Rekord Box is Pioneer’s digital answer to the vinyl cases that DJs used to lug around. In the fabulous old days of records, there would be a certain amount of prep that needed to be done in order for the DJ to rock up and blow away the crowd with their box of delights. Now, Mr DJ wouldn’t turn up at the club with his/her entire record collection because that would just be silly, and how many little helpers would be needed to cart all that around?
Instead, DJs would go through their collection picking out the tunes that would be appropriate for the night and arrange them either into set order, or mark up specific notes about the tracks, like ‘great vox’ or ‘big breakdown’, right down to BPM and key. With all this info and correct tunes chosen, they’d pack them into two or three ubiquitous record boxes, turn up to the gig and rock the discothèque. Pioneer have adopted this ideology — why would a digital DJ turn up to a gig with his entire hard drive of tunes, (potentially thousands of tracks) and then just hope that everything is sorted out, ready to play? In steps Rekord Box, a music management software application for preparation of a DJ’s digital music library.
Developed in conjunction with Mixvibes, who have been in the digital DJing game for 10 years, Rekord Box mimics the visual look of the Mixvibes cross browser window, and should be familiar for anyone that is au fait with the Mixvibes Cross DVS software.
It’s split into two main areas. At the top is the player window, and at the bottom is the browser window. The player window is designed to look like a CDJ player with play, cue, transport buttons, hot cue, loop and the track waveform display info all present and correct. The bottom section, or browser area, contains the main track library information labelled ‘collection’, and there is another, smaller navigation window to the left, which allows extra windows to be opened up in the main browser area. It also allows the user to choose which window becomes the main focal point in the browser section.
The collection window shows all the tracks that would make up a DJ’s collection in Title, Artist, Album and BPM order. There is quite a choice for the user to arrange tracks in any alphabetised manner. There is also a search window for quick searching.
The navigation buttons are on the left, and at the bottom of this panel is the info button. When a track is highlighted, hitting this button brings up the info menu. This is where more details can be accessed or inputted about the track itself and can be filled in to quite a detailed degree, with spaces for the genre, name of album, artist, year, BPM, label and extra comments. The colour of the track can also be selected here. This is another aid for the DJ to colour group a selection of tracks for easy identification. And just like in the good ole days of proper records, track artwork can also be viewed.
The bridge window opens up access to the iTunes library and playlists, and the look is identical. Tracks can then be dragged and dropped into the main collection window, analysed by Rekord Box, and then prepared with hot cues, loops and more.
Live and direct
Importing tracks from other media into the main collection window is as simple as using the import function in the file dropdown menu. Here, a single track, folder or playlist can be imported into Rekord Box. Moving tracks around onto a harddrive, USB stick, or any other storage media is pretty straightforward, too, as tracks can be dragged and dropped from one medium into another. This can be accessed via the device button, and allows DJs to move tracks out of the collection library, and onto the storage medium that will be taken to the club. The programme can also be hooked up directly into the CDJ2000, via the pro DJ link, and tracks can be accessed directly from the computer, with up to four CDJ players being connected at the same time.
The player window allows for more detailed preparation and manipulation of tracks. hot cue points, beat grid and loop points can be pre-programmed and edited specifically to each track. Extra cue and loop information can also be stored in the memory banks and then recalled using the call buttons on the CDJ player.
The main display shows track waveform and full track-time display. In the track time display area, the audio can be auditioned anywhere within the waveform. It works just like the new needle search feature on the CDJ2000. This is also where BPM information and track timing is displayed. The waveform display underneath this can be expanded or shrunk, just as in audio editing programs like Peak and Soundforge, so that more of the track waveform can be seen in precise detail. The audio can also be “scrubbed” backwards and forwards, just like it was a piece of vinyl.
Pioneer haven’t gone out to reinvent the wheel, but what they are trying to do with their new CDJ range and Rekord Box music management software is give the DJ multiple choices and alternatives as to how they approach preparation and performing, incorporating new technology and options that are on hand and available to use. At the moment, Rekord Box is only available for those who have purchased either a CDJ900 or the CDJ2000, but if it becomes available to the masses, it will allow all DJs to play a set just like they did when 1210s ruled the world.
|Ease of Use||4.0|
|Value for Money||N/A|
|Hype||A good way to prep and manage your tracks before turning up to a gig, if you’re using the new CDJs.|
|Gripe||Only available to those who have purchased the new CDJ Players.|
|Conclusion||A useful software tool that should make life for DJs using Pioneer’s kit a whole lot easier, especially when it comes to track management and set preparation.|