Gemini CDJ-700 Multi-Media Player w/MIDI Review

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Overview

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.

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Review Video & Demo

Unboxing Video

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.

Features

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

  • 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)

Cons

  • Jog Wheel is too tight for Quick Scratching
  • Mostly Plastic Construction

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