The Pioneer CDJ-400 DJ CD Player is a real beast hidden inside a small box. It's a deck that's fully loaded with nice tricks and off course includes most legendary features of Pioneer's CDJ family. For the first time a small version of the Jog Dial is introduced. Read the official press info at Pioneer's Website.
This is a true Multi Media Player as it reads music from various types of sources. There is an expanded Loop section with a smart Loop Divider that rhythmically chops the loop. The CDJ-400 also has a similar effect section as on the CDJ-200 but it offers a lot more effects.
The CDJ-400 is only available in the standard color during most of it's life. At the end of the lifecycle there was a limited run of Black models (CDJ-400-K and DJM-400-K). Technical identical to the regular model, but it had a black finish and blue LED lighting.
The CDJ-400 is a player that has the possibility to play music from a lot of different sources. Off course you can insert different types of discs such as CD's, CD-R's and CD-RW's, but you can also CD-ROM's with (folders of) MP3's.
When burning your MP3 discs you can make folders up to 8 layers deep. There may be a maximum of 3.000 files on the disc in maximum 2.000 folders.
But you can also connect various types of USB storage devices with MP3 files on it. The type of source can be a USB memory stick, Apple iPod or USB card reader. The CDJ can only access 1 disc at a time but it offers the possibility to use virtually any Memory Card. Be aware that the reading speed of the card is import so you need to purchase 'fast' cards with short access time.
There is a maximum of 20.000 files MP3 files on the Memory Stick or Card. The CDJ can only read the first 10.000 folders.
Before placing your files in folders you need to consider how you are going to spread the files in folders. When you are mixing you don't want to spend a lot of time browsing to search files so make a clear system that works for you with as less folders as possible. Because reading all folders takes some time of the performance of the deck and cost a long time when the device is first connected.
If an Apple iPod is connected you can browse through the tracks on the iPod just like you would as if you browse the iPod itself. You can use all the features of the CDJ-400 just as you would play the tracks from a normal CD. Only the Fast Forward Search doesn't work perfect but this is due to the transfer speed of the iPod.
This dial is used for browsing through your files on a USB device or MP3 CD. By rotating it you browse a list of the files and folders that can be found on it. If you press the dial when a folder is selected, you will open this folder. Each click moves on position in the list forward or backwards.
To go back a level (up) you simply hit the BACK button that is located just above the Rotary Dial.
When the Rotary Dial is rotated during track playback nothing happens, you can set it to the next track you would like to play from that disc. Track playback starts when the Rotary Dial is pressed.
On the CDJ-400 there is a solid touch sensitive Jog Dial. This jog Dial is smaller but works according the same principles as that of it's bigger brothers : CDJ-800MK2 and CDJ-1000MK3.
The outer upstanding ring of the Jog Dial is used to make pitch corrections or pitch bends. Just gently rotate the jog without pressing the top part of the dial. When rotate clockwise you pitch up the track and rotating anti clockwise will result in a pitch decrease or slowing down of the track.
When Vinyl Mode is selected you gain all benefits of the Jog Dial and the top is the Touch Sensitive part. By pressing anywhere on it you can pause playing and start scratching the tracks. When the Touch sensor is activated the outer rim of the Jog Dial will be illuminated by red lights.
The Jog Dial is easily changeable by putting in your own design. The surface plate can be unscrewed with a tiny screwdriver (included). When removing the screws be careful as these tiny screws get lost very quickly.
After both screws are removed you can take off the transparent surface plate that protects that Jog Sheet. Standard is a semi transparent plate with a circular patters, just like on the CDJ-200 Jog Dial. With a graphical design program like Adobe's Photoshop you can create your own designs on the fly.
The standard Jog Sheet can be replaced by your own artwork or image. For a quick start when you want to create your own, I've made a template file (.PSD) which can be found in our Download section. Just paste your own artwork behind the mask and print it on normal paper. There is no need to use thick paper as it is harder to get in place and there is a solid transparent surface plate to catch all abuse. If there is a need for a deeper explanation of Photoshop you can request it in the comments.
After printing cut the paper as round as you can get near the outer part of the black stroke that goes around. Also cut out the gaps that are left white, this will make sure the paper does not rotate during use.
Last simple put back the surface plate (take care: the paint of the black ring at the outside needs to go down on the artwork) and tighten the screws. Do not use to much force !
The outer ring of the Jog Dial is illuminated red. The default setting is to mimic the animation of the center display of the CDJ800/1000. This is an illuminated circle with a spot that is turned off that rotates around when playback is started or the scratch is used.
Jog Illumination can be turned off or you can choose between 5 different patterns. To do so you need to enter the Utility Mode by pressing and holding the TEXT button (located to the left of the display) for a second. Rotate the Rotary Dial to select JOG ILLUMI and press it. You can now rotate the Dial to change patterns and press it to select on and exit the Utility Mode.
There is off course the default (bottom right in picture), a slightly illumination of the complete circle (top left), a spot that moves around (top right), or a spot followed by a fade out (bottom left).
There is one more special option and that's an animated one. I've tried to capture it as real as possible in this animation. All images are shot with a camera, in real this might look slightly different.
To enter the Utility Mode you need to press and hold the TEXT button (located to the left of the display) for a second. As said earlier, in this mode you can change the Jog Illumination type but also the MIDI channel and the Auto Cue Level.
You can change the Jog Illumination between 5 patterns and turn it off. All patterns are shown next to this topic.
The MIDI channel of the CDJ can also be changed between 0 and 16. This to make it possible to connect more than 1 CDJ to a MIDI chain.
