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Features That Should Be Standard On CDJs/Media Players in 2017

2016 is almost over! In the DJ world, a lot attention starts to focus on new products that might be introduced at NAMM in January. As suggested by a DJTT reader, we’re compiling a list of features that need to be on CDJs / DJ media players released in 2017 and beyond. Share your own no-brainer must-have features in the comments!

The Future Of CDJs “Media Players”

We’re expecting a lot of new DJ products in 2017. For now, it feels like the increased move towards standalone DJ gear is here to stay. Manufacturers saw this trend too – and while reports still show that controller sales are doing well, we expect many product releases that capitalize on this market desire. Here’s the lay of the land right now:

Advanced Cue Point/Loop Controls
(Controllers Have Had It For Years)

Bottom of deck CDJ controls

Put performance pads on the bottom of every CDJ and media player, and suddenly the migration from controller to standalone gear makes a lot more sense to every user that’s bought a DDJ in the last five years.

Based on what we could tell from Denon DJ’s teaser in November, they’ll likely be the first company to include something along these lines.

Loop Move / Beat Jump

Beatjump in Traktor and Rekordbox
Beat Jump is already a robust feature in Traktor Pro and Rekordbox DJ

Many DJs on software rely on beat jump and loop move as an essential part of both their preparation and mixing workflows. Learn why beat jump is one of the most underused DJ tools in this DJTT article.

A key part of implementing this feature set is making sure it isn’t limited. Pioneer’s just released XDJ-1000MK2 has beat jump – but as the product page notes:

“Use Beat Jump to jump backwards or forwards 1, 2 or 4 beats from the current playback position.”

It’s always felt like Pioneer could theoretically update the XDJ-1000s and the MK2 versions to have longer, more useful movements. They could also update the older CDJ-2000NXS and XDJ-RX units to include beat jump and loop move. But this appears to be another feature that the company is using to entice users to upgrade their gear to newer models.

Record Out: Save Your DJ Sets To USB

XDJ-RX USB record out port
Why not add a record out to USB to every DJ setup?

Want a good recording of your DJ mix? Hope no one else is using the record out on the mixer – if it even has one. Make sure you brought your audio recorder, and the right cables. Make sure your SD card has space, and the batteries are charged.

This could all be fixed the same way that it is on the XDJ-RX: using the USB drives already plugged into a setup as the hard drives to record the set to. With gigabit ethernet and USB 3.0 ports (hopefully!) on new models, it should be possible.

Ableton Link Sync
(Every Other Digital DJ Has It Now)

CDJs could really add Ableton Link functionality

MIDI syncing is pretty unreliable – so Ableton has taken on the challenge of fixing this problem for every DJ software. Ableton Link is completely open to developers to allow implementation in their own softwares. You can already sync Maschine, Traktor, Serato, and Ableton – all in the same session.

What would it take for Denon and Pioneer to add this functionality to their standalone gear? It would allow for some powerful cross-setup collaboration.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth To Get Playlists From Mobile Devices

At launch, the CDJ-2000NXS was heavily advertised as Wi-Fi compatible – but that’s only if it is plugged into a wireless Ethernet router. Allowing DJs to walk up and use the promos they just downloaded on their phone – without having to process the files through their laptop and onto a USB drive – would be amazing.

Some Of Your Suggestions:

Most Importantly: A Lower Price Tag

The CDJ-2000NXS2 is priced at a shocking $2,197

The XDJ line has thankfully brought some relief to high-priced DJ media players. The XDJ-700 line is a step in the right direction at the $697 price point. The most recent CDJ-2000NXS2 did the opposite – with the price going up to $2,197. That’s $4,394 for a pair.

But many still think the entire CDJ/XDJ line is drastically overpriced for the technology inside – and how many pieces of gear you end up needing to have a complete setup.

With Denon chomping at Pioneer’s ankles with their upcoming product release, we really hope that the feature set is comparable enough that both companies will have to start thinking about lowering the average price of every unit.

Have a good idea for the future of CDJs?
Let us know in the comments.

  • Alan

    A standardised universal USB setup format that can be used interchangeably between Rekordbox, Traktor, Serato, Prime, etc. Shouldn’t need Rekord Buddy and similar programs if there was one universal standard for storing hot cues, loop points, playlists and other track data, regardless of which system it was first analysed on.

