The new CDJ-2000NXS2 media players are set to hit stores late February, but as with any new generation of product that comes out, it creates an influx of used gear on the market. Today we share our tips on buying used CDJs, what to look out for, what to test, and how to make sure you’re getting a good price. Read on to get the lowdown on secondhand CDJ purchases!
Deciding Which Used CDJ Model To Buy
For the sake of this article, we’re only going to compare the models that we’ve seen an influx of on used gear marketplaces: recent CDJ units that have an LCD display screen. There are tons of older, great models of Pioneer CDJs to pick up if you want a set, but for brevity we’re focusing only on a few selected models in this comparison – and specifically ignoring models like the CDJ-900, 350, and 850.
Why? Because most digital DJs will want to advantage of a lot of the features that you would expect to have an a DJ setup, like:
- USB slots with MP3/WAV support
- ProLink ethernet between players so you can load songs from any player
- LCD for waveform, track browsing, and cue point display
- HID/MIDI control
Like most used gear purchases, the most important first filter is price. Here’s what you can expect to spend for a working-but-used unit of each model based on the average sold prices on eBay for the past few weeks – (as of February, 2016):
- CDJ-900NXS: ~$830.72 (still available new for $1397)
- CDJ-2000: ~$936.64 (this model doesn’t have a detailed waveform view)
- CDJ-2000NXS: ~$1,329.15 (just discontinued)
- XDJ-1000: ~$779.99 (available new for $997)
- CDJ-2000NXS2: $2,199 (soon to be released, reserve one here)
What To Look For In A Used CDJ Ad/Listing
As we’ve seen an upswing in used units on eBay and Craigslist, it’s worth noting that not every listing for a used CDJ is made equal. Some postings have indications of how likely it is the gear is in good condition, and a few things that you can look for:
- Real Photos: If the gear being sold is used and there’s just photos of the box, or generic Pioneer photos, be cautious. It’s one thing if it’s an Authorized Retailer selling it, but for private sellers, look for real photos in the ad.
- Turned On: Often times pawn shops and other sellers who don’t know anything about DJ gear will just take a photo of the player without turning it on. If they didn’t turn it on for photos, there’s a chance they might not really know if the gear is functional or not. Try messaging the seller and asking for a video of it in use!
- Appearance: Obviously every used unit will have some level of cosmetic wear. Is the seller upfront about this (notes where scratches or blemishes are)? Or is it just “like new” even though the photos say otherwise?
- Cases + Manuals = Gear History: It’s hard to tell if any seller is telling the truth about the gear’s history, so instead look for secondary evidence. Are there cases included or in the photos? Good, that means the seller cared about protecting the gear! Is the seller including manuals and the original box? Also good, this means that the seller is more meticulous, and potentially more careful with their DJ gear.
Before You Buy It: Things To Check + Test On Used CDJs
Once you get your hands on a unit, and before you exchange money for it, there’s a quick checklist of things to test on the unit. If it’s an eBay / shipped purchase, this will be after you buy, but you should still check these right away and return the unit if it isn’t as described.
- USB port: bring a computer and USB cable with you to test and make sure the CDJ is detected
- CD slot: Bring a CD! This is the only major moving part on a CDJ and as such is one of the most common things to die.
- Playback + Jogwheel: Play a few tracks and spin the jogwheel forward and backward. Does it move oddly or are there any weird unexpected noises? Not a good sign. Move the jogwheel back and forth quickly and make sure it has the expected tight response.
- Press every button (especially play/cue as they are the most used) to make sure they all respond as expected. If they take a harder press to get a response, this is a sign of wear. Make sure you do this with audio outputting as well, as sometimes the buttons might feel fine but the switch underneath is worn out.
- Listen to the sound of the jogwheel: Oftentimes jogwheels slowly start to get worn out when dirt gets inside the rotating mechanism. Listen to what the jogwheel itself sounds like when you spin back – does it sound gritty or smooth? Any odd noises?
- Smell the CDJ: This one is weird, but oftentimes DJ gear is in a place where people smoke cigarettes. That smell won’t go away easily – so if it isn’t advertised as smelling like smoke, bring it up. You also might smell beer or other liquids spilled on the gear, another sign to only buy with extreme caution.
Have used DJ gear that you want to sell?
Read our guide on getting more money for used DJ gear!
