Gemini CDJ-700 Multi-Media Player w/MIDI Review
The latest and greatest CD deck from Gemini DJ Division is finally here after a pretty long wait. Introducing the Gemini CDJ-700 Multi-Media player with full MIDI Mappable capabilities. The Gemini CDJ-700 can play CD’s, SD cards, USB Mass Storage Devices, and it also boasts iPhone/iPod/iPad playback as well as being a fully MIDI mappable controller for computer DJ’s. The familiar Pioneer-CDJ-style layout makes it easy for veterans and beginners to pick it up and start playing right out of the box. Check out my full HD-Video review inside.
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
The new Gemini CDJ-700 is a Multi-Format media player with Midi control. The Gemini CDJ-700 is an excellent DJ Device that has lots of features and even more ways to play than most of the other competitor offerings on the market today. The Gemini CDJ-700 can play CD’s (MP3 or data discs can also be played), SD cards, USB Mass Storage devices, iPod/iPad/iPhone, and the CDJ-700 can also work as an all-out MIDI Mappable stand-alone controller able to function with almost any popular DJ software out on the market today. The Gemini CDJ-700 looks and feels somewhat like the industry-standard Pioneer CDJ-lineup and I think it’s an excellent marketing approach as the unit can now appeal to even more DJ’s who desire a similar overall feel and familiar layout for a lot less money. I'm not saying that you are getting the same exact quality or weight with the Gemini CDJ-700 that a DJ would get with the Pioneer CDJ offerings, but they do bear lots of striking similarities.
The Gemini CDJ-700 has a really nice Full-Color Touch-Screen display that is used for file navigation, BPM counting, and all the other information pertaining to the current file playback. The Full-Color Touch-Screen also displays a full wave-form of the track, the current Pitch Range (adjustable between 8, 16, 25, 50, & 100) percentage, the cue point locations and playback status.
The jog wheel has good resolution overall and the tension can be adjusted to make the feel of the wheel loose or tight depending on whether you are mixing or scratching. At the loosest setting, the CDJ-700 still felt somewhat tight when compared to competitor offerings which made it a bit difficult to complete faster scratches or other hip-hop juggling techniques. The CDJ-700 jog wheels are much more suited for mixing and beatmatching than for scratching and extended back-cueing.
In the middle of the Jog wheel, there is an LED display (Just like the Pioneer CDJ’s) which shows the record cue position and also lets you know loop status, jog wheel mode status, and playback status. The Jog wheel can operate in vinyl mode for scratching and direct manipulation or in jog mode where the platter is used to speed up or slow down the tempo of the track. The Gemini CDJ-700 also has a cool "Slip" button that, when activated, allows DJ's to manipulate the track in vinyl mode without losing the position of the forward-playing song.
The Gemini CDJ-700 also has a very healthy on-board feature set including all of the popular features that DJ’s can’t live without including loops, hot cues, sample banks, and effects right at the DJ’s fingertips. I am happy to report that the Gemini CDJ-700 works exactly the same whether playing music from a CD, SD card, USB flash drive, or as a MIDI controller working nicely with Traktor Pro 2 (tsi file available for download on the Gemini website). When the Gemini CDJ-700 is connected to a DJ software via MIDI Mode, every button, knob and fader is customizable except for the Jog wheel tension adjust knob. This makes it very easy to have the CDJ-700 customized to the DJ’s preference. For example, if you are a DJ who only uses Cue points and no loops, then you can make the loop buttons act as additional cue points.
The Gemini CDJ-700 Multi-Media player with MIDI control is the best CD turntable style deck that Gemini DJ Division has ever created. There are lots of features and different ways to use the device and I must admit that it’s pretty difficult to find faults, but there were a couple. The first gripe that I could find was the fact that it is made up of mostly plastic. The bottom of the unit has metal reinforcements throughout, but the unit overall is light in weight and not exactly up to the same standards of quality as the Pioneer CDJ Lineup, but the price difference is huge. That doesn’t mean that it will break, but it means users should take a little more care when transporting the decks. The other gripe that I found was with the actual jog wheel itself. The jog wheel’s tension can be adjusted, but even at its lightest setting, I found that it was still almost impossible to pull off very quick scratching techniques or juggling backcues. This is not a deck that specializes in scratching, but is more suited for mixing overall. Other than these issues, the Gemini CDJ-700 is a pretty high quality machine at a fantastic price.
Conclusion / Recommended For
In conclusion, The Gemini CDJ-700 Multi-Media Player with MIDI control is one of the most versatile CD tabletop decks on the market. There is something here for every style of DJ and it gives DJ’s the opportunity to switch between different setup and playback options. In this review alone, I have used the Gemini CDJ-700 as a MIDI controller with Traktor Pro 2, as a Digital Vinyl System CD timecode deck, and with Flashdrive, with an iPhone, and with an SD card for media playback. Throughout all of the testing The Gemini CDJ-700 performed well enough for a general recommendation to anyone looking for a CD Deck that can also play lots of other formats and act as a MIDI controller. We also recommend it to beginner DJ’s who don’t want to break the bank when purchasing a quality deck with lots of features. Or, it can work as an additional device for an established analog or digital DJ Setup.
