It’s been a little while since the release of the flagship DJ setup from Pioneer, and with enough time to really get a feel for new features and usability, we feel it is finally time to give the CDJ2000nxs2 a write up! This article will not strive to be overly technical, but if you are a consumer with these bad boys on your Christmas list, then hopefully this will help you decide if they are the way to go.
Released in February 2016, many hire companies (including us) jumped in at the deep end and invested heavily into Pioneer’s new stock without a second thought. This is because we have grown accustomed to the market leading design and features that are expected from Pioneer at this end of the market. But how well does this digital battle station hold up under heavy fire!?
At an RRP of just under £1700 per deck, plus the same for the matching mixer (which of course you wouldn’t want to be without), it’s fair to say that not everyone can afford this kit. They are by far one of the most expensive DJ setups around with the likes of Denon’s DN-SC3900 retailing at around £680 per deck. That is a price difference we surely can’t ignore. The big question here is, can Pioneer justify the price they are demanding? Well, in a word, yes. And to understand why, we’ll need to take a look at who these CDJs are designed for, and for whom another option may be best.
It is no secret that the best clubs hire the best DJs, and the best DJs want an industry standard platform they can rely on. They don’t want to turn up on the day and have to learn a new system, rehash some of their mixes, and generally mess around. They want to get in, get the music playing, and have the crowd jumping without a second thought. As Pioneer have been market leaders on this for so long, they pretty much already knew that the CDJ2000nxs2 would be a hit. They also already knew they could charge whatever they wanted for it, and as long as they didn’t really screw it up, the clubs and DJs would still buy it.
The biggest complaint we heard in days gone by was that the DJM900nxs mixer lacked the sound quality you could find on cheaper (but still amazing) mixers such as the Allen and Heath Xone92. For the average DJ playing on a pair of active speakers, this difference probably wasn’t big, if at all noticeable. The real difference came when playing on club or festival sized stages with stacks of pounding subwoofers and of ear drum poppin’ top boxes. It was fair to say that previously Allen and Heath had this over Pioneer, but with the introduction of 64-bit mixer processing in the DJM900nxs2, and a 96 kHz/24-bit sound card in each deck, it is clear that Pioneer are trying to close this gap.
There are some other cool features that set these CDJs apart from the competition such 8 hot cues – which is twice the previous amount, an improved full colour touch display, slip reverse, and improved quantizing.
Where it may not be viable for home DJs to buy and run this kit, it is certainly viable for clubs and rental companies to stock them. For everyone else, Pioneer offer the DDJ-SX, which, when combined with Rekordbox, can offer almost all the same benefits (almost!) as the CDJ2000nxs2 without the price tag.
Do we still need CDs?
With technology moving so fast, CDs already seem like somewhat of an old media. I often hear people say things like “Do DJs even still use CDs!?”. Well, in truth, most DJs now carry their extensive playlists around on USB drives. But the over prepared (smart?) DJ will still carry CDs as a backup. Furthermore, some DJs may just prefer it, and as the CDJ2000nxs2 is designed to meet everyone’s requirements, it would be crazy at this point to remove the CDs. Something does whiff of a no CD policy coming up soon from Pioneer though!
Apart from the hefty price tag you mean? Umm, yes. There are a few. Price tag aside, we feel that these could be a tad sturdier in build. After all, they will be ravaged by drunken DJs night after night. I mean, they’re not bad build quality, but the shiny plastic is easy to mark up and you get the feeling one splash of beer might ruin the mixer. Of course, this has been thought about in the Pioneer headquarters, and they’ve somehow managed to produce the CDJ2000 Tour range. Yikes!
The Wrap Up
In all honesty, it is hard to find faults with equipment of this calibre. There has obviously been some serious thought put into them and it’s amazing how far this tech has come. To sum up, if price tags are just fire starters to you, or you have a genuine business interest in these, then by all means grab yourself a pair with the latest mixer. But for everyone else, go grab an DDJ-SX or browse Denon’s range of CDJs which will offer much more bang for your buck.
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