugged into the other spare channel on the mixer

3. Now, you plug your headphones and speakers into the DJ mixer, and you've basically set up two completely independent music sources (your "CDJs") and a mixer (which you'll use to mix the sources and to monitor them with in your headphones). Welcome to the dark ages of DJing! A few hours a night practising like this, and CDJs will feel positively streamlined and simple to use in comparison!

Numark M101

A small, cheap two-channel mixer is a good addition to your DJ gear anyway, and can help you replicate a 'CDJ' system at home.

If you've never used a mixer away from your audio sources, this is valuable experience to get you used to how things have always worked for non-digital DJs.

(By the way, I believe that if you don't have a two-channel mixer, you should consider buying one, not only for this, but for general backup and DJ use anyway. Get one with a microphone input and I guarantee you'll find uses for it at various times throughout your DJing career.)

4. Read a CDJ manual

Nowadays, PDFs online let you really get familiar with equipment before you have to use it (or buy it, in fact). By reading a CDJ manual (I recommend one of the Pioneer CDJs as they're the ones you're most likely to come across) you'll learn the slight differences in basic cueing, how to set multiple cues, how to do looping (hint: it's often manual, so use your DJ controller's manual loop in / out points to replicate it for practise) and how to move through the tracks on a CD.

If you wanted to look at Rekordbox software (Pioneer's music library management system), a PDF manual will help too - and as you can now you can download Rekordbox for free, if you know you're going to be using Pioneer CDJs, it's probably worth the effort to consider arrange your playlists this way.

5. Keep it simple, stupid!

So once you're at the point of playing a CDJ DJ set, the key piece of advice, especially at the beginning, is to keep it simple. It's not the time for trying tricks or pushing the limits. Look at it this way: It's not actually so hard to play records, one after the other, using anything - including CDJs. So you're going to be able to do that bit OK.

One step up from that is simple beatmatching. Hopefully with what you've learned from this article and the practice you'll put in, that will prove reasonably straightforward for you. And at that point, as long as you're putting the effort where it is really needed (proper set programming), you'll have everyone in the room happy. It really is best to save the showing off for the next time you're DJing on your controller.


Good DJs don't let their equipment tie them down. If you're the kind of person who's always trying to perform crossfader cuts on the car stereo, who notices when tracks are perfectly beatmatched by complete fluke when you walk from one room with the radio on to another with a different station on, who tries to drop tracks on their iPhone to be in sync with music on the the TV just for lazy entertainment, who will happily DJ at a party from an iPod because you want the right records to be playing - well, if you're this type of person, you're going to be fine. That's because you have the right attitude to it all.

iPod DJ

The music's what's important, not the gear. The bigger lesson here is to open yourself to DJing on anything. It's all DJing... Pic: Wired

You realise that your controller, a club's CDJs, and yes even iPhones and iPads and other MP3 playback devices, are all just there to get the right tune playing at the right time. Conquering their technicalities is the easy bit: Picking the right record for right now is, as it always has been, the real challenge of the job.

Go in with this attitude, and sure, you may drop the odd mix - but you'll get a DJ set where otherwise you wouldn't have done, you'll have leaned loads, and you'll still have got the music right - which is the most important thing.

Are you a controller DJ who also used CDJs? Have you come from CD DJing to controllers? Have you ever had a gig where you ere forced to use CDJs because they wouldn't let you set up your controller? Please let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

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  1. Great article! I love going into a guitar center with my USB's and playing on the demo CDJ-2000's and DJM-900. For anyone who hasn't thought of this it's a great place to get some hands on touch and feel experience of playing with club install gear if you haven't yet had the chance to play club gigs.

  2. Rather well written artickle but:
    Quote"While CDJ DJing is undeniably tedious compared to controller DJing because you’re so limited in what you can do, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to do it."

    That is a plain lie IMO!

    I really like your articles and the things on this site Phil!
    But you can not write this without me being a bit frustrated.

    Just tell me what you can not do with a S3700/X1700 that you can do with a controller? If you want 4 decks you have to get 4 decks!
    I have on my S3700/X1700 all the things that is on MC6000 + more!
    That goes for CDJ2000/DJM2000 as well!

    And come on, do not give me the freaking autosync cheatbutton for non DJ's please! ;-)))))

    Also IMO vinyl is easier than CDJs and controllers in many ways
    because there is not so many functions/buttons. But it takes a bit longer to learn and master that is true! It took me about 4-6 month when I started from scratch.....

