Thursday, November 14, 2013

Is the HID/Rekordbox enabled CDJ's a waste if you use them with DVS software?

Recently, I engaged in a Facebook debate where a friend of mine directed a post to another friend of mine who is a CDJ-2000Nexus owner, asking if don't they think it's a waste to be using the CDJ-2000Nexus as a controller? For the sake of security, I will refer to the poster as DJ Cane, and the Nexus owner DJ Lite. I quote the post as follows:

"DJ Lite, doesn't hooking a laptop up to some cdj's to Mix music seem like a waste of some perfectly good cdj's and defeat the purpose of owning them to mix? What are kids doing these days I see it all the time now and don't get it!???"

He further added this comment.

"I totally understand what you mean [other dj] with the plug and play off a computer to make it easy if you aren't familiar to the operating system on a cdj's but, I'm more referring to the people who know how to use them have prepared music but just choose to turn their cdj's into giant expensive computer controllers."

Here is my response.

  "Actually DJ Cane, if you are referring to the thought that a CDJ's best use is ONLY with Rekordbox, that is very incorrect. Don't get me wrong, a lot of the features like quantize and ahem beat sync, along with the beat and loop effects are exclusively on CDJ-mode only. However, you're not giving enough credit to the HID control system that the first CDJ-2000 along with all present generation CDJ's are equipped with. HID control is more advanced than simple MIDI control, that is because it can not only accurately detect high resolutions of rotation (which is important for accurate jog wheel motion), it can ALSO display parameters such us waveforms and playlists onto the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-2000Nexus LCD screens.

What's the big deal about HID? Up until HID was invented, the only way to use a DVS program like Serato or Traktor was to use a timecode CD similar to timecode vinyl on a turntable. The biggest setback to CDJ users who added a DVS system to their setup is that they lose a lot of the functions that a CDJ would have, like using the main cue button, the hot cue buttons and the loop. That is because "relative mode" is relative to the position of of the song on the software, and not the position the CD timecode signal. The closest you can get to a near-CDJ experience is to use absolute mode, however, the initial cue of a track will have a minor delay to catch up to the timecode position that you can clearly hear, as well as the fact that you have to always reset your cue points for every song as you play, which can be inconvenient and time consuming.

The HID system, which was a joint development between Serato and Pioneer and is also applied to Native Instruments Traktor, was created so that the DVS user can finally bring home the 100% CDJ experience home to their software. That means that the hot cues, loop buttons, and the main cue and play buttons function EXACTLY as if you were only playing on a CDJ. And the fact that your playlists can be viewed and selected on the LCD screen, means you can literally put your laptop HIDDEN and away from view, and no one would even know what program you are using. The added bonus to the MIDI functionality is the fact you can reassign knobs and buttons to trigger effects and transport controls as well.

The truth is, the present generation Rekordbox/HID enabled CDJ's has MULTIPLE functions to use it. The obvious use is what EVERYBODY does which is, plug a USB stick, and play it as is. But you have to remember there was further development so that the CDJ can be used as a CONTROLLER, which is actually very new to the CDJ as a standalone deck. In one gig, one DJ would never use ALL the functions of the CDJ, because it wouldn't be practical for one DJ to switch around between Serato, Traktor, and Rekordbox. HOWEVER, I have done a set with two other DJ's, where in one night, we switched between Traktor HID mode, Rekordbox, and Serato HID mode.

The fact to recognize is, the CDJ is made to be used 3 main ways: 1) Rekordbox mode 2) Serato HID control mode 3) Traktor HID control AND soundcard mode. And the funniest part is, there are even native mappings for Virtual DJ and Ableton Live as well that can be used with the CDJ.

So I don't think DJ Lite is wasting a perfectly good set of CDJ's, in reality he's using them in a rare way that most people aren't aware of. The only time I would say someone is wasting their CDJ-350/850/900/2000/2000Nexus is when they still use a Timecode CD, because literally, you're making the CDJ function no better than an older CDJ-800. Not everyone has to use a CDJ the way Tiesto and Armin van Buuren use it, just walking up with a thumbdrive. The reason why those things are SO expensive is because, there is more technology on it, that any one DJ will ever figure out. And yes Dru Soy we have had this conversation, 3 years ago, when I was excited about the potential of HID control."


"^^^ And if everything I rambled above went over anyone's heads, I will gladly would love to demonstrate the use of HID control with Serato Scratch Live tonight at 10pm at Joker's when Open House kicks off"

"Also, because of the HID system, did you know on Serato and possibly Traktor, you can have the CDJ-2000's control the software in Internal Mode, and have Relative Mode linked to a turntable? That's not possible with Rekordbox alone."

  
"One last thing, to say it's a waste as I quote from DJ Cane to "turn their cdj's into giant expensive computer controllers", the fact is, the CDJ IS A CONTROLLER. You're either controlling a USB stick OR a computer. You're sorting digital files from either a USB source or a DVS software played back from a SOUNDCARD. Now unless you're playing CD's, the present generation Rekordbox/HID enable CDJ's is a MULTI-PLATFORM CONTROLLER that gives you OPTIONS. It's the most universal single decks created in our time." 

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