There's been a lot of talk about what kind of deck would be the replacement for the CDJ-800, so let's put the rumours to bed and open a can of hard facts for you to drink deep.
Pioneer have got their heads aimed squarely at the future of DJing, and have designed the CDJ-400 to be a workhorse deck for the digital DJ no matter what kind of source they use.
Audio and data CDs loaded with MP3s (VBR and CBR) are catered for, while the USB port accepts all kinds of external storage drives, from the humble USB memory stick to massive multi-gigabyte hard drives (fat32). Browsing through huge amounts of folders is made easier with the push-selection Rotary Scroll Wheel and Back Button, while the large dot-matrix display shows all the relevant track info with support for CD-Text and id3 tags.
One of the most exciting developments is the Midi control. All the buttons, sliders and even the jog wheel can spew out Midi data so that the CDJ-400 can be used to control software on a Mac or PC, including SSL and other DJ software. This comes hot on the heels of Serato's latest software update (see the story in this week's news section), which allows Scratch Live to be controlled over Midi, even without a time-code disk.
Speaking of the jog wheel, we can't help but notice the cool illuminated shade of red that circles the 115mm platter, and if plain and simple doesn't do it for you then there are six different patterns to choose from.
There's a whole new department of effects to explore, and Pioneer have staked their claim to the world's first 'Scratch Jog Effects'. These come into play when entering vinyl mode, and there are three types on offer: Bubble, Trans and Wah. Bubble is supposed to simulate a scratch technique and be great for spin backs; Trans is a kind of rhythmic transformer and cross-fader trick all in one; and the Wah effect is based on the classic Wah-Wah guitar sound.
Looping also gets a re-design with the new beat divide feature. This chops up loops with rhytmic precision, and remolds them with a new twist. To get a much clearer idea of what these sound like, check out our video online at djmag.tv, where we report from Pioneer House.
Hot Loop and Beat Loop are a bit more understandable on paper and are just the ticket for creating flawless four-beat loops and lining up a stack of cue points for triggering loops into the mix. But there is a completely new loop trick to play with that has to be seen and heard to believe.
The CDJ-400 looks like a winner, and actually comes in a bit cheaper than the CDJ-800, with initial pricing around £449.
It will be out in December, well in time for Xmas. Look out for the first review in these pages very soon.
PRICE : £449
CONTACT : pioneerprodj.eu