The CDJ series of DJ CD players by Pioneer is arguably the standard of quality for DJ-ready CD players. The series comprises six models, two of which are discontinued. The series begins with the CDJ-100, continuing on to the CDJ-500II LTD, the CDJ-700S, the CDJ-800, the CDJ-1000, and the CDJ-1000MKII. The discontinued models are the CDJ-500II LTD, and the CDJ-700S.

For the purpose of clarity and brevity, I will include all of the generic features of the series with the first model, the CDJ-100, and entries for later models will only describe changes made to the unit.


This is the basic model of the CDJ series. It retails for around $280-$320 each.


Three built in effects: Jet, wah, and zip

One of the selling points of the CDJ100S CD deck is that there is a small number of digital effects built in. The jet effect is similiar to a flanger. The zip effect allows you to change the pitch of the track on the fly without changing the tempo. The wah affect allows you to increase or decrease the audio strength of different frequencies.

Slot in

The smooth action of the front CD slot allows quick changing of CD's. The load time is about four seconds.

Master Tempo

This allows you to change the tempo of a track without changing the pitch.

Quick Start

The track takes less than 0.01 seconds to start after pressing the play button, allowing for precise beat-matching.

Tempo Control

This feature allows you to change the range of the pitch fader from either -10% to +10%, or -16% to +16%.

Fader Start

This is the trademark feature of Pioneer CDJ equipment. This feature allows the DJ to start a track, or return it to it's cue point using the crossfader. This is done by an extra signal cord that is compatible only with the DJM series mixer. (Slight correction: Apparently Pioneer isn't the only company that offers this on their equipment. the Stanton SMX-211 mixer, at least, offers a fader start option, along with some American DJ mixers. Thanks mkb.)

Vibration-Proof Construction

This is another one of the reasons why the CDJ series CD player is the standard for Djing with CD equipment. Pioneer utilizes the same technology found in their car CD players to greatly reduce the chance of skipping due to vibrations. When you have several hundred thousand watts of speaker on either side of you when you're spinning cds, you'll be glad it's there.

I've opened up a Pioneer CDJ before, so I have a good idea of some of what's involved in this. The inside lip of the case is covered with a thin layer of foam cushioning to absorb vibration, while the CD mechanism itself is set up with rubber washers, and an almost "floating" type of design to help keep the CD stable.


Size: 8-9/16" x 3-3/4" x 12-1/4"

Weight: 4lbs, 14oz (2.2 kg)

Disc Type: Compact Disc (5 inch/3 inch)

Digital Filter: 18 bit x 8 Oversampling

Frequency Response: 4Hz to 20kHz

Line Out: RCA PIN

Audio Output: 2.0 volts

Power Requirements: AC 120V, 60Hz

Power Consumption: 12 watts


This CD player was a limited edition, and is now discontinued. It can apparently still be bought, at a price ranging from $450-$600 each. I own two of these, and they do indeed kick ludicrous amounts of ass.


This CD player drops the digital effects of the CDJ-100 in favor of the ability to loop tracks. The short loop function allows the DJ to loop short measures, phrases and beats, while the long loop allows one to loop up to 10 minutes of uninterrupted music. The other difference between the CDJ-500 and the CDJ-100 is that all the controls, as well as the CD bay, are top mounted, to closer approximate the feel of vinyl djing. The ability to change the pitch fader range has also been removed.


Disc Type: Compact disc (5 inch/3 inch) (It will also play CD-R and CD-RW in my experience)

Frequency Response: 4Hz to 20kHz

Signal to Noise ratio: 106 dB or more

Dynamic Range: 96 dB or more

Total Harmonic Distortion: less than 0.0004%

Channel Separation: 96 dB or more

Line Out: RCA PIN

Audio Output: 2.0 volts

Power Requirements: AC 120 V, 50/60 Hz

Power Consumption: 19 watts

Net Weight: 9lbs 1oz (4.1kg)


This unit has been discontinued as well. It retails in a range from $500 to $700.


This CD player is exactly the same in function as the the CDJ-500II, except a couple of design tweaks were made to reduce the size and weight of the unit. The jog dial is placed directly on top of the CD bay, as opposed to below it as is the case with the CDJ-500II.


