Pioneer stands out as one of the best-known DJ accessories and controller companies in the world. Whether you’re looking for a tool to get you started as a beginner, or something a little more advanced, Pioneer is sure to have something to fit your needs.
The latest all-in-one player from Pioneer is the Pioneer XDJ RR controller. This state-of-the-art solution brings the workflow of the market-leading CDJs from Pioneer into a simplified, and compact package for smaller clubs, events, and home mixing experiences.
The Pioneer XDJ RR is basically a simpler (more cost-friendly) version of the XDJ-RX2. Just like the bigger device, there are two jog wheel track controllers, a two-channel mixer, and a built-in OS that runs the Pioneer Rekordbox application. Both devices take inspiration from the top-end Nexus mixers from Pioneer. However, the RR has a slightly smaller set of features.
Key Features of the Pioneer XDJ RR
The Pioneer XDJ-RR isn’t the most advanced mixing solution on the market, but it does have a lot to offer. The core selection of DJing tools is solid, with each mixer channel supporting a 3-band EQ, matching the same curves on the Nexus mixers.
There are two sections for effects, including Sound Color FX, and Beat FX. The Sound Color FX offers noise, filter, echo, and pitch modes. The Beat FX supports reverb, flanger, delay, and so on. You can only engage with one effect at a time, but you can apply the effects to either or both channels. The Pioneer DJ XDJ-RR is also 5kg lighter than XDJ-RX2, which is nice for portability.
Some of the key features of the Pioneer XDJ RR include:
- Layout and features from NXS2 set up
- Dual USB-A port and single USB-B port
- 7 inch color screen
- Performance controls (Beat loop, cues, slip loop, etc)
- Mixer selection with various FX options
- Convenient lightweight design
- Built-in software
Pioneer XDJ RR Set Up
The average DJ experience is growing more diverse. USB sticks, vinyl, CDs, DVS and controllers are all available to bring music mixes to life. Pioneer created the XDJ RR for this new modern landscape. The latest XDJ-33 standalone Rekordbox system comes with jog wheels, but no centre ring lights, as well as a few performance pads and onboard effects.
There’s a seven inch display, with twin USB sockets, and a rear jack. You’ll also find features like ¼ inch and 1/8 inch headphone jacks at the front of the device. The rear has a pair of RCA and XLR master outputs. The RCA aux input is also available, along with a ¼ inch microphone input.
The two channel mixer onboard comes with 3 band EQs and a sound color FX knob. There are 4 sound color FX options on board, and 3 beat FX solutions. Each of your two channels has its own selection of four performance pads, a jog wheel, and looping controls.
Overall, the Pioneer XDJ RR is very easy to set up. The eye-catching high-resolution screen is brilliant for giving you a complete overview of everything that’s happening with your music. Unfortunately, this isn’t a touchscreens, so you will need to use buttons and knobs for navigation – though that’s not really difficult.
The Jog Wheels (Decks)
As you may expect, the decks on the Pioneer XDJ RR are a toned down version of the ones on the XDJ-RX2. The biggest difference is that the jog wheels are quite a bit smaller. You’ll also notice that there are only 4 pads available, instead of 8, with a minimal pitch fader.
The top of the deck has the typical yellow loop buttons from Pioneer. You’ll also have access to call/record buttons for loops and cues. This will definitely please users that want to get used to the DJ workflow from Pioneer.
The jog wheels, although smaller, are excellent in quality. The hardware is solid, reliable, and responsive – just as you’d expect from a modern Pioneer machine. There aren’t any LED lights, but this shouldn’t be a dealbreaker for most users.
The performance pads are also backlit – although you only have one color. Additionally, the buttons are clickable rather than being rubber pads. The response doesn’t feel quite as lightning fast as you would expect, but they’re still good for cues and drumming.
The Mixer / Screen
If you’ve checked out reviews on the XDJ-RX2 before, then the Pioneer XDJ-RR is going to feel quite familiar – though smaller in a lot of areas. The pitch fader on this device is smaller, but it’s still good enough for manual mixing. Additionally, the screen on the Pioneer XDJ-RR is the same size as the one you get on the XDJ-RX2, just without the touch screen.
The mixer controls work exactly how you’d expect. The faders and knobs feel solid enough, and you can adjust the crossfader in the Rekordbox DJ software. The small two-channel mixer features a crossfader, up faders, and a full three-band EQ which you can change to an isolator in the settings.
There’s an aux input, with RCA connections that allow you to input an external device like a CDJ or an iPod. However, there aren’t any EQ settings available here. All you get is a single volume knob and the ability to switch between portable and line gain levels.
Although the lack of a touch screen makes mixing slightly more complicated, everything does work reasonably well. The mixer and screen are surrounded by buttons and knobs that work generally well. One slight downside is that the sliding switch feels quite a bit weaker and cheaper than the rotary dial you’ll find on many other mixers.
