Home Forums Digital DJ Gear High End Controller vs CDJs

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
  • #2549521
    Josh Hughes

    Hello All,

    I am an intermediate DJ who plays in clubs and at a few different (small) events in my area. I currently borrow 2x CDJ 900 and a DJM 800 from a friend, however he is now unable to lend me his equipment.

    I just needed some guidance as to whether or not I should go all out and buy a CDJ setup or a controller like the DDJ RZX / RZ. Which CDJs / DJM would you recommend? As I am trying to familiarize myself with mixing on the ‘Club Standard’ as I have been told that it is a bit different than using a controller.

    Any response would be greatly appreciated and I would be more than happy to give any form of clarification.

    Many Thanks,


    Actually the difference between playing on a controller and CDJs is that you can do LESS on a set of CDJs than you can on a controller (even the starter controllers have a few things CDJs don’t have). This is clearly thanks to the presence of DJ software on laptops of course.

    The only thing significantly different on the (higher end) DJ mixers is that the FX section might need some attention. Personally I use FX a handful of times a night (with the exception of the filter, which is often a separate knob anyway) and can easily do without. While I know my way around most DJM mixers, I often don’t bother with the FX (with the exception of a bit of delay/echo perhaps) on the right side of mixer and use only the so-called Sound Color FX (the 4 buttons on the left-hand side).

    While I promised not to say I would NEVER do this that or the other, I’d seriously advice against putting money into a technology that is on it’s way out. With the advent of the Denon Prime Series, there is already the dawn of a new day for “club gear”, where it will match the capabilities of a controller with laptop on a standalone DJ-player format.

    Especially if you are bringing your own gear (as it seems seeing how you are borrowing stuff), once you are used to the pleasure and features of a good controller with good DJ software, you will want to bring that to your gigs, rather than play on whatever gear is put in front of you.

    Depending on where you are in the world, more and more venues and clubs are aware that many DJs today want to use their own (controller/laptop) gear and facilitate that.

    So, if you want to spend serious money, have a good look at the Denon SC5000 and X1800 mixer. Word of advice though. If you buy these, you might never want to touch a CDJ again!

    Otherwise, find a good controller. My choice would be on the DDJ-SX2 or RX (depending on if you are 100% sure Rekordbox is your favorite DJ software flavor and will remain so). I think the SZ/RZ just does not offer the extra’s (unless you really really need them) for the almost double price you are paying.

    Alternatively, if you are not hung up on Pioneer/Rekordbox, something like the Denon MC7000 or MCX8000 controllers could be a good pick. The Reloop TerminalMix 8 is also an option.

    Enough to pick from. At the end of the day it all depends on what you want and need.

    Todd Oddity

    I vote with Vintage here – regardless of what people think of Denon and their new Prime series, it is absolutely about to shake up the old “industry standard”. Pioneer will be forced to upgrade their lineup or risk losing market share. Other companies will see this change as a chance for them to jump in too as these types of shake ups don’t happen very often (about once a decade from my experience). Throwing down good money on even the top of the line NXS2 line right now would run the risk of getting quickly devalued as new ‘next generation’ models hit the market.

    All of that said, even if none of that was true, a controller still sounds like a better fit for you. Easy to take with you and easy to use at a gig. More features equals more fun to be had! SZ/RZ are getting to be pretty large – you’d have to REALLY want that extra large jog to justify the space and the expense. You will need to narrow down what software you want to use, and that will help with the next step of selecting gear you’ll be happy with.

    Dj vitico BL

    Since you will probably keep your equipment a long time you want to be “future proof” so its better to go with controllers than cds but if you have a big music collection in cd you dont want to abandon there are some all in one choices such as the pioneer xdj r1 and numark mixdeck that has cd players and usb , the most noticable difference between cdjs and controllers I think is when you are searching for cue points on a cdj you will hear the cue stutter which is the point repeating rapidly that da da da da da noise , and on controllers it imitates vinyl so you will hear it scratching, I have never seen any controller with cue stutter, it feels strange at first but you get used to it quickly


    It’s there on controllers (the implementation does depend on the software used though).

    Alex Moschopoulos

    I’d cosign on going controller over CDJ. If you’re never planning on playing actual CDs, then it’s pointless.

    Besides, most of all this is on technique over gear. A good DJ should be able to walk into any setup and play the basics with pitch, volumes, and EQs. Doesn’t matter if it’s Denon, Pioneer, Behringer, or even Gemini.

    Toby Joll

    Agree with Vintage but I think it is going to take a very long time for the existing Pioneer CDJ setups in most clubs to get replaced. You can do more on a controller for sure with the pads. If you add an SP1 to the club CDJ set up you basically have recreated an expensive SX2 when playing in HID mode. I play off Serato on SX2 , CDJ in HID and CDJ in USB RB mode. The only plus of USB is all you have to take to the club is a couple of USBs (one as back up or if no pro link) and a pair of headphones and sometimes that’s a great lightweight way to travel.


    That may be right TJSJ, but as D-Jam pointed out… just leanr the techniques and you go to any club and just play. Be it bringing your own gear or playing on their outdated crap.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • The forum ‘Digital DJ Gear’ is closed to new topics and replies.