Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000 Review & Guide

It’s finally here, your first look at the Pioneer CDJ 3000!

It’s been four long years since Pioneer DJ updated their flagship CDJ. The range has dominated the professional DJ market for over a decade, found in almost every DJ booth around the world. That said, the market place has changed since the CDJ 2000 Nexus 2 was released. And DJ’s have eagerly awaited Pioneers response to its rivals, in particular Denon DJ’s SC5000 & SC6000 models. With these two rival players on the market and an eager industry awaiting what Pioneer DJ drop, have they done enough with the new CDJ-3000 to make it worth the wait? Let’s find out!

Pioneer DJ CDJ-3000

What’s New On The Pioneer CDJ 3000?

All New Multi-Processor Unit

Pioneer DJ claim the new processor at the heart of the CDJ 3000 is the most powerful of any player currently on the market. This enables many of the 3000’s new features and advanced audio processing. The processor also means Pioneer DJ can also bring new features to the device via updates.

Better Sound Quality

Pioneer DJ has carefully tested each part of their audio circuitry and redesigned its components to achieve the best sound possible. With a new DAC (digital-to-analogue converter) onboard, the new CDJ-3000 processes audio at 96 kHz/32-bit floating across every file format. This basically upscales the sound quality of any audio file you play on this player to provide the best listening experience!

The new processor at the heart of the CDJ-3000 also enables advanced audio processing. Features such as the all-new key sync and key shift heavily rely upon the powerful onboard technology.

Simply put, this is the best sounding deck Pioneer DJ has ever produced! And it is capable of manipulating audio in more creative ways than ever before.

CDJ-3000Back

New Performance Features

  • 8 Hot Cues
  • Dedicated Beat Jump Buttons
  • Polyrhythmic Looping
  • Dedicated 8 Beat Loop Button
  • Key Sync
  • Key Shift

The new CDJ-3000 is built around performance and as such feature new hardware controls for popular performance features. Most notably, the eight new hot cue buttons are now placed horizontally below the display. 

Dedicated beat jump buttons now allow the DJ to skip through the track perfectly in time with the ability to jump between 1/2, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, or 64 beats. The CDJ-3000 now includes an 8-Beat Loop button. Odd value loops can also be activated via the display to create polyrhythmic patterns.

Finally, a new Key Sync button will shift the key of a track to match that of the master deck harmonically. The onscreen key shift buttons also allow for manual key shifting, a first for the CDJ range!

CDJ Beat Jump

9″ Touch Screen Display

  • 9-inch touch display (swipeable, but not multi-touch)
  • Shortcuts to beat loop, key shift & beat jump controls
  • Stacked Waveforms
  • Touch Cue
  • Touch Preview
  • New Shortcut buttons ‘Play List & Search’
  • Customisable columns
  • 3-Band EQ Waveforms

Dominating the new CDJ-3000, the new 9-inch touch screen is bigger, brighter and clearer than any screen fitted to a CDJ before. Perfect for day time events, the new screen is 150% brighter than the older Nexus 2 model. The increased size has also allowed Pioneer DJ to display more information to the DJ and provide shortcuts to loops, beat jump and key shift.

The layout of the new CDJ 3000 will feel instantly familiar to CDJ users with the added benefit of being able to customise the browse window to suit individual needs. Swipe through large playlists and even preview tracks directly from the browse window by touching on the waveform. 

stacked waveform

The waveforms on this new display are now larger with full support for the new three-band waveforms first seen in Rekordbox 6. We found the resolution of the new waveforms a little disappointing given the size of the new display. That said, the new stacked waveform view is a welcome addition. 

Finally, DJ’s now have the ability to preview the currently playing track in their headphones without the crowd hearing anything. Called touch cue, the system allows DJ’s to touch the overview waveform of a playing track and preview that section in their headphones. Perfect for back to back DJ sets or listening for when a vocal drops! This currently works with mixers featuring a link cue option.

