XDJ-1000 Review Pioneer’s new CD-less Multi-player
The new XDJ-1000 multi-player from Pioneer was the first of several new product announcements that got people talking, due to its lack of a CD player. In other words its the first media player to resemble a CDJ but in fact it does not play CDs! Another newer product announced more recently which has also got people talking is the new XDJ-RX all-in-one controller which does not require a laptop at all!
Needless to say Pioneer DJ have always been at the cutting edge of DJ technology and whilst they aren’t alone in introducing new and industry shaking gear – the NI Kontrol S8 with no jogwheels comes to mind as does the Numark NV controller with its built-in screens – its fair to say that Pioneer still remain at the forefront of DJ technology.
- New features only available on the XDJ-1000
- Excellent Touchscreen
- Loads tracks really fast
- QUERTY keyboard search
- Not that much cheaper than a CDJ-900NXS (in SA)
- No Traktor HID support
The XDJ-1000 is remarkably light. I never realised just how much the weight would be reduced without a CD loader and laser but it sure has made a huge difference to the weight. It also has way less buttons than both a CDJ-900NXS or CDJ-2000NXS which I guess means less physical parts to weigh it down too. In fact a direct A/B comparison may have you worried that the XDJ-1000 seems to lack features but don’t be. It has many and in fact even offers 1 or 2 that are not yet available on the big daddy 900 or 2000’s. Despite its weightlessness by comparison it is still a well built unit, typical of Pioneer products although not quite the tank-like build of the 2000.
It’s all in the touchscreen…
Touch me baby touch me….
Most professional DJs would be a little doubtful about touchscreens and rightfully so. A DJ booth is usually a dark, sweaty place and moisture and touchscreens simply don’t work well together. But the new 7 inch full colour screen on the XDJ-1000 is really, really impressive.
Firstly no matter how damp my fingers were I experienced zero difficulty – in other words the screen responded every time. What’s also impressive about the touchscreen is how intuitive the menus are. With just 5 tabs at the top of the screen it’s really quick and easy to hop between functions, whilst there are also a few onscreen buttons on the sides for quick functionality.
The one thing you cannot do with the touchscreen is browse through your library. This and track loading is still reserved for a nice big browser knob and a back button to go back in the file tree. There is also a Tag Track button to tag a track you may want to play later, which handily puts this in a list accessed via the TAG LIST tab at the top. There are also hot cues which can be accessed via the PERFORM tab at the top and the response of these fared equally as well as buttons in my opinion.
You will notice no familiar Needle Search feature beneath the screen. That’s because it’s a touchscreen and you can simply drag your finger across the bottom waveform display to achieve this.
Loading and connectivity
There are 3 ways to play tracks with the XDJ-1000. The obvious is to use a flash drive by creating your playlist in Rekordbox and loading this up. You can do all your prep in Rekordbox such as setting up hot cues / cue points etc and these will load up with your USB.
Another way to use the XDJ-1000 is to network via ethernet. This means you can recall tracks from any playlist on the network, be it another media player or Serato based laptop.
The third way is to connect to Serato DJ software on a laptop via USB. The only thing is that at time of testing this was not yet functional. It’s also a pity that connecting to Traktor will not be available but this is more due to Native Instruments no longer co-operating with third party hardware.
The touchscreen is the most obvious and notable new feature. The QUERTY keyboard is massive. You can now type in a search string and call up tracks super fast with this. The quantized beat jump/loop mode works really well and enables one to jump to any part of the track where you’ve set up cue points.
The lasting thought I had as I reluctantly packed the XDJ-1000 back in its box to return was ‘wow, Pioneer really do know how to make great DJ gear.’
The XDJ-1000 is so intuitive and easy to play on, you don’t for one second find yourself trying to figure out where stuff is.
The only true negative I have is that in South Africa the price difference right now between an XDJ-1000 and a CDJ-900NXS is only R 3,245 so I don’t think clubs/bars will be too keen on buying them yet. Anyway there are probably too many CD wielding DJs around still for the XDJ-1000 to completely replace the 900’s or 2000’s.
Me, personally. I’d be happy to walk into a DJ booth and find a pair of XDJ-1000 players installed.