Three CDJ2000 features I couldn't live without

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The three features on a CDJ2000 I couldn’t live without by SOS DJ Course tutor Katie Drover

1 – Tagging

What it is

A feature that allows you to tag up to 100 tracks or playlists on the fly. The tracks/playlists you tag are added to a separate playlist that you can access anytime throughout your set.

How to do it

When you are scrolling through your music and you find something you want to tag, you hit the little round ‘TAG TRACK/REMOVE’ button on the right hand side of the display (next to the ‘BACK’ button.

When you do this you will notice a little tick appear to the left of the track (where the musical note usually sits) to indicate you have tagged it.

Whatever you tag will be added (in order of when you tag it) to the TAG LIST, which you can access at any time by hitting the green TAG LIST button… makes sense, right?

To remove a tag just hit the ‘TAG TRACK/REMOVE’ button a second time and hey presto, it disappears!

Why I can’t live without it

I use this feature as my emergency playlist. As I scroll through my music, quite often I will come across something I know I’ll want to play later, or something I know will work no matter when I play it… This is when I use the little magic button.

This handy little feature has saved me from countless DJ fails. Mostly when I’ve completely lost track of time and have 18 seconds to figure out what to play next. If you combine this with looping you can weasel your way out of tight situations like this every time.

It’s also a great way to remind yourself of things you might have overlooked earlier – if I am struggling to find something I want to play I will consult my Tag List and 9 times out of 10 there is a track in there I can use (or at least something that sparks inspiration). All hail the TAG.

2 – Looping

What it is

Using your CDJ to select ¼ beat to 16 beat loops of a track which will repeat itself over and over till you stop it. Surely you get the concept, but did you know how easy it is to do on the fly (especially on the CDJ2000NEXUS but also on most machines)?

How to do it

The hard way – using the two round orange buttons to manually select the start and finish of the loop. The complexity with this method is that you have to be very precise (or crazy quick to edit mistakes) if doing it mid-set.

Theoretically, it is as easy as hitting the IN/-4BEAT (or IN/CUE) button when you want it to start the loop and the OUT button when you want to end it. The loop will continuously loop between these two points until you hit the RELOOP/EXIT button will exit the loop at the OUT point and plays the track as normal.

If your loop is not quite right you can adjust the start and end points by hitting the relevant IN/-4BEAT or OUT button a second time and using the jog wheel adjust the start or finish of the loop backwards or forwards as needed. This is all very fiddly when trying to do it live if you haven’t had much practice!

The easy way – On some older generation machines it was as simple as hitting the AUTO BEAT LOOP buttons on the left hand side of the display (under the USB slot). For some reason Pioneer removed this functionality in its CDJ 1000s (boo) but brought it back with a vengeance in the newer models (thank the lord!).

So now you need to hit the LOOP MODE button (under the orange guys) which will bring up all the loop bar choices on the screen. To select the loop you want, simply use the needle search pad (shown below) as a button underneath the relevant bar choice. Hit the pad when you want the loop to begin and it will repeat until you hit the RELOOP/EXIT button.

Handy hint: If you want to remove the loop choices from the screen (because they sit where the wav form usually displays) you just need to hit the LOOP MODE button again and it will show the waveform as normal. You can even do this while the loop is running and it won’t affect the looping.

Why I can’t live without it

Looping is an incredibly powerful and simple way to re edit tracks as you are playing them. I use the longer loops (4,8 or 16 beats) to add time to intros or outros or to lengthen sections of breakdowns, and the shorter loops to add little flourishes to tracks or to adjust how a mix is sitting if I have missed a cue point. It is also a brilliant way to get out of a track ending before you want it to.

3 – NEEDLE SEARCH

What it is

In the latest generation of CDJs (I think since the 2000 mk3s) the touch pad (under the display) was introduced. You use it to drag the ‘needle’ to any point of the track using your finger. A feature I was very late to discover but now one that I use at least 10 times every time I play.

How to do it

Press play

Press play again (which is actually pause)

Use your finger and drag it across the track pad to where you want the track to start playing – you will notice the little ‘needle’ scroll along the wavform as your finger does.

Press play again (this time it is play)

Sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge you don’t have to press fast forward and rewind until you reach your desired location!

You’re welcome.

Why I can’t live without it

Because sometimes I have completely forgotten what happens in a breakdown, or how the drop sounds, and don’t want to be caught in the middle of an epic rave-a-thon when I am playing to dinner patrons at 7pm. I use my trusty needle search function and within milliseconds I can reassure myself that I will not be ruining people’s dinner. Its uses are practically endless but essentially it is the fast way to search through tracks without using fast forward and rewind.

 

Comments

Spindler says:

NIce to see a different perspective on the CDJ's.