    I am not looking to start WW3 here but IMO the text is missleading and not true therefore I think it would be wrong of me not to react.....

  3. I learnt to DJ on CDJ 1000's with CD's. After natural progression I was using a single USB with 2 CDJ 2000's and then using the CDJ 2000 as very expensive midi controllers with Traktor and later added a X1.
    In any club I have played at they ALL use CD's or USB sticks and no club I have ever seen uses a controller.
    I myself would rather use my S4 to DJ however if I want to play in nightclubs I must use CD's or USB.
    It is just how it is from where I am from, and although I do believe digital is the future it is not what is 'club standard' right now and if you want to DJ and land a residency in a nightclub you HAVE to know how to play on CDJ's with CD's. It just is what it is.

    • What places are you talking about?
      Usually you should be able to take your stuff wherever you want...

    • I agree, that's why I feel it's important to learn CDJs. Especially in Europe, actually.

    • lukejamestaylor says:

      That's the nub of it.

      As much as we all agree that it's the music that matters not the equipment you use, most clubs and other DJs don't tolerate DJs rocking up with a controller in hand.

      For most club DJs, promoters and management you are quite simply not a "real" DJ unless you can spin on vinyl or CDJs by ear.

      I use Serato with CDJs but the fact I have to set up my laptop and quite obviously waveride when I'm in the mix means that I am just not qualified to work in the big clubs.

      They need to see you turn up with nothing but a pile of CDs or a crate of vinyl and just spin to take you seriously.

      Once you have done that to their satisfaction they might cut you some slack if you started using Serato but for the time being controllers are almost always a big NO

      I am a 37 year old with tons of experience in the nightlife industry, musical knowledge that many DJs envy and a Serato user to boot; I would hate to see what it's like for a young up and coming digital DJ with nothing but a Hercules.

      The good news is most bars and lounges are not so prejudiced it's the other DJs who will continue to look down on you so watch out for those bad attitudes.

      As someone who has dabbled in DJing since 1992 if I could have mastered the art of the beatmatch by ear I would have done it by now.

      The reason why I am a digital DJ is because the software has enabled me to do something I never could in the past but if you snatch my laptop and Rane box I'm snookered.

      I try to mitigate this handicap by being as polite and professional as I can in every other way.

      I might not be a "real" DJ who can rock the spot on vinyl in the event of a computer crash but I never ever get too drunk to spin or act like a prima donna.

      I know this along with my musical knowledge and ability to read the crowd are part of the reason why I still get booked when other "real" DJs are scratching around for gigs.

      If anyone ever discovers the drug I can take to miraculously enable me to beatmatch by ear I would move heaven and earth to acquire it :)

      • I'm sure you're not as bad at beat-matching as you think but either way it's refreshing to see a little bit of self-deprecation on a DJ forum - this one isn't too bad in that regard but there are a lot of egos on many of other DJ forums/websites I've used...

        As for the article under discussion, I think everyone who considers themselves a DJ should be able to step up to whatever kit is available and at least know the basics - this post (and the others on this site in fairness) will demystify the technology for new users and save them money too when you realise you don't actually need to get your hands on the physical kit to master the basics.

        Keep up the good work folks.

      • lukejamestaylor says:

        Hello Radio.F.C

        I agree completely.

        Egos are everywhere and usually from people who have no right to be so smug.

        As a DJ who openly admits I can only mix with software and as such champions an old skool style of DJing which utilizes fades and cuts just as much as the beatmatch you have no idea the amount of vitriol I receive from CDj DJs who learned to mix by ear.

        I was recently told as a "second generation" DJ I was not showing sufficient respect for my elders. This was by a DJ who is younger than me and only plays one minimal micro genre of house!!!


        When I pointed out that almost every reggae, funk and soul DJ plus many a legend like Mr Scruff, Norman Jay and Gilles Peterson eschew beatmatching much of the time he just scoffed and said "Get a grip"

        Big ego, small imagination. To many DJs fit that bill.

    • yup, gig tonight and the owner will absolutely not let me bring in my ns6. back to the basics. no computer, just my trusty ole ears and cds.

  4. I had some very lucky timing last week, as I walked into our local Saturn store (Groningen, Netherlands) where they were about to open the first Pioneer DJ-gear shop in the Netherlands. I spoke to the manager (who has been a DJ for many years himself) about their plans with this new shop and asked wether or not they were going to do workshops and livesets from local talent and whatnot.

