Hi there, please note this post is comprised of two sections. First bit is quite waffley and has some observations / notes on experience of trying to use rekordbox and giving up a couple of years ago and why. The second section, after the asterisks****** has a specific question about how to best proceed. So if you don't want another "is the rekordbox concept workable?" debate, you may want to just skip to the asterisks!
I have been DJ'ing with vinyl for years and I thought it'd be good to pull myself into the 90s and try cds! ;p
Naturally people don't like change but I am / was quite enthusiastic. I bought one CDJ900 in 2010, installed Rekordbox and started analysing all my tunes (vinyl recorded into the PC as WAVs through a good RME sound card). One of the first things I wanted to do was set cue points on my tunes so I could bung in a CD / USB stick and not have to search about for the first beat of a track. Being so used to vinyl this was one of the attractive features of a CDJ900, I was quite apprehensive about finding beats without that visual benefit of vinyl. First off, I found Rekordbox quite annoying to set cue points. I am a producer too so constantly use dedicated wave editing software (e.g. Wavelab / Soundforge) and found it cumbersome to get to the zero point crossing on the first beat.
But I persevered and set about 100 first beat cue points which was quite an arduous process and got bored pretty quick. But armed with these, I could now do some 1 x CDJ and 1 x Technics vinyl mixing, or even some 1 x CDJ and 2 x Technics vinyl mixing <eek!>.
But every club I turned up at in 2010 was still rocking CDJ 1000s. My mates who had soundsystems were still rocking CDJ400s! When you're doing a street / warehouse party you feel a bit apprehensive about bringing something as expensive as a CDJ900 or 2000. So it put me off persevering at home... what I was doing at home - i.e. buying into the Rekordbox dream - was different to what was going on "out there".
Guiltily, I put the dust cover on the CDJ900 and it's only ever really been used as a CD player :(
BUT NOW THIS MUST CHANGE.
I went out last night and was at a club where you could stand behind the DJ booth. Not one person played vinyl. The club had CDJ2000s and I thought, "right, time to get back into CDJing".
Watching them mix though, I made 2 very important observations:
No one used USB sticks / link / laptop as an audio source; all the DJs (and I am talking BIG in the DnB scene, i.e. Doc Scott and Fabio) were using burnt CDs. But not just those two, all DJs who played.
They put the CD in, dialled in the appropriate track number and the little red line to indicate a cue point was immediately there (like this pic http://adionsoft.net/userfiles/images/cdj-2000-4_392_500.jpg), they tapped the cue button and started beat matching instantly. This night was not a battering DnB night, it's called "Innersoul" and they play some quite atmospheric / liquidy stuff. Why do I point this out? A lot of those tracks would have start with atmospheric intros, the deck cannot have been picking up a cue point at the beginning of the tune each time or each tune would have had to start with a kick drum, which they didn't.... and as I say the little cue line that comes on in the centre of the jog wheel was there.
So this tells me:
A. Using the CDJ900 / 2000 without recordbox being involved is faffing is perfectly possible? I say this because, as I understand it, you can't burn CDs with cue point data?. Hence rekordbox was not used before or during the set(?)
B. You can somehow have a cd collection and pre-saved cue point data?
After some googling about on the nightbus home, I reckon that these guys might have played the track at home on a CDJ and saved the cue point data to SD card? I don't know whether they did or not, I didn't know to look out for them slipping a card in at the beginning of their sets last night. But it sounds like this is the best way for me to proceed (although I'd need to save to cue point data to USB so I could do this with my CDJ900)?
Rekordbox - no need? Just save cue points to a USB stick and a SD card and turn up at the next club armed with CDs, SDs and USBs (SDs and USBs loaded with cue points, not audio). If they have CDJ1000s / 2000s I'll pop in my SD cards, if they have CDJ900s I'll use the USBs to get the cue points.
Does this sound like a plan? Setting and saving cue points is the one big obstacle I have to using CDJs whether it be before a gig having to use rekordbox (or DO I?!) or during a gig by having to search through a track manually and set the cue point each time. So if I can get this sorted then great.