You are here

Roland DJ2000

Professional DJ Mixer By Paul Farrer
Published September 1998

Roland DJ2000

This DJ mixer boasts powerful effects and BPM‑driven MIDI control software. Wearing his finest dancing trousers, Paul Farrer finds out more...

As the European club scene continues to mushroom and club‑goers become more discerning about a DJ's 'performance', so the DJs themselves are demanding higher levels of control and sound quality from their equipment. Enter the DJ2000, Roland's stab at providing as many features as the modern DJ could need in a single rack‑mountable unit.

The Mixer

The DJ2000's mixer section features four stereo channels, each with independent gain controls and 2‑band EQ. The first channel has two sets of stereo line inputs (for two CD players, for instance) and the fader is switchable between these inputs. The other three channels each have a left and right line input, but also a phono input with a preamp for signals from a record deck. Two mic inputs are available — one with both unbalanced XLR and quarter‑jack options and a simple 2‑band EQ, and the other with a single jack socket and gain control. Both inputs are controlled by a single fader, but unfortunately the XLR input isn't phantom powered, which limits the type of microphones you can use.

There's a large green LED, which acts as a simplified VU meter (or Beat Indicator, as Roland call it) at the top of each channel strip, and all four channels are assignable to either the master output directly, or to the horizontal cross‑fader. The cross‑fader will be familiar to most DJs, and allows signals from channels 1 and 2 to be mixed with those from channels 3 and 4, the centre position allowing equal levels of both signal groups to be heard. The cue section allows you to monitor incoming signals of each channel before they reach the master output stage, and the controls in this section are particularly clear and well laid out. The desk feels very sturdy and creates a real 'pro' feel.

MIDI Control & Effects

The effect section offers a small seclection of well‑chosen and usable effects relevant to the dancefloor. If you're looking for tasteful reverbs, forget it, but if your DJ performance could use one of the most grainy and exciting pitch‑shifters around, or a groovy filter‑controllable flanger, look no further. Selecting an effect is a doddle, and you can specify whether you want it applied to all signals sent to the master output or just to the individual mic and line channels. The ratio of effect to dry signal is adjustable with the Effect Balance knob, and all the effects are editable using the three edit control knobs. These tweak the most obvious effect parameters and give the whole unit a real analogue feel, as well as offering the user a tremendous sense of control. On the downside, even with the Effect Balance knob at minimum, selecting a new effect sends a slight but audible click to the master output.

One of the biggest carrots that Roland are dangling in front of potential buyers is the DJ2000's BPM‑calculation software. This 'listens' to the incoming signal from the selected channel and (to the nearest tenth of a BPM) works out its tempo. This is then displayed on the small LED screen and transmitted from the MIDI socket as a System Real‑time Message. Using the MIDI Start/Stop button, DJs with MIDI rigs could synchronise and trigger pre‑programmed MIDI sequences and sampled breakbeats live during a performance. Using the unit to trigger drum loops on my Emu Orbit module from a dance CD proved very successful. Unfortunately, unlike some other BPM‑calculation tools such as the Red Sounds Beat Xtractor (see SOS February '98) the DJ2000 doesn't continually self‑adjust for slight inconsistencies in tempo, and if it wanders away from the source signal too much you have to point it in the right direction using the Push/Pull controls. These slightly speed up or slow down the transmitted MIDI signal until it re‑synchronises with the track. There's also a Tap Tempo button, which you can tap in time with the beat of your track and it quickly corrects the timing.


Understanding that these days the professional DJ is much more than a bloke down the pub with two turntables and a glitter ball, Roland have come up with a desirable piece of kit in the DJ2000. It's full of the kind of features that creative DJs, particularly those with more complex setups, will find invaluable. The MIDI implementation is good (if a little basic) and the effects are well suited to the club environment. The whole unit has a solid and dependable feel and gives you the impression that even if you spilled three pints of Grolsch over it, it would still perform brilliantly!

At £899 it's not cheap, but considering the features on offer (too many for a review of this size) is great value for money. Roland are obviously targeting a serious and professional type of customer with the DJ2000, and if you're either serious or professional the chances of being disappointed by this mixer are very small indeed.


  • Compact and highly versatile.
  • Easy to use.
  • Great effects section.
  • Useful MIDI sync function.


  • No phantom power for the mic input.
  • Selecting a new effect makes a 'click' at the master output stage.
  • BPM tracking doesn't auto‑correct itself.
  • No MIDI thru.


A highly specified, great sounding mixer with tons of creative potential. With its solid build and ease of use it deserves to be a big success, even though its price tag puts it towards the upper end of the DJ market.