Pioneer CDJ Tips And Tricks With DJ Ravine & Cotts – Part 1

Pioneer CDJs are the industry standard found in DJ booths and on festival stages around the world. Although they’re industry standard we noticed that there aren’t many great tutorials out there showing how to get more out of the Pioneer CDJs. So DJ TechTools reached out to a couple CDJ pros, DJ Ravine and DJ Cotts, to share some cool tricks that DJs can use the next time they find themselves performing with CDJs. Keep reading for some easy scratching tips and cool ways to use slip mode on the CDJs.

1. Update Your Firmware

To ensure that CDJs have the latest features and best compatibility with other CDJ players it’s always recommend to check and update your firmware. DJs can find the latest firmware updates and instructions for all CDJ models over at Pioneer DJ. You’ll need a USB flash drive or external hard drive to load the firmware (learn how to flash your USB drive).

2. Cue + Pitch Scratch

Most people when they think of scratching imagine turntables and vinyl. But CDJs can be used for scratching too and in unique ways that make it more accessible for people that are fairly new to scratching.

The first tip involves using the cue button and pitch fader (make sure the tempo range is set to “Wide”, which gives a range of +/- 100%). This gives a wide range of pitch variation to work with. Set a cue point at the beginning of a sample. Now trigger the cue point and move the pitch fader at the same time to create a similar sound/effect to scratching with a turntable. This movement is a little easier compared to the complex movement of cutting with the crossfader while scratching a record, since the cue button will always trigger the sample at the start.

3. Cue + Jog Scratch

Another way that DJs can scratch with the CDJs is by triggering the cue button then moving or scratching the CDJ platter. Again this is easier compared to a turntable where the DJ would need to make sure they spin the record back to the start of the sample (unless they’re using DVS and cue points). With the CDJ the start of the sample can easily be triggered with the cue button.

These tricks are also applicable to the upcoming Pioneer XDJ RX.

4. Slip Turntable Brake

After all these years the turntable brake remains a classic sound and can still have a huge impact when used in a DJ set. The turntable brake sound occurs when a DJ stops the turntable and the record slows to a stop, which creates a “winding down” sound.

With Slip mode DJs can recreate this classic effect to stop a track, then bring it back on the first beat after a big breakdown/buildup. Normally with a turntable the track would start playing back from where it stopped. Slip mode allows DJs to trigger cue’s, loops, scratch, or stop the track and then bring the song back to where it would have been if they didn’t do anything. To achieve the turntable brake trick, turn on slip, adjust the stop speed knob to 12 o’clockpause your track, then press play when the first kick comes back for a dramatic impact.

To see some of these tricks in action check out Kutski on the Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus.

5. Slip Spinback

Slip mode also affects the CDJ platter, so DJs can scratch or spinback the platter and once they’ve let go or when the platter stops spinning, the track will continue playing back from where it would have been if the platter hadn’t been touched. Using this trick DJs can do another classic trick, “the spinback”.

For those unfamiliar a spinback is when the DJ grabs the record and quickly spins it backward, usually as an effect to transition to the next song. With slip mode DJs can quickly spinback the platter and have the song start at the position where it would have been without the spinback. Note: for this to sound good you’ll need to stop the platter from spinning on one of the beats so that the track continues playing back in time.

It’s important to note that slip mode isn’t available on every CDJ. Learn more about each CDJs features and which CDJ is best for you.

6. Slip Loop Recall

Slip can also be used with the “Reloop” function to jump back to earlier sections from a track. For this to work you’ll need to ensure that Quantize is enabled on the CDJs. First you’ll need to place a cue at the section you’d like to go back to. Once the track has been marked DJs can hit the “Reloop” button to jump back to that section and when Reloop is toggled again it will jump back to where the track would have continued playing. DJs can also use the “Call”  buttons on the CDJs to expand the loop or phrase of the track. This is a little tricky to understand so check out a demo at the 4:03 mark in the video.

About our teachers, who will be back in a few weeks with part 2 and more fun techniques. 

