How to start DJing? The CDJ from Pioneer

Before we start this article, let me be honest with you. I will not be 100% objective of this article. For me, the CDJs represents the ultimate object to have and to master for a DJ. This is the tool that tells you to have a professional level. Or at least the requirement for starting to be a professional. For me, this is the top of the ladder, the ultimate goal. These turntables represent an accomplishment, both in terms of skills and money that I have not reached yet. So welcome to this article: How to start DJing – The CDJ from Pioneer.

Person mixing on CDJ

What are the CDJs?

The CDJs are a series of turntables made by Pioneer. They started their production in 1994 to become the iconic brand that every well-known DJ uses nowadays. With their recognizable design and a focus on CDs when vinyl was more appreciated by the time, Pioneer led the market of turntables. They left other competitors such as Denon and Gemini far away behind.

All in all, the CDJs are the reference for turntables for all the big festivals and clubs. They are used everywhere. So this is why I am making this article today.

The difference between the CDJs and other types of turntables?

As I said, CDJs are used by all the great DJs in the world. So there are not just mixing tools. These are more than that. But, let us understand why.

We need to refer to the marketing of Pioneer to understand that. 

Pioneer has managed to place their logo everywhere on their products. They can be seen while we are dancing, as well as when we are watching DJ sets. It seems that we are surrounded by the brand when we are partying. In our imagination, it created a particular association. Pioneer means parties. Pioneer means quality, and Pioneer means being a great DJ.

The difference between the CDJs and other turntables is that they are linked to our imagination. 

You can have almost the same results with any DJ tool in terms of mixing. Maybe you will not have special effects, but all in all, you can do the same transitions. So why do people buy more than the necessary stuff? Well, this is for the feeling they provide. And CDJs affords the feeling of being one of the best DJs in the world. Other brands do not.

Man mixing on a boat

Can you afford them?

I have constantly been blocked by the fact of affording DJ material. We do not spend 5 000€ on DJ equipment in my family, and this is a rule. But what about this rule when you really love to mix, and you want to experience CDJs?

Well, here are three pieces of advice I can give you on this one that I painfully learned through the year.

First, can you look for CDJs somewhere else?

The first time I had the opportunity to mix on CDJs was when I moved to Linköping, Sweden. They had a place with studios and a DJ booth where I could train. There, they had 2 CDJs 2000, and it cost me 30€ per month. I did not need to spend 5 000€ euros to get all the pieces of equipment.

Second, can you start a business?

Imagine that you start a DJ business, and then you get several hundreds of dollars per gig. It would make sense for you to invest in great material, wouldn’t it? The more material you have, the more you can charge, and the better will be your parties. So this is also a way to get your CDJs by starting your own business.

Third, are there other alternatives?

Pioneer has other types of controllers that look like a perfect set of CDJs. They are slightly different but pretty similar. By buying those, you will manage to train as if you had normal CDJs. Then, you will have the necessary skills.

We are half-way through our article: How to start DJing – The CDJ from Pioneer.

Dj mixing in a club with CDJ

Why are you going to be a real DJ with them?

As said previously, CDJs are the standard of the industry. You can find them in all the clubs and festivals. All the top DJs are using them. So you can only enter a club with a pair of USB keys and your music and start playing. Isn’t that great? 

Yet, to be a complete DJ, you would need to know to mix on vinyl and on a controller, but CDJs are the standard. This is the pro-language. This is the openness to an international world, to a standardized world. This is why I believe it will make you a real DJ.

But hey, it does not mean it will make you a great DJ.

The difference between the CDJs and other turntables?

Let us be honest on this one. Pioneer is not the most innovative firm out there. Denon is way better than Pioneer. Denon products have more functionalities available. For less than the CDJ price, you will have more.

Also, you can do everything a CDJ does with just a controller. So again, this is not about the functionalities, this is all about marketing. This is about the meaning of these turntables. This is about the feeling they provide.

Here is the difference compared to other turntables. 

Pair of turntable pioneer

The advantages of playing on CDJ 

Here is a personnal list of advantages and disadvantages in this article How to start DJing – The CDJ from Pioneer.

The advantages of mixing on CDJS for me are to feel that you are in the game. You are a professional now. This is the big bath, and you know how to swim. You can pretend, and you can say that you have spent tears to be part of.

From now on, you can work on your skills and your style and trace your way.

As a rite of passage, playing on CDJs means that you have achieved something. Either monetary or professional.

The disadvantages of playing on CDJ

The price. They are way too expensive. They are like a luxury tool and are hard to reach for anyone. Yet, I dreamt of having them for a long time. But I will not buy them because they seem like a useless pricey tool that no one needs if you are not mixing professionally.

So right now, as long as I do not want to make my DJ career evolve, I will wait to buy it, and one day maybe, when I will be financially comfortable, why not.

DJing on a pair of CDJ

My opinion on this

In my opinion, you should try to buy a controller, learn how to mix on a controller like you would mix on a CDJ and then, find a place where to practice on CDJs.

There is no need (except if you have the money) to invest in tools that we are not sure we would use. So do not lose your money. Lose tears of sweat, and then you will see if this is what you truly need.

Then, maybe start a business, invoice your gigs, or organize events. Once your business is doing good, it will be time to think about investing in yourself and maybe get those CDJs. 

Having a business can also help you set your goals up and work your ass off for that. And that is not a bad thing.

Ok, the article is finished. I hope you liked it. Do not hesitate to comment if you have anything to add.


I hope that you like our article How to start DJing – The CDJ from Pioneer. If you would like to continue, we also have the article on how to start DJing with Vinyls and how to start DJing with controllers.