Friday, November 7, 2008

iDJ2 - What I know

Hey, now that this election is over and the barracudas are safely back up north, we can get back to debating frivolous bullshit!

Actually, I want to lay out what I know about my new Numark iDJ2 digital DJ station in the event that others are searching the internet for knowledge of this device and coming up with nothing, the way I did. Since Numark is being very secretive about coming features and they have apparently *shut down* their discussion boards, it's time to take matters into our own hands.


  1. Supported File Formats
    The iDJ2 only fully supports MP3, non-DRM AAC, and WAV files. That's it. You can play copy-protected AAC files (but not Apple Lossless) in iPod direct mode, but switching back and forth to this is not recommended in mid-party. Don't believe the (mostly British) websites that say it supports FLAC and Ogg Vorbis. It does not. I believe it will in a future firmware release, though, which would be awesome.
  2. Unstable Numark Keyboard
    My cool little Numark keyboard which comes with the excellent flight case is working sporadically. I have to repeatedly unplug it and plug it back in to make it work. Numark told me to try another USB keyboard, so we'll see. I may have to exchange mine.
  3. Drive Disconnections
    I've had some weird disconnections from the USB thumb drives I am using. Numark didn't have an answer for this. By connecting a 4 port USB hub (which you will eventually need anyway) and connecting my thumb drive to that, it seems that I have improved the fit between the connections. We will see if this completely solves the problem.
  4. USB CD Drives
    Hidden in the 1.09 release notes, there's section about how USB CD/DVD drives are now supported. This is amazing, because you can take an old drive and basically turn it into a CDJ1000. You get complete pitch, scratch and search control, like you do any other drive. Just don't try to play two tracks off the same CD at once. It won't work.
  5. File Quality/Provenance
    It is critical that you get the highest quality digital files that the device supports and know the provenance of the files. It may be a WAV file, but if it came from a compilation CD where the producers ripped from a record on their own semi-crappy turntable, it won't matter what format the file is in. It will suck either way. I have found from the live gig I did that the best sounding track of the night was JayDee's "Plastic Dreams" downloaded legitimately from as a WAV file. It had a clarity in the mid-range and bass that other files lacked. That said, 320K MP3's really aren't bad. Hopefully, the next release will support FLAC and/or Apple Lossless, so we don't have to settle for lossy compression at all.
  6. Prepare for the future
    In ripping digital files from my records, I am planning on using 88.2/24-bit wav files for archiving. This way I can render down to 44.1/16-bit with minimal digital artifacts and either use those files to DJ or further compress to 320K MP3 or some flavor of AAC. I'm not sure there's a difference.
More to come...

The iDJ2 claims that there is no standard for tagging within WAV files (this is debatable), so it does not support tags for WAV files at all. My understanding is that the emerging format is ID3v2 tags within the RIFF portion of the file. Instead the device just presents the filename as in the Title field.

This is somewhat confusing because the standard for music file naming is [Artist] - [Title]. Searching filenames with the title would work fine though.

Numark iDJ2

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