By setting the Auto Cue Level you can change the level that Auto Cue uses to detect music. By lowering the Auto Cue Level you make the Auto Cue more sensitive, detecting a sound of a lower amplitude. Increasing the level will set the Cue Point to a higher level. Experiment with this to match your style of music.
With a USB connector you can connect the CDJ-400 to a computer. If you have PC mixing software installed you might be able to use the CDJ-400 as a controller for this software. A lot of manufacturers will support the CDJ-400 as a controller.
Pioneers own DJS DJ Mixing Software is fully supporting the CDJ-400 from release 1.300 (February 2008) so you can handle your software just like you would use a regular CD.
This means Musical Instrumental Digital Interface and is basically a language used by musical instruments to communicate. The CDJ-400 send out different MIDI message for all controls. The Jog Dial and Tempo slider end out variable messages, all others send a switch command ( OFF=0, ON=127). There is a complete overview of the exact MIDI mapping and message that are send in the back of the User Manual.
At the backside of the CDJ-400 there is also an USB connector, this one is used to connect to your computer and is used to send out the MIDI signals. When the CDJ-400 is connected to a PC that runs software which can be controlled via MIDI, it can act as interface. You can manually setup the software so it 'listens' to the right command of the CDJ-400.
From early 2008 the CDJ-400 will be supported by Serato Scratch Live. Also Pioneer's software DJS can be controlled from V1.5 onwards, this update is scheduled for January 2008.
For each song you play you can record one Cue Point or Loop in the internal memory bank of the CDJ-400. To use the Internal Memory you only use these two buttons: Memory/Delete and Cue/Loop Call.
To store a Cue Point or Loop first set the Cue Point or make (and playback) the Loop. Then press the Memory/Delete button to memorize this point or loop.
Once a track is selected and there is a memorized point for this track the Memory indicator will light up in the display.
Recall a Cue Point or Loop by pressing the Cue/Loop Call button when the Memory Indicator is illuminated when the track is selected. The CDJ will instantly go to the Cue Point or Loop, playback will only start if the CDJ is already in Play Mode.
There can only be stored a maximum of 10 Cue Points/Loops per CD for a maximum of 920 CD's in the Internal Memory
To make a safety backup or if you want to copy the all points stored in the Internal Memory you can use nearly every USB storage device as long as it's formatted FAT 32. To export or save your data to a USB device just follow these steps :
To import or load data from a USB device follow these steps. Be aware that loading Memory Point will replace all existing Memory Points. The point are not synchronized but replaced:
The Pioneer CDJ-400 has 6 build in effects: 3 Scratch Effects and 3 Jog Effects. The effects that will be activated depends on the setting of the Jog mode: CDJ or Vinyl.
Once an effect is selected the Jog Dial changes the parameter of the effect. The default position is set at 0 while most effects have both a positive and negative value. When you stop moving the Jog Dial, the parameter of the effect automatically returns to 0.
On the right of the effect selection buttons is the HOLD button. Activate the Hold function to hold the sound effects parameter from returning to 0. Now you can slowly and gradually change the sound of the effect you're using.
When Vinyl Mode is selected (and why would it NOT be) you can choose from the following Scratch Effects :
Bubble : performs a sound effect like the 'bubble' scratch. Sounds as a bubble under water sound
Trans : performs an automated Trans scratch, chopping the sound rapidly
Wah : performs Scratch effect like a guitar players wah pedal
Use the CDJ Mode to activate the Jog Effects, you change the parameter by rotating the Jog Dial. On screen you see the value in the display indicated as a progress bar :
Jet : Generates a flanger-like sound
Wah : Rotation left : Low Pass, rotation right : High Pass filter
Roll : When the Jog is touched a roll is performed, pitch is changed with the Jog Dial
The Roll is started when the upper part of the Jog Dial is touched. You can change the pitch of the Roll by rotating the Jog dial... but while you're doing this the track keeps on playing. As soon as you let go of the Jog Dial, the original sound gets back.
The Loop section of the CDJ-400 has a lot going on like Hot Loop, Loop Divider and Auto Beat Loop.
|Loop In / Hot Loop
|Loop Out /Out Adjust
|Reloop / Exit
|Auto Beat Loop -
|Auto Beat Loop +
|Use this button to set a Loop-In Point (so a Cue Point) on the fly without interrupting the playback.
When a Loop is played this button restarts the loop instantly from the Loop-In point: Hot Loop.
|After setting a Loop-In point you use this button to set the Loop-Out point.
If a Loop-Out point is set you can press the Loop Out button again (the Loop-In light will go out).
You can now change the Loop-Out point with the Jog dial. or the << and >> buttons.
|When a Loop is played this button is used to exit the loop. So playing onwards without returning to the Loop In point when the Loop Out point is reached.
The button will be illuminate, if pressed the CDJ instantly restarts the loop from the Loop In point.
|When pressed during regular playback this will set the Loop-In point and calculates the Loop-Out point for a 4-beat Loop. The Auto 4-beat Loop is activated repeated until Reloop/Exit is pressed.
During Loop Playback, hitting this + button divides the loop in a rhythmical way.
If this button is pressed and held down a rhythmical stuttering sound will be produced.
|The + button also starts an automatic 4-beat loop after it is pressed.
If a loop is divided with the - button, the + button will expand it again until full length.
If this button is pressed and held down a FAST rhythmical stuttering sound will be produced.
And off course there are the already familiar features that you will find on about any CDJ, DVJ or CMX product:
This is not what I did suspect..