    Luckily for me, they were, and I could convince the man that I was up to par with the gear. (4xCDJ2000 and DJM900) Up until that moment I hadn't had so much experience using CDJ's at all but I'd practiced a lot on my Mixtrack Pro (also without the visuals and sync button, thanks Phil!).

    So last saturday I spun records from 1 till 5pm (longest set ever for me!) and it turned out just fine! Even though there wasn't a great crowd or anything, lots of people stopped by to compliment or ask what 'that sweet tune' was named. Learning the CDJ's along the way, even the manager (the dj) was impressed by my music choice. Which should be the most important factor, your choice in music.

    Anyway, what I'm saying is, these kind of things are great to get used to 'big club' gear, and if you can already mix people are willing to let you do some promotional stuff for free. Best of luck all!

    • Yea most places have CDjs but some let u bring ur stuff for me it's easer to just use what they got to I don't got to worry about my gear later, just get my cd Case and headphones and let's roll to the next party nice n easy

  5. Great article and so on point.

    I wholeheartedly agree that being able to operate a CDJ is one skill ANY DJ SHOULD KNOW. Vinyl, midi, or even laptop-only.

    Most of these jogwheel controllers have the same controls a CDJ would it can't be that hard to know the basics.

    I'll usually take a few burned CDs of tunes with me just in case I hit a problem and thus have to use CDs. Better that than telling a promoter you can't play.

    • I'd like to add, learn to use vinyl if you have the chance. Not because you HAVE TO or because its history or you might be in a situation to have to use it or, whatever...

      Learn to use turntables because it is so simple and pure, directly controlling the sound without any time-stretching algorithm or audio-buffer-induced delay is....different.
      That's something not even DVS can replace.

  6. "CDJ djing is undeniably tedious compared to controller DJing" and "with CDJ's you are back in the dark ages". Really? I think you are referring to CDJ technology from 4 years ago, things have changed a bit since then. When I step into the DJ booth I connect a USB stick to the CDJ and I'm ready to rock. How is that tedious in comparison to setting up a controller, connecting it to the house mixer (because it most likely doesn't have a booth out) and then connecting my laptop? My USB stick contains not just basic info such as track and artist name, but even BPM, key, remixer, recordlabel, genre and release date. Furthermore I have 10 slots for cue and loop points and 3 for Hot Cues/Loops. It also shows me a waveform. The "Dark Ages" ? Again, all of this is on my USB stick. All you need, to prepare your USB stick, is to download Pioneer's rekordbox software (which is free), have rekordbox analyze your files (on your computer) and then export the files to your USB stick. The computer is not needed during DJing, because the CDJs have the processing power of a computer, so all you need to bring is your storage medium (this can also be an SD card or any kind of external hard drive). So, for anyone wanting the familiarize themselves with CDJs, my advise would be to try rekordbox, because if you are used to laptop DJing, this will feel very familiar.

  7. In my experience, particularly as a timecode CD/vinyl user, knowing how to use club standard decks is essential if you're playing out. I use various controllers at home and for certain events but my club residency allows me to use timecode on the 1210s (good for me as I started with vinyl and like to scratch a little, do wind-downs, use the brake for transitioning tunes). My Saturday gigs see me playing funk/soul/hip hop and I play back to back one of 3 or 4 other regular vinyl-only DJs (they are vinyl collectors turned DJs mostly) so my DVS setup fits in well with them spinning vinyl in between. Connecting the DVS and sound card setup is always a faff but it only takes me less then 10 mins at the start of the night but on occasions where I'm coming in to take over and do the switch, while a vinyl or CD is playing, that's a bit more faffy but do-able!. I do envy CD/USB stick DJs or my vinyl friends that can rock up and play on the club gear immediately, like I used to long before I went digital. I don't envy having to burn CDs or seek through USB sticks and certainly don't want to be breaking my back carrying vinyl ever again. I also, personally, would miss the choice of a big hard disk based music collection (although for my main gig I'm well prepared each week with specific playlists for the genre I play). I won't ever change from being a laptop DJ, I love controllers but I still prefer analogue mixers and faders.

    The club has CDJs too but the buttons are half broken (typical). Recently I did some gigs at other venues that only had CDJs and little space for controllers, so happily used my timecode CDs and effectively played my entire sets like a CD DJ. I'd forgotten how good Pioneer CDJs are for what they do; nice platters, good cueing, ok scratching even, big pitch control. My first use of professional DJ CD decks where Denon DN-2000s years ago BEFORE Pioneer made their decks and became industry standard so CDJs so I appreciate the jog wheel etc!
    I still mostly beatmatch manually (partly for the challenge, I'm well used to doing it and it still looks 'cool' especially on the 1210s) but sometimes click the sync on the laptop if I'm feeling a little lazy or have little time to do it manually.