  • ????? ?????

    no digital buttons, absolutly not cool in any way, the presure of constant paranoia that one of the buttons may fail when pressed or there might be something spilled ontop without you even notice.. like a drop of glue or something transperent sticked ontop .. Even worse someone may do something stupid on pourpos.. I am fully aware that this types of things usualy never happen (almost) and pioneer are creating and desining top quality products but the fact that something like this is even remotly possible even by 1 / 3% .It is acctualy enough to drive you insane maybe not today maybe wont even happen to you but, i hope you get my point. Most of all i can’t anything wrong with good old buttons why remove? They are the best, pushy, twisty .. so fun to use..

  • Tomas Morey

    Full connectivity to any other devices and softwares (XDJ700 does not control over Traktor). Full operational from usb stick without going first to any owner software (Pioneer XDJ700, pitch oscilation without Rekordbox software information!!!!)
    I am a Native Instruments user, but they are still very “themselves”.

  • Theo B
  • Theo B
  • Dom Amis

    waterproof and alcohol proof decks would be handy. if apple and Samsung can do it with phones why can’t pioneer do it with their decks and mixers?

  • Theo Bishop
  • Theo Bishop

    I made this on Ps last year.

  • Theo Bishop
    • ShiftFunction

      That space on the left could be used for loop and beatjump encoders like seen on the Kontrol X1 Mk1

  • golemus2

    – FLAC support
    – exFAT and/or NTFS support
    – real-time analysis of tunes from USB-stick (without Rekordbox or equivalent), song structure at least as fast as it was with CDJ-1000mk3

    – WAV/AIF support (and hopefully FLAC support) even for the cheap CD/media players (Numark, etc…)

    – the ability to use DJ mixer audio interface without installing drivers

    – this is not exactly 2017, but anyway: at some point in the future even digital audio will move to USB type-C (alternative mode possibly). At that point it might replace SPDIF. Perhaps we see this starting in 2019 or 2020 🙂

    http://www.anandtech.com/show/10273/intel-proposes-to-use-usb-typec-cables-to-connect-headsets-to-mobile-devices

  • If you want to sync an Ableton Link session to CDJs today, you can do so with my free, open-source software Beat Link Trigger combined with Carabiner. I’ve had some artists using that to combine Live sets with CDJ tracks in their shows. https://github.com/brunchboy/beat-link-trigger

  • Alexandros Roussos

    Pioneer : Bring an XDJ-800, as compact or even more compact than the XDJ-700 and with all Serato / Traktor / Rekordbox HID support, give the Jog-wheel some needle position LEDs, price it $800 and you’ve got the best-seller for the next three years.

    Denon : bring us the same features as the suggested XDJ-800, with all the HID support thing (maybe except Rekordbox) and the nice compact form factor of the SC2000, and you’ll beat Pioneer !

    Native Instruments : Bring us a great classic Deck controller with jog wheels for old-school DJing and you’ll get market share from Serato !

    Numark : bring us the V7 Mk2 with motorized and kill them all !

  • Darren Enzo

    I’d like to see the new DJM’s have a built in router (like the DJM 2000), to link 4 decks and to connect to a laptop for rekordbox library use.

    Also the ability to plug 1 usb cable from a DJM to my MBP and still have HID control over any linked decks.

    • Chris Argueta

      Totally agree. All 2017 mixers should have built-in routers/hubs, digital audio inputs, USB/PS2 keyboard input, VGA, DVI, HDMI or DisplayPort video out for library searches.

  • ShiftFunction

    I’d love to see Ableton Link! Not really for myself but for ease of DJing alongside others. Had the problem a couple of times. I’d be working with Traktor, Ableton & Maschine and another DJ sticks to CDJs, he can’t keep in time then asks why I don’t adjust to keep with him. I end up pointing to Maschine and asking if they see a jogwheel anywhere.

    Thing is, it could quite easily be a small button fairly out of the way to engage it.

