Still the best Pioneer DJ All In One?
The XDJ-RX2 all in one player, is an incremental update on the original RX unit released in late 2015. Taking the original design and updating it with features from the flagship Nexus 2 line of CDJ players.
The RX2 gained more performance pads, more effects and crucially, a 7″ touch screen. Until the release of the larger XDJ-XZ, this all in one unit was the closest a DJ could get to a club set up without spending almost three times the price.
Designed for advanced DJ’s wanting that professional feeling at home, and beginners wanting their first taste on high-end gear alike, the RX2 aims to be the ultimate all in one for use at home and on the road.
Made with a completely plastic chassis, the XDJ-RX2 unit shares the same design and materials as the flagship Nexus 2 players. It’s a heavy device. Weighing in at 9kg and being 73cm wide it’s certainly less portable than a controller. That said, the weight and size of the unit help make it feel closer to the CDJ players, which is a massive benefit for those wanting to look more professional.
Inside that large chassis, we find two deck areas and a central mixer. It’s evident throughout the build that the RX2 shares parts from more expensive stand-alone models. For example, the effects bank looks just like those found in the DJM450 mixer. The touchscreen and browse controls are also identical to found on the CDJ2000 Nexus range. It’s all very familiar to Pioneer users and helps elevate the premium feeling of the RX2.
The touch screen allows for faster searching of tracks thanks to the onscreen QWERTY keyboard. Combined with the fantastic shortcut buttons, large browse knob and needle search features, the RX2 is very versatile. It allows DJ’s to load tracks, change settings and perform much faster than the previous RX unit.
The two-deck sections of the XDJ-RX2 share the same central display and play media from the two USB A ports found on the right of the unit. Styled on the more expensive CDJ players, many of the controls are in the same locations, including the dedicated loop controls, memory cue buttons and transport controls.
Unfortunately even though visually they look mechanical, the jog wheels are capacitive units taken from the SX controller range. With no adjustment on their resistance, the jog wheels break the illusion of the “club feel” which is a shame. That said, they are responsive, smooth and do their job well.
Each deck also features eight multicoloured performance pads. These pads allow access to Hot Cues, Beat Jump, Beat Loop and Slip Loops. The subtle styling of these pads with just the coloured edges showing again helps the RX2 look more professional than the bright, colourful DDJ controller range.
Sat just below the screen is the mixer section for the XDJ-RX2. Featuring many features from the stand-alone range of DJM mixers, the XDJ-RX2 provides professional connectivity and effects. The two channels on the RX2 can be designated to control either the onboard decks, a line-level input (CDJ, iPod) or a phono level input (turntables).
In addition to the main two channels, a third auxiliary channel is available for connecting external devices via RCA. Controlled by a single volume knob, it features no EQ or effects.
The fader curves and EQ settings can be adjusted in the onboard settings and mimic those found on the DJM900 Nexus 2 mixer. The two channels also feature four sound colour and eight beat effects again taken from the flagship mixer. Allowing DJ’s playing at home to rehearse and recreate routines that can then be taken to the club using the same sounds.
Setting up the XDJ-RX2 at home or in the club is made easy with both balanced and unbalanced outputs found on the rear. The master output can feature a pair of balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA connections.
The booth is output by balanced jack connections with 1/8inch and 1/4inch headphone ports found on the front. Add to this the two combo XLR inputs for microphones that run on their own separate channels and the XDJ-RX2 is perfect to act as the main mixer if required.
Flanked down the left-hand side of the RX2’s touch screen are the input controls. The RX2 features two USB inputs on the top panel and either port can feed both decks at the same time. The USB port found on the right-hand side can also record a DJ set with dedicated track mark buttons to separate the mix into individual tracks. It’s worth noting that you will need a second USB stick to record onto as you can’t play and record from one stick at the same time.
The music on the USB sticks needs to be prepared and exported by Rekordbox software to take full advantage of the RX2’s performance features. Alternatively, you can plug the Rekordbox software straight into the RX2 with the USB B port. The software can connect in two ways.
Firstly in Performance mode, the RX2 uses MIDI mode to connect. This enables the RX2 to act like a controller, taking control of the virtual decks within the software. Rekordbox 6 Performance mode unlocks free of charge when the XDJ-RX2 connected.
Alternatively, the XDJ-RX2 can access export mode via the dedicated Rekordbox button. This mode enables the RX2 to read and access the computers Rekordbox library, playing tracks from the computer’s library as if it was a larger USB plugged into the unit. Unlike Performance mode, the RX2 handles playing the track in export mode. Ideal for users with low spec computers.
The XDJ-RX2 is a superb product that merges the right amount of professional features into a bedroom friendly form factor. Back at its launch in 2018, the RX2 stood alone in being a credible solution for DJ’s needing that club feeling at home. The fantastic mixer, club-standard layout, and ability to play Rekordbox USB’s led to the RX2 becoming one of the most popular DJ products of the decade.
Since the launch of the RX2, new products have come to market which directly competes against it. Pioneer DJ has recently released the much larger XDJ-XZ, while rivals Denon DJ have released three new all in one units. These include the similarly priced Prime 4, the unique battery-powered Prime GO and cheaper rival, Prime 2.
The RX2 still holds its own against the increased competition for DJ’s looking for the feeling of flagship club gear. It’s not a cheap unit, but considering the price of a similar specced XDJ-700 and DJM-450 stand-alone setup, the XDJ-RX2 is a clear winner, being more affordable and powerful.
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