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This article is about the CD playing device. For the automotive manufacturer, see Chrysler. For CDJ where DJs play CDs instead of vinyl, see DJ.

A CDJ is a specialized digital music player for DJing. Originally designed to play music from compact discs, many CDJs can play digital music files stored on USB flash drives or SD cards. Unlike consumer CD players, CDJs use high quality digital-to-analog converters. In typical use, at least two CDJs are plugged into a DJ mixer. Many CDJs have jog wheels and pitch faders that allow manipulation of the digital music file similar to a vinyl record on a DJ turntable. Some CDJs have additional features such as loops and beat analysis that are not possible with turntables. Some CDJs can also be used as DJ controllers to control the playback of digital files in DJ software running on a laptop instead of playing the files on the CDJ.

The most popular CDJs are made by Pioneer DJ. Gemini Sound Products, Numark Industries, and Denon also produce cheaper CDJs.

CDJs were the first practical way for DJs to use digital music files before DJ software developed and laptop computers became powerful and cheap enough to run DJ software. Now, DJ controllers together with software and a laptop can provide all the functionality of CDJs plus a DJ mixer much more cheaply. Nevertheless, CDJs remain popular in DJ booths at clubs, where they are provided by venues for DJs to use without transporting their own equipment.

Pioneer CDJs[edit]

The Pioneer CDJ-400, CDJ-800, CDJ-1000 (including the Mark 2 and Mark 3), CDJ-900, and the CDJ-2000 have vinyl mode and a virtual platter that allows the operator to manually manipulate music on a CD as if it were on a turntable, while other models (CDJ-100S, CDJ-200) do not feature vinyl and scratching capabilities, and are essentially CD players. While still having the options to manipulate the CD, they do not feature the vinyl modes of the other models.

The CDJ-1000 was the main model to find mass usage in both clubs and amongst domestic users, especially from the second version of the model, the CDJ-1000MK2.

One model, the CDJ-400, incorporates the main new feature of having a USB input and control abilities on the player. However it is not as functional as the CDJ-1000MK3, hence the number 400 being assigned to the machine.

More players including have adapted to use USB drive. Included are the CDJ-2000NXS, CDJ-2000NXS2, CDJ-2000, CDJ-900NXS, CDJ-900, CDJ-850, and the CDJ-350. This allowing the use of Pioneer's software "Rekordbox" to prepare music with cue points, accurate BPM, and extensive search/playlist functions.

The XDJ-1000 (2014) that was released does not have CD slots, but allows for near identical features as a majority of the CDJ features at a $999USD price point.

There have been other products in their line up that allow the same format of control including the XDJ series. The XDJ-R1 is designed as an all in one unit based on USB drives, but that still offers CD drives. The Newer XDJ-RX does not offer CD ports built in, but does allow the same layout of control that a majority of the CDJ series offers.

Additionally, Pioneer makes mixers such as the DJM series (including the DJM-250, DJM-350, DJM-700, DJM-750, DJM-850, DJM-900 Nexus, and the DJM-2000 Nexus) which have an increasing range of cueing facilities and effects that can be applied to any channel, often in association with the control wire plugged in between mixer and CDJ-type CD player, so that either can be controlled remotely by the other.


The CDJ-100S is a CDJ model that was released in the early 1999. The CDJ-100S is a basic CD player with a pitch controller and three sound effect options. It has been superseded by the Pioneer CDJ-200 since then. Critics of the unit claim that it is poorly made and that the controls loosen after limited use.

Although criticized, the CDJ-100S has been the entry level CD deck for many aspiring DJs.

The U.S. model of the CDJ-100S has a digital output which is absent on the European model.

Although CDJ-100s were meant for bedroom DJs, they paved the way for the introduction by Pioneer Corporation of their industry-standard, professional CD deck; the CDJ-1000.

The S in CDJ-100S stands for Silver.


The CDJ-200 is the discontinued budget model CDJ CD player released in 2004. It is similar in size to the CDJ-100S, however features such as MP3 playback capabilities and loop functions have been added or improved. Both the CDJ-100S and the CDJ-200 have similar options to manipulate the CD, however they lack the vinyl modes of other models.

