Lay of the Land: An introduction to Pioneer DJ workflows

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Lay of the Land: An introduction to Pioneer DJ workflows

Words By Sam McNiece

When you think of DJ equipment, there’s no other name as synonymous as Pioneer.

From clubs to home studios, large festivals to your friends living room, you’d have to be living under a rock to not have heard of Pioneer DJ gear. Pioneer’s flagship CDJ and DJM range is literally the industry standard, and most likely what you’re gonna see if you step up in the booth at clubs or festivals the world over.

With the large scope of the market that Pioneer occupies, we’ve decided to take you through the best options and workflows for DJ’s at any stage of their career, from budding newcomers to seasoned professionals, and take a look at how their Rekordbox software can be integrated with products from the entry level DDJ-200, all the way up to their all in one XDJ series.

Read more features and how-to gear columns here.

For those looking to make their first splash into the DJ sphere, you can’t look past Pioneer’s DDJ-200, which is a portable two channel mixer which connects via USB and Bluetooth. This stripped down version of Pioneer’s larger controllers still features all the staples needed to mix, faders, EQ, jog wheels, cue and play buttons, plus tempo sliders and hot cue pads, which paired with Pioneer’s flagship Rekordbox software will let you hit the ground running. Hell, you can even power this device with a portable charger and connect over Bluetooth to WeDJ on your mobile device to start mixing on the go.

WeDJ is Pioneer’s entry level mobile app designed to streamline the DJ process. It comes with built in mixing tools like FX, transitions and automatic phrase sync. The app, like Pioneer’s flagship Rekordbox software, can stream audio from a range of the big streaming providers (Beatport and Soundcloud Go+), to allow you to mix whatever tracks you want, whenever you want and due to its portability, wherever you happen to be.

In comparison to WeDJ, Rekordbox is the fully fledged software which allows professional analysis of tracks, music management and mixing capabilities on its own or connected to the vast range of supported Pioneer DJ gear. As with the rest of the industry, Rekordbox now has cloud capabilities, allowing you to stream music from popular sites as well as storing your own music on the cloud for backup or streaming on the fly, to ensure you’ll always have your full library available for play.

Stepping up in terms of capabilities, the DDJ-FLX4 boasts additional beginner friendly features to ensure your party goes off without a hitch. The controller adds the Smart Fader function, which will automatically change the BPM, bass levels and beat match the two tracks, utilising the crossfader to morph between them both. Pair this with Smart CFX, which adds a multitude of FX to one knob, adding your own flair to DJ performances just got a lot easier. The DDJ-FLX4 also has a built in sound card, enabling a direct RCA out to speakers and a microphone input, which paired with the USB connection to rekordbox, allows you to directly record your voice over a mix, great for online radio shows and live streaming.

For the inner turntablist in all of us, Pioneer’s DDJ-REV7 is the newest instalment of professional digital timecode (DVS) gear compatible with Serato. This two channel scratch style DJ controller emulates having a couple of Technics 1200’s battle style and a mixer, with a plethora of additional buttons all fit into a sizable form factor enclosure. The EQ knobs get moved toward the top of the faceplate, giving the Magvel crossfader its time to shine. The jog wheels look like record turntables because they inherently are, as they’re motorised platters which provide that tactile feel vinyl enthusiasts are looking for.

The mixer component also features the unique flick switch EQ which allows for a faster way to turn on FX in a pinch. As a pro piece of Pioneer’s range, there’s also the option to plug in external gear such as CDJ’s or additional turntables to really take them into the next level. The two usb ports on the rear allow for seamless changeovers at functions, paired with microphone inputs and balanced outputs for both booth and master ports, the DDJ-REV7 is equally apt at home in your bedroom or in the booth at your favourite club.

Lastly, we have Pioneer’s XDJ range of products, which at a glance look like controllers, but these devices are actually all in ones, capable of running sans computer and emulating what it’s like to play on Pioneer’s coveted DJM and CDJ NXS 2 gear. The newest of the bunch is the XDJ-XZ, a 4 channel all inclusive DJ powerhouse set to get the party started.

The inbuilt LCD screen allows you to select tracks from either of the two USB ports, Pro DJ link or directly connect to rekordbox, supporting any workflow you prefer. The fully fledged layout emulates their professional NXS2 product line, which will make professional DJs feel right at home. Everything from master FX, cue buttons, full sized jog wheels and mic inputs emulates their independent counterparts to a T. Not only does this system feature everything you’d expect, you can add turntables or other gear to the mix via the extra two RCA inputs, meaning you can upgrade your setup while still having the XDJ-XZ as the centrepiece.

Pioneer is the name in the DJ world for professional equipment worldwide, and for up and comers, to new players, to seasoned touring DJs, there’s something compatible for everyone’s needs in their line of products. The DDJ-200 provides a portable slimline option for brand new DJs alongside the DDJ-FLX4 which adds smart mixing capabilities to the fold. For turntablists, the DDJ-REV7 gives you the tactile feel of vinyl with the workflow flexibility a digital controller allows and for the digital DJ while Pioneer’s XDJ line pairs professional functionality with an all in one design.

There is really something for everyone within the plethora of products Pioneer has out on the market right now, and whichever workflow you choose, you really can’t go wrong.

For more information, go to Pioneer DJ. For local enquiries visit Jands.