    A local club, that I hope to be playing in again soon, has CDJ2000s. I'm looking forward to using the HID USB control they offer to connect them as controllers for my Traktor. Less timecode setup faff and none of the occasional timecode glitch I hope. This place gets some big name DJs there, I'm told many of whom setup this way using laptops, but then many use CD. This place is DJ focused and even have Traktor Audio 8 sound cards wired up for DJs to connect to which is great (more clubs should do that). I still don't see many DJs using controllers in clubs, or saying they use them, but then again I spend too much time DJing than actually clubbing seeing other DJs!

    I teach DJing skills and am currently tutoring two people, one who bought an S4 and the other a Pioneer DDJ T1 so the future seems to remain digital!

  8. Cdj Djing tedious?? Come on it's came along away since the dark ages especially with the new pioneer cdjs 2000+900s obviously with the rekord box software witch let's you quantise your music for perfect loops,cue points,hot cues, and organise your music just how you want it. Is vinyl djing harder than using cdjs (beatmatching) in my opinion not really it's just different to how you handle it technically e.g with cdjs you use the cue button with vinyl you place your hand on the record and move it back and forth on the beat. When I first started djing I was using traktor no vinyl no cdjs!! but there was just something within me that wanted me to learn old school way + learn the technical skills on 1210s and I did then started using pioneer cdjs and I just enjoyed it much more than digital!!! at first it was daunting not having the visuals from the laptop but I got over that. I personally have nothing against digital djing as I do actually have an s4 but for now I prefer using my cdjs and love it :)

    • Fair call, and I accept that modern, top-of-the-range CDJs are awesome beasts. But most clubs have battered old CDJ1000s at best and using two of those and an old Pioneer mixer is a far cry from the subtleties and promise of a good software/hardware based digital setup. My point is actually that as CDJs are still the "norm" in most of the world, DJs should given them a go and not be snobby about it - if I came across snobby myself that was not the intention.

  9. I am feeling extremely stoked as my local club now has a kontrol s4 permanently installed! (well until the next upgrade) but this is good news, as now you just bring your laptop and get to work! 😀

  10. Ravin-Rom says:

    I agree that it is near enough impossible to get a live set at around 95% of Events if one does not use CDJ's.

    I count myself lucky that I have been told I may use my Controller at a very well known Hard-Genre (Hard-Dance) Event here in the United Kingdom, but I am sure the Event Owners are "Testing the Water" to see how things turn-out.

    Quite a few well-known DJ's in the Hard-Dance Scene who I have met had told me they will be at my Début at this event.

    The formalities between my manger and the event owners have to be sorted, so I am waiting!

  11. I've learned to use Turntables, CDJ & now controllers. I still believe a CD should be played on a CDJ, a record on a turntable and a Mp3 on a controller. I still think there a skills and tricks that are more suited to certain mediums and I think all should be mastered. I couldn't agree more with what's been written in this e-mail. Be as creative as the producer whose made the track and be as good as the track you are playing, not the equipment you are playing on.

  12. Using CDJs For The First Time: 5 Tips for Controller DJs | Digital DJ Tips - just great!

  13. David Dunne says:

    Very informative article Phil - to old timers like myself, it seems odd that people would have to learn CDJ-s now, but I guess for newer DJs they seem like vinyl decks did 7 or 8 years ago, to DJs who had learned on CDJS! One thing I would say, that as a dedicated Traktor convert of 18 months, i still use CDJS with them AND a Controller, simply because I like the feel of using decks. I have recently used the USB/Rekord Box set-up with CDJ 2000s and I think that it's a great alternative to a laptop set up providing that you've done some homework before had and put your tunes through the software. I have tried the USB/2000 set up without Rekord Box and they are a little clunky. However, Rekord Box provides a great alternative for Digital DJs who feel confident still using CDJs, with the ease of simply rocking up to the club with two memory sticks and your headphones.

