Updating a DJ industry standard is risky – we see if Pioneer has improved a classic in our CDJ 2000 Nexus review
There are some brands and products that become such a de-facto standard in their field that their names become interchangeable with every other product of its kind. Hoover and Tannoy are just such brands, and in the DJ world, the CDJ has become the name used by many for all CD-based DJ media players.
The flagship CDJ 2000 has been the industry standard since it launched, but now the new Nexus iteration promises even more. The name suggests fine-tuning and an update rather than a complete overhaul, but how much difference does this update make?
We find out in our CDJ 2000 Nexus Review.
DJ from wide-ranging media, and even wirelessly…
The Pioneer CDJ 2000 Nexus is based on much of the same technology and design as its predecessor. So, it has the same interface, footprint size, jog wheels, excellent display and superb digital to audio conversion. If you’re familiar with the 2000, you shouldn’t have any problems here.
One of the great strengths of the original CDJ 2000 was its versatility. With USB sockets, it could stream audio from USB storage devices in all major file formats, and do the same via CD or SD card, too. It could even be used as a controller for DJ software.
Remarkably, the CDJ 2000 Nexus adds to this functionality. Like other new additions to the Pioneer range, the CDJ 2000 Nexus now has wireless features. However, unlike previous XDJ models, you’ll need to hook up the CDJ to a wireless router with a cable. Once this is done, however, you can enjoy all of the benefits of Pioneer’s Rekordbox software and apps.
If you haven’t come across this before, Rekordbox is a free software package that allows the user to catalogue and edit their music library, setting tempos, cue points, loops and more, before loading it up to your player of choice.
With the launch of its wireless products, Pioneer revealed iOS and Android versions of Rekordbox, which enabled editing to be done on a Smartphone or Tablet, and steamed wirelessly to the DJ rig. Now (via a router) you can do this on the CDJ 2000 Nexus.
Some Rekordbox functionality has now been integrated into the CDJ, too. Waveforms can be zoomed in on, and the beat grid edited- very nice indeed. In addition, there is a whole heap more visible information, too (key, beat countdown etc).
Add to this the Pro DJ link (which allows up to four compatible CDJs and two laptops to be hooked up together via LAN cables, to share libraries) and you have a player that is prepared for just about any situation.
Technological progression can sometimes make people a bit suspicious- particularly when it does something automatically that previously took a certain amount of skill. The new quantize features here fall into this category.
Now, cue and loop points can be snapped automatically to beatgrid. A beat sync mode allows tempos to be locked to a master across four connected players.
Of course, the naysayers are claiming these make things ‘too easy’. Well, if you don’t like, don’t use it. It does free you to focus of track selection and building your set, however.
The new ‘slip’ mode is also a welcome tempo related touch. This allows the DJ to scratch, and move the jog-wheel whilst the play head continues to progress as normal. When the DJ stops manipulating the jog-wheel, and takes his hand off it, the CDJ jumps to the play head. This makes it really easy to add scratch effects without knocking the track out of timing.
It could be argued that Pioneer really didn’t need to update the CDJ 2000. It was still the first choice of player for pros.
By adding wireless Rekordbox technology, quantize and sync options, and adding further tweaks such as slip mode, and personalisation settings (you can save personal CDJ 2000 Nexus settings to the Rekordbox app, making it possible to upload your preferences to a club or venue’s rig before playing), it has created a unit that is a true alternative to a computer based system.
If you do wish to use a computer, it’s also a great controller, too. The new sync and quantize options (however unwelcome they may be in some quarters) are features available in modern software, as is slip mode.
The wireless functionality, combined with Pro DJ link and controller functionality, makes this one of the most versatile DJing platforms available. A superb interface, and premium sound quality will surely cement the CDJ 2000 Nexus’s position as the new industry standard.
Joe is a contributor for the Dawsons Music blog. Specialising in product reviews and crafting content to help and inspire musicians of all musical backgrounds.