Friday, September 14, 2012

Pioneer's CDJ-2000 Nexus Is Here: What Does It Mean for DJs?


New CD player aims to replace laptops in the DJ booth
Not too long ago, DJs routinely busted their backs schlepping heavy crates of vinyl from gig to gig. As vinyl has declined in popularity, the job has gotten a lot easier on the vertebrae, but the array of options available to DJs is enough to make anyone's head hurt: There are pro-quality CD players, or CDJs; "scratch" control systems like Serato and Traktor, which allow DJs to manipulate music on their computer using traditional turntables or CDJs; and a growing field of hardware controllers, software applications, and all-in-one solutions.

Pioneer has made clear its intentions to corner that crowded market with high-end CDJ models that replicate key features of laptop-enabled systems: GUIs that display track waveforms, the ability to browse by folder, and, crucially, USB ports that allow DJs to carry all their music on a single hard drive (or, if they've got shallow crates, a USB stick). This week, Pioneer upped the ante with the announcement of the CDJ-2000 Nexus, the latest edition of its top-of-the-line CD player.
The most headline-grabbing news is that the CDJ-2000 Nexus is the first CD player that allows DJs to access music on smartphones or tablets using Wi-Fi or USB connections. In other words, in addition to reading CDs, CD-Rs, DVDs, USB sticks, SD cards, and portable hard drives, the CDJ-2000 Nexus can now cue up music directly from an iPhone—whether the DJ's, his or her friend's, or even an audience member's. (A boon for wedding parties, perhaps, but a bane for any DJ loath to take requests from the crowd.)
More importantly, the CDJ-2000 Nexus continues to take on functionality that was once possible only with laptops. Using Pioneer's Rekordbox music-management software, DJs can tag their audio, set loop points, and create playlists, much as they might prepare their sets in Serato or Traktor Scratch. (A Rekordbox iOS app also allows DJs to prep sets offline and transfer the data later.) An automatic beat sync feature allows DJs to synchronize up to four units — anathema to traditionalists, perhaps, but a key selling point for a new generation of DJs that never learned to beatmatch manually. Pioneer's Traffic Light feature even takes on the task of software applications like Mixed in Key, facilitating harmonic mixing by highlighting tracks in complementary key signatures. And an enlarged (6.1 inch), full-color LCD display offers the kind of GUI previously available only with laptops, including browsable playlists, cover art, and scalable waveform renderings along with loop points, downbeat markers, and detailed pitch and tempo data.
Last week, Create Digital Music's Peter Kern reported on new integration between Native Instruments' Traktor system and Pioneer hardware, calling it "part of a larger trend: it's computer functionality, away from the computer." The arrival of the Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus pushes that trend even further along, and, if it becomes standard-issue in nightclubs, it could be a very good thing. As someone who has often had to plug in my Traktor system while another DJ was finishing his set on Serato, fumbling through a tangle of cables while his final track neared its end, I've often wished for a more streamlined solution — one that would allow DJs to simply show up with their music and play, like they did in the good ol' days of vinyl. (And yes, I also still play records, so save your snark.) The Nexus, if adopted as the new standard, could help take laptops and external hardware out of the equation and return the DJ booth to a simple, plug-in-and-play proposition. For seasoned resident DJs, there's only one caveat: prepare to be faced with aspiring selectors storming the booth, iPhones in hand, ready to throw down.
Check out a series of promotional videos featuring Laidback Luke, Kissy Sellout, and Eats Everything for a demonstration of some of the Nexus' beat-synched bells and whistles.