  14. well,i started 1999 with a reloop double cd deck,it was horrible,it only hat basic controls,one cue poinnt and completely useless pitch bend- but back then it was the cheaper alternative to 2 turntables.I think mixing with cd`s is the most basic system and it taught myself everything to know about beatmatching.Later as i got my turntables i had the basic skills already developed and being on the wheels of steel,the real deal,it was like heaven...

    but today,for me personally,nothing beats a controller with a laptop..,when i go back to cdj`s it just doesnt feel right so used to the controller/laptop combo,the whole extra stuff dj software provides,that mixing with cdj`s im constantly thinking that i could have done more out of the mix with my controller .-

  15. Ok....
    Firstly I completely agree that all 'DJ's' should have it in the locker to play tunes on any equipment in front of them.
    Like many I started on vinyl and progressed to Cd (which btw, was scoffed at at the time! lol), now I use solely my Traktor S4. However i have been in situations whereas it's not an option so i happily revert back to CD Djing or using USB sticks if possible.

    In regards to the debate about Controllers, CDJ's or whatever... surely if you shut your eyes, got into the music and enjoyed a DJ set, does anyone really care what produces that sound ? Answer... hello no!
    DJing is first and foremost about the choice of music... what you use to get that out of the speakers is irrelevant :)

    Just my thoughts....

  16. djflavourflav says:

    tnx phill..i must say i am inspired an intrigued by the topic of discussion.i have been djing for about 6 years .I totally Agree that its highly vital for a dj to be able to use cdjs as most club venues have it .I use the numark ns6/pioneer s1 ddj controllers ,and i must admit that is the future of music especially with the rumoured simon cowell digital dj contest coming ,Most young dj's today will swear by a controller.i personally want to go back and master the Act of vinyl as it is an essential part of the dj history after this article i am also considering trying my hand on cdj's .
    Lastly like what most dj's have been saying on the forum i guess when all is said and done bout cdj vinyl's,controllers etc....i guess music choice is most important.

  17. fahmi azlan says:


    I am a new here, I ask you all one question, how to setup mixer (such as DJM400,DJM900) with Traktor Pro? Can give me step by step to setup it?

  18. Well, this is all so weird to me. I made the jump straight from vinyl to traktor s4, been dj'ing for 24 nearly 25 fact , my first gig even included using a tape deck! The idea that a dj couldn't beatmatch, by ear,wasn't unthinkable, it was defintely a huge part of it for me because I loved the long mixes, but loads of vinyl djs, successful ones more so, didn't beatmatch, or if they did, was only about8 bars....the important factor has always been selection, from the birth of dj'ing til now, no question....i found cdj'ing harder because I never knew the names of my tracks, I only identified them by their labels, where the marks were on the white, that kind of thing, so not having that physical thing I started taking out just as many cds but with only 1 or 2 tracks on each (Iknow, right), traktor does it for me, i can produce live, it works well, I very rarely use sync (still a luddite I gues) I just love the sound of a mix where it isn't fully synced if you know what I mean, & I can see where the drops are! Learning all equipmentg id important, beatmatching less so but the MUSIC is what counts...

  19. Just a heads Gemini CDJ-600s are on Amazon for $99. Can run CDs, mp3CDs, and USB flashdrives. Also run timecoded CDs. Have jogwheels that feel very similar to Pioneer CDJs and even have the play, cue, eject and pitchbend controls in the same place as Pioneer CDJs. Missing many of the Pioneer bells and whistles, but a great deck to train on at home if you think you might have to deal with Pioneer CDJs in a club. Kinda like Gemini deliberately built a Pioneer CDJ trainer. Also a cheap but reliable way to to go from a controller to a controller + 2 CDJ rig (might advise a cheap used mixer also if you go that route, I hate controlling 4 decks in software).

  20. Hey DJ's, Nice article. Comments are interesting, and to me, very educational. I'm a real true to life Old School DJ, from '74 to '88, full and p/t, in the biggest clubs in Toronto, I've been behind the scene since working in clubs as a mgr/head doorman (84-2000), a concert sec. sup. from 2000 for 8yrs and now (at 55) am seriously considering going back to entertaining as a DJ on a cruise ship. I've continued my passion for music by listening, watching a lot of dj's and thanks to Youtube. I'm not going to rant about the corporate side or DJ's that have had marketing behind them, that's another world. I love my Waxing, dj programs are ok, but not my fav. I have always wanted to try CDJing and I thank you all for tips and hints. My tip to all you beatless DJ's is this...have faith, believe in yourself, listen to ALL types of music (Big Band, Jazz, & Rock), persevere to learn different genre's. Finally, the beat bug will hit you like a ton of bricks and you'll love it. Keep the needle on the record, live long and ♥

  21. Guvnoir says:

    Hello there....

    If i use 2 CDJ 2000 and 1 DJM 900, can i use all the decks on the mixer just with 2 CDJs?

