The XDJ-1000 is almost exactly the same in look and feel to the CDJ-850, a player which it is presumably the eventual replacement for in Pioneer’s range. The only real changes in layout are the fact that the new XDJ-1000 doesn’t have the auto beat loop and cue/loop recall/save buttons, because these are now included in the screen.
Indeed the screen is the single biggest visual thing of note here, because the screen on the XDJ-1000 is a revelation compared to the CDJ-850, or even the top-of-the-range CDJ-2000 Nexus. It is bright, large and high-resolution. Just as well, because more than ever, it’s an integral part of what this player is, and how you use it. It isn’t like, say, an iPad screen (the XDJ-1000’s screen is pressure-sensitive and plastic coated, not capacitive/glass – probably wisely considering the abuse it’s likely to get from DJs), but quality-wise as far as the visuals go, it’s close. It’s also now angled up, unlike that of the CDJ-850.
Rekordbox: The Pioneer workflow
While this player can work with Serato DJ in HID mode, and is theoretically Midi-compatible with any software you choose to map it to, let’s be perfectly clear: If you buy this, you’re almost certainly doing so because you’re also buying into Pioneer’s Rekordbox concept.
Rekordbox is software for your laptop that you use to prepare your sets (analyse for waveforms, beatgrids, key and so on, and determine cue points, tag and prepare your tracks and the like – just like in digital DJ software), before DJing with those prepared tunes on your choice of Pioneer gear. So it’s a two-step process: Preparation, then performance.
Usually, you transfer your music from laptop to USB stick to take to the venue with you having completed the preparation part, so you can play without your laptop. As we’ll see later, though, there is now also a laptop option. At this point, all you need to know is that Rekordbox – now at v3.2 – is pretty slick and with two decks and a crossfader itself, becoming close to traditional DJ software anyway. Our only qualm is that it still seems to take quite a long time to get the music onto the USB…
A pair of XDJ-1000s has access to all the preparations you’ve done in Rekordbox, and they’re fast, too, giving you waveforms (detailed and overview), sync (when your decks are linked with an ethernet cable, which you should definitely do, because that means you can on two players from one USB stick), quantised looping, slip mode, hot cues etc, much of which is accessible via a “perform” mode on the touchscreens. There’s even a slip mode, which you can use with the “Reverse” physical button to hack a “censor” function, something impossible to do on the CDJ-850.