10 Things You Didn’t Know About Pioneer DJ’s CDJ-3000 Media Players

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 4 mins
Last updated 11 August, 2022


Pioneer DJ’s CDJ players are the gold standard in club DJ equipment, and the players you’re likely to find in most venues by default. They may not have every feature of other brands, and may not have changed hugely in the past 10 years, but that’s kind-of the point: They’re the pro’s choice precisely because they’re dependable and proven.

Watch the show

Prefer me to talk you through this? In this video, a recording of a live show from the Digital DJ Tips YouTube channel, I talk you through everything in this article, and we take questions from our community too on the subject.

But reliable and predictable as the CDJ is, it does have a few tricks up its sleeve, especially since the launch of the CDJ-3000, the latest iteration. So for beginners to these units, to DJs who are maybe soon to play on them for the first time, and just for the curious, here are our 10 things you may not know about the Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000:

1. They have better key sync than anyone else

They’ve got “key sync” (matching the keys of two tracks so they mix better), right, in a way nobody else has. They employ what we call fuzzy keymixing, right in the hardware – and it gives better results than the frankly poor implementation of this feature the rest of the industry currently goes with.

2. You can accent the players any colour you want when you insert your USB drive

Change the colour to match your preference – Check out that Digital DJ Tips-style pink!

If you’re DJing from music on a USB drive or SD card, you can set the CDJ-3000s up so that when you insert the drive/card, the player “turns” a particular colour. Not really the whole player, but the area around the socket, a bar across the top of the raised section of the unit, and the top-left of the touchscreen can be pink, blue, green, yellow – whatever you want. It’s a nice touch.

Read this next: Complete Guide To Switching From DJ Controllers to CDJs

3. You can beat jump whole loops

Beat jump is a feature whereby you can move forward or back by a set number of beats or bars. It is a nice way to move through a track with it still usually sounding good to the dancefloor, because the beats continue in time. But if you set a loop then use the beat jump feature while within it, the whole loop moves, which can be a cool thing to do for creative effect, as we discovered by accident playing around the other day…

4. You can switch out the waveform display colour

We’re fans of the new default “3Band” option, which shows the low/mid/high frequency ranges.

Don’t like the three-colour frequency waveforms, that show you the loud and quiet parts of your tracks? You can switch them out for single-colour (shades of blue), or full RGB, the latter being a bit more like DJ software. It is a simple setting choice to suit your preference.

5. If you alter the pitch of a song by changing its speed, the units tell you the “new” key

If a song is in, say, C, and you pitch it down 4%, it drops by a semitone to the key of B – and the unit will tell you that, right on the screen, which could be useful for producers and keymixing DJs who don’t want to use the “Master Tempo” key lock feature.

6. You can add a second column to the library display

Adding the second column now means you can sort by artist, by rating, or by genre.

By default, the library display tells you a track’s name, BPM and key (and can give you a small preview waveform if you choose, too). But you can add a second column of your choice – genre, rating, artist, etc – which you can then sort by, too. You can even adjust the font size if things are getting a bit crowded.

7. You can customise any CDJ-3000 set-up instantly with Load Settings

Lots of options, from favoured quantize settings to how you like your library to display, can be chosen ahead of time when you’re prepping your music in the companion Rekordbox software on your laptop. When you plug your USB or SD card into a club’s CDJ set-up, those settings can be automatically loaded, so the players behave just how you’d like.

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8. You can go all digital

If you are using a mixer with digital inputs (such as Pioneer DJ’s natural partner for CDJ units, the DJM-900NXS2), you can plug CDJs into it using a single RCA cable to transfer the music between the two digitally, for an increase in audio quality, as you’re avoiding one full digital-analogue-digital cycle in the audio path.

Further learning

If you own the CDJ-3000s and are puzzled by some of their features or are not sure how to start, if you’re considering buying a pair and want a proper, detailed talkthrough of every feature, or maybe you’ve been asked to DJ in a club that has them, this complete feature-length tutorial has what you need.

9. Set up properly, they play nicely together

Newcomers to CDJs sometimes don’t realise that they are made to be networked together, using Ethernet cables. But you also need an ethernet switcher – a small box that acts as a “junction”. You plug both players into your switcher, your mixer too if you are using a compatible one, and even your computer, and you get much more functionality, like sharing attached music sources, playing directly from music on the computer, sync, and more. It works for up to six players, and it’s a must in order to use them properly.

10. Erm, they don’t play CDs

What? But they’re called CDJs? Best to think of the “C” as meaning, I don’t know, “club” or something, because as of the CDJ-3000, there is no CD slot at all on the CDJs. Makes sense nowadays, but just don’t buy them thinking you will be able to DJ digitally as well as using your old CD collection. Best off ripping those CDs to digital before you want to DJ with them…

Read this next: Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000 Media Player Review

What’s your favourite thing about Pioneer DJ’s CDJ-3000 players? Let us know in the comments below.

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