Ravine an Australian Youtuber and DJ with over 280,000 subscribers. Active since 2006, he’s led the forefront of DJs sharing their talents on Youtube and around the globe. His channel consists of DJ mixes, reviews and tutorials, all compressed by his off camber humour and demeanour. Stay up to date with Ravine on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, and Instagram.

In early 2002 Cotts became addicted to the sounds of what we now know as UK Hardcore. Hooked on driving beats, euphoric melodies and a genre which re-invents its sound every few years what’s not to love? Stay up to date with Cotts on, Facebook, YouTube, and Soundcloud.

Got some cool CDJ tips and tricks?

Share them in the comments below!

CDJ firmwareCDJ scratchingCDJ secretsCDJ tipsCDJ trickscottsDJ Ravinepioneer cdjpioneer DJslip modeslip turntable brake
Comments (35)
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  • EMK_TheBrand

    Awesome Video! IDK why but i liked the why they showed off with the CDJs

  • brassprophet

    Amazing stuff. DJ Ravine was one of the first DJs that I ever listened to…very talented.

  • Dan McPherson

    Does the slip break work on the original 900’s?

  • Camo HiddenDj

    Eh… I’d rather get some turntablist tips from Ravine than CDJ crap everyone playing on CDJs should already know

    Ravines killer Turntablist HHC routines are what inspired me to start DJing

    • ?MU?SH?OO?SHI™ ?????

      I don’t see how additional tips *hurt* anyone, its not like it takes away from the non-CDJ focused articles here.

  • Mike Czech

    Thanks for sharing the info here. I like picking up new techniques from DJs who play different styles and on different equipment than I normally do.

  • Ziv Gruber

    To anyone and everyone. DO NOT upgrade to firmware 4.20

  • Nik Howard

    One that didn’t make the he cut, love it

  • Tony Mitchell

    As nice as these units are, separate DJ players do not provide the most efficient work flow.

  • Steve brown

    Slip mode and use the reverse toggle like a fader, neat scratch trick for cdjs

  • jprime

    DJ Who and who…? :S

    • David Wujcik

      They kinda run the happy hardcore scene in Australia…

    • brassprophet

      You don’t know much, I reckon. CDJs…have you seen them before? Pioneer makes them.

      So much salt.

      • jprime

        The f*&k does that have to do with some DJ’s I’ve never heard of? Context bro! Context!

  • Ezmyrelda

    Amazing.. I’ve never seen a video that made me only interested in using the CDJs in HID mode. QUITE a feat.

  • andrewg798

    DJTechtools…fantastic to see these two lads on this site, their videos are always very informative and entertaining! 🙂

  • Guest

    now 2015 !
    this from 2009 6 years ago

    • QAMRONparq

      I think I like this one more.

  • Dee Jay Park

    OMG! Despite being an hip hop DJ, Ravine and Cotts were some of the first things I saw that made me turn to DJing. It’s great to see them here!

    • Chaser720

      I wasn’t going to be the first to say it but me too. haha

      Love me some Happy Hardcore. lol

  • Danni

    Why the heck would anyone want “tricks and tips” from Ravine & Cotts. They can’t DJ.

    DJ Tech Tools this is a new low. Stick with Ean Golden, he knows what his talking about.

    • 1nfinitezer0

      Take what is good from it and move on then. Artists steal, do it better. Whyfor the attitude?

    • Andrew

      Lol. Why do you say they can’t DJ… there are many different kinds of DJing out there. Not everyone has to DJ according to your style.

    • eugene

      Watching Ean do reviews, tips, tricks is like watching a host on the cooking channel. He is very calm, composed, informative and slightly more robotic/methodical in his approach. Like a chef carefully making sure all the spices are applied, almost scientifically. I have to say watching these two guys (Ravine/Cotts) was refreshing. A lot of pent up DJ energy being dispersed. The tips themselves were nothing out of the ordinary and are somewhat unnecessary, & non-functional in most settings. But either way, I love watching anything DJTT puts out!