As you probably know already, Pioneer is one of the most well-known DJ equipment brands out there, and for good reason, their gear is awesome! They have been producing DJ controllers, CDJs, mixers and other kinds of equipment for many years now, and they have really cemented themselves as the best choice for all DJs out there, not only seasoned veterans but also newbies looking to get into the world of DJing.
Pioneer has several model lines available for their controllers, and in this article, I will talk about CDJs and DDJs. These two model lines will work for the average DJ, but they obviously have their own differences between themselves. The model line that you choose will depend on several things, such as your budget, the gear that you already have, where you are going to be playing, among other things such as preference. If you want to know more about which model line is best for your specific needs, please read below!
So as you read from the title above, the better choice between the 2 if money isn’t a problem is the CDJ. The truth is that 2 CDJs and a mixer are often considered to be world standard when it comes to DJing, with many famous clubs having the set up in their premises. This doesn’t mean that you can’t make good music in a DDJ though, but most DJs do agree that their build quality and the sound they output isn’t as good as in a CDJ.
Below I talk a little bit more about the main differences between CDJs and DDJs.
One of the biggest pros that DDJs have over CDJs is the fact that a newbie is going to find them much easier to learn. This is because of several reasons. First of all, the DDJ is marketed more towards a newbie crowd. Not only that but they also tend to feature a simpler layout and design perfect for people that are using starting out and trying to get into this business. They do not come with as many features as the CDJ/mixer combo, which is exactly what you want when you don’t know how to mix and need to be focused on just the basics.
There’s another reason why DDJs are easier to use and setup: most of them feature a built-in mixer. You don’t have to connect CDJs and mixers and deal with cumbersome cables with a DDJ. You simply connect the DDJ to the music source of your choice and off you go. The fact that they come with a built-in mixer gives them several advantages over CDJs, one of them which I will talk about below.
As you probably know already, DDJs are the better choice if you are on a strict budget, and this is because of several reasons. The first one as I talked above is the fact that DDJs come with a built-in mixer. This is not the case with the CDJ line though. Not only do you need to buy 2 very expensive players, but you also need to buy the mixer to go with it. All of these gear can easily cost you thousands of dollars.
A DDJ can easily be much more affordable than a CDJ. They might not have as many features as a CDJ, but most newbie DJs will not need them really. If you are looking for a do it all controller that won’t break the bank, taking a look at one of the controllers in this line is well worth your time. After you get the hang of mixing or simply have the money to upgrade, you can move to the CDJ line.
One of the main reasons why you might want a CDJ is if you are looking for the best gear possible. CDJs are often considered to be the club and pro DJ standard, with many models of the line being found in most high-end EDM venues in the world. It’s not uncommon to see 2 or even 4 CDJ setups and a mixer in most DJ booths, and that says a lot about the quality that these players have.
It’s also often said that the CDJ line features a higher build quality when compared to DDJs. If you have never had both a CDJ and a DDJ side by side, let me tell you that the CDJ not only feels more sturdy, but the buttons, jog wheel, and faders feel better made and more substantial. Not only that, but it’s often said that CDJs produce a higher quality sound when compared to DDJs. Most people won’t notice a difference though, so whether the improvement in sound quality is worth the extra money is debatable.
While CDJs are more expensive than DDJs, they also maintain more value over the years than them. This is especially true for gear that is well taken care of. That’s why even though you might be paying a lot for them at first, if you are planning on selling them in a few years, then you could easily get more than 80% of what you paid for back.
Talking about this, many DJs that I know do not use new DJ gear, instead of buying used CDJs from other DJs that are going to be buying new stuff or retiring. The only caveat about this is that you really need to make sure that the CDJ that you are going to be buying is in good condition, but if you do find one that has been well taken care of by its owner, this is a good way to save thousands of dollars. Compared to CDJs, DDJs are cheaper to first purchase, but they have a sharper depreciation curve, which might be fine if you are looking to stay with the controller for a long period of time.
One of the reasons why CDJs are better than DDJs is the fact that there are several features that are exclusive to that model line. They aren’t super fundamental for you to become a great DJ, but they can really open up a world of opportunities if you learn how to use them properly. One of these features is the 7-inch touchscreen that is slowly becoming standard in the CDJ and XDJ line. This touchscreen is super useful not only for choosing songs, but also for beatmatching, and overall they make DJing much easier for everyone.
CDJs also give you the option of skipping a laptop and just using the songs on a USB or SD card, and using the software in the equipment for the set. In contrast, DDJs force you to use a laptop to do the mixing. Other features that tend to be exclusive to CDJs is an adjustable jog wheel and the ability to play songs from more unorthodox music formats.