PioneerDJ, the new incarnation of the companies name nowadays, introduced the XDJ-RX at the beginning of this year. The all-in-One unit was hot stuff and quickly became a trend. So much so, that PioneerDJ couldn’t handle the demand for the XDJ-RX. The consequence was that there were long waiting times and, as a customer, you have to wait weeks before you can buy it. This also had the disadvantage that the review units were sparse as well. Now, a few months later, we are finally able to test it and put the XDJ-RX to the test. Is the long wait worthwhile? Find out by reading the following review!
The XDJ-RX looks very reliable. Certainly for those who have experience with DJM units like this. The familiarity of two players with a mixer in between and a large, clear to read screen. Also for those who are not familiar with the PioneerDJ series, you will find it easy to learn and use. This cannot be said for every modern DJ controller, because you may get lost easily with some of the models currently on the market. With the consistency Pioneer has to offer, it is much easier to learn and use new products with without any step learning curve.
As you would expect of such a big brand, the build quality is very good. It’s large and fairly heavy, which gives the unit a good, solid feel. It has a robust housing, which for the most part is made of hard plastic with a solid top plate that really can take a beating. The buttons feel just as good as the Nexus series, which are also made of plastic but can definitely handle some abuse. The EQ and effect buttons have a rubber coating to them, similar to the DJM series and feel just right. The faders are as you expected and not too loose, even for fast mixing.
The decks jog wheels feel exactly like a CDJ-900/CDJ-2000 Nexus, with the exception that the Hot Cue buttons placed at the bottom of the decks are square instead of round. The jog wheels are a lot smaller, having the format of recent PioneerDJ controllers. That they are smaller is not a problem, because they are just as sensitive as their bigger brothers and just as precisely to use. Scratching is particularly easy with them, so their smaller footprint of the jog wheels won’t kill the fun. And yes, they are also adjustable between CDJ and Vinyl mode.
The XDJ-RX has a layout you would expect. Basically two physical decks with a mixer in between. Except that there’s no screen per deck, but just one large display in the middle of the unit directly above the mixer. This has the advantage that you can see everything at a glance. In addition, the waveforms themselves are placed neatly on top of each other, so you can clearly see if your beat grids connect.
The load buttons (where you select the tracks), are not on the decks but in the upper part of the mixer, just below the display. This also gives extra ease of use. In addition, you have buttons that let you load the track to deck A or B. Last are the hot cue buttons below the jog wheel, instead of being on the top left and there are four instead of three. It should be mentioned that this is a two-channel device, so the mixer has just two physical channels. If you need more than two channels, you won’t get them with the XDJ-RX. But knowing PioneerDJ, they will most likely release a four-channel variant in the near future. Maybe a XDJ-ZX?
On top of the XDJ-RX are two USB inputs. This allows you to play a set back to back and give the next DJ an opportunity to take over without stopping the flow of the music. At the front of the XDJ-RX is the headset jack. At the rear you’ll find the power connection along with an on/off button, microphone inputs which you can adjust in volume and EQ with controls on the top of the unit. Per channel, the XDJ-RX offers you a line input which is adjustable between line and phono so you even can hook up a PLX-1000. There’s also a ground connector. You will also find an USB input on the back that lets you use the XDJ-RX as a controller for your software. And a network connection to connect with (for example) a set of CDJ’s or your PC/Mac with RekordBox to use for your library. At the outputs, you can use either a Booth (TRS), Master two (RCA) and Master A (XLR) which all are of a very good quality.
The XDJ-RX sounds just as good as the DJM-900 Nexus, quite good enough to use in the clubs. I was really surprised when I exchanged my DJM-250 in combination with Traktor (Audio 2 DJ) with the XDJ-RX. I got so much more punch, which makes sense because the XDJ-RX has been developed with small venues in mind, such as small cafe and bars and the fact that these players would need to have a good output. The great thing about the unit is the fact that when you have a USB stick in the second usb connector, you can use it for recording purposes. Directly from the device, you can record to a USB stick and can even add track marks with the XDJ-RX. How cool is that!