Improved Build Quality

  • Aluminium Faceplate
  • Redesigned Cue, Play and Hot Cue Buttons
  • New Jog Wheels With Centre LCD Display

With a new aluminium faceplate, the CDJ 3000 features redesigned Play and Cue buttons that are stronger than previous models. The jog wheels now feature a high-resolution central display, a new bearing system for smooth operation and the reduced latency for the tightest of scratching. Possibly the smoothest and lightest jog wheels we have ever used, they feel very close to the capacitive models found in modern controllers.

The overall build quality comes as no surprise with a familiar ‘Pioneer feel’ throughout. The CDJ 3000 even retains the notch on the top plate where the CD drive would usually be found, an odd design choice given the lack of an optical drive in the new players.

CDJ-3000 Angle

Connectivity

The new Gigabit Ethernet connection inside the CDJ 3000 enables higher data transfer speeds between Pro-Link devices. The new port enables playback and sharing of audio files from USB devices and SD cards on up to six CDJ-3000 units with rapid performance. Thanks to this and the new MPU inside the players tracks with all 8 hot cues set and multiple memory points now instantly load upon selection. No more waiting around for each hot cue to load!

There is now a lockable power cable to stop any unwanted disconnections, plus a digital output and RCA output on the back alongside a USB 3 for connecting to a laptop.

Rekordbox DJ

The Pioneer CDJ-3000 can be connected to Rekordbox DJ on your laptop via the USB 3 port on the back of the player. Being a ‘hardware unlock’ device, you won’t need a subscription to access the software.

Serato DJ Pro

You will be able to connect Serato DJ Pro via HID mode in the future, however, this is not supported upon release.

Rekordbox iOS App

The Rekordbox iOS app on mobile can be directly connected to the CDJ-3000’s. This allows DJs to play music directly form their mobile.

Pro DJ Link

Pro DJ Link still works with Rekordbox in export mode, for any users currently using a LAN setup.


How much is the Pioneer CDJ-3000?

Pioneer CDJ 3000 price: $2299 / £2169 / €2399


Streaming on the CDJ-3000’s?

As it stands, streaming on the CDJ 3000’s will have to be done using a laptop running Rekordbox DJ. Currently, there is no inbuilt wifi, internet or streaming. However, Pioneer DJ’s hinted the new MPU inside each player allows easier updates in the future. Hopefully, onboard streaming isn’t too far away!

Do the CDJ 3000’s have dual-layer mode?

Naturally, everyone in the DJ industry was waiting to see if Pioneer DJ were going to match Denon DJ by adding dual layers. Meaning a DJ can play and control two songs from one deck. Unfortunately, it looks like Pioneer DJ have stuck with just one layer per deck.

How does the CDJ3000 compare to the Denon SC6000?

The most anticipated question upon the CDJ3000’s release, how does it compare to the flag ship offering from rival Denon DJ. Both players are built for the next generation with multi core processors and large touch screens. However there are striking differences in regards to performance features and online capability. To learn all the differences between the two flagship players, read our dedicated guide here.


Our Thoughts

The CDJ 3000 is a very welcome update to the range. An update long time users will be happy to play on. Built to address the older units flaws, the new build quality oozes quality. Sure, it’s not the technological marvel that truly rivals the Denon SC6000 players but it never really could be.

Pioneer DJ has to put its existing clients first, as a radical departure from what’s familiar to artists worldwide wouldn’t be appropriate.
Overall, this is a cold and calculated move by Pioneer DJ. The new processor and the promised firmware updates give potential buyers hope for better things to come. With notable features such as streaming and internet connectivity not yet available.

Given the time Pioneer DJ has had to develop the CDJ, we were slightly underwhelmed by the lack of innovation at first. However, as long time CDJ users we are happy with the updates made and are looking forward to future updates promised by Pioneer DJ.

This player isn’t for everybody; it’s clearly aimed at the highest level of DJ and the people responsible for equipping the best DJ booths in the world. And for those users, this is a worthwhile upgrade and one we personally look forward to playing on in the future. If you’re looking for a home setup to match these new CDJs but at a much more suitable price point then we recommend looking at the Pioneer XDJ XZ.

Video Review & Guide

Pioneer CDJ 3000 DJ Performance

Check out our DJ mix on the new CDJ-3000 here…

 

Published: 10th September 2020

RRP € 2399 / $2299 / £2199
★★★★

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