Even beginner DJs know that Pioneers CDJs have always and continue to be the best CD decks around. Time and time again other DJ equipment manufacturers have tried to come up with a competing product but nothing quite matches the quality of Pioneers CDJs. Even ten years on Pioneer are creating club standard CDJ decks that put the competition to shame. The CDJ900 is a mix between the CDJ-800MK2 and the CDJ-1000mk3. At the time of writing the CDJ 2000 is out so this sits somewhere under that too, providing most of the basic functionality without the extra features most DJs won’t use.
The CDJ-900 enables playback of MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF audio files on CD and USB memory devices. This is one of the key things the CDJ900 has over the CDJ 1000 – USB support built in. At the top of the unit is a USB input for use with a memory card or a USB hard drive. The quality and finish of the case are of an extremely high standard. The jog wheel is almost identical to the other CDJs out there with a tough casing covered in a soft rubbery material. The information screen at the top has been doubled in size to provide more info and is now tilted slightly to provide a better view. The size of the deck is about the same as other CDJs on the market so should fit your flight cases just as well.
Setting up the unit is a snap. There’s a limited amount of outputs on the deck making it stupidly easy to connect it to a mixer and to start DJing in seconds. There’s a few different ways you can playback music on the CDJ-900, use CDs or a USB memory card/Hard Drive and there’s even the ability to link two CDJ-900s together and play and browse files from a single USB device. This comes complete with waveform data and other track information.
The standard controls are as good as they have ever been with the metal play/pause and cue buttons located in the lower left having a nice feel to them and the plastic search buttons being just as nice. The pitch slider is often considered one of the best in the market and the CDJ-900 doesn’t disappoint by being practically identical to other CDJs on the market with a smooth slide. As we mentioned the screen is now larger and tilted. This now gives you a better view for file and track navigation as well as being able to see the waveform during playback. All navigation is done with a big navigation knob next to the screen. You can sort tracks on the device as well as search through albums, artists, track numbers and more.
The touch sensitive jog wheel everyone already knows is the best out there but the CDJ-900 is even better. Whether you are a scratch DJ who prefers the feel of vinyl or a digital DJ this wheel will perform brilliantly for you. For vinyl DJs it performs as close to vinyl as possible whilst offering more control for digital DJs. The scratch emulation remains very good and very accurate so scratch DJs need not worry. You can control the start up time and brake time of tracks with the vinyl speed adjuster to give you that truly authentic feel.
So why would you pick the CDJ-2000 over the CDJ-900? It all depends what you want from the deck and what you want to spend. The CDJ-2000 is nearly $600 more expensive and apart from a few finishing touches it has a full colour screen that can display graphics, a better and larger screen, SD Card Slot, Hot-Cut buttons, needle search, jog wheel adjustment controls to change the tension of the jog wheel, DVD playback and a few other features for the more technical DJs out there.
The CDJ-900 does the basics and more but is missing these higher end features but at the end of the day are you really going to miss them? If you are buy a CDJ-2000 but for most DJs, even professional club DJs the CDJ-900 will do everything they need and more.