Is The Pioneer CDJ-400’s Ability To Scratch Better Than Vinyl And Is It Still Relevant In 2015?

The Pioneer CDJ-400 is a humble beast point blank.  If you ask most Dj’s around, they’ll convincingly point out the main reasons why this old tech (by todays standards) is still being used in many home, studios and professional environments.

Pair of CDJ-400
Pair of CDJ-400 + Black DJM-300

I currently have 2 Pioneer CDJ-400

Pioneer DDJ-SX
Pioneer DDJ-SX

2 Pioneer DDJ-SX

Pioneer DJM-300
Pioneer DJM-300

Pioneer DJM-300 Mixer


Pioneer EFX-500

as digital/cd decks, effects, mixer… (DDJ-SX has built in mixer, 4 channels/decks, additional support to link CDJ-400 and external drives)

*More on these later in addition to me updating this post with photos*

Now I started off with these like 4 years ago and they are perfect for my quaint Brooklyn apartment.  After doing homework I found that they are actually better than the 800/1000’s that i was considering buying.  All of them were about the same cost.

What sold me was the slight save in cost, the good reviews and 3 main advantages:


  1. Has vinyl mode
  2. Has USB… thats the big winner
  3. Illuminated jog wheel


  1. Smaller Platter than CDJ-800/1000’s
  2. Pitch isn’t as accurate so you have to be on it if the tempo switches up
  3. No rekordbox (but i don’t think rekordbox was out then, so doesn’t count)

The USB was a huge draw and illuminated jog wheel.  I originally wasn’t interested in vinyl.  The 1000’s surprisingly didn’t have a USB, odd but ok.  That was a greedy move by Pioneer, to strip important feature so they could later be released on an updated model #bastards.  Can’t be mad, it’s business and the way the game is played.

So USB 2.0 in addition playing a cd’s was dope.  Funny thing is, I didn’t start using the USB till last year lol.  I was on some vinyl enthusiast equivalent, but instead of vinyl is was CD’s.  My choice had sound reason as it typically does.  CD’s are WAV files with a higher quality in sound compared to the compressed mp3’s.

Now most be able to tell the difference between the two unless strong attention is given and even then, its challenging.  Personally, the difference is so apparent it’s annoying and I can’t deal with it.  I’m more tolerable now and have alternative methods of improving the sound to bring it closer and even just as good WAV or AIFF files.

Vinyl Mode

Now I’m loving vinyl mode and scratching often even though.  I push these to the limit doing, stepping out the box and doing creative on the fly sh*t that’s kinda dope.

The mode is a higher pitch scratch that lacks imperfections of vinyl that we love.  It doesn’t have that warm scratching sound, draw but you can still rock that ish out.  Now there are still way to get a sound closer to vinyl but at the end of the day Vinyl is better. 

Gotta admit though, these sound amazing for a digital deck.  I actually like the scratching feel on these better than the newer DDJ-SX.  The platter is small, but i’m used to em’.  I wish they were larger, but with larger platters come heavier and bigger equipment, which means more space needed. 

At the end of the day, I’m so comfortable with what I have and don’t feel it necessary to get anything else.  The xperience between the 400 and SX are very different.  There is more warmth and a naturalness that the SX lacks.  The SX is a beast as well and what I can do on these is just sick… vids lata.

So many are able to rock the floor with less, it’s not what you have but how well you understand and rock it.

If you got these decks, let me know how they are working out for ya.  I’ll be putting up more info on these, repair tips, video’s of me going in to adjust something and more as things come up… Enjoy! – mrkuyateh

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