Over To You: Playing Digital On Older CDJs

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Playing on CDJs Pro
Last updated 10 April, 2018

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CDJ1000
The CDJ1000: An iconic device, but no USB for using with rekordbox.

Digital DJ Tips reader Luke writes: “My situation is this. I started DJing about 15 years ago on vinyl as a hobby, but packed it in a couple of years later when desperate for cash, I was forced to sell my decks.

“Fast forward to 2012, I was inspired to pick the craft up again. Initially I started out on Traktor which I loved, and invested in a controller to fully utilise its capabilities. As my skills improved, I started to get gig offers where I work and in other local venues. However I quickly became frustrated with firstly having to carry around my controller, along with laptop etc. Secondly, and arguably more importantly, dealing with set up issues when I arrived at venues.

“I decided to reevaluate the equipment I was using. I simply wanted to turn up to gigs with my music and play! I took the decision to invest in CDJs and go down the rekordbox route, after all Pioneer are the provider of the industry’s standard equipment. I thought USB keys and headphones were the future! I therefore invested a considerable amount of time importing my digital music collection into rekordbox.

“The problem that I now face is that I regularly get offers to play at places, but when I ask what equipment they have, it’s not USB compatible (ie older Pioneer gear with no USB slots).

“I have a 2000/900nexus set up at home, which I have absolutely no desire to start taking to venues just to be able to play. I also have absolutely no desire to start burning nearly 3000 tracks to CD either. A friend in a similar situation has opted to go down the Serato SL2 route, but I am reluctant to spend more money on equipment.

“All I want to do is turn up at venues, have a couple of drinks, and rock the place, carrying only my music and headphones, and as little else as possible! Could you, or fellow readers please offer suggestions on how best to go forward?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

That’s why we don’t currently recommend rekordbox as a system for DJs who play gigs in lots of venues where they can’t guarantee the CDJs are compatible.

My best recommendation to you as you’re used to Traktor is to invest in a Traktor Scratch A6 digital vinyl system and taken your laptop and A6 audio interface to gigs with you so you can use their CDJs with control CDs. It’s not perfect (you’ll have to set it up and take your laptop along, as you point out), but you can use Rekord Buddy to transfer your metadata between Traktor and rekordbox which will at least save you some time.

You may still decide that taking a small Traktor controller like the Kontrol S2 would be easier for you (and save you having to use dodgy old CDJs). Unfortunately there are no rekordbox controllers I’d recommend for pro use in clubs, the XDJ-Aero being beat but ultimately a consumer model.

Have you found yourself in this situation? How did you get out of it? Please share your advice below.

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