    • Check out Beat Link Trigger combined with Carabiner. The User Guide talks about how to make this work in the section “Working with Ableton Link.” https://github.com/brunchboy/beat-link-trigger/blob/master/doc/README.adoc#working-with-ableton-link

      Although so far the sync only goes from the CDJs to the Link session, not the other direction. That’s an area of active research if anyone would like to pitch in!

      • ShiftFunction

        I’m very interested. Looking at the guide though, is it Mac only? If so it’s of no use to me

    • QAMRONparq

      There are nudge buttons.

  • couic

    generic usb midi controller compatibility that can work through link. to control additional stuff, such as more hotcues.
    with a DAW-like config based on midi notes & ccs (like on all modern midi controllers), saved on the usb drive so we don’t have to set up anything before playing.

    and more hotcue points (even if only available via midi) !!!! I want to do advanced hotcue juggling. and 4 simultaneous max just sucks. I want at least 16 available all together (not through a nxs2 “1-4 / 5-8”-like switch)

  • Mr. E Hz

    MIDI Mappable controls, I want to bring a simple midi controller along to be able to pad control the beat jump, hot-cues, etc. And i don’t want to have to use the DDJ-SP1. This would eliminate the need for the Pad controls, and let you use something like a trigger finger or any midi-controller instead. They basically have this functionality already with the XDJ-1000 Mk2, and the 2000 NXS2, just made it proprietary, and expensive to implement. I feel like this is an easy one.

  • E Con

    More generic: cross compatibility (Traktor, Serato) for all hard— and software.

  • Oddie O’Phyle

    Just wondering how the record to USB would work without a loop back from Rec out on the mixer to the media player? Wouldn’t it just record the raw audio from the line out on the media player considering tracks are mixed externally?

  • Brad Sartor

    CDJs should have a phono input for turntables ie DVS built right into the CDJ. DJ arrives with Rekordbox prepared flash drive and two timecode records, NO LAPTOP. The CDJ is already routed to the mixer, so no need to unplug any RCAs cables between sets. As soon as the CDJ detects the timecode signal, it automatically controls the loaded track via timecode signal. Additionally all the loop and cue functions of the CDJ could still be used as normal. Essentially its like adding a vinyl platter to the CDJ. Simple elegant solution

  • Dj Fernald

    watch this …its special effects with traktor in numark mixtrack

  • Jacob Stadtfeld

    How about 64bit drivers for their hardware. It’s been long enough.

    • Oddie O’Phyle

      Pioneer has had 64 bit ASIO for a while, I just wish they were stable.

      • ShiftFunction

        Hasn’t been THAT long. It was still this year I had to run Traktor in 32 bit mode to get it to work with Pio DJMs. They took their sweet time fixing that

        • Oddie O’Phyle

          They’ve been out for a few months, agreed about taking their sweet time. There was a bunch of us asking for 64 bit ASIO for about 2 years or so. Honestly, the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth. I have a DJM 850 and had to buy an A10 to properly run Traktor… should have saved a few more pennies for a Xone: 92. I’ll never buy another Pio mixer.

          • ShiftFunction

            Definitely! I think the problem with Pioneer is that they’ve been “industry standard” for so long that they don’t feel the need to pay enough attention to what others are doing until they decide they want to do it too.

            For example, they didn’t give a crap about 64bit ASIO drivers, no matter how loud anyone shouted, until they made Rekordbox DJ and suddenly realised “crap, we’re going to need proper drivers if we want our software to work with the hardware”

            Understandable? Sure. Forgivable? No, they really need to do better. Especially for the insane Pioneer Tax every product’s RRP is laden with

  • Scott Frost

    I think they are still stuck in 2000. Their players should be getting cheaper not more expensive. I think they only have 1 or 2 engineers and they can’t afford to lose them so they have to pay them ridiculous amounts of money and then recoup it from the end user. I would have thought when they were sold the prices would come down. If you look at their forums there are nothing but issues galore (not that other brands don’t have issues – but they seem to rush these things out on a yearly release cycle and not fully test them).

    There is no way in 2016 that a dvd drive costs $1000+ (difference from 2000NXS2 to XDJ1000MK2) less a few buttons.

    I think they are trying to imitate another company but problem is they can’t back up with the support, just give us your money ….thanks… now buy next years model too….thanks….what this doesn’t work?? …. hey look SQUIRREL!

