Review: Pioneer DJ XDJ-RR

Renowned for its accessible decks, Pioneer is now looking to bring more novice DJs into the fold with a new entry-level unit.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

MT Choice
9

MT VERDICT

+ Compact and solid design
+ Two USB-A ports for loading and recording
+ Familiar Pioneer DJ layout and functions
+ Quality effects and creative options
+ XLR master outputs

- No booth output
- No ability to control turntables or CDJs beyond the aux in

A compact all-in-one controller with enough pro features to tackle most DJ gigs and that can help you learn the workflow of Pioneer DJ’s industry-standard range.

Price £1,100
Contact Pioneer DJ

All-in-one media-player DJ units have been a staple of Pioneer’s offering since the now discontinued XDJ-Aero was released in 2012. The XDJ-RR is the latest entry-level product in the range, offering a compact yet feature-rich DJ solution.

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The XDJ-RR follows the familiar workflow and layout of Pioneer’s long-admired DJ range and, with similar functionality, it won’t take users long to get going with it if they’ve ever used the company’s CDJs, DJ controllers or mixers before. Similarly, it’s a top-notch training ground for beginners looking to prepare for club gigs on the industry-standard CDJ and DJM Nexus range.

Pioneer DJ XDJ RR

 

Spin cycle

Despite its entry-level concept, the XDJ-RR’s price remains fairly high, even if it does sit at the bottom of the media-player range. There are plenty of pro features here, however, and the overall build quality is good. There are great I/O options, with two USB-A ports for loading tracks, as well as XLR and RCA master outputs, an RCA auxiliary audio input and a microphone input. There is no dedicated booth output, which will make it frustrating for some venue setups, though you could use the mirrored second master output as booth foldback if you wish – you’ll just have to control the volume level of that active monitor on the speaker itself rather than via the XDJ-RR’s mixer.

There must be other cutbacks from the range’s other units, right? Right. There’s no touchscreen here, no central screen on the jog wheels. The Performance Pads aren’t really pads either but more like buttons, so they don’t feel as fast and percussive to use as on the range’s high-end units. The lack of touchscreen could be frustrating for some when it comes to text search or browsing large libraries of music but, if your music is fairly organised, you shouldn’t find this much of an issue. Of course, you can hook up a laptop via the rear USB-B port and use the XDJ-RR as a controller and use the free Rekordbox software to browse and perform your music that way.

The good news is that the XDJ-RR comes loaded with quality Pioneer effects, with four Sound Colour effects and three Beat effects on the mixer, as well as the Beat Loop, Slip Loop and Beat Jump functions on each deck. You’re certainly not strangled for creative features here.

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The 3-band EQs feature an ISO option to completely kill that frequency band. But because the unit is lighter and more compact than the next up in the series, the XDJ-RX2, there has been a few compromises. The throw of channel and pitch faders is slightly shorter and the jog wheels are reduced in scale and feel a bit light of torque, though it never feels awkward or too small to use professionally. The short pitch faders, however, might prove tricky if you’re used to vinyl-style mixing or not being guided by BPM readouts or sync. The unit sounds great and the balanced XLR outputs mean you have a solid signal for big sound systems. Though it’s more expensive than many other all-in-one efforts and is understandably limited in some respects, the XDJ-RR doesn’t feel like a compromise while DJ’ing.

Pioneer DJ XDJ RR

Do I really need this?

This may seem like an expensive option if you have a laptop to which you can add bundled free DJ software and a controller for less than half the price. But for us this small all-in-one package will always beat having to cart about a laptop. Plus, as it follows the classic CDJ workflow, you can prep your USBs and be ready to drop them into any Pioneer DJ device in any club. If you’re serious about playing in bars and clubs or to larger audiences longer term, it’s worth the extra cash to start out with the XDJ-RR and avoid the usual laptop and controller entry point.

Key features

  • Includes Rekordbox DJ software
  • Sound Color effects, dub echo, pitch, noise, filter
  • Beat effects: beat echo, reverb, flanger
  • Microphone input: XLR, 1/4-inch TRS jack
  • One auxilary input (RCA)
  • 5.2kg
  • 737 x 625 x 388mm

Alternatives

Denon DJ PRIME GO

Denon
DJ PRIME GO £930

Despite being ultra-compact, Go features a seven-inch touchscreen, wi-fi streaming and a rechargeable battery. Denon crams a lot in here for less money than Pioneer’s alternative but the latter has the advantage in that similar systems are already installed in most bars and clubs.

Pioneer DJ DDJ-800

Pioneer
DDJ-800 £780

If you don’t mind bringing your laptop to the party and want maximum features for your money, this Rekordbox DJ controller is worth a look. It features visual feedback via screens in the jog wheels and jog-wheel torque adjustment, plus phono/line RCA channel inputs and more.

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