The day has come – the revered CDJ series from Pioneer DJ has received an update with the long awaited CDJ-3000.

An unavoidable presence in any club or festival stage, Pioneer gear has vastly dominated the electronic dance music industry with their players and mixers and the CDJ-3000, together with the DJM-V10 that was released earlier this year, represent their legacy for the next few years. The industry leader has taken their top of line player to a greater height, while still maintaining the function and form everyone has gotten used to. We’ve done an overview of the changes below, so that you don’t have to go back and forth looking for the rundown!

Let’s start with the most obvious – the screen. We now have a 9 inch touch screen display with higher resolution and 150% more brightness than the previous one. The hot cue buttons have been doubled and changed to the bottom of the screen, with the buttons like play and cue getting a better finish for increased durability. The jog wheel took a design cue from Pioneer DJ’s controller line and now has a small screen in the middle of it. New buttons atop the screen have been added with one allowing you to jump straight away to playlist view. There are also buttons dedicated to 4 and 8 beat loops, as well as beat jumps too. Support for optical discs is gone, and there’s a locking system on the power plug.

Taking a deeper dive, this new unit has been built with a brand new processing unit that promises much faster load times for tracks, and their respective cues and memory points. Very high quality 96 kHz/32-bit sound is also promised. This coupled with a gigabit ethernet port should make for a smooth experience using these devices when linked (and with this device, up to 6 of them can be linked). According to the brand, they’ve also redesigned the jog wheel itself, which looks pretty much the same as the previous generation jog wheel, making us very curious to try one of these out and see the differences for ourselves. Latency of the wheel is also lower comparing to previous gen.

The unit’s software now supports the 3 tone waveform that’s been present on Rekordbox 6, and is a hardware unlock unit for this program. The usual ways to interface with the waveform are still there (you can zoom in/out of it), but you can also change the play head position further to the left of the screen in order to be able to see more of the track ahead.

The extra screen real estate also offered Pioneer DJ the opportunity to put in some cool features, such as ways to more easily sort tracks by BPM and key, and also the ability to display the Master deck’s waveform on a slave deck, above the waveform of the track playing on that one.

Another very nifty feature that will come in handy in situations like b2b sets is the possibility to get a track preview by touching its waveform on the browse menu as well as previewing the track that’s currently playing, with the link cue functionality on select mixers, allowing you to scroll back and forth the track that’s playing on your headphones only.

Other interesting tidbits are the odd numbered loops that can be made, bringing loops back and forth with the beat jump buttons and the new key change mechanism in the UI

However, not everything are roses… Despite the advancements Pioneer DJ made with this device, there are still a few shortcomings, namely when comparing to Denon gear. Many users pointed online that unlike an SC6000 this unit doesn’t feature things like dual layer functionality, a hard drive bay, performance pads, Wi-Fi/internet connectivity for streaming or a motorized platter option. Some also pointed out the lack of USB ports when comparing to the competition and the fact that it still only supports SD cards up to 32GB. The screen on the jog wheel is also not customizable for now, and is made somewhat redundant with all the information the new screen and interface show if we were to display information similar to what’s seen on the DDJ-1000.

Nevertheless, we feel this is a good replacement for the previous generation players, despite its shortcomings. It is also good to see this player took some design tips from its younger brothers, with the screen in the middle of the jog reminding us of the DDJ-1000/800 controllers (better than the old one even if you can’t customize it) and the double waveform mode being reminiscent of what you see on standalone XDJ players. Other features like changing play head position and the live previews when touching the waveform are small but very useful additions, expanding upon the great platform the CDJ-2000 already had. We hope to see this being expanded even further via software updates.

Personally, I’m very curious to get my hands on this, especially due to the fact that I’m a Pioneer DJ client and I’m very used to the layout and functionality of previous generation players. But we cannot help but wonder if Pioneer is just playing catch up, while sitting on their dominant market share, and how long they’ll last in this market with ever increasing competitivity…

The CDJ-3000 is now on sale for about 2400€ (100€ more than the CDJ-2000nxs2), and while most of you are unlikely to buy a pair, it is possible you’ll see them in the next club you go to, or that you rent them for a party of yours… Are you looking forward to give them a spin?

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