After a couple of years receiving incredible feedback for the Pioneer XDJ-RX controller, the company finally decided to take the portfolio to the next level. The brand-new Pioneer XDJ-RX2 is a next-generation solution that inherits a lot of the features of the Nexus 2.
This DJ system is currently one of the most popular in the market for a lot of reasons. Not only is this device reasonably affordable, but it’s also revolutionary for many music creators. The Pioneer XDJ-RX was the first controller in the industry to gain traction as a DJ system. Nothing before this was ever so widely adopted.
The XDJ RX, and it’s subsequent follow-on controller ensures that DJs can access a compact setup at home without the burden of connecting their kit to a laptop. At the same time, producers and DJs could also be prepared for the club with a solution both highly capable and affordable.
Key Features of the Pioneer XDJ RX2 controller
The Pioneer XDJ-RX2 controller comes with all the standard feature a music pro might expect from an entry-level solution for DJ performance. This includes a headphone cue, filter knob, crossfader, auto loop, and so much more. Other functionalities include:
Rekordbox DJ license key
USB connection link export
7-inch large layout screen
Multicolored performance pads
Channel faders and EQs
2 line phono inputs
2 microphone inputs
Rekordbox video support
Pioneer DJ XDJ RX2 Set Up
The Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX2 features a 100% all-plastic enclosure. The design is similar to the CDJ-2000NXS2 kit. Although this product is quite heavy, it’s still reasonably portable. Many experts agree that the Pioneer XDJ RX2 looks like a combination of other devices, thanks to it’s 2 jog wheels, convenient pad layout, and a touchscreen section.
On the face of this device, you’ll find a 2 channel mixer featuring a three-band EQ control and sound system with FX knobs. 4 buttons for FX and eight beat FX buttons are available. There’s also loop controls, two jog wheels, two USB ports, EQ controls, a two channel mic section, a 7 inch touchscreen and menu button placements.
If you venture around the back of the Pioneer XDJ RX2 you’ll find two pairs of line/phono RCA inputs, 2 TRS combo microphone inputs, an aux input, RCA and XLR outputs, and more. The Pioneer XDJ RX2 has a massive collection of options for connectivity too.
The front panel has a headphone connection port with a 1/8 inch and ¼ inch option. The back panel offers two master output solutions. The options are RCA and XLR. Plenty of flexibility is available to connect a preferred set of speakers to the mix.
Another nice touch here is a fully balanced and complete TRS booth output option. This is a great boost over the typical RCA solution from other controllers. The 4 line in RCA options also mean that it’s easy to connect external components, like turntables.
Unfortunately, one point to keep in mind is that the Pioneer XDJ RX2 isn’t supportive of DVS, so you won’t be able to play with timecoded vinyl. Extra RCA options are available for AUX connectivity. Two XLR/TRS jacks are available for your microphones. The XDJ RX2 also provides microphone controls above the left deck.
Another valuable feature is Talkover mode. This reduces master output when you have a microphone in use. Twin USB ports also give you the option to load music or record your mixes. Track split options open up the ability to segment recordings when mixing.
Using the Pioneer XDJ RX2 Controller
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is a 2-channel controller that takes inspiration from the DJM-450 mixer. There are two channels and a crossfader to explore here. Above the faders, you’ll discover cue buttons for sending audio through to your headphones. The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is popular because it offers so many advanced features.
Here are some points to consider:
Jogwheels are an important consideration of many DJs. On the Pioneer XDJ RX2, the jog wheels are fully-sized, and slick, just as responsive as any Pioneer controller. The touch-capacitive performance means you don’t need to press down on the jogs to stop a scratch or track.
There’s a stark contrast here to the mechanical jogwheels that appear on standard XDJs and CDJs. You need to press these to get the track playing to stop so you can begin scratching. The biggest downside with these jog wheels is that it may take some time for you to get used to how “loose” the devices are.
On more expensive solutions, there may be tools to help you adjust the jogs depending on your tightness preferences. If you’re used to tighter jog wheels, then the Pioneer XDJ RX2 is going to feel odd at first. However, just like any DJ device, you’ll soon find yourself getting used to the change. At least you can rest assured that the jogs are slick and responsive.
One of the newer features to appear on the Pioneer XDJ RX2 are the brand-new performance pads. You don’t get the basic blue four pads per deck. This was a common feature of the last-gen Pioneer controllers that came before the Pioneer XDJ RX2. Instead, with this kit, you can expect eight square pads with LED backlights.
Some of these lights have a more muted appearance. There’s a good pressure to the buttons when you push them – with a quick cue feeling satisfying and durable. These are some of the best pads from Pioneer DJ, as far as feeling goes. The performance pads have a revamped functionality. You can access things like Beat Jump and Hot Cue.
Beat Loop is a function that allows users to place automatic loops of all sizes into their music. The Slip Loop function, on the other hand, means you can place an auto loop when a track continues to play, and pick up when you remove the loop.