A rough overview of the added features of the Pioneer CDJ-200:[1]

General Features


  • Pioneer standard controls (Play/Pause, Cue, Search L/R, Track Search L/R, jog wheel, and pitch control)
  • 3 effects (Jet, Wah, and Zip) controlled by the jog wheel
  • Loop In (Hot Loop), Loop Out (Out Adjust), and a Reloop/Exit.
  • Beat Loop (Loop Cutter)
  • Folder Search L/R


  • 1 Line of Text
  • Displays CD Text

Jog Wheel

  • 120mm (3.9 inch)
  • CDJ (non-vinyl, only pitch bend/frame search)


  • Audio CD and MP3 CD


  • Audio Out (Stereo RCA)
  • Digital Out
  • Control (1/8" connection)
  • Headphone (1/4" connection) with separate volume adjust
  • MP3 playback has been included
  • Improved sound quality of the effects
  • Separate folder browse buttons for easy navigation
  • Pitch scale: +/-6%, +/-10% and +/-16%. When +/-6% scale is set, the pitch resolution is 0.02%. When +/-10% or +/-16% is selected the pitch accuracy is 0.05%.
  • Three different effects: wah, jet and zip.


The CDJ-400 is a CDJ model that was released in the late 2007. It is similar in size to the CDJ-200, but comes with scratching abilities and effects, can be used as a MIDI controller, as well as being Pioneer's first model to have a USB input with easy access on the top of the player. This makes it possible to play MP3 music from a USB memory stick.

On the back of the CDJ-400 is another USB connector that can be used to connect the CDJ-400 to a computer. This will enable the MIDI control possibilities so the player can be used to control various types of DJ mix software. The CDJ-400 has a built in USB sound card.


The CDJ-500 (known as the Mark 1 once the second version was released) was the first CDJ CD player.

The first Pioneer player to have a Jog Dial, (although Technics were the first to feature a jog dial in 1986 with the SL-P1200), a quick-response dial making frame-by-frame search and cue point selection easy and accurate while providing a closer-to-vinyl turntable feel. Flat-top design made the controls easy to use, for DJs used to working with vinyl turntables. Quick start made the music play instantly, so you had accuracy for cueing. Safety guards around the power and eject buttons prevented accidental music cut-off, and the reader inside the CD tray had a protective slide which operated automatically when the CD door opened. Fader start play and back cue play, meant that when used in conjunction with the DJM-series of mixers you can start the music with a channel fader or cross fader, as well as use them to return to the cue point.

It had a loop function, as well as loop-out adjust, and other facilities associated with looping samples from the track being played. The pitch control was +/- 10% only, and Master Tempo (World's first) allowed the pitch to be locked despite tempo changes being made.

All models of the 500 had top-opening CD loading, which is opposite to all the later ranges of CDJs (starting with CDJ-100S in 1999) which have since had front slot-loading of discs.


The CDJ-500II, version Mark 2 of the CDJ-500 (as well as a very similar model, the CDJ-500II LIMITED), was similar in size to the first version CDJ-500. The CDJ-500II offered only a few options extra : slightly faster performance, Loop Out adjustable and the maximum loop length was increased to 10 minutes. The CDJ-500II limited was even further improved and offered a world first: Loop Out point could now be set in tracks following the track where the Loop In point was set.


(NB: This was known as the CDJ-700S in the US)

The CDJ-500S (launched 1997) was a much smaller version of the CD player—hence the letter "S" in its title - and is technically a step forward from the Mark 2 player, CDJ-500II(LTD). Pioneer learned in the field and improved the CDJ-500S on overall reliability, it was the world's first DJ CD player with an oil damped shock absorption system to reduce skipping.

The main reason for the size difference was to get it into clubs, where space was at a premium around the DJ booth area, the size of the S-type player was ideal for smaller location in booths. This was made possible by being the first machine in the CDJ range that had a ready-made installation bracket available for it to be placed above the vinyl turntables. Further to this, two machines were rack-mountable when placed side-by-side, provided the rack was to the standard 19" studio rack. Again, good for storage in places that had no extra flat table space.


The CDJ-800 (known as the Mark 1 once the second version was released) is a model of the CDJ CD player.

It is similar in design to the CDJ-1000, "slightly smaller than the 1000 and offering fewer options for pitch control and hot cues but with the same basic platter controls"[2] with different functionality, and comes in a silver "gun-metal" finish.[3]

The CDJ-800 is a vinyl turntable simulator that plays audio CDs. The CDJ-800 features two differing interaction modes:

  • Vinyl Mode - The platter behaves like vinyl and allows the user to manipulate the music like a vinyl record
  • CD Mode - Allows the user to speed up / slow down the music in slower increments

