Friday, February 14, 2014
My thoughts on the possiblity that Pioneer is working on a DJ turntable
Well after explaining why I don't think Pioneer will ever produce a turntable, I find my own foot in my mouth when a few fellows tell me about Qbert's slip of the tongue regarding his secret project with Pioneer. While I am surprised Pioneer would do this, since they've held true to their revolutionary jog wheel for 14 years; I am not surprised that Pioneer is making this move at this specific time. For the longest time turntables barely evolved and companies like Stanton, Numark, and Vestax didn't do much upgrades to their decks to catch up with the digital age.
The Pioneer CDJ competed directly with the Technics during th first few years due to the fact you can now scratch and mix your own music you produced without needed to press it on vinyl. However, the introduction of Digital Vinyl Systems like Final Scratch and Serato Scratch Live gave traditional DJ's the option to preserve their turntables. Two markets separated in this and the majority of Hip Hop and Open format DJ's stayed with the Technics while the majority of EDM DJ's of the time went with the CDJ. Over the years the most advanced turntables were custom modified Technics, with built in Dicers. Every turntable company had it's strengths in each deck. Numark and Technics both had a digital pitch control; Numark had selectable torque as well as interchangeable tonearms; Stanton and Numark had one of the heaviest and strongest motors; and Vestax had the most advanced tone arm, as well as a MIDI controller turntable.
However, with the discontinuation of the Technics, and not much upgrades to the big three, Numark, Stanton, and Vestax, a European company called Reloop comes out of nowhere and introduces a turntable, with selectable torque like the Numark, and MIDI buttons like the customized Technics with Dicers. This was the first time a turntable producer, took the demands of working DJ's and applied it to their deck.
Where does Pioneer fit in this? Well they know the CDJ never truly replaced the turntable. It was a nice competition for a while, especially when the Technics really lowered its price in 2005 when you could buy a MK5 for $399 and an M5G for $699; which today you can find a used one for. However Pioneer traditional as a business in the DJ market, are never the first ones to ever introduce anything. There are very few things Pioneer DJ ever introduces, and most of the time, it is an improvement to a current type of product. The only thing off the top of my head Pioneer ever introduced into the market, was a tabletop, turntable-like, CD player, the first CDJ-300 back in 1994. Since then, Pioneer was kind of the company that lurked and waited for other developers to create a demand for a product type. Before they introduced the fully vinyl emulatable CDJ-1000, Numark and a few other Super OEM companies were already releasing vinyl "scratchable" CD players. They weren't the best nor did they satisfy the turntable DJ's needs. Once that interest was sparked, Pioneer comes into the market with a bang with the CDJ-1000, the first CD player that you can manipulate like vinyl.
Fast forward a few years, if you pay attention to Pioneer, they are always the last to apply new technology to their line of products. For example, MP3 capable decks were already available during the release of the CDJ-1000MK2, and by the time MK3 came out that was MP3 capable with CD's, decks with hard drive or flash drive were already available. In fact it took Pioneer all the way to 2009 to apply flash drive capabilities to the CDJ line with the introduction of the CDJ-2000.
This is not to say Pioneer is behind. It's similar to Apple and their Mac line. It took so long for them to apply USB 3.0 on their computers. The similarity is that Pioneer waits for technology to mature, and for the market demand to mature, before they introduce their new product. I actually like this because you're not getting experimental technology. This isn't saying Pioneer doesn't come up with new developments applied to their products, but they are never the first ones to introduce the general product type, whether it's a deck, mixer, or media player. However there are times they also came in too late, like with their DVJ decks. The price of those decks and the investment in DVD's, as well as the movement into HD technology, but most especially because Serato Video and Virtual DJ was a far more affordable and efficient option, the DVJ's lived a short market life.
Now, the Tecnhics are discontinued and Numark, Stanton, and Vestax are barely moving with their turntable lines into the digital DJ age, so Reloop steps to the spotlight with their brand new turntable. Like I said, Pioneer never makes the first move. But the fact that someone made a forward looking move, it's not unbelievable that Pioneer has taken interests and began developing something new. Their famed jog wheel had a great 14 year run and may now stand along side with this new turntable they're developing with Qbert. Or maybe who knows, maybe Qbert isn't working on a turntable. But for Pioneer, with all it's gear from the controllers, the CDJ's, the mixers, and the effects boxes, as well as it's partnership with all major DVS software developers, stepping into the turntable market is their move to complete their monopoly empire.
At the same time, would love other developers compete with Pioneer, because their products are pretty expensive and this high end monopoly needs a little shaking.
A couple guesses on the model name.
Maybe there will be a super advanced version that can take a USB stick with an LCD screen and Ethernet connection.
Anyways, I'm going to the next NAMM show, end of story.
Here's the article from DJ Techtools