The Shift button, which formerly sits in the pad function row, moves to a spot above the transport controls.
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 has a two-channel mixer with a three-way matrix for switching inputs. You can jump between laptop, phono, and line. Each channel comes with a 3-band EQ and trim pot. There’s also a sound color FX knob and volume fader.
You can find the Thru mode on your Pioneer XDJ RX2 too. The phono and line inputs mean that you can connect line level devices, CDJs, and turntables to the device. This then acts as mixer on its own. It’s also important to acknowledge that other than the connectivity from the phono and line section, the Pioneer XDJ RX2 isn’t massively compatible. This means that you won’t be able to spin the vinyl or timecode CDs through it.
The master and headphone output buttons appear in the centre of the Pioneer XDJ RX2, which is a more logical placement compared to the original, where the cue buttons were on the lower left. This makes extra room for the loading and library browsing section. This section now comes with touchscreen functionality.
Touchscreen and library browsing
The screen for the Pioneer XDJ-RX2 benefits from a major upgrade here. This means that you can access the QWERTY keyboard found on other major pioneer products, like the XDJ-1000. You can also use this functionality to conduct a needle search on a track you currently have playing.
Unfortunately, multitouch and gesture control options aren’t available on Pioneer gear just yet. For some people, the touch functionality on the Pioneer XDJ RX2 might feel like a bit of an afterthought. However, the introduction of the QWERTY keyboard is a nice touch.
Although there’s definitely more room for growth here, the functionality is much better than nothing. Looking for tracks and browsing through your collection is much easier than it used to be on the original XDJ-RX. The touchscreen gives you much more freedom to work with. You also have access to a track filter button, which allows you to specify criteria when you’re trying to zero in on USB drive tracks.
Software and Effects
Aside from working as a standalone solution, the XDJ-RX2 is compatible with the Rekordbox DJ software. All you need to do is plug the solution into your laptop using the USB jack in the back of the device. Remember, there are two USB slots available with this device.
Another major benefit of the Pioneer DJ XDJ RX2 is that a link export mode is included. This allows users to connect laptops and use their devices for loading and browsing tracks. You don’t necessarily need to move everything on and off a USB drive. This is useful for people who don’t want to look at laptop screens when DJing.
Outside of the software functionality, you’ll also have access to plenty of DJ effects with the Pioneer XDJ RX2. Most modern DJM mixer components have two different effect options on board. While sound color FX are switchable, and available to manipulate through the knob featured in each mixer channel, others follow different setups.
The switchable effects come with four components, including Dub Echo, Filter, Sweep, and Noise. On the other hand, the Beat FX are time-based intermediate effects. You can manipulate and modulate these effects using time and value settings. Set a note value with the beat knob or use a time in milliseconds with the time knob. It’s also possible to tap the tempo with the tap button.
You are also free to choose which channels you want your Beat FX solution to impact through a switch. The Pioneer XDJ RX2 provides support for individual channels, the aux input, the mix input or the entire set of master output options.
Pioneer XDJ RX2 Pros and Cons
Ultimately, the Pioneer XDJ RX2 is an excellent piece of kit that helps you to leave the laptop behind and explore your skills on a full piece of DJ tech. There are plenty of amazing performance features to discover, and lots of places to learn.
Many experts agree that this is the all-in-one best controller for pioneer fans, with everything from touch-screen support, to a professional level layout. However, it won’t be the right option or everyone.
Made up your mind?
Finishing Thoughts on the Pioneer XDJ RX2
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is the most powerful all-in-one system available today. Though it’s not as enthralling as the original Pioneer XDJ-RX, it’s definitely worth a closer look for many DJs. The Pioneer team have clearly fine-tuned and enhanced the performance of an already powerful machine into something even more impressive.
Extra features, like the QWERTY keyboard and improved library search functionality via touchscreen are sure to be valuable points of interest for DJs from all backgrounds.
In most circumstances, we’d say that the Pioneer XDJ RX2 is an excellent choice for a lot of DJs. If you have a festival or club that you want to work at, but you don’t want to blow all of your cash on a DJM and CDJ set, this is the kit for you. Nothing in the range available from Pioneer comes close in terms of value and price.
On the other hand, if you’re happy spinning with just a controller and laptop for now, then you might skip the Pioneer XDJ RX2. The biggest benefit of this product is that it’s available to use without a laptop. You’re paying extra for that convenience and functionality. If you don’t mind using a laptop, then you can always find a decent mid-tier controller elsewhere.
If you already own the first version of the XDJ RX, things get a little tricky. There are only a few minor cosmetic and feature-based updates to consider here, and you might not be willing to drop more than a grand on a basic update. However, you do get some pretty great features. If you consider things like a QWERTY keyboard and eight pads to be a game changer, this is a great piece of kit.