Adjustments & Display
With use of the settings menu, you can easily change all of the settings. Please note, this is not a touch screen, so you have to use the assigned buttons to navigate through the menu structure. You can set whether your track timer displays ascending or descending time. You can set the Quantize option to be on or off. The advantage of this is that RekordBox beat grids and set effects will sync up. You can also adjust EQ’s which have a -26dB range. On the display, you can zoom into and out of your waveform. You also can see the timing of your effects as well the key of the tracks. And, just like his big brothers, even the cover art for each track is visible.
This option is a must have nowadays and it’s available on the XDJ-RX. You can choose whether you use it or not, that’s up to you. If you decide to use it, you have to prepare the tracks in RekordBox if you want this function to work properly with the beat grids. Compared to sync on Traktor, PioneerDJ is not always 100% perfect. However when that happens, you have the jog wheels to be able to adjust that a little bit, to get your track perfectly on beat. So you retain that ‘real’ DJ feeling. When you decide to use the sync function, you can get very creative in combination with the effects. Especially when you turn on the Slip mode, allowing you to create very unique and cool buildups without having to worry about whether the beats are still perfectly in sync.
The XDJ-RX has the same effects section as the DJM series, with a dial to select the effects like Delay or Roll. You can chose to route your effects to a single track or to the master channel. A timing button allows you to adjust the time in milliseconds and there’s a level depth button too. Similar to the DJM’s, you have the assigned on/off button, which is lights up yellow. You can sync the effects with the onboard BPM or use a tap button to adjust the tempo by hand. For sound effects, you get noise, a gate/compressor combination, crush and of course a filter, which you then can apply on both channels individually via the color knob located directly above the faders. The effects are set as post fader with the advantage of keeping going on when you fade out, so you get a more natural sound experience during your mix. If you don’t like it, then you can disable this via the settings of the XDJ-RX. The XDJ-RX has four Hot cue’s per deck, divided into A, B, C and D. These buttons can also use other features, including auto beat loop and loop slice.
The auto beat loop is straight forward. Press button (A) then you get one-sixteenth size, (B) an eighth size, (C) a fourth beat and (D) a half beat. There are very nice to use during a live set, especially in combination with the slip mode function, so you can quickly apply a fun effect, for example, cover up bad words. The slice option spreads a piece of music over the pads, so you can replay them rhythmically live in order to give your tracks a really personal feel, but it is not auto quantized, so practice this well before you perform it live.
What exactly are the competing devices for the XDJ-RX? If I’m very honest, they’re just not there. The Kontrol S8 is a beautiful controller with two large displays, however you are still required to use a PC/Mac with Traktor in combination with it. Okay, Numark has a standalone unit, but that doesn’t use RekordBox and that is exactly where I want to go with the comparison. This is just the ideal all-in-one solution for home use. You have all the comforts of its larger brothers, the Nexus series and RekordBox to play your music. This has the advantage that you can use the same USB stick which with you practice at home and then you can take it to the club plug it in with a CDJ and go on as you’re used to, because everything works exactly the same as on the RX! That is the major advantage of this device! The ecosystem of RekordBox applies to all the devices. In the near future, it is likely they will expand their range with more units, so it would seem that PioneerDJ are positioning themselves to take on the software giants.
A large and clear display
Stand Alone use
Good sound quality
Offers everything you expect of a pro device
Easy to use
Two-channel, we would have liked to have seen a four-channel variant
When recording on USB the second USB port is unavailable for playing
Quite a hefty price tag
PioneerDJ delivers with the XDJ-RX. It’s a device you can really enjoy! Everything feels solid, like you expect from PioneerDJ. Everything you need is in the unit and the screen is of the same high quality as you see on the CDJ-2000 Nexus. In addition to RekordBox, you can also use the RX as midi controller, which turns the XDJ-RX into a versatile controller. Personally, I can speak nothing but praise for the XDJ-RX and it has my highest recommendation, because I have to admit, what more could you wish for from your DJ gear?
PioneerDJ’s XDJ-RX is available at a MSRP retail price of Ä1499,- but when you want one, you have to be patient. The delivery time is still a number of weeks.