The Pioneer XDJ-RX is a next generation all in one controller. You can happily now throw your laptop out the window. Cheaper than buying two XDJ-1000s this is a good value controller that will have experienced DJ’s mouths watering. This controller would happily fit in the arsenal of a startup DJ too, as learning the Pioneer workflow with the help of Rekordbox is very easy. Does this controller offer a viable alternative to software DJing?
The first thing you’ll have to get used to is using Rekordbox, which is Pioneers DJ software, but it is different from Serato, Traktor, and Virtual DJ. The purpose of Rekordbox is to setup your music, and sets before you start playing. This allows you to use the controller to its full capabilities, as you are performing live.
You prepare all your cue points, analyse your waveforms, volume, and keys before you play, so you know you’re ready. Every good DJ takes preparation seriously, but thanks to Rekordbox, you’ll have an easy time when it comes to playing your set. You will typically take your music and analysts work with you, on your USB stick, and put everything together on the night, to create an amazing performance.
Setting up this controller is easy. All you need to do is plug in the power supply, and your speakers, and then just add your music source. Like mentioned, this will work with a USB stick, but you can also plug in an Android or IOS device, if you have prepared your mix in Rekordbox. If you are just starting out, you can even plug your laptop in too, and work from that directly.
Once you’ve connected your music source, you just hit the corresponding button, and your Rekordbox library will be loaded on the nice large 7” color screen. This is located at the centre top of the turntable, and is angled to give you the best view possible. Then you have a nice big knob to browse the library, located in the centre of the controller. Select a tune, and hit the load deck button, then play will start the track, pretty easy.
The XDJ-RX is really flexible. You have RCA line and phono inputs for CDJs or turntables, so you can really create some classical mixes. There is a USB and Ethernet port for connecting your computer. The mixer is a two-channel, and is a true standalone unit. Meaning you can record record decks, and CDJs if you want to. Something that is missing I have to point out, is the slit cue for the headphones. A bit of a let down, but not exactly a deal breaker.
Now, the mixer has switchable inputs (analogue and digital), as well as a three band EQ, there is also gain, and a sound color FX knob, which controls the filter, gate, beatcrusher, and white noise. Since the early 90’s the Pioneer mixers have come with a beat matching FX engine too, and echo, delay and transform are all available to use with the BPM of the track.
Different from cheaper controllers, the XDJ-RX has hardware FX, this means all the clever stuff that goes on under the hood, is done by the unit itself, not by software. Something that cheaper controllers usually do. There is also a crossfader curve switch that has three settings, from cut to smooth. There is a line fader curve too and this can be adjusted in the preferences.
You might be wondering about the decks next. They are a typical Pioneer class, which means big jog wheels, which are capacitative, not mechanical. There is visual feedback from the LEDs that are located in the centre. The play and pause are vertically. There is cue buttons, as well as track search and loop in/out buttons. The tempo slider is nice and large, and there is a master tempo button, plus a few other juicy bits and pieces.
Another great feature of this controller is the vinyl speed adjust. This usually adjusts the start and stop speed together on other controllers, but not here. You can set it to one or the other in your preferences, and then have what most DJs prefer, which is a vinyl effect on stopping the track.
This is a great controller for the money, and since it’s been around for a while, it has dropped in price, so ready to upgrade to a great controller, you won’t do any wrong picking this one.