Pros & Cons
- Full Color Touch-Screen Display
- Familiar Pioneer CDJ-Standard Layout
- Versatile Playback Options: CD, USB Mass Storage, SD Cards, and fully MIDI-Mappable
- Nice High-Resolution Touch-Sensitive Jog Wheels (Best for Mixing & Beatmatching)
- Good on-board Feature Set (Loops, Hot Cues, Sample Banks, Effects)
- Excellent Price (Great Value)
- Jog Wheel is too tight for Quick Scratching
- Mostly Plastic Construction
Features & Specs
Flexibility for the modern DJ.
The innovation behind Gemini’s new CDJ-700 focuses on two key elements of DJ performance: versatility and control. Due to the incredible variety of modern media, DJs can’t be restricted to a single format, so the CDJ-700 offers incredible flexibility, allowing playback from CDs, SD cards and USB memory devices in a variety of file formats (MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF). Plus, the CD slot, which features compatibility with CDs, CD-Rs and MP3 CDs, also boasts an amazingly quick load-time of just eight seconds!
More than a touch of innovation...
And when it comes to control, the CDJ-700 provides a new dimension of tactile command by incorporating the industry’s first touch-sensitive display screen. Now you can navigate between folders and tracks, adjust tempo and even set effect values using the same intuitive controls found on the world’s most popular media players and smart phones.
Feature-rich and user-friendly.
A large, high-resolution jog wheel with three selectable modes allows you to operate Cue, Scratch, Slip and Loop Adjust functions, while a display screen in the middle of the wheel indicates your mode, track position and slip position. And the jog wheel is painstakingly designed to offer super-accurate control with a completely natural feel. In fact, a Rotary Adjust feature lets you fine-tune the jog wheel’s resistance for a custom feel, whether you’re partial to stiff and heavy, light and loose or anything in between.
For ultra-precise beat matching, the Master Tempo mode enables tempo adjustment without changing the original pitch of the track; but if pitch manipulation is your thing, then feel free to tweak away with the Pitch Control fader.
Want more functionality? How about MIDI? Thanks to its MIDI capabilities, you can control the parameters of your favorite DJ software right from the unit and route your audio through its 24-bit/192kHz soundcard!
Creativity is so important when crafting your own original sound, which is why the CDJ-700 provides six DSP-powered effects with Dry/Wet level control. Additional functions like Pitch Bend, Hot Cueing, Reverse and Loop Sections, along with versatile BPM options, round out the collection of professional features that fully complement the CDJ-700’s user-friendly design.
For true connecting convenience, the unit includes line output jacks on the rear panel, along with a USB out for hooking up your computer. And a digital output (S/PDIF) allows you to plug into an external mixer or even interface with your favorite DAW and record without conversion. So let your imagination run wild! You can rest assured knowing the CDJ-700 will keep pace thanks to comprehensive features and outstanding audio quality.
Intuitive control at your fingertips.
By the way, did we mention the vibrant and convenient LCD touch screen display? Flexible control has never been so powerful, so effortless… and so touchable! Features like Time, Tempo, BPM, Track Select and even Effect Values can be controlled with the touch of a finger, bringing ease-of-use to an entirely new level.
Inspired by the latest technological trends, the CDJ-700 literally puts professional features and innovative design right at your fingertips.
Fast loading slot-in CD-ROM compatible with Audio CDs, CD-Rs, MP3-CDs
USB input for flash drive, plus SD card slot (SDHC compatible up to 32GB)
Full-color 3.5" TFT touchscreen with contrast adjustment and comprehensive waveform display
8" touch-sensitive jog wheel with LCD display and resistance control
Three selectable jog modes: Search / Pitch Bend / Scratch Effect with Slip Mode and Reverse
PC/Mac Audio I/O interface (up to 24-bit/192kHz)
MIDI capability for use as a software controller
Stereo RCA outputs and S/PDIF digital audio outputs
Six DSP-powered effects: Filter, Flanger, Echo, Wah, Trance and Bubble with wet-dry control
Three programmable Hot Cues for instant playback points
BPM functions including auto (sync), manual (tap) and BPM lock
Variable pitch control with six settings: +/- 4%, 8%, 16%, 24%, 50%, 100% and Master Tempo Control
Plays MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF formats
Seamless Loop with Reloop and Loop Adjust
Frame accurate search with buttons or jog wheel
Start/Stop time jog mode adjustment
Anti-shock using RAM buffer memory