Open Music, DJ Lessons

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6.2 CDJ

CD Player CDJ

Cd Players are more common these days, especially in club environments. They have come a long way over the years. Most CD turntables/ decks are able to play many different digital formats of music including MP3 and AIFF files. Some also take usb’s, but it has not always been this way. The CD Players or CDJ’s as they are more commonly known emulate the classic vinyl turntable and have similar features including:

  • A moveable platter/ Jog wheel
  • Pitch slider
  • Play pause button

CD Platter/ Jog wheel

A jog wheel does not rotate like a typical vinyl player, but it still allows the user to manipulate the music as if it where. There are usually two different modes of control that can be switched by pressing a button labelled vinyl or jog mode, located above the pitch slider.

This method can be used to investigate if the songs tempo needs to be sped up or slowed down. If you move the platter clockwise and it sounds more in time with the track that is playing, this might mean that you need to increase the speed using the pitch slider on the CDJ.

Tempo/ Pitch Slider

The pitch slider on a CDJ is similar to a Vinyl turntable and it achieves the same purpose of speeding up or slowing down the audio. It does come with 2 added extras that can come in handy. One being that you can change the tempo range of the slider from +6% to +10 or +16.

This means that when the pitch slider is in the top position it will be playing at +4%of the track speed and when the slider is at the bottom it will be playing at -4% of the speed. When you then change the Tempo range using a button above the slider, it will change the value and it will seem that the song is much faster or slower when in the extreme position. A good exercise to understand this is by playing some music and putting the slider at an extreme position and then changing the tempo range. YOu will notice that the pitch of the music shifts and it can give the chipmunk effect or the barry white effect.

The other pitch advantage that you have is in the form of another toggle button called the master tempo button. This will fix the tempo issues that are associated with the change of tempo. if this button is engaged then the song will lock in the key of the song and will not have pitch shifting problems and the song will remain in key, regardless of how much you alter the tempo. Most classic Vinyl turntables such as the Technics 1200 do not have this feature, but the newer models of Vinyl player will include this feature.

CDJ Bonus features include

  • The Cue Button
  • Track searching
  • display screen
  • Looping functions

CDJ Modes

Modern CDJ’s have the ability to enter vinyl mode, allowing the user to emulate a vinyl platter and manipulate the CD files to hold and scratch the music. Some models like the CDJ 400 have built in effects and newer models have “slip mode” when enabled will keep the cd playing in the background while you loop or scratch the song.

When vinyl mode is enabled you can grab (stop the music with a touch) and scratch the jog wheel similarly to a vinyl platter. Most Turntablists can translate their scratching skills from Vinyl to CD and vise versa with no problems. This means that it is viable to learn how to scratch on a CDJ.

There is another mode that is often labeled as CDJ mode and this will not stop completely when you press the platter. Instead it will momentarily slow down the song . When you move the platter back and forth when in CDJ mode, you can temporarily slow down or speed up the song. This is a useful feature of the CDJ as it can help beat match the two songs together.

Music Format

Knowing what format the CDJ is capable of handling is import. Some very old cd players like the pioneer cdj 200 cannot play mp3 cd’s. It is important to read the manuals (easily accessible online) because some functions such as the CUE can be different accross brands.

if you decide to burn CD'syou will need a CD-R or CD-WR and you can burn either an Audio CD or an MP3 CD. MP3 cd's are highly compressed and will allow you to fit more music onto one disk for the compromise of audio quality.