    I think Ableton LINK will make CDJs obsolete in a year or 2.

    • Chris Argueta

      Electronics is the only thing in the world that gets better and the price goes down. DJ electronics should be the same way. There are too many DJs worried about what other DJs think about their equipment. As long as we keep giving Pioneer our hard earned money, they will continue to take it in return for over priced hardware. Personally, I think the XDJ-700 is a step in the right direction. It is an OK product for the money, but certainly not an amazing deal.

      Respectfully, I don’t agree completely with this article.
      1) Advanced Cue Point/Loop Controls. You don’t need that if you play good music. I don’t think this should be “standard”.
      2) Loop Move / Beat Jump. Really? I never used that in Traktor much.
      3) Record Out: Save Your DJ Sets To USB. This should be on the mixer, not on the media player.
      4) Ableton Link Sync. This has many cool possibilities, but “standard”?
      5) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth To Get Playlists From Mobile Devices. Really? This just seems more trouble than it’s worth.
      6) Most Importantly: A Lower Price Tag. Pretty much the only thing that I 100% agree with. We are being gouged.

      Honestly, IMHO, most of these “standard” features seem more like gimmicks.

      Features that I think should be “standard” on 2017 media players:
      1) ROCK SOLID PERFORMANCE.
      2) ROCK SOLID CONSTRUCTION.
      3) Tilted, large, full color, hi-res displays.
      4) Network connectivity (one usb, PC, Mac, etc for multiple media players).
      5) Digital audio outputs (Pioneer XDJ-700 does not have this).
      6) NAS over LAN capability (No more Mac or PC needed {while performing}).
      7) VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI or DVI output. Some of us are in our 40s, 50s, 60s. Those displays are tiny! I don’t know why this has never been thought of?
      8) USB/PS2 Keyboard jack.

      Just my 2¢.

  • Mrquick

    EVERY audio formats

  • Christoph Meyer

    Much needed:

    Flac support.

    Major library overhaul (management & playlists) (Serato & Traktor specifically are stuck in ancient times…).

    Multi value metadata & general better handling of standard tags. (genres, keywords, mood, rating/energy…!)

  • Dubby Labby

    Standalone box with usb host, audio/midi interface and option for screen/touchscreen with dj software included (like PiDeck but with full traktor, serato, rekordbox or whatever) and
    Without nothing else that we already have (including mixer and cdj which most of djs have) but waiting for plug your owns on it.

    Form factor? From an small box like phono preamp with touchscreen to something similar to numark dashboard.

    Alternative nowadays? IPod touch (or iPhone/iPad) and djing/dvs iOS app with cck3, hub and audio/midi interface…

    Someday Traktor iOS will be updated…?

    • ShiftFunction

      An update for Traktor DJ on iOS? I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you mate

      • Dubby Labby

        Just wishing not really waiting. 😉

  • Iblical

    Double Cue! Like on the PLAYDifferently mixer.

  • CUSP

    I guess we have a different understanding of media players. I’m thinking of boxes (typically created for kiosks and conventions) that play back audio and video… like what Brightsign makes.

    I totally get what you’re saying about CD DJ players, they’re way too expensive and they offer way less than controllers do right now.

    It might be worthwhile for a company to make an inexpensive CD player (maybe even with a jog wheel, play/cue buttons and cue buttons) that plugs into the USB port (emulating a USB stick) on newer controllers and mixers *Problem solved*.

    • Dubby Labby

      PiDeck as blackbox for any input (dvs, controller…) could do the job.

      • CUSP

        Yeah, when someone makes a good unit (thinking back to my old CD Walkman about 20 years ago) that both acts as a CD reader (emulating all the data on it as a USB drive) (optionally) and a MIDI assignable (or even class-compliant) controller, we’re going to see CD DJ stand-alone units come down in price… this is something in Denon’s wheelhouse.

        Alternatively, I can see this as a retrofit for almost any current CD DJ device, like your PiDeck idea… inside the CD DJ unit with a USB port punched out.

