A Precious Gem – The Gemini CDJ-700

In my wrap-up article for the 2012 NAMM Show, I remarked that Gemini’s new CDJ-700 is similar in both name and appearance to Pioneer’s celebrated line of CD players, and that this similarity was likely to attract many new customers to the Gemini brand, along with a much more economical price point. Most people’s assumption, however, would be that the similarities between the Pioneer and Gemini products end at their name and appearance, and to truly compare the two would be like comparing apples and oranges. They would be very, very wrong.

Gemini’s CDJ-700 does everything I want a CDJ to do, and more. The basic CDJ functionality is fully intact, with all the expected controls: play/pause, cue, vinyl/jog, a pitch fader with a key lock, three hot cues, loop controls, track selection, and track search. The CDJ-700 also includes reverse play, start time adjustment, stop time adjustment, jog wheel tension controls, and slip mode. Slip mode is a great feature to have because it allows the track to keep playing in the background while you scratch or engage loops, so that when you stop scratching or exit the loop, the track immediately returns to where it should be if you had not done anything at all. This allows you to get creative without ever straying from the beat.

The CDJ-700 also has some pretty cool effects built in. My personal favorite is the filter, which can be controlled with the jogwheel. Turning clockwise creates a hi-pass filter, and counterclockwise creates a lo-pass filter. The size of the jog wheels gives you much better control over the filtering than the little knobs most of us are used to. The CDJ also includes a time-adjustable flanger effect as well as echo and three more effects (wah, bubble, and trance gate) which are accessible by switching the unit to vinyl mode. Having onboard effects on the CDJ is great, because it makes me miss using Traktor less when DJing without a laptop. I’m the kind of guy who simply must have his effects, and Gemini certainly delivers here.

One really cool feature of a CDJ with such a low price is its versatility with different media. The CDJ-700 can play not just CDs but USB sticks, USB hard drives, and SD cards. It can also hook up to a laptop and not only provide full MIDI control for DJ software, but also a built-in ASIO soundcard for playback of laptop audio! During one set, I used the CDJ-700 for CD playback, USB playback, SD playback, CD timecode control of Traktor, and MIDI control of Traktor without ever having to stop and adjust cables. Four simple buttons let me do those previously complex equipment transitions quickly and flawlessly without missing a beat. CDs load within a matter of seconds and the support for different formats is pretty robust (CDs, CD-Rs, MP3 CDs, MP3 files, WAV files, AAC Files, and AIFF files).

The CDJ-700 also sports a flashy full-color 3.5” touchscreen, the first touchscreen featured in the CDJ market. Touch controls over effects, track playback location, pitch fader range, time elapsed vs. time remaining, and many more parameters are easily manipulable with a simple touch. The screen also gives a complete waveform readout, and makes browsing through CDs and USB storage incredibly easy.

In all my time gigging with the CDJ-700, I never once felt like this unit was lacking in any critical feature.  In fact, I don’t think there’s a CDJ on the market with a more comprehensive feature set – even the Pioneer CDJ-900 and CDJ-2000 are lacking in some of the Gemini’s most prominent features. The CDJ-900 does not feature SD card support, a full-color screen, tension adjustment, or separate start/stop time adjustments. The CDJ-2000 does not feature slip mode, and while it does have a larger 6.1” screen, it does not have touch functionality. Neither of these units includes any built-in effects, which I greatly enjoyed in the Gemini unit. The only real advantage the Pioneer units have over the Gemini is the ability to link together multiple CDJs and the integration with the proprietary Rekordbox. The solution to the “problem” of unlinked CDJs? Either pay $2,000 to replace your CDJ-700s with Pioneers or pay $20 to buy a second USB stick.

While deciding which CDJ to buy usually involves a tradeoff between different feature sets and price points, this problem can be avoided altogether with the CDJ-700. Not only does this masterwork from Gemini have one of the most robust lists of features in the CDJ market, it also has one of the lowest prices. Anyone who says these bad boys can’t compete with their twice-as-expensive Pioneer lookalikes has clearly had a bit too much of the Pioneer kool-aid. Combining all the best features into one sleek, sexy, and inexpensive package, the Gemini CDJ-700 ($599 USD) provides everything you need to be entirely satisfied with your selection of CDJ.

By | 2016-12-02T15:20:13+00:00 March 12, 2012|Reviews|20 Comments
  • DJ J-Foxy

    The Pioneer CDJ2000 is $1800, that’s insane. I have been really thinking about getting a pair of the Gemini CDJ700’s. This article pretty much hit everything on the head. I’m getting a pair, thx.

  • escapemcp

    Yeah, they are great an all that, but worried about Gemini’s rep. What is the build quality like?? I am really hoping they are built to last, but it isn’t mentioned anywhere. This is what CDJs should cost, not $1800. This could get interesting.

    • Kevy Kev

      Gemini has a bad rep for sure, but I think they may have nailed this one. The new line of Gemini products are not bad. And yes, a CDJ should cost $599, not $1800. That’s frickin crazy.

