Hacking A CDJ-1000MK1 To Work As A MIDI Controller in Traktor Scratch

We’ve been talking again with Lee Smith, a DJ gear technician who was featured last year on DJTT when he converted CDJ-800s to work with Traktor. He’s back with a new project, this time using the Pioneer CDJ-1000 (released in 2001) as a MIDI controller. Get a first look at the project in today’s article.

CDJ-1000 To Traktor MIDI

In the above video, Lee walks through the basic first iteration of his Pioneer DJ CDJ-1000MK1 MIDI conversion – and demonstrates it working inside of Traktor. He writes:

I finished making the dev board and programmed the Teensy 3.6 with my midi software. it’s all working in traktor and is super easy to setup by pressing a button and using the learn function in traktor.

Right now in the current iteration of the mod, Lee has the following controls mapped:

  • Track Search buttons = previous + next tracks in Traktor playlist
  • Jog Mode button = load track
  • Cue / Play = their normal functions in Traktor
  • Hot Cues = programmed by CDJ (or via other connected midi device – and it passes out to the CDJ, and vice versa)
  • Loop In / Loop Out = works normally as expected
  • Reloop/Exit = loop on/loop off
  • Wave Search/Zoom = loop move
  • Call buttons = change size of loop
  • Jog wheel = pitch bend or scratch mode (depending on if pressure is applied
  • Pitch Fader = sending 14-bit MIDI to get full, smooth pitch range

The board used is a Teensy 3.6 – which has many more inputs and outputs to directly attach more buttons directly to the board. This is an advancement over the CDJ-800 mod, which took a lot more indirect work.

When asked on Reddit about how much time and money the project cost, he shared:

As this was a development process I used a lot more parts that if I was to make another. The most expensive part is the teensy 3.6. I paid £30 in the uk. then some vero board, a load of coloured wire and some molex connectors so about £15 on top of that. The hardest part on this was some of the leds used 12v and I had to use mosfets to control the 12v on the cue and play leds, but these are only £2 each. I think I spent 2-3 hours a day over a week to get it to this point, but the cue and play leds was a lot of that time.

On To The Next Old CDJ

At the end of his video description, Lee mentions that this video is just one more in a series – the next one will be converting the CDJ-1000MK3. Stay tuned for more updates, and be sure to give Lee a shout in the comments if you have feedback or project ideas.

cdj-1000CDJ-1000MK1lee smithmidi controllerTraktor Tips
Comments (20)
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  • D3RKIN

    If you could get rid of the CD drive and give it a USB drive you might have something, but unless the hardware was made for the software it will be not as tight of integration as native hardware.

  • Xerox84

    I would to love retrofit a usb into this. Keep up the amazing work!

  • thebigblaa

    Well done. I have a suggestion. Instead of using 14 bits for the pitch control, apply it to the scratch function which will make it more accurate for scratching

    • DJ legion

      traktor does not work like that, you can send a command that says I am moving the jog wheel forward or backwards with a speed value of 1-63. I also have no way of tracking the jog with anyway to know it’s actual position. The encoders on the cdj just have a single encoder wheel so nothing that can feed back it’s actual position. The encoder routines in arduino do give me a value, but I can see that if I move the wheel really fast it misses a few pulses and I cant track the number from the encoder back to a start position.

  • Noname

    I used a CDJ-1000mk3 with timecode CDs for Traktor timecode. Was really nice and cheap. I don’t see the point of paying a fortune for a CD/media player like the 2000 nexus or XDJs… I prefer the turntables 😀

    • DJ legion

      I also use mk3 with timecode in traktor when I dj, but this is using dead or beyond repair units and giving them a 2nd life.

    • Ezmyrelda Andrade

      I think adding midi control to old devices is amazing and educational.. If it helps others keep hardware out of the landfill that is a service to us all.

  • Max Nizamov

    This is very useful development! Did you put it on kickstarter or elsewhere – I’m greatly interested in this upgrade for CDJ1000-MK3s

    • DJ legion

      I do have long term plans that involve making a small kit you could buy, but I don’t know if this is an upgrade, I only do these mods on cdj that no longer work and the mods would stop a good one from working.

      • Rob Harris

        Well if you ever want to make a mod on cdj 1000 mk1 and make some money of it I might be interested in buying a pair.very good mod by the way.

        • DJ legion

          the only thing stopping me is my lack of experience with custom PCB build and design.