The CDJ-800 uses a different mechanism for the jog wheel than the 1000 - it can perform "quick return" if the top surface of the wheel is pressed, then released.[4] The general design purpose of the CDJ-800 was to offer DJ's the facilities they have in the club on CDJ-1000's at home for a lower price.[2] While the CDJ-1000 has a button to override the pitch slider, the CDJ-800 slider has a center detent, which is "easy to center."[5] The CDJ-800 does not have the CDJ-1000's "hot cue" feature, and has only "one cue, and one loop" at a time, though these can be saved for up to 500 CDs.[6] The CDJ-800 can alter loop "out-points" while playing, but can't alter in-points; loops must be re-captured.[7] Though the CDJ-1000 will relay (alternate CDs) in both vinyl and CDJ jog modes, the CDJ-800 will only relay in CDJ jog mode.[8] The CDJ-800 also has an "auto-beat" function that the 1000 does not.[9]

The CDJ-800 was introduced in November 2002 and discontinued in February 2006[3] in favor of the updated second-generation version, called CDJ-800-MK2. The main difference is that the CDJ-800-MK2 can play MP3 files from CDs. The design has also been changed.[why?]

Dan Morrell, ("DJ Smurf") wrote of liking the CDJ-800 due its excellent sound and low price.[10]


Replacing the CDJ-800MK2, the CDJ-850 offers some major enhancements over its predecessor. This deck is designed to feel and function like a CDJ-900 or CDJ-2000 and is rekordbox enabled, while maintaining an affordable price. As compared to the CDJ-900's tracking accuracy of 1ms, however, the CDJ-850 has accuracy of only 1 frame (13ms), which can make seamless looping impossible without constant adjustments.Also the CDJ-850 has USB functionality with RekordBox capability.[11]


The Pioneer CDJ-900 was announced[12] simultaneously with Pioneer CDJ-2000 on September 17, 2009. The player has been available since the end of December 2009.[12]

The CDJ900 was placed below the Pioneer CDJ-2000, but above the Pioneer CDJ-850 and the Pioneer CDJ-350. It includes features on the Pioneer CDJ-2000 including a tilted screen, Pro DJ Link, and Serato HID support. Features that set it apart from the Pioneer CDJ-850 include a larger screen with dedicated playback and browse screens, Quantize, and .5 frame step.

A unique feature was the inclusion of "slip" mode. This was not included on the Pioneer CDJ-2000, Pioneer CDJ-850, or the Pioneer CDJ-350. This allowed you to manipulate the track and for it to return to where it should have been if you had not manipulated the track. If you enable a loop at 02sec, leave it for 1min, then disengage the loop, it will jump to 1:02 as if you had never engaged the loop.

This CDJ allows playback from USB drives, Audio CD, MP3 CD, act as a MIDI controller, and is an Official Serato Accessory for HID Playback. HID playback allows you to use all the CDJ-900 as a controller for the computer program Serato, but at a much higher resolution than MIDI, and have access to all the features of the CDJ-900.

CDJ-900NXS and 2000nxs 2 Update[edit]

The CDJ-900 and 2000 has been replaced by the CDJ-900NXS and 2000nxs which introduces a high resolution screen. after that 2000nxs 2 came with touch screen


Pioneer CDJ-1000s in use

The CDJ-1000 (retroactively known as the mk1 after the release of mk2) was a digital turntable by Pioneer Electronics in 2001 that was used to play CDs and was generally accepted as the first CD player[13] that can accurately emulate a vinyl turntable - including the ability to scratch - and became a popular CD player used by DJs. The original mk1 was discontinued in 2003 during the introduction of mk2 into market.

The player implements a large touch-sensitive platter with a digital display in the middle that can relay information about the position in the music. Although this platter is not driven (meaning that it does not rotate by itself) like a turntable, the display in the center shows positioning information for accurate cueing. Also there is an orange Cue marker that simulates the stickers used by scratch DJs. The waveform display gives DJs the opportunity to look ahead on tracks to see forthcoming breaks.

The CDJ-1000 (and its reincarnations) has become a popular tool for dance clubs and DJs, and is currently the most widely used DJ-style CD deck to be found in the booths of world's best nightclubs.[14][15][16][17][18] The player supports playback from CD, CD-R and CD-RW and implements all of the essential features for DJ CD players such as looping and pitch changing in addition to less common features such as reverse play-back and turntable break-stop and start. It includes the master tempo-function introduced on the earlier CDJ-500 & CDJ-500S models, whereby the music changes speed while maintaining pitch.

