Thursday, 10 September 2015
Today, Pioneer introduces their new Pioneer DDJ-RX and DDJ-RZ to the world. They're quite a novelty, as they are Pioneer's first DJ controllers that work with the company's very own Rekordbox DJ software. By the looks of it, the main inspiration for the DDJ-RZ was Pioneer's top-segment DDJ-SZ DJ controller, while the DDJ-RX has been modelled after the DDJ-SX. Thanks to similar formats and layouts, transitioning from the SZ or SX to the RZ or RX will be a breeze!
The Pioneer DDJ-RX and DDJ-RZ - two controllers?!
We didn't expect Pioneer to start off with such a bang, releasing two DJ controllers for their DJ software at once. It's been a while now since Pioneer announced they were developing their own DJ software. With Rekordbox, the company has issued a software system that is seamlessly compatible with their own hardware, and the brand new DDJ-RX and DDJ-RZ are the first two controllers that were specifically designed with Rekordbox in mind.
An end to the collaboration with Serato?
Naturally, the question on everyone's mind now is whether Pioneer will continue developing products in collaboration with Serato, or whether they will exclusively focus on their own DJ software. In the last few years, Pioneer has had plenty of opportunity to check out third-party software, and collaborations with Virtual DJ, Traktor and Serato must have surely inspired them. They were able to pick the best features and merge them into their own unique package. Without the restrictions of working with third-party tools, Pioneer can now fully steer their own course, developing hardware and software that truly complement each other.
As such, Rekordbox is not just a music management system, but a full-fledged DJ software package that can stand its ground against other competitors out there. It's becoming more and more evident that Pioneer wants to offer DJs everything they need by themselves. In addition to DJ controllers, they're adding turntables, battle mixers, DJ monitors and now even software to their impressive product range. You'll be able to fill your entire DJ booth with nothing but Pioneer gear!
Let's start by taking a closer look at the smallest of the two new DJ controllers, the DDJ-RX. We'll discuss the DDJ-RZ in further detail later on.
It's fairly obvious that the DDJ-RX was modelled after the DDJ-SX, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Specifically designed for Rekordbox DJ, the Pioneer DDJ-RX is a four-channel DJ controller with two physical decks. With this piece of hardware at your fingertips, controlling your Rekordbox DJ software is a piece of cake.
The DDJ-RX: features
With regards to controls, the DDJ-RX is quite similar to the DDJ-SX, but a few distinctions can be made. It has sequencer controls with play and recording functionality, for instance. Quantize controls have been added, and the Roll function of the pads has been replaced by Pad FX 1, allowing for even more creative effect editing. Additionally, the Sampler button now features Capture functionality.
More than just a rebranded console
The Pioneer DDJ-RX is fully equipped to operate the new Rekordbox DJ software, and as such, it's more than just a rebranded DDJ-SX. When it comes to functionality and control, this console is exactly what the future generation of Rekordbox DJ users needs.
DDJ-RZ: an overview
At first glance, there aren't many visual differences between the DDJ-SZ and the new DDJ-RZ. Like its predecessor, the Pioneer DDJ-RZ features a pair of dark jog wheels with LED indicators and a set of velocity-sensitive pads to activate hot cues and samples. It also has a four-channel mixer with built-in Sound Colour FX and oscillator effects, as well as the characteristic Play, Cue and Sync buttons. We also see effect parameters, browse controls and jog wheel adjust options.
Remarkably, Pioneer once again allows you to connect two laptops to the DDJ-RZ, creating a full-blown DJ booth with B2B possibilities. That means a fixed DDJ-SZ is a great investment for clubs - visiting DJs can simply plug in their gear, and there's no need for breaks between shifts when one DJ takes over from another.
Additional features of the DDJ-RZ
Despite its familiar layout, the DDJ-RZ features a number of new controls. Take the Sequencer section, for instance, which has a recording and a play option. Each deck has a Quantize button, which makes it possible for effects to seamlessly respond to the beat. The DDJ-SZ's Roll function has been replaced by Pad FX 1, allowing for control of even more effects in your Rekordbox software. Next to the Sampler button there is a Capture button, and just above each deck's pitch fader, you'll find a Master Tempo button that replaces the Key Lock and Tempo Reset of the DDJ-SZ. The DDJ-RZ's jog modes offer a choice between Slip and Vinyl, and naturally, you can also opt for Reverse. Located below the sampler volume knob are Sync and Cue buttons, which means the microphones' EQ section has been slightly reduced in size.
Another distinction between the DDJ-SZ and the DDJ-RZ is the backlit colour scheme of their respective controls. The DDJ-RZ's loop buttons are red instead of orange, and the osc effect buttons are green instead of red. The various controls of the effects section and FX assignation just above the mixer section are blue, resulting in a subtly different look for the new controller.
It's quite obvious that the DDJ-RZ was designed for Rekordbox. The ease of importing and selecting tracks, for instance, is a dead give-away. A single press of a button is all it takes to find and import the songs you want, so selecting the next track of your set is now easier than ever.
So the DDJ-RZ is basically a cranked-up version of the DDJ-SZ?
You might say that, yes. By taking the DDJ-SZ as a blueprint, and only changing what was strictly necessary, Pioneer has managed to develop a DJ controller that is fully Rekordbox-proof. All of the DDJ-RZ's features are ready for use. It's unlikely that Pioneer will cease production of the DDJ-SZ, so they'll still offer a top-segment DJ controller for Serato.
I already own a DDJ-SR or DDJ-SZ. What are my options?
No need to worry, Pioneer's Rekordbox DJ software is also compatible with the DDJ-SZ and the DDJ-SR controllers. If you don't want to wait for the launch of the new consoles - or if you don't really need their additional functionality - you can already use Rekordbox with your current controller. You will have to do without the extra features, however, and some of the texts on your DDJ-SR or DDJ-SZ's controls may not fully correspond.
The DDJ-RX and DDJ-RZ are ready for Rekordbox, and boast all the controls and features you need for a pleasant workflow. The DJ controllers are due to hit the shelves around mid-October, but if you want to make sure you're one of the first to work with one of these powerful Rekordbox DJ software consoles, you can pre-order yours now. If you do, you'll benefit from a free Rekordbox Plus Pack, including extra features for Rekordbox.
Keep an eye on the relevant product pages for up-to-date information on delivery times and pricing.