  22. My problem is that I would do anything to own some cdj 2000s but I just can't afford it. I have never had any practice on them at all so I never used them at a club. I still use my traktor s2 because I practice every single day with it therefore I know every function by memory. What would you advice someone like me that is too afraid to use cdjs at a live gig because I don't really know how to use it? Thanks

  23. Hi Phil . Thanks for the encouragement. But just got those CDJ nexus 2000. But my mixer is djm500 How can i make all this things work? i tried using the sych button but it's not reading on the cdj 2000 nexus is that something to do with my mixer? Or should i just go to beat matching process again? And if do this what the point of all these button on the CDJ2000 nexus . Please kindly let me know your thought i really appreciate your time. Thanks

  24. says:

    could i use one cdj with a controller?

  25. The Engineer says:

    I started out on Technics 1200s, then DVS with M-Audio's Torq, then to Native Instruments' Traktor Scratch Pro, and then to Traktor Pro 2 on a Kontrol S4 MK1. I remember seeing the first CDJ decks set up at Guitar Center, and wanting to try them out. They were always roped off, and marked with a "DO NOT TOUCH" sign somewhere nearby. It wasn't until towards the end of 2016 that I would get my first chance at experiencing the CDJs at my friends place, and rekindling mixing by ear, like I used to with my 1200s. This feels great! I go over and take lessons from him, and I'm working my way back into gigging out. We record the sessions, and we talk about what I learned from my mix. I am severely tempted to purchase my own, but the pricetag is expensive. I am looking at the XDJ-1000s as the decks I would get. I know some sites have payment plans, and credit cards or some sort of financing. I would like to have at least half the money already before even thinking about the financing options though.

    I have RekordBox on my computers here, and I run the tracks I purchase through it to be analyzed so I can set up playlists for the USB flash drive I take over. I try to go over once a week (he's busy with his own gigs, meetings, and whatnot so I am happy that he makes time for me to come over and practice and record), and I take what I learned back to my Kontrol S4 and make use of it all, and my mixes have improved greatly. I think we should all get back to not watching the waveforms. I remember being able to mix a smoothly on vinyl because there wasn't a screen, and I had the tracks memorized, remembered where the breaks were, what vocals were firing off in the song, and where they occurred so I could drop in a song that didn't have overlapping vocals, and bonus if I could get ones that either complimented one another, or did a "call and response". While I love technology, I really am loving getting back to memorizing the tracks, and doing "audio only" mixes (mixes where I'm not looking at the waveforms to actually mix but just the vital information such as BPMs when I'm loading the track and moving the pitch slider to match the upcoming track — no sync button on at all too!), and making sure that my track selection is telling a story, as well as taking everyone on a journey, as seamlessly as possible.

    The Engineer // Buddha Beats Podcast // Daibutsu Music

  26. Hey The Engineer, thanks for sharing with us, you make some great points. We're all about knowing your music here - the "dark art of waveriding" is fine in a pinch or if you already know your collection well, but if it keeps DJs from learning and knowing their music, that could get them into trouble later on (and ultimately moves away from what DJing is fundamentally about: the music) :)

  27. Henry Hocknell says:

    Hello everyone!

    I'm looking for some help. Like Gasper above i'm a controller Dj (and have been since i started 4 years ago) as i have never had the chance to get near CDJ's, never mind vinyl. I've done a few bars, festivals and clubs but now i'm making to jump to CDJ's because i really want to advance my skillset.

    I'm having a scan of the manuals but i need to know what i'm setting myself up for. I've heard manual looping is difficult to get right and is a bad habit? Its also not possible to jump/skip bars whilst still playing a track? (Shift + jog wheel on controller). Also i tend to have some fun with effects but i'm not sure CDj's have a lot in the way of effects? apart from HPF/LPF and an echo (?).

    Anyways, any help you guys could give me would be greatly appreciated.


    • You need to scale back your expectations, for sure. Looping usually works OK, if you analyse your music in Rekordbox and use Nexus or Nexus 2 players you can do quite a lot, but on older players / with non-analysed music it's basically basic looping and manual beatmatching all the way.

      • Henry Hocknell says:

        Hi Phil! Thanks for the info!

        I'm finally getting an hour with Nexus 2000's tomorrow so i guess i'll get a better look at it. I'm throwing a load of stuff through Rekordbox now, does that need to be exported from there? Or are the files from that playlist now eligible for CDJ's after having them analysed?


  28. No Qualms says:

    When I hear two music sources accidentally mixing, I lose my shit 😆

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