In the most recent episode of Resident Advisor’s monthly “The Hour” podcast, a number of DJs have shared their own tips for using the industry-standard Pioneer DJ CDJs when mixing. James Zabiela, Objekt, A.G, and a few others hopped on the podcast to give their tips – which we’ve collected in this article for our readers’ reference. Listen to the podcast inside or simply read the best tips below.
The CDJ tips section of the podcast starts at 8:17 – skip straight to it in the player above to listen to the complete story.
Don Williams – Master Tempo
“My first tip is using the master key [sic – he’s referring to the button labeled Master Tempo, which locks the key of the track]. This is very handy if you want to get rid of the pitch-bend sounds when slowing down or speeding up a record while finding the right tempo.
If you engage the master key button, it totally eliminates all of those sounds. So, if that’s your intention, to get rid of that sound, you should use it. Otherwise, I mean, some people like to have the human touch, so to speak.” –Don Williams, Berlin-based DJ who regularly plays at Berghain and Tesor
Objekt – Slip Mode
“The more adventurous thing that I can suggest is a feature that you get on the CDJ-2000 NXS and above, which is slip mode. It’s a button at about 10’ocolock on the jogwheel that says slip, and when you activate it, it goes red and you get kind of a loop readout display on the CDJ.
Essentially what slip mode does, is that it reconfigures that way that the looping and forward and reverse direction work, as well as the turntable brake and turntable release and also the platter in vinyl mode. If slip mode is disabled, then when you enable a loop while you’re playing back a track, when you exit the loop, the playback will continue from wherever the playhead is.
Whereas if slip mode is enabled, then when you get out of the loop it will jump back to where the playhead would have been, had you not gotten into the loop in the first place, which means the track stays in time no matter what trickery you do on top of it.” – Objekt
James Zabiela – Deck Switch
“There’s the not so secret deck switch, which is basically made for, like, beat juggling. If you press the SYNC button and then press it again and hold it in, what it will do is it will play whatever’s playing on the other deck. It will just seamlessly sync up and mirror what the other deck’s doing, completely, and you can just crossfade from one deck to the other.
The reason that’s handy is I’ve had a few occasions where something’s not working on one player – could be just a button’s stuck in or someone’s spilled drink in it or something like that, or the displays’s a bit weird. Basically you can stay on one player the whole time – the best functioning player.”
James Zabiela – Jog Sensitivity
“Another one, if you come into problems with vibration in the DJ booth, is set the jog sensitivity to heavy, because it can play havok with your mixes sometimes. If there’s a load of vibration an it’s moving the platter around, especially if you’re doing a manual loop and you’ve got the loop points open, you obviously can adjust those loop points by turning the jog wheel, so if you’ve got those open, and the vibration is changing your loop points, it can set you off.
[….] The first thing I do when I come around to a DJ booth is I go around to the back to the players and give the little link cable a wiggle. If the player light goes out, if it goes gray, you know you can be in some trouble later in the night. In that case I use a backup USB, or USBs in each player.”
There are a bunch more tips in the full podcast – listen to it in full to learn even more. We’ve also got a number of our own CDJ-tips that we’ve written in the past: