Using CD players with Serato DJ

 

Configuring your Setup

Whilst turntables output a phono-level signal, CDJs & Media players output a line-level signal, which is considerably louder. If you don't configure Serato DJ to accept the louder line-level signal you will encounter all sorts of problems, so make sure you complete this important step:

Interface (SL/DS1 boxes) users

  1. Connect the outputs of your CDJ/Media players to the inputs of your SL box as per normal.
  2. Flick the dip switches on the SL box to down for a line level signal.
  3. Finally, connect the outputs of the SL box to your Line or CD inputs of your mixer as per normal.

Mixer/Controller users

  1. Connect the outputs of your CDJ/Media players directly to CD/line input for your hardware. For the left deck use channel 1 or 2, and the right deck channel 3 or 4.
  2. If you have the option, (not all hardware will have this) set the input level switches on the back of the mixer to Line
  3. Start Serato DJ, and go to the Setup screen and click on the Audio tab. Configure the control source selection to match the mixer inputs you are using. For some hardware this is done in an external driver panel and not in Serato DJ: consult the user manual for your hardware if you're having a bit of trouble figuring this out. 

Calibration

Calibration is equally important for both vinyl and CD users of Serato DJ Although CDJ/Media players are not as susceptible as turntables to background noise, they can still be victims of vibration and other problems.

How to calibrate using CDs:

It is important to have music playing when you calibrate, however the CD deck you are calibrating must be paused or stopped. A good way to do this is to switch to Internal mode to play your music when you calibrate.

In Serato DJ's Setup screen click and hold the estimate button until the slider stops moving. Moving the threshold slider to the left will make Serato DJ more sensitive to slow control CD movement, but also more sensitive to background noise.

Things to remember:

  • The CD deck you are calibrating must be paused or stopped
  • The background music playing must be at a similar level to which you will play your set at.
  • You should calibrate Serato DJ every time you play, as you will be in a different environment each time.

Serato DJ DVS Modes 

There are 2 DVS modes in Serato DJ, all which will behave slightly differently with the CDJ/Media player.

ABS mode

To use the cue buttons and loops on the CDJ/Media player itself, Serato DJ needs to be set in absolute mode, which behaves like a real CD - i.e. following the absolute position of the track.

REL mode

The alternative to Absolute mode is Relative mode. This is the recommended mode to use with CD players. Relative mode doesn't take into account the absolute position of the control CD. This means you lose the functionality of the CDJ/Media player cues and loops, however, you gain much more functionality inside Serato DJ

INT/HID mode

You also have the option of using HID mode in Serato DJ, which allows you to control the virtual deck (when set to INT mode) via MIDI sent directly from the CDJ/Media player, no control CDs required.

HID mode is available if you are using one of the officially supported CDJs in HID mode i.e. the Pioneer CDJ-850 CDJ-900, CDJ-2000 etc (Supported CDJs are listed as 'Official Serato Accessories', here

 Setting up HID mode

HID mode requires a few extra USB ports because you'll be connecting the CDJs to your computer via the USB on the back of the player (no more setting up RCA cables) you will likely need a USB hub, we recommend an externally powered USB HUB for best performance. 

Once the CDJ is connected to your computer via USB and Serato DJ is open, press the link button on your CDJ/Media player

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Then press the scroll button to connect the CDJ/Media player to your computer

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You'll be given the option to select one of the virtual decks in Serato DJ that the CDJ will then control, push the scroll button in again to select the virtual deck. 

Once connected, you'll be able to browse your Serato library & crates using the dedicated controls on the CDJ and the song/library information will be displayed on the CDJ’s color screen. You'll also be able to use the dedicated controls on the hardware to control features in Serato DJ, refer to the quick start guide for the CDJ/Media player for more info on the specific controls the player has. 

Keylock / Master Tempo and CD player based effects

One thing to remember when using CDJs/ Media players with Serato DJ (all Digital DJ programs for that matter) is that the keylock (sometimes called master tempo) and effects on the player itself need to be disabled.

Remember - you are playing back the Control Tone with the player, not music, and it is vital that this Control Tone reach Serato DJ in an unmodified state (with the exception of pitch changes).

If you wish to use keylock or Pitch 'n Time DJ, use the one provided in Serato DJ  - click the musical note / Pitch 'n Time button to the left of the virtual deck to enable rather than using the keylock on the CDJ/Media player.

Conclusion

CDJs/Media players are a great compliment to your Serato DJ setup - just remember the following points and you should be good to go:

    * Select LINE as the input source when connecting.
    * Calibrate every time
    * The cues in Serato DJ will be more responsive than the cues on the CD player
    * Turn off CD player based effects or key lock.