Pioneer XDJ-RR Review
Last night XDJ saved my life…
As if the range of Pioneer DJ controllers at Dawsons wasn’t big enough already, we’ve gone and found another. This one is a bit special though.
Introducing the Pioneer XDJ-RR; the new, two-channel little sibling to the hugely successful XDJ-RX2. Like the XDJ-RX2, the new controller is fully compatible (and comes bundled with) Rekordbox software, but it’s lighter and in a smaller format. The XDJ-RR allows you to enter the world of a pro layout “all in one” controller for a “nudge” over £1000.
Let’s delve a bit into the details, and explore why the Pioneer XDJ-RR could be just what you’ve been looking for.
In or out?
Versatility and portability are key to a good DJ controller. One minute you’re fine-tuning a set at home or in your studio. The next you’re up in front of an expectant crowd. A device which bridges the gap between those two extremes is worth its weight in gold, andiIt’s here that the Pioneer XDJ-RR really shines.
One such feature that proves this is its ability to operate without a laptop. Playing off twin USB sticks, the XDJ-RR gives you the freedom to leave the laptop at home should you venture out from the bedroom to the club. The pro-style layout has been inherited from Pioneer’s very own NXS2 controller. This means transitions to a club style setup will feel very familiar if you do suddenly get a call to stand in for “The Chainsmokers” at Creamfields 2019.
Physically, the unit is robust and well-engineered with users in mind. A large 7” full-colour screen is similar to that found on the RX2. Here you do lose touchscreen capability. However, you can still easily navigate through menus using the large rotary selector. NSX2 users will be familiar with this.
The XDJ-RR is extremely intuitive to use thanks to its two high-quality jog wheels. Touching the top of the jog wheels while in ‘Vinyl mode’ allows users to enter scratch mode; touching the sides will nudge the tempo faster [right] and slower [left]. Grooves on the side are perfect for finger placement allowing greater control over what’s coming out of the speakers. Vinyl model [off] puts that same nudge mode to the top of the jog wheels.
Get your FrEQ on
The mixer section features full three-band EQ (high, mid and low) allowing for full sculpting of your tracks and giving those who like their bass heavy the ability to test even the lowest reaching subs. Other than for inducing wobbly bowels, this feature is useful when it comes to the precise tuning of an individual room. A cavernous, cathedral-like space will likely require a different sound to a small basement. Therefore, having the ability to alter things on the fly is extremely welcome.
Color your sound
The ‘sound color’ FX section puts four useful effects at your fingertips that are perfect for adding tension and texture to your set. No doubt the most useful will be the filter. Naturally, coming from Pioneer DJ, the filter is very natural (almost analog) sounding that sweeps seamlessly across the frequency spectrum. Noise, dub echo and pitch control all feature here and, as you would expect, Pioneer has nailed every one.
Live on the grid
Quantize features enable technology to lend a helping hand in making sure your loops and other performance features snap to the grid and ensure you’re always in time. This gives you far greater confidence to try more expressive techniques, safe in the knowledge that you’re getting a slight helping hand. Slicing, chopping, and re-looping are all now simple to execute without having to worry about missing a beat. Beat effects also mean that reverb, echo and flanger give your tracks a new signature and sound in sync with the beat.
There’s a lot to like about the Pioneer XDJ-RR. Dan Dyson, product specialist for Dawsons, is a big fan. He said: “Having the large, high-resolution full-colour screen is a huge plus on a unit like this. It gives you a real-time graphical explanation of where you are and what’s happening so you always feel connected to what you’re doing.
“Direct to USB device recording is also a welcome inclusion as it enables you to record sets so you can publish mixes and begin to build up a following which, in turn, can lead to more visibility and better bookings.
“The XDJ-RR is packed with other features we love too, including powerful performance controls for on-the-fly creativity. Things like a dedicated hot cue, beat loop, slip loop and beat jump pads are all intuitive and easy to get to grips with, while the Beat FX give you great potential to experiment.
“The included full Rekordbox DJ license is a big deal while having the entire package coming in at just over 5kg makes for a very attractive proposition indeed.”
High praise from a man who knows his stuff.
The full range of Pioneer DJ controllers is available here.