The XDJ-RX: Dancing Astronaut Review
One of the biggest challenges for aspiring DJs is how to make the transition from home practice to the club environment. While one can easily build a solid foundation with a standard MIDI controller, getting access to professional gear is difficult to do without breaking the bank. Thanks to Pioneer DJ, however, the transition just became a lot easier.
With their newest development – the XDJ-RX — Pioneer DJ has created what very well may be the perfect all-in-one system. The XDJ-RX is the seamless marriage of two CDJs & a DJM mixer in a MIDI controller format. Perhaps most compelling of all, it’s USB flash drive compatible — in other words, no laptop necessary.
The Industry Standard
When it comes to DJing equipment, Pioneer DJ is the industry standard. We need not extol the virtues of their professional line of CDJs and mixers — at this point, it’s more than common knowledge — but it is worth reiterating their dedication to beginner and intermediate hobbyists as well. Since 2011, the company has been putting out top-of-the-line controllers from the original DDJ-S1 to the ultra-advanced DDJ-SZ.
The XDJ-RX is not as much an evolution of this lineage as it is its own separate beast. In fact, it’s possibly the first standalone MIDI controller with this level of functionality to run completely laptop-free. The XDJ-RX works simply by plugging in a USB drive, iPhone, iPad, Android phone with one’s music loaded onto it.
Users of Pioneer DJ’s CDJs and mixers will feel right at home on the XDJ-RX. The layout recalls two CDJ-900NXS models stacked alongside a DJM-NXS in a compact fashion. For those unfamiliar with the signature gear, the XDJ-RX will serve as the perfect transition to Pioneer DJ’s professional line when the time comes to step into the club environment.
The unit is organized around a central LCD display with a dual waveform view — a first for Pioneer DJ products. With the tracks stacked on top of each other, it’s similar to the view afforded by software like Traktor and Serato, albeit in a much more condensed format.
The actual construction of the unit is very solid. While not as robust as the professional line of CDJs and mixers, it’s a considerable step up from the build of its plastic-framed competitors. Our only gripe here is that the jog wheels feel a bit amateur in comparison to the real ones, but then again, Pioneer DJ only had so much space to work with.
Packed With Features
The XDJ-RX is packed with features — and this is where the fun comes in. With rekordbox™ built into the system, the waveforms are displayed in brilliant color, with the ability to zoom in and out with ease. The performance pads at the bottom — similar in function the ones on the DDJ-SX — offer the ability to set auto-loops on the fly, slice beats, and manage hot cues.
The effects section is as creatively stacked as the DJM-900NXS, with 8 Beat Effects (including the awesome Spiral) and 4 Color Effects (filter, noise, etc). Slip mode, quantize, and the Beat Sync mode all find their way onto the unit as well.
Most satisfying of all, recording a mix is as easy as hitting a button at the start of the session. The resulting mix automatically transfers to one’s USB or phone.
The Bottom Line
With the XDJ-RX, you get exactly what you pay for: a reliable all-in-one system that prepares one for the professional world of DJing. Perhaps best of all, it feels like an authentic Pioneer DJ experience. Everything is where it should be, and everything sounds great.
The bottom line for the XDJ-RX is that it just makes sense. DJs have been longing for this kind of equipment for years. The fact alone that it functions as a standalone system without the need of a laptop should be enough to win over most aspiring DJs. Double that with Pioneer DJ build quality and intuitive setup and it’s the perfect setup for keeping your skills sharp or taking that first step in the professional mixing world.
Purchase: Pioneer DJ