Disc Type: Compact Disc (5 inch/3 inch)

Frequency Response: 4Hz to 20 kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio: 106dB or more

Dynamic Range: 96 dB or more

Total Harmonic Distortion: Less than 0.0004%

Channel Separation: 98 dB or more

Line Out: RCA PIN

Audio Output: 2.0 volts

Power Requirements: AC 120 V, 50/60 Hz

Power Consumption: 17 watts

Net Weight: 5 lbs, 12 oz (2.6 kg)


This CD player begins the "Digital Vinyl Turntable" line of CDJ units. This distinction is characterized by a choice of two options of jog dial configurations, one for regular CD play, and one that closely emulates vinyl djing, adding the ability to scratch, wind up and wind down tracks, and even the ability to perform a backspin. The CDJ-800 retails for around $550-$650. Unlike the CDJ-500 and 700, this CD player is front-loading.


Quick Return

This allows the DJ to return the track to the cue point by pressing the surface of the jog dial.

Jog Dial

The jog dial has an LCD display embedded in the center, showing the position of the track with 1/135 sec accuracy, along with the position of the cue point.

Instant Reverse

This button allows the DJ to reverse the direction of the track instantly, with no loss in pitch or tempo.

Vinyl Speed Adjust

When playing in vinyl mode, this allows the DJ to adjust the wind up and wind down speed of his tracks. This can be combined with the Instant Reverse feature to create a backspin effect.

Auto Beat Loop

There are four buttons for this function, allowing you to automatically set either a one, two, four or eight beat loop.

Beat Cutter

This function allows you to cut manual loops into one, two, four, and eight beat loops.

Wide Pitch Control

The DJ can set pitch settings ranging from -100% to +100%, allowing for some really, really out there track selections. So, anyone up for some speedcore mixed with some Simon and Garfunkel? Thought not. (If anyone out there actually manages to pull this one off, /msg me and I will personally start a religion in your name.)


Disc Type: CD, CD-R, and CD-RW

Frequency Response: 4Hz to 20 kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio: 115 db or more (JEITA)

Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.006% (JEITA)

Audio Output: 2.0 volts

Power Requirements: AC 120 V 60 Hz

Power Consumption: 21 watts

Net Weight: 8.6 lbs

CDJ-1000 and CDJ-1000MKII

Now *THIS* is one mouth-wateringly sexy piece of hardware. This CD player was featured at the Innovations Fair at Epcot Center, and if there is any piece of equipment in the world that is a technological equal to the Technics 1200 series, this would be it. However, at a price tag of $950-$1,200 for the CDJ-1000, and $1,050 to $1,300 for the CDJ-100MKII, you're looking at a serious investment. While the Auto Loop and Beat Cutter have been lost, it retains the Digital Vinyl features of the CDJ-800, and this unit more than makes up for the loss of the auto loop with other features.


Multimedia Card

Oh dear sweet Jebus, this feature rocks.

The CDJ-1000 series CD player comes with a slot that fits a removable memory card. This card can be used to store wave data, cue points, or loop points. When combined with the CDJ-1000's ability to utilize THREE different cue points, each accessible at the touch of a button, you're looking at some major creative potential.

The only difference between the CDJ-1000 and the CDJ-1000MKII is that the MKII comes with a memory card, while the CDJ-1000 does not.

Hot Cue

Unlike the other models of CDJ units, the CDJ-1000 has up to three programmable cue points, stored on either the unit's internal memory or the multimedia card.

Tempo Control

When the pitch fader is set at -6%/+6%, the accuracy of the pitch fader readout is in increments of 0.02%.

Tempo Control Range

The pitch fader can be set to the following increments: -6%/+6%, -10%/+10%, -16%/+16%, -24%/+24%.

Tempo Control Reset

At the touch of a button, you can reset the pitch fade to 0.0%.

CD Lock

This disables the eject button until the track is paused or stopped.


Disc Format: CD, CD-R, CD-RW

Frequency Response: 4Hz to 20kHz

Signal to Noise Ratio: 115dB or more

Total Harmonic Distortion: 0.006 (EIAJ)

Audio Output: 2.0 volts

Power Requirements: AC 120 V 60 Hz

Power Consumption: 33 watts

Net Weight: 16 lbs 9 oz


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