Industry first*1 DJ play using music stored inside smartphones and tablets via Wi-Fi*2/USB connection

Music stored inside Wi-Fi/USB-connected iPhone/iPod touch/iPad devices can be transmitted to the “CDJ-2000nexus” using the iOS version of “rekordbox™” (available on the App Store free of charge) for DJ play. The touch panel displays of iPads, etc. can be used for intuitive music selection with controls that users will already be familiar with. In addition, the enclosed Mac version of “rekordbox™” can be used to send music to the “CDJ-2000nexus” from inside a Wi-Fi-connected Mac. Also, when connecting via USB, the device can be charged during DJ play. Android OS devices can send music via Wi-Fi/USB connections using the Android version of “rekordbox™” (available on the Google Play free of charge), and music can also be transmitted from Windows PCs via Wi-Fi connections using the enclosed Windows version of “rekordbox™”.
browser panel Industry first DJ play using music stored inside  smartphones and tablets via Wi-Fi/USB connection
*Please visit the support website for information regarding PRO DJ LINK connections with other systems and configuration methods.

Includes “rekordbox™” music management software for advance preparation of music to be used in DJ play

Music files can be analyzed with “rekordbox™” installed on a computer, music can be managed (settings, create/edit, save logs) in the optimum way for DJ play, and the music to be used can be prepared in advance. The “CDJ-2000nexus” features new music file analysis functions such as “WAVE ZOOM (waveform expansion)” and “KEY” as well as new “ACTIVE LOOP” and “HOT CUE AUTO LOAD” settings.
By using an iPhone with the rekordbox™ for (iOS) installed, the iPhone can be used for preparation and management of music used in DJ play through features such as playlist creation, cue/loop point settings, beat location settings, waveform analysis, and so on. Also, by wirelessly transmitting to an iPhone music that has been managed with the “rekordbox™”*4 for Mac, preparations can be made while on the move or at one’s destination, and music information configured on iPhone can be wirelessly transmitted*3 to computers.
rekordbox™ Browser panel

“PRO DJ LINK” function expands scale of DJ performances

By connecting multiple players (up to 4 units) with LAN cables, various new functions have been added to expand the scale of DJ performances alongside the existing content-sharing functions.
“PRO DJ LINK” function expands scale of DJ performances

Full-color LCD display for quick song selection and instant understanding of musical progress

The “CDJ-2000nexus” adopts a large 6.1-inch full-color LCD to clearly display information that is required when performing DJ play. Music artwork and large quantities of music information are displayed in lists, and the intended music can be found easily and intuitively. In addition to the existing “WAVE” display that provides a visual understanding of all music, “WAVE ZOOM” makes it possible to instantly grasp the preceding music development by displaying waveforms that can be expanded/minimized to five different levels color-coded according to bandwidth.
Full-color LCD display for quick song selection and instant understanding of musical progress

“SLIP” and “QUANTIZE”*5 functions for reliable performance without changing progress of original music

SLIP

The “SLIP MODE” function keeps music moving in the background during LOOP/REVERSE/SCRATCH/ HOT CUE/PAUSE. This makes it possible to produce bold musical arrangements without changing the progress of the original music even after these functions have been used.
EX. When using the Slip function during a loop

QUANTIZE

The “CDJ-2000nexus” is loaded with a QUANTIZE function that automatically and accurately quantizes when using LOOP/REVERSE/HOT CUE, even if the dynamic of the beat has gone out of sync. This enables reliable performance without breaking the rhythm of music during playback.

My Settings function for immediate access to personal preferences

The function settings of this device can be saved to USB storage devices, SD memory cards, smartphones and tablets, and can be applied to this device as necessary. In addition, “CDJ-2000nexus” settings can be made on “rekordbox™” and sent directly to this device, which means that you can instantly switch to your own settings when prepared in advance when alternating DJs.

New algorithm enables master tempo to deliver sound quality more faithful to original tone

A new algorithm has been adopted to deliver sound quality that is more faithful to the original tone, even when there are drastic shifts in tempo during playback of wide-ranging music. This enables high-quality mix playback even when there is a big difference in track tempo.

High sound quality design for faithful reproduction of original tone and clear/powerful club sound

While inheriting the audio circuit from the “CDJ-2000”, this new device delivers a powerful sound that is stable even in high-volume environments such as DJ booths by means of improved anti-shock properties and reduced contact resistance through the adoption of a type of AC inlet that has a large power cable contact area. A clear and powerful sound that is faithful to the original has also been realized by reducing jitter to 1/4 through the high-precision engineered clock of a high-performance D/A converter produced by Wolfson Microelectronics, adoption of a high sound quality operational amplifier, and digital noise reduction of power sources.

