by Matt Auckland Monday 22 March 2010 13:47
Pioneer has launched a new version of their rekordbox music management software, which enables DJs to connect their laptops directly to the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900 decks. It's released alongside an essential firmware upgrade for both players that adds several major new features and improvements (firmware v3.00).
Top DJs like Sasha, James Zabiela and Eddie Halliwell have already tweeted about the simplicity of rekordbox for managing music and setting up loops and cues in advance. Analyzing and exporting music from rekordbox is an essential step that unlocks many of the exciting features introduced on the players, such as live Quantized Loops, fast database searching and browsing, instant high resolution waveforms, and much more.
'We understand that not all DJs want to prepare in advance and tend to look for the quickest and easiest way to get music onto the new CDJs and just as they didn’t want to burn CDs, they don’t want to burn to USB either. As a result, some may have bypassed using rekordbox by dragging music files directly from iTunes to their memory sticks. But these DJs are literally missing out on some of the best features, like the lauded History that keeps a set-list of all the songs played for longer than 60 seconds' - states David Eserin Product Support Specialist Pioneer DJ Europe.
Rekordbox already made it easy to browse and import iTunes music libraries using the internal iTunes Bridge and all music is analyzed automatically. But now, the new rekordbox Link makes things even easier by eliminating the need for exporting music onto portable storage.
The new rekordbox Link is a part of the ever-expanding Pioneer ProDJ Link, introduced on the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900 last year and on the new DJM-2000 launched earlier this month. It enables DJs to share music drives and innovative features between four decks, a mixer and two rekordbox laptops. Using a single LAN cable, simply connect your laptop to the ProDJ Link system and launch rekordbox. Once connected, up to two rekordbox music libraries are available to browse and play on up to four CDJs.
It’s clear for some DJ's that laptops are an advantage for screen size, so Pioneer have enabled drag and drop loading directly within rekordbox to ProDJ Linked players. At the very bottom of the screen are icons for four CDJs and a mixer, which show the 'Link' and 'Play' status of each deck, so DJs now reap the benefits of portable laptop storage and a large screen.
DJM-2000 Cue Link
The new DJM-2000 mixer features a built-in LAN hub too, which takes ProDJ Link to the next level. There are dedicated and numbered connections for two rekordbox laptops and four CDJs. And the DJM-2000 features a dedicated 'Link Cue' button, which gives DJs a fifth cue channel, dedicated purely for previewing tracks from rekordbox. It's so much easier than loading each new track to a spare CDJ, which saves confusion and much needed time.
Stress-Free DJ Switching
Playing from pre-prepared rekordbox SD-Cards or USB drives is still the easiest way to switch digital DJs, but since the updated ProDJ Link can now handle two rekordbox laptops, it's now the easiest system for switching laptop DJs too.
Unlike digital vinyl systems (DVS), you only need one cable for mixing laptop libraries on up to four CDJs. There's no additional audio interfaces as the CDJs play the music. So there's no need for controllers or finding the space for them, or any fear of interrupting the previous DJ and the stress that comes with re-wring a DJ booth during someone else's set!
And finally, just as an example it's possible to connect a staggering ten music libraries to the ProDJ Link system! Using four USB keys, four SD-Cards and two rekordbox laptops provides enough individual libraries to facilitate five back-to-back DJ sets without need to switch a single cable or music source.
Reliable Hardware Playback
Not only is rekordbox Link the easiest way to switch DJs, it also brings the best elements of the hardware and software world's together. In contrast to software, music files are played on reliable hardware CDJs. And even when using rekordbox Link, the laptop is purely used for storage and browsing.
'With the new firmware, Pioneer have perfected the seamless and effortless browsing of huge music libraries, as well as making more advanced features like looping even more accurate for anyone to use within the mix. This firmware upgrade is a must for any CDJ-2000 user.' - James Zabiela
New 1ms Looping Accuracy
A feature that will have a massive impact on DJ performances, and one that will give software a run for its money is vastly improved Quantize Looping. The latest firmware release increases the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900 loop resolution by six times, to a staggeringly precise 1ms. That's over twelve times more accurate than the CDJ-1000MK3 and CDJ-800Mk2!
Beatgrids are created automatically when you add music files to your rekordbox library and if you switch on Global Quantize, all of your tracks can be looped on the CDJs in perfect phase and to the nearest beat, leaving you free to be creative with effects and arrangements.
Another essential part of rekordbox is the ability to create and store 10 loops into the music file itself and instantly recall them on the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900. There's a further three Hot Cues or Hot Loops that can be saved with each song for instant recall and performance on the CDJ-2000 using the dedicated Hot Cue buttons.
Following an intense period of top DJ user feedback and testing by James Zabiela, Pioneer have also made some subtle but incredibly useful modifications to the Graphical User Interface (GUI). We've found that DJs are in love with the History feature, which now keeps a record of every track that is played for longer than 60 seconds to ensure that an accurate set-list is generated.
We've also tweaked the browser info pane to display larger artwork, scrolling comments and song rating. These ratings are displayed in a user-definable colour that can be used as an additional way to identify the style or content of each song, which is great if you can’t remember names easily. There's also a much clearer indication of which tracks have been added to the Tag List, added to the History, or have yet to be played.
Rekordbox Link and online export - Drag & drop playback with connected CDJs via LAN cable.
Quantize Loop improvement - From 0.5 audio frame to 1ms accuracy.
GUI Improvement - New default Info pane for Playlist View with scrolling DJ comments. Selectable in UTILITY menu. (CDJ-2000 only).
Version Number - Version number will be displayed after power on.
Caution Display - Caution will be displayed when linked with older CDJ firmware.
History registering time changed from 45 seconds to 60 seconds plus Dark Green colour indication.
History Playlist - Changed file played longer than 60 sec colour to Dark Green (CDJ-2000 only).
Text scroll speed on LCD increased from 2x (CDJ-2000 only).
Search mode - Deleting back tick and adding apostrophe for search mode (CDJ-2000 only).
24 bit USB Audio - MAC OS X and ASIO4ALL Windows.
File number limitation (61 files) in YEAR browse mode.
Digital Output - lead out recording error causing external device to stop recording.
Rekordbox LINK export feature is now supported for use with the CDJ-2000/900.
DJM-2000 Cue Link - Added.
Option for hiding the Track Player.
Wrong playlist track is exported during an export operation.
Crash after track is imported containing special characters in its tag info.
Track sort info is erased when an export or import operation is performed.
For more information on these and future updates and the latest from Pioneer DJ please visit prodjnet.com