    • DJ Lumo

      The build quality is pretty solid. It doesn’t feel flimsy at all, it’s got a great heft to it and the jogwheels feel sometimes even better than I’ve seen on some Pioneers. I was mega-impressed.

  • pure EDM

    Pioneer is crazy! But hey, people are buying the CDJ-2000 and it’s the industry standard. The Gemini CDJ-700, well let’s just say the jury is still out. I’m hoping for a great experience with the CDJ-700. I ordered 2 based on this review.

    • DJ Mikey Man

      Who are you going to purchase the 700’s from?

      • pure EDM

        Pro Sound and Stage Lighting, pssl.com. Should have them today, $1200. Rush delivery.

        • DJ Mikey Man

          Good choice choosing PSSL.COM
          They have a great costumer service.

        • DJ Mikey Man

          Did you receive your 700’s from PSSL.COM?

    • DJ Lumo

      Let us know how you like them! And if you find any triumphs or faults that I missed, I’d love to hear them.

  • DJ Mikey Man

    I wanted to buy a pair of the CDJ-2000 Pioneer units but the price is way to steep for my pockets so i anxiously waited for the arrival of the Gemini 700’s and bought myself a pair a few weeks back from Musiciansfriend and totally i have become a Gemini fan again. The 700’s have rocked and performed without any glitches at 7 straight DJ events. The features are endless and now I am waiting for there CDMP-7000 release.

    • Pete Knocks

      I have been hearing about the CDMP7000. It’s like 2 CDJ700’s and a mixer. I think it will blow the Numark Mixdeck away. I picked up 2 CDJ700’s myself. I’m totally into these joints. Yeah, $3600 for 2 CDJs, that’s just nutz, come on. Pioneer has a huge marketing push for everything they do, just throw money on it, done. Gemini needs some serious marketing/promoting of the CDJ700, get the word out. Look out CDJ2000.

    • DJ Lumo

      Got to play with the CDMP 7000 at NAMM. The thing rocks! But only if you’re into all-in-one units. I tend to go for the modular system myself, but every DJ’s preferences are unique!

  • DJ Mikey Man

    Time to get over the bad rep issues of Gemini’s past history. They have been in business for 37 years and every company has there ups and downs. Gemini has been on the up for the past few years and making great strides to being a great alternative to Denon and Pioneer. Take the 700’s out for a test and you will see for yourself that Gemini is very serious about there products…

    • Pete Knocks

      I did my 1st gear with my CDJ700’s 2 weeks ago. The club actually removed the CDJ2000’s so that I could rock with my CDJ700’s. Flawless, no issues at all. Yeah, Gemini has been steady for a couple years now. They need a big boy DJ mixer now.

  • DJ Mikey Man

    My CDJ-700’s are amazing. Use them 4-5 times a week and have no issues.

  • JD

    What mixer do you use with your cdj 700’s?

  • Shaun

    I have nothing bad to say about these CDJs. They give you the best of both worlds and while they have small imperfections, they are only minor.

    Just in case you stumbled across this and are trying to get them to work with NI Traktor without much luck….. it took me all day. Here’s the steps for an imac.

    1. get them recognised as midi instruments. This should happen automatically. Go to utilities/ midi and see if they are there. If they are you want to also use an external mixer and this is what took me most of the day. Create an aggregated device and pick both CDJs. Choose quadrifonic and choose the first two channels then the next to on the other CDJ. You know effectively have a 4 channel output, 2 for each CDJ.

    2. Open Traktor. Go to preferences/ Controller manager. From here you need to make sure there is nothing existing – delete whatever you have except the standard keyboard controller. Press add/ then import and import the .tsi file (the first one!) downloaded from the Gemini site. Choose input and output, choosing the top CDJ in the list and Deck A. Then do it again by pressing add/ then above steps but this time choose the second cdj in the drop down list and Deck B. CHOOSE THE FIRST TSI FILE AGAIN as the import file, not the file ending in 2!

    You should be able to see each works when you dial the select knob while you are doing it, you will see it start to activate in the song menu in Traktor as soon as it is recognised. Now you have set up your midi. All you want now is for the output from the imac to be 4 channel and split so you can use your external mixer.

    This takes a bit of trial and error.

    3. Go to Traktor / preferences/ audio set up and choose the aggregate device. Then go to preference and choose outputs. Again this should be simple but it wasn’t. You would assume that the channels would be numbered bu they aren’t so again trial and error is the flavour of the day. I ended up with aggregate 2 and aggregate 3 for my left output and left and right as my right controller.

    Finally I have a solution that works. I have the PS3 USB mixer which is not midi so best to route back out through the CDJs and then through the mixer. The other gripe is the none of the effects mapped on the CDJs so I will have to work out how to map them myselves. best thing could be being able to map therm to TRACKTORs effects to make things a bit more interesting than the lacklustre gemini effects.

    By the way I think I have loaded version 4.4 in the firmware upgrades on the cdjs.

    I only share this because there was only vague directions on the web and if you get these working with Traktor you are on your way.

  • Denon, Reloop, and DJ Tech units can also be linked together to share USB storage devices. Big oversight on Gemini’s part and really the only reason it doesn’t capture a big chunk of the market.