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6 out of 6 DJs last night used CDJ2000s as if they were CDJ1000s - why? No they aren't boring!

The beginning of this thread is reproduced where I had a technical question about setting and saving cue points for gigs without Rekordbox, please do have a look at it:

http://forums.pioneerdj.com/entries/30288717-Using-CDJ900-without-rekordbox-using-CDs-AND-having-cue-point-data-saved-before-performance

After the asterisks below there's new text, the point of the thread (linked above) changes here from a technical question about setting cue points to a question about Rekordbox and it not being used by any DJs who were playing at the club I went to last night.

 

 

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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 really, these DJs were just using the CDJ2000 as if they were using a CDJ1000.  You could say "well, these are boring people who should look to get more out of a CDJ, it's got so many good tools (loop, slip, rev etc etc)".  

My response to that is that these guys are absolute DnB legends (Doc Scott and Fabio for example), so you cannot say that they are boring!  The tunes they were playing were all new dubs, fresh and exciting.  As for the looping tools etc, I personally don't think they lend themselves well to drum and bass... I think for house, tech-house, 4/4 techno and other 4/4 stuff it's good... that's just my personal opinion but it seems to be shared by other DnB heads?  I have never been to a club and heard any dj glitching well known tunes whilst playing with a filter to make an exciting new drop... DnB is filled with these already!  (This said, I did see this eariler:   http://forums.pioneerdj.com/entries/29579838-On-the-900-Nexus-How-to-use-Hot-Cues-  where this youtube link shows what can be done with DnB and looping / splicing:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-t4M6mbWoo  So now I will revise my opinion:  I think that in 99% of times DnB + looping and splicing sounds rubbish.  You have to be a genius to use these features with DnB and get them sounding good - just an opinion!)

Maybe it's just a DnB thing but in the last years, since 2009 when the 900s and 2000s have been about, I have never seen a DnB DJ use all the bells and whistles or even use a USB stick, they **all** use CDs as sound source (with the exception of a very, very small minority that use Serator / Traktor).

So why is this?  Again, is it just a DnB thing?  Are people rocking 4 CDJs all linked up, splicing and looping in other genres and DnB heads are just a bit b4ckw4rd$?!  

My personal opinion is that people don't really trust memory / flash sticks as much as they do a cd - (I have no idea why).  And I know about having multiple sources of audio as backup but that's not the point here.  Why is it that (at least in DnB?) DJs are still preferring to use CDs with their 900s and 2000s?

 

Why do you reckon?  Or am I mistaken?

thisiscake

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I think part of the problem is they're stuck in their ways and just don't care. They either still use CDs or use whatever software to manage their music on USB drives but can't be bothered to learn / use rekordbox. It could simply be nobody has ever shown them the advantages of the waveforms, quantization or other features, of they have and prefer what they're doing now.

Pulse 0 votes
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Thanks, Pulse.

How about my question #2 above?  How come these guys were playing tracks with long atmospheric intros but didn't spend time cueing up tracks, all loaded in were straight on the first beat, no messing, no USB sticks.  

Is it possible to burn CDs with the cue points set there so that CDJs can pick them up?  If not, what's your theory / answer to point #2 above please?

 

Thanks!

 

thisiscake 0 votes
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I go to allot of soulful and deep house parties and many of the DJs, some well respected ones in the Soulful house community use the exact same methods above. I only see a few use Traktor or Serato. But most clubs and such have 2000 Nexus' but they opt to use burnt CDs. And yes they can kill it with that method too and I have tried this method, I got 2 used CDJ 1000s to practice on I have found that software and controllers are much easier so I am going that route. Not only that to get the skills needed takes years and if I did that I may be well into my 60's. I can beat match but holding them for a nice blend is the problem and I am more of a visual person so seeing waveforms would be to my advantage. 

Noor Daniel 0 votes
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"use the exact same methods above"

 

Do you mean:

  • have hit points saved on SD cards

  • have burnt cds with hit points

  • ...or..?

thisiscake 0 votes
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CDs can not be burned with cuepoints already there.

Like I said, sounds more like lazy / uneducated DJs.

Pulse 0 votes
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But they were just sticking CDs in and they were on the first beat without cueing? All tunes, bam, on the first beat.  I don't get how they did this?  They weren't swapping SD cards around that I noticed.  So how did they just stick the cd in, get the right track and hit "play"?!

thisiscake 0 votes
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If you had your CD burned so the first beat was at the start of the track, the auto-cue sensing of the player would put the cue there... so yeah, you could, without having an SD card with CD memory points on it.

Pulse 0 votes
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That's an idea.  I guess it's just 2 mins work saving a cropped version of a tune you have digitally - you can even keep the original on the CD too in case you want to rewind.  It looked sooo convenient.  Track selected, bang!  No faffing looking for a cue.

 

They're probably sticking them through Traktor and bending them all into the same BPM at the same time too, the cheeky .... !

thisiscake 0 votes
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@thisiscake...as pulse mentioned, all of the Pioneer CDJs can be configured to auto-detect what they perceive to be the first beat in the song.  I used the CDJ 1000 mk3 in this manner for years.  Recently, however, I purchased the CDJ 2000's specifically because of all the features available.  It took me a while to figure out my process, but I think it's been well worth it.

I think that now, you have to spend a lot more time up front analyzing your tracks, setting loops and cues, which may turn some guys off.  The massive payoff, however, is in the results.  Taking the time to set cues, loops, and hot-cues has totally changed the way that I play.

That being said, like you, I am blown away by the number of guys that I know who play regularly on CDJ 2000s and in some cases even own them, but don't use any of the new features.  I'm not sure why this is.  I think it could be a number of factors:

  • Unfamiliarity with technology/computers.  I work in IT, so this stuff is second nature to me.  I realize that a lot of people are very uncomfortable with computers.  This may account for some peoples reluctance to fully embrace rekordbox.
  • Fear of change.  Sometimes, when guys have a thing that works for them (like the experienced DJs you describe above), they don't want to mess with that formula.  They're going to stick with what got them there.  I see guys on the Pioneer DJ sounds show playing like this and find it interesting.
  • Lack of imagination.  These people can't think outside of the normal "mix one record in at the end of the other track" mentality.  To them, that is all that DJing is about.

I love all the new gear.  I fully embrace it, and it has changed the way I play.  At the moment I only play with two CDJ's, however, now that I am fully comfortable with the platform I am considering throwing a third player into the mix to take things to the next level.

James Eaton 0 votes
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Sometimes certain features just aren't intuitive enough and without enough practice using certain features can have mixed results especially in the digital world. Analog controllers IE something I can manually manipulate with my hand even if it's technically DVS is much more predictable and much more intuitive in it's use. They are doing what comes more natural to them because they have honed those particular skills over time. New skills like jumping from cue point to cue point drumming with cue points, looping and sampling will come with practice and most likely they will slowly start integrating these skills as they start to feel more comfortable with them. Personally I used to use instrumental tracks but now just loop intro if I want to bring in an instrumental type mix over another track without actually using the instrumental itself or loop a certain part on the way out of a mix beat roll etc... It was harder with just the controls being on the laptop, now that there are dicers and pads on mixers like The DJM-S9 or controllers etc it's much easier to do. So these guys might just spend so much time at gigs they haven;t had time to practice newer tech on their own even if they own it. Sometimes they are just burnt out from touring and since they don;t open up for others don't have the time to practice a few tricks while playing the clubs or parties etc.

Emir Mixtapes Santana 0 votes
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