It is generally thought to be the first CD player to be widely adopted in club use. Until this point few clubs bothered with CD machines in them, either due to their lack of DJ functionality and overall robustness, or due to the fact that DJs still liked to use the vinyl format as most of the upfront music they required to play was still much more prevalent on vinyl over CD media. The other reason this machine took off in popularity was the release of recordable CD-R and then CD-RW media discs and stand-alone machines which could record music onto them. Before this, DJs who wanted to test in either a club or as early promotional items to radio DJs, a new piece of music they might have made themselves in a studio, often had to rely on getting acetate discs pressed up. These were both expensive to do and had inherent short lifespan; as after a few plays the disc would wear-out and thus be completely unplayable.

Updated versions[edit]


An updated version of the CDJ-1000, the CDJ-1000 MK2 was released on July 2003 with additional features like improved jog wheel and faster response time than in the original model. The product was discontinued on 2006 when the mk3 was introduced into the market.


The third model known as the CDJ-1000 MK3 released in March 2006.

Unlike the earlier versions the mk3 supports playback of MP3s from CD-R and CD-RW media. Other improvements to earlier versions include bigger, lighter displays; a 100 dots waveform display instead of the earlier 50 dots waveform; the ability to record loops into Hot Cue slots instead of just cue points. The mechanical resistance of the jog wheel is adjustable to suit different styles of handling by the DJ. Furthermore, the mk3 uses a newer SD media while the earlier incarnations used MultiMediaCard/MMC as a memory card format.


Shortly after the introduction of the CDJ-1000's successors, the Pioneer CDJ-900 and the Pioneer CDJ-2000, in a statement, UK sales manager Martin Dockree said:[19]

It is with mixed feelings that today we announce to the channel the discontinuation of the CDJ 1000MK3…….thanks to the hard work of our then newly appointed direct retailers, installers and established distribution, as well as the DJs who instantly recognised it as the first real practical DJ CD player, it very quickly became an industry standard fixture in the DJ booth.


The Pioneer CDJ-2000 is the latest addition to the CDJ-range of digital turntables targeted for professional DJs announced[20] simultaneously with the CDJ-900 on September 17, 2009. It became available late December 2009.[20]

The Pioneer CDJ-2000 is the replacement for the now discontinued Pioneer CDJ-1000 MK3.

The Pioneer CDJ-2000 was discontinued to the end of 2012 and was replaced with the Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus Released in September 2012. New features include a high resolution screen which displays detailed wave form information as well as Beat-Sync which allows you to automatically beat-match tracks from 2, 3 or 4 players via ProDJLink. The Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus is also the first CDJ to allow playback of music stored on a smartphone or tablet via Wi-Fi/USB connection.[21]

The Pioneer CDJ-2000 Nexus was discontinued at the beginning of 2016, and was replaced by the CDJ-2000NXS2, released in February 2016.[22]


The CMX-3000 was Pioneer's second attempt to enter the market of rack-mountable dual deck CD-players. Released in the wake of the CDJ-1000, the player was - and still is - often mistakenly advertised as a 19" inch rack mountable equivalent of dual CDJ-1000's[23] even though the intended target audiences for the products, as well as their comparative pricing, were entirely in different leagues. The misconception is possibly caused by the fact that while Pioneer's earlier dual deck CD-player, the CMX-5000, only had a jog wheel comparable to earlier single deck CD-players for doing pitch bending, the CMX-3000 also allowed distinct jog mode that enabled the user to use the jog wheel for scratching, a feature that thus far was only available on the top-of-the line CDJ-1000. The jog wheel however relies upon the movement of the wheel itself and is not touch sensitive as it is on the CDJ-1000, CDJ-800 and CDJ-400. Therefore, the scratch is intended as an effect or for cueing a track, and is not appropriate for stopping the track by touch as it is on the other CDJ models.

Mainly due to the product's comparative pricing (for the price of two CDJ-1000's you could get almost three CMX-3000 units with two players each) the CMX-3000's have found their way to the setups of many mobile DJ as well as into the booths of many world's best nightclubs[24] as a backup player in case the industry standard CDJ-1000's[15][17][25][26] fail for some reason during a night.


The CMX-5000, released in March 2000, was Pioneer's first attempt to enter the 19" rack mountable dual CD player-market (though, with an optional installation bracket, it had previously been possible to install two CDJ-500S-players side by side into an industry standard rack) that had previously been dominated by Denon.

The CMX-5000 consists of a 2U section with a pair of slot-loading CD drives and a 3U 'controller' section with a pair of jog wheels and control buttons for the CD drive below.


