Everything you need to know about Device Library Plus

What is Pioneer's Device Library Plus and why does it matter?

Written by: Christiaan Maks
Dec 21st 2023

The update to Rekordbox 6.8.1 now adds a Device Library Plus to all exported USBs. This article will try to explain what Device Library Plus and the old Device Library are and why it's important to Pioneer and why it could be very important to DJs as well.

Images taken from the Rekordbox user guide PDF

What is Device Library?

Device Library is the database that Rekordbox exports to the USB stick you use in any Pioneer CDJ.

It contains all your track information like artists, titles, comments and more. It also holds your playlists. 

To be clear, Device Library does not include your music files. It only holds "metadata", your tags, playlists, BPMs, cues and things like that. It's all very small and costs very little room on your USB. Your music takes up far far more space.

Device Library has been around for many years (although I'm not sure Pioneer has called it that since the start), since the release of the CDJ-2000 and CDJ-900. They were released in 2009 so Device Library is already 14 years old.

Device Library

Device Library Technical

Device Library is a DeviceSQL database, specifically intended for embedded hardware. Embedded hardware traditionally has a slower processor and very limited memory. That is why using a "normal" database on the older hardware was not possible at the time.

Rekordbox 5 used the same DeviceSQL database, but they have upgraded it to SQLite since the launch of Rekordbox 6. SQLite is a very widely used database (dare I say "industry standard" ?) with great performance. Lexicon and Engine DJ also use SQLite.

DeviceSQL was a good solution for slow embedded hardware, but nowadays it is very limiting in what you can do with it. Staying on DeviceSQL would actually hamper the development the Pioneer team can do, so this is a logical and much needed upgrade.

What is Device Library Plus?

Simply put, Device Library Plus is an upgrade of Device Library. It aims to remove limits that Device Library had so it is more future proof and they can continue to develop new features with their newer hardware, like the OPUS-QUAD. The OPUS-QUAD is the only hardware that supports Device Library Plus at the time of writing.

Device Library Plus is exported to your USB, next to your existing Device Library. So you have two databases on your USB now.

Device Library Plus

Device Library Plus Technical

Device Library Plus is the exportLibrary.db file on your USB. Just like the main Rekordbox database, it is an encrypted SQLite database. it is a separate file that lives next to the old Device Library database.

Normally I would go into detail a bit more about the database file, but it is encrypted and this time I don't have the encryption key so I can't access it. It is probably similar in structure to the main Rekordbox database, and it contains your track info, cues, playlists and more.

Unlike the older Pioneer hardware, I would speculate that the OPUS-QUAD runs some kind of Linux based operating system, making it much easier to use a filesystem based database like SQLite. They can leverage modern open source libraries unlike with the old deprecated database. 

Does Device Library Plus require more USB space?

This is a valid concern. If you don't have an OPUS-QUAD, why would you want to waste that space on your USB? Device Library Plus does use up extra space but it is very minimal. Your music files are not duplicated, so the vast majority of your space is still from the same tracks you already had. So you don't need to worry about the extra space it uses.

Why does Pioneer want you to have Device Library Plus?

The OPUS-QUAD is the only hardware that uses Device Library Plus currently, but if you encounter one in the wild, like at a club or venue, then you definitely want to be able to play on it. Before Rekordbox 6.8.1, you had to manually convert your Device Library to the Plus variant. If you didn't do that, that meant no playing on the OPUS-QUAD, yikes.

Now everyone has the Device Library Plus already on the USB, so if you find an OPUS-QUAD (or whatever new hardware Pioneer is going to release), you are good to go. Definitely worth the extra bit of space on your USB!

What devices are using Device Library Plus?

At the time of writing (December 2023), the only hardware that uses Device Library Plus is the OPUS-QUAD.

You can see the full compatibility list here.

It is highly likely that all future Pioneer controllers will be using Device Library Plus, but only time will tell for sure.

The question is which older hardware will also get support for Device Library Plus, maybe the CDJ-3000? I wouldn't quite call that old, but it depends if the hardware is capable enough. I suspect the OPUS-QUAD runs some form of Linux and all future all-in-one controllers will probably do the same. The CDJ-3000 has something called an MPU (micro-processing unit) which seems like an extra processor to keep the rest of the hardware in line for a smoother experience, but I'm not sure it will be (easily) capable of running Linux.

Using both Device Library and Plus at the same time

This is where it gets a little bit annoying for you DJs. You can upgrade your old Device Library to the Plus variant with the click of a button in Rekordbox. But you can't go from Plus back to the old.

The problem with that is that changes you make (new cues or history lists) on the OPUS-QUAD are saved in Device Library Plus. In order to see any of that on an "old" device like the CDJ-3000, you need to import the changes from the USB into Rekordbox and then export it again so the old Device Library is updated.

Device Libraries on different devices

If you want to delete playlists from the USB, Pioneer explains to delete it on both libraries. So not an ideal situation, but at least temporary as all new hardware will start using Device Library Plus. And hopefully popular older hardware gets the upgrade too.

Conclusion

Device Library Plus is the logical technical upgrade for newer Pioneer hardware. It will allow Pioneer to create new features for their new hardware with fewer limitations. 

You may not want to be on board with it, especially if you never touch an OPUS-QUAD, but it looks like there is no choice. And that might be for the better for a lot of DJs who don't know about all this.

 

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