  • Benjamin Koehler

    CDJs are a pile of shiny rubbish and pioneers lack of support for their products when something new comes out is piss poor, ie nexus 1 cdj-2000 no coloured wave forms and no beatjump. The browsing and loading of tracks is a joke as well, so slow especially for the price you fork out for them.

    But then again NI is no better releasing the D2 without coloured waveforms which is such an easy feature to implement. I’m aware you can mod the screens but it’s just not the same as the spectrum waveform.

    • ShiftFunction

      Limiting the D2s to a maximum of two for connection and forcing a crappy layer flipping system was what ruled them out for me. I’m happy with my Xone:92, I don’t want to switch to an S8 to keep four deck control.
      (I’m still hoping that gets fixed with TP3)

  • Jason Dunham

    All I want for christmas is :
    Standalone ‘option’ HID TT with 8 velocity pads and stacked waveforms (touchscreen) at the top.
    TT could be used with Vinyl/stylus or without (based on environmental conditions) but would be moving platters regardless.
    Standalone Mixer with waveforms (touchscreen)to interface with HID TT…stacked waveforms that run from one TT across the mixer to the other TT. Linkable for a single USB connection to a laptop for non standalone use.
    USBs (maybe usbc) available in all medium / high end mixers and controllers to connect other peripherals like SSDs and to record directly out.
    Abelton link for Rekordbox.
    Stand alone Serato option with Abelton Link.
    Integrated anti-feedback tech into all medium / high end mixer/controller mic inputs.
    ‘Burnable vinyl’ or possibly 3D printer for at home ‘mixed tape’ vinyl creation-make your sets on vinyl for old school mixing without having to carry crates of records.

    • Nacho Thompson

      So, you want a DVS setup, right?

      • Jason Dunham

        Yeah…but stand alone with Serato/Rekordbox.
        I want to be able to use it with control/reg. Vinyl as well as just a moving platters control deck like the Denon 3700’s with embedded Control tone.

  • Noname

    I liked the DJM-450, small size, timecode compatible and effects (a bit expensive though). I will keep with the turntables. For my budget, both XDJ and CDJ lines are way expensive. I’m waiting what Denon is going to show in the next months (maybe standalone players with a lower pricetag?)

  • mikefunk

    Site whitelisted

    • Spacecamp

      Hey, thanks Mike! We appreciate it 🙂

  • Ronny Rakete

    A better lighting for the knobs, buttons and faders would be great. Don’t misunderstand me, no one wants to have a christmas tree for mixing. But sometimes it’s hard to mix with CDjs in a quite dark location.

  • ghal gol hajt

    i think a 5 pin midi out to sync synths or drum machines to a cdj or xdj would be a good idea. A djm mixer with dedicated fx per channel, double cue and parametric eq such as the model1.

    • Dubby Labby

      There are possilities out there like old redsound samplers. Also a iPhone (or iPod if you want it cheaper) with proper apps and hardware combination could do this and more (Ableton link)

  • Gavin Varitech

    You’re asking for a lot of standards a lot of people don’t want or need.

    “Advanced Cue Point/Loop Controls
    (Controllers Have Had It For Years)”

    PLEASE GOD NO! Keep those fucking buttons out of my way when I’m trying to DJ. Pioneer has it down already. The loop control is great and sample triggers/hot cues are in a great place. If you want more than that use a controller, not everyone wants to pay more for a feature we not only don’t want, but gets in our way. That’s why things like the Midi-Fighter and Kontrol X1 are so useful.

    Also the WiFi/Bluetooth thing… Why? This is trying to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. We can already bring our entire collections in our pocket now. And no one should be playing tracks they just downloaded, that’s just asking for trouble.

    What should actually be standard is agnostic gear-hardware. At this point, with gear coming out in 2017, we should really be able to show up to the gig and be plug and play no matter what (major) software we’re using. A USB/HDD for files/Rekordbox collection or a single USB for Traktor or SDJ, and you’re ready to go. This also needs to enable seamless switchover. At least with the higher end install stuff.

    That’s what should be standard. We’re far overdue for this and that’s solving problems every club and club DJ actually has.

    • CUSP

      Seamless switchover *is* pretty important.

    • Yeah, I too find the WiFi/Bluetooth connectivity utterly useless. Never seen or heard anyone use it, never seen or heard anyone even said they’d want to use it.