The MEP-7000 is Pioneer's addition to their product range for professional DJs released in late 2007. At The 2008 NAMM Show The MEP-7000 was featured along with Pioneer's DJM-3000 19" rackmount DJ mixer. In Australia, the DJM-3000 had been discontinued for sale in late 2006 but was re-released in June 2008 just for the MEP-7000. The player is a 19" rack mountable twin player type capable of playing media formats ranging from normal audio CD/CD-R/CD-RW to digital data files in MP3- and AAC-formats written on DVD's as well as USB-connected memorysticks and/or portable hard drives.


The DMP-555 was a single deck tabletop CD-player in Pioneer's range for DJs that was introduced in April 2002 and discontinued during 2004. The DMP-555 featured several innovative features, such as playback from SD card, and MP3 playback from either memory card or optical media. It also included the ability (unique in Pioneer's DJ product line) to cue from one media source and playback from another all on the same unit, allowing one to DJ two tracks from a single DMP-555 alone. The product was hobbled by a lack of support and updates, a 2GB limit on SD card capacity, and the inability to write MP3 files directly to the SD card. A special Pioneer-branded writer was required, and transfers had to be encrypted through custom Pioneer software because of music label concerns over copyright infringement.


The DVJ-X1 is a DVD quasi-turntable that allows VJ's to scratch and mix video like a vinyl record. Released in 2004 and designed for professional use in clubs, it features real-time digital video scratching, looping and instant hot cueing. It has capability to sync video and audio streams even when being pitched or reversed. It also plays CDs with features similar to the regular CDJ-1000 CD turntable.

In 2006, Pioneer introduced a successor unit, the DVJ-1000.


Pioneer DVJ1000

The DVJ-1000 is a digital turntable that is capable of playing back video data on DVDs, as well as CD-Audio, and MP3 audio on both CDs and DVDs. Created by Pioneer Electronics in 2006, it is the successor to the Pioneer DVJ-X1.

Unlike the DVJ-X1, the DVJ-1000 is approximately the same dimensions as Pioneer's audio-only CD turntables (CDJ-1000), and can be fitted into existing enclosures with relative ease, allowing for an easy upgrade path for club owners and sound engineers.

In addition, the unit borrows several usability features from the current CDJ line, including a brighter fluorescent display on both the information screen and the central On-Jog display. Loop adjustment features are carried over as well, and a new automatic 4-beat loop feature has been included on this unit.

Being that the unit plays back DVD material, several new outputs have been added, including S/PDIF, composite outputs, a preview video output, which also doubles as a 'dashboard' for searching through video and MP3 content, as well as control outputs for compatible Pioneer DJ mixers.

For the travelling DJ, the unit is multi-system, outputting both PAL and NTSC video signals for near-global compatibility.

As part of its marketing strategy, Pioneer has equipped several noted DJs with the new unit, including Sander Kleinenberg.[citation needed]

Currently, the unit retails for $2500 USD, £1599 GBP, which is about 25 percent less than the introductory pricing on the DVJ-X1.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Gwertzman, Michael (September 23, 2004). "With a Nod to Vinyl, CD's Take Over the Turntable". New York Times.
  3. ^ a b "Pioneer CDJ-800 Digital CD Deck with Vinyl Emulation". DJResource. April 4, 2003. Retrieved 2008-06-13. 
  4. ^ Souvignier, Todd (2003). The World of DJs and the Turntable Culture. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 237. ISBN 0-634-05833-9. 
  5. ^ Souvignier, p. 244.
  6. ^ Souvignier, p. 245.
  7. ^ Souvigner, p. 247.
  8. ^ Souvigner, p. 250.
  9. ^ Souvigner, p. 255.
  10. ^ Morrell, Dan (2010). Be A Top DJ In 10 Easy Steps w/Audio CD. Mixmastered Records. ISBN 978-0-557-49982-3. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b a flash-site, navigate to "Rental space"-"Machinery list"
  16. ^
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ a flash-site, navigate to "The Space"-"Sound"
  19. ^ RIP CDJ-1000 - 26 Feb, 2010
  20. ^ a b
  21. ^ Hard To Find Records. "PIONEER CDJ-2000NXS". Retrieved 2013-12-18. 
  22. ^ Pioneer DJ. "Refined, Remastered, Reborn: Meet the new CDJ-2000NXS2 and DJM-900NXS2". Retrieved 2016-02-03. 
  23. ^ Hard To Find Records. "PIONEER CMX 3000 - CD TURNTABLE (DUAL)- A PAIR OF". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  24. ^ " Top 100 Clubs". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  25. ^ "Venue Hire | The End". Retrieved 2008-12-02. 
  26. ^ flash-site, navigate to "The Space"-"Sound"

External links[edit]