Hanpin’s USB/CD players/controllers (under the Sync, Voxoa, Audiophony, Citronic, American Audio, Akiyama, Stanton Magnetics, DJ Tech, Omnitronic, and Reloop brandings): about $200 bucks used per transport; does most of the same basic stuff minus the visual aids and automation copied from laptop DJs, can play MP3 and Wavs, minimum, and you can link an unlimited number together (regardless of branding) with USB cables to share drives without the need for a router. If you see people playing with them, they probably have to be mixing by ear. The ones that have secondary USB drive ports can also accept a USB link from another unit, though they can’t pass the signal to another unit through the secondary port. Some of the units have SD card slots instead of a secondary USB drive port, which works even when the USB drive port is linking. You can also get new or B-stock Gemini MDJ1000 and the Denon SC2900 for a little more than double the Hanpins, and these allow carefree drive sharing through a router.
I am the owner of a backline rental and management company. Ive been running dj gear and artist transitions for the past 10 years with every major tour artist on the planet. You name the DJ, i’ve provided gear and managed the DJ booth for their performance. I work almost exclusively with Pioneer gear and for the past 4 years… the nexus models.
Ive bought 10 of my 20 CDJ20000 Nexus units on the used market.
100% without question – the #1 thing that breaks on Pioneer CDJs is the Ethernet/LAN port on the back. This is not even up for debate. I can’t believe you guys didn’t put it on your list in the article. Most of my 20 units have had the LAN port replaced.
The next most common thing to to break is the play button … from idiot DJs banging on the play button like its a drum pad. Then the USB port … and that typically only breaks on the DJM900 cause the ‘Not-so-smart’ design engineers at pioneer put the port on the top of the mixer (where it gets smacked all the time) instead of putting it in the back like the DJM2000.
Beyond that … unless the unit went to burning man… everything else in your article is barely relevant.
LAN Port / Play Button / USB Port
okay big guy!
I come across plenty of those twits banging the cue and/or play button rapidly both when trying to desperately beatmatch and when finally dropping it on the downbeat. It’s pretty hilarious to watch, and a bit mortifying when it’s your gear their mishandling. They are always the ones who also bitch about needing moving waveforms and accurate BPM counters.
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I recently took a chance and ordered some 2000s from a guy on eBay. Aside from a few scratches, they work perfectly. The firmware hadn’t been updated in a while but that was easy to fix. If you are on the fence about purchasing a set of these- just DO IT. They are so damn fun I feel inspired to mix for hours on end again. My only complaint is that the build quality could be better- the jog wheels aren’t exactly silky smooth (not a big deal for me) so if that bothers you get the Nexus ones.
Give the rca a little wiggle make sure they don’t cut in and out, happens all the time at the clubs I work for.
Dont buy em! Get a pair of used Technics 1200 insted.
To be fair due to tonearms, pitch fader PCBs, ground and RCA leads I see more of the inside of a technics turntable than the inside of a CDJ. They last forever, but still need maintenance too.
GREAT response. This is the main reason why I switched from turntables to cdjs in the recent years. Can’t afford the maintenance
Why not own a set of each? Please don’t start this vinyl vs. digital argument again because it’s clear that both can co-exist seamlessly in the DJ world. I love my Technics but just added some used CDJ 2000s to my home booth and I couldn’t be happier.
When I buy used gear I hit up my local PA shop. They run the hardware through it’s paces and do any repairs it needs before it goes out the door. They also throw in a 3 month shop warranty with the option to extend for a year after that.
If I’m gonna be spending 2-3k on CDJ players I’d rather just buy brand new ones with a good warranty, that’s just my opinion, other then that awesome read and thank you!
Also if you’re in the bay area..make sure there aren’t any traces of playa dust from it going to burning man.
I took a pair of XDJs to the burn last year and it was incredibly easy to clean out the dust – but the cue and play buttons had died. Thankfully they’re just tac switches underneath, really easy and cheap to replace with a bit of soldering.
Dont forget to test Vinyl Mode while pitch bending with the outer part of the jog wheel. Some wrecked CDJ2000 backspin when pitch bending on Vinyl Mode. A common problem, watch out for it.
Anyone looking at the original 2000s should be sure to test the Ethernet port. They were a common point of failure on that model (and subsequently beefed up on later models).
Good to note, thanks Chris!
Another thing to check is the Light/Heavy platter jog adjust knob. Half the CDJ’s I play on at clubs, the platters are wrecked and the weight knob is next to useless.
Lots of places where the tension adjust knob has just broken off too.