    • Oddie O’Phyle

      I use 802.x connectivity at home. When the boiz come over to hang out, they connect with their smartphones to the open router that I have connected to my CDJ’s. You don’t have to pull any usb drives to change over every 3 or 4 tracks. It’s just an evening of chillin’ and switching off.

  • leo

    +- 16 and 32 beatjump… I can’t believe this is still being overlooked by pioneer, its the only reason why I still have to carry around a laptop at gigs. On the fly mixing its extremely useful for quickly scanning threw the song, aligning it perfectly and doing quick transitions when you have only 2 decks. Another great thing would be a faster way to CUE a song… loading and quickly listening to a track with the usb sticks is so slow compared to a laptop instant loading… for a cdj worth 2200$ there should be a quad core 3,0ghz processor in there with at least 16gig of ram, those things are so slow as fuck, it has to analyze every cue on the track, i mean common haven’t we done that already in recordbox …We should also be able to customize what we see in the browser, having more than a limit of 2 columns (ex: artist + title, or Title+bpm) I would love to remove the cover art and have bpm instead, and have a key column as well while keeping the title and artist… its extremely annoying having to click on ”info” for those. A loop push knob (similar to x1 mk2) would be great as well. Sorry for the long post, feels good to vent this out.

    • ShiftFunction

      It really baffles me that this hasn’t been done already. This is the main reason I much prefer taking my two X1s with me than playing on CDJs. When I run lots of loops I like to be able to scroll through the track while it’s playing. I can do that to playing position AND loop position with one encoder and the shift button. Just two simple controls.

    • Mitch Saucier

      You’ve summed up all my arguments for still using Traktor over the industry standard Pionneer setup. Words my friend 🙂

  • Stephen Nawlins

    Why do you speak about “a Move towards Standalone DJ Gear”???
    This move has been made 4-5 years ago by Stanton with their SCS4 DJ.
    It’s not their fault if others move slower than they no???

    • Stephen Nawlins

      Recording function also something the SCS4 DJ had already back then.

      • Nacho Thompson

        Dude, we got it.

    • Spacecamp

      Maybe I wasn’t clear: it’s a move in customer demand. The SCS4 DJ was largely not adopted by the market. Maybe it was too soon, but also the product never felt quite right.

      Did you ever use one? I did, many times – and the biggest issue was the user interface and experience. It was frustrating to mix on, especially at the time when digital DJ software/controller solutions were really, really good comparatively.

      • Stephen NAwlins

        Yes I own one and i used it many times.
        It has its + and – for sure but every gear has this.

        With a Software/Controller solution you have to carry more gear which isn’t a Problem if you travel to your gigs by car but if you take plane for ex. its compact build is a huge +

        Tell me more about the User Interface Problems you had?
        I never got any…but maybe I have lower standarts than many others.

        It had all what 2 Technics1210s and a 2 channel mixer had (and even more) and this is basically all a DJ Needs for a Set no?

        • ShiftFunction

          If that’s how you want to play, sure. It’s not for everyone though

    • Stephen Nawlins

      Wow another Feature the SCS4 DJ allowed back then (OK not Wireless) but connecte via USB wire iPad and iPod could be used directly like an external hardrive…so you could apparently use the latest Downloads from your phone without using a USB-Drive or going thru Computer.

    • Stephen Nawlins

      In DJ Gear Business it must be really frustrating when you have a visionary idea but the Company you work for is not Pioneer.

  • 1) FLAC and ALAC support
    2) S/PDIF output

    • David De Garie-Lamanque

      isn’t the digital out on the Nexus models an S/PDIF?

      • Yes. CDJ-900/2000 both original and NXS as well as XDJ-1000mk2 have S/PDIF. XDJ-1000 and XDJ-700 don’t.

        • ShiftFunction

          So… Only one model, from the stripped back, lower price bracket doesn’t have it is why you think this is an overlooked feature?

          • “Overlooked feature” was your words, not mine. I never said I was talking only about Pioneer line-up, you did.

            I’m simply stating that S/PDIF output should be standard on *every* media player by *every* manufacturer.

          • Chris Argueta

            100% agree. Keep the digital signal, the whole way through.