Connections on the Pioneer DJ XDJ RR allow the unit to plug right back into an unbalanced or balanced speaker system. On the other hand, you don’t get any booth outputs included. The combined Jack/XLR microphone input allows access for a single microphone. With the mic, you can enjoy low and high EQ adjustment, plus talk over and trim control features.
We’ve mentioned a little about media control and options in the sections above, but it’s worth taking another closer look now. Selecting the media source on the RR is very easy with two dedicated buttons on the left of the screen. The RR2 features two fantastic USB inputs on the top panel, and you can feed into both decks at the same time with either port.
The USB port on the right hand side is also suitable for recording DJ sets with dedicated track marking buttons that separate the mix into various tracks. It’s worth acknowledging here that you’re going to need a secondary USB stick for recording. Remember, you can’t record and play from one USB at the same time here.
Another slight issue for some DJ and music fans will be the prep required for the music on your USB sticks. This content needs to be exported and prepared with Rekordbox software. This will allow you to take full advantage of all the performance features offered by the Pioneer XDJ RR.
Alternatively, you might decide to plug the Rekordbox software into the main unit directly using the USB B port. The available software connects in one of two ways. In performance mode, the Pioneer XDJ RR uses MIDI for connectivity. This allows the unit to perform just like a standard controller.
With the MIDI connection, you can take control of the virtual decks in the software. On the other hand, the Performance mode option is available for free when you connect the Pioneer XDJ RR. You’ll also be able to access exporting mode through the dedicated buttons included. This mode should allow the RR to connect with computers within the Rekordbox library.
Once the system can access your libraries, it’s capable of playing tracks from the computer’s library as though you were plugging into a much larger USB.
Inputs and Outputs
Inputs and outputs are always an important consideration when choosing DJ hardware. Fortunately, the Pioneer DJ XDJ RR has quite a bit of versatility to offer. There’s a single master XLR and 1 master RCA. You don’t get a booth output included, which might be a problem for mobile or club DJs looking at this unit.
If you’re hoping for the Pioneer XDJ RR to be a valuable part of your home environment, then you’re in the right place. You can definitely handle the occasional house party with this tool. However, there’s no support for regular booth output.
There’s an XLR mic input and RCA AUX input too. The last option provides a lot of flexibility, because you can connect to external audio sources too. You’ll also find headphone inputs on the front of the unit. The USB drives are an extra bonus, offering the option to play and load music from both drivers in the master outputs.
The inputs and outputs for the Pioneer XDJ RR might not be suitable for professional DJs and music creators – but they’re a good choice for anyone who wants to be able to record mixes quickly and easily, so they can get more feedback, and better insights on where to grow.
Finally, as we noted above, one major draw of the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RR is that you can use it as a standalone system with no need for a computer or laptop. If you need something simple and portable, the Pioneer XDJ RR is a great choice for that.
If you want, you can also run the Pioneer XDJ RR hardware with a laptop that has access to Rekordbox DJ. This functionality makes the Pioneer XDJ RR a versatile solution that beginner and professional DJs alike can use to extend their skills with spinning and track mixing.
With phono inputs included with the two mixer channels, and DVS implementation, the Pioneer XDJ RR could be an amazing set-up for DJs who want to experiment with their music across multiple mediums to find out what they like best.
Watch the video below to find out more:
Pioneer XDJ RR Pros and Cons
The Pioneer XDJ RR mixer is about as close as you can get to a club standard experience for around $1000 or less. Though this device is far from flawless, it’s easy to see why beginners frequently fall in love with the functionality.
The Pioneer XDJ RR is a great, but slightly pricey option for beginners who want the best of both worlds, with Rekordbox laptop DJ compatibility, and standalone performance. Although there are more advanced options out there, the Pioneer XDJ RR will give you an excellent way to get started on the right path for bedroom mixing.
Finishing Thoughts on the Pioneer XDJ RR
The Pioneer XDJ-RR from Pioneer is a brilliant entry-level device. If you’re looking for a solution that can help you make your first steps into the world of Rekordbox USB management, then the Pioneer XDJ RR has you covered. The size and portability of this unit makes it a firm favorite for DJs starting out.
Though some elements are missing from this device that you would get on more expensive mixers – for the price, the functionality is quite rich. The mixer section and decks are well-designed, though there’s a slightly more cramped layout than on other Pioneer tools. Still, this complexity (and messiness) is a small price to pay.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a similar unit like the Pioneer XDJ RR that offers much of the performance of the original XDJ-RX. It’s also worth noting that until not so long ago, the Pioneer XDJ RR was the only stand-alone console on the market available at this price range.
These days there are more options available for those who need standalone solutions. However, that doesn’t make the Pioneer XDJ RR any less compelling.