Support for various media and formats

A wide range of media and formats are supported to suit various styles of DJ play. As well as smartphones/tablets, music files can also be played from USB storage devices such as flash memory and hard disks, SD memory cards, audio CDs and DVDs. MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF file formats are supported.
Support for various media and formats

Other functions

  • ● DJ software MIDI/HID control
  • ● “ACTIVE LOOP” automatically starts loops when playback begins from a specified point
  • ● “LOAD PREVIOUS TRACK” returns to music that has already been loaded
  • ● “RATING ON-THE-GO” enables tracks to be rated during play

Notification for CDJ-2000/CDJ-900 owners

To coincide with the launch of the “CDJ-2000nexus”, Pioneer will commence a “CDJ-2000/CDJ-900” firmware update from end of October. This update will make it possible to avoid certain feature restrictions when connecting the “CDJ-2000nexus” and “CDJ-2000/CDJ-900” via LAN.
Scheduled download start date: End of October, 2012
Download site: http://pioneerdj.com/support/
Version information: Ver. 4.20
Update content: Eliminates feature restrictions when connecting CDJ-2000nexus and CDJ-2000/CDJ-900 via LAN

Support

  • rekordbox
  • FAQ
  • Manuals

Specifications

  • ■ Playable media:iPhone/iPad/iPod touch,Android phone/Android Tablet, etc.,USB storage devices (flash memory/HDD, etc.), SD memory cards, computers (Mac/Windows PC), Audio CD, CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW/R-DL
  • ■ Playable files:MP3、AAC、WAV、AIFF
     (iOS version of "rekordbox™" enable to playback only MP3 and AAC)
  • ■ USB storage support file systems:FAT, FAT32, HFS+
  • ■ Frequency response:4Hz~20kHz
  • ■ S/N ratio:115dB or more
  • ■ Total harmonic distortion:0.0018% or less
  • ■ USB ports:USB A port ×1, USB B port ×1
  • ■ Audio output ports:AUDIO OUT(RCA)×1、DIGITAL OUT(COAXIAL)×1
  • ■ Other ports:LAN(100Base-TX)×1, CONTROL(φ3.5 mm mini plug)×1
  • ■ Audio output voltage:2.0Vrms
  • ■ Power use:AC100-240V(50 Hz/60 Hz)
  • ■ Electricity consumption:37W
  • ■ Max. external dimensions:320mm(W)×405.7mm(D)×106.4mm(H)
  • ■ Weight:4.7 kg

Included “rekordbox™” music management software

  • ■ Supported OS:
     Mac OS®X 10.7, 10.6 or 10.5.8
     Windows®7 Home Premium / Professional / Ultimate
     Windows Vista® Home Basic / Home Premium / Ultimate / Business (SP2 and above)
     Windows® XP Home Edition / Professional (SP3 and above)
     (*Windows® XP Professional x64 edition is not supported)
  • ■ Playable files:
     MP3、AAC、WAV、AIFF
  1. *1: In methods of sending music from smartphones/tablets via a Wi-Fi/USB connection (as of September 6th 2012) 
  2. *2: Commercially available wireless LAN router separately required for Wi-Fi connection.
  3. *3: Wireless LAN network environment required
  4. *4: Supported in “rekordbox™” version 1.6.0 and above.
  5. *5: Works with music that has been analyzed by “rekordbox™”.
  1. ・iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iTunes, Mac and Mac OS are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the United States and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.
  2. ・Android and YouTube are registered trademarks of Google Inc.
  3. ・rekordbox™ is a registered trademark of Pioneer Corporation.
  4. ・Other trademarks and trade names are the property of their respective owners.
  5. ・Other product, technology and company names, etc. mentioned herein are the trade names or registered trademarks of their respective owners.