Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX3 – Full Review & Guide
It’s finally here! The long-anticipated update to one of Pioneer DJ’s best-ever selling products, the XDJ-RX2. With new internals, fancy jog wheels and a large 10″ touch screen, has Pioneer DJ done enough to counter the threat from Denon DJ? In this full review and guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX3!
- Large 10.1″ Touchscreen
- Colour LCD jog wheel displays
- Playlist Bank – Quickly browse between 4 preselected playlists
- Beat FX Bank – Save four of your favourite effects to be quickly accessed by the touchscreen
- New Release FX – Eight brand new effects activated by the performance pads
- Serato DJ Pro and Rekordbox 6 Compatible
- RRP $1999/£1699/€1999
The new XDJ-RX3 sits in a similar chassis to its predecessor. Sitting at the same width as the RX2, the main difference comes with the new 10.1-inch screen, looking very familiar to Pioneer DJ’s flagship media player, the CDJ-3000. There’s no escaping the fact that the screen now dominates the unit, and truth be told, it looks a bit jarring when turned off. Turned on though, the large bright display is stunning with a high resolution and quick refresh rate. Pioneer DJ still needs to work on their touch interface with some elements sadly not responsive to touch inputs.
Other improvements include LCD screens inside the jog wheels. Although these look similar to those found on the XDJ-XZ, sadly, they are not. The jogs remain capacitive touch-sensitive models and appear to be the same units fitted to the DDJ-800 controller. That said, the jog wheels do now feature adjustable tension, a nice touch indeed.
The rest of the XDJ-RX3’s build remains the same as the previous generation, which is superb. The faders, switchgear and tactile controls remain class-leading, something which Pioneer DJ has nailed now for a long time. The 10.1-inch touchscreen remains the cheaper resistive type, lacking the smooth multi-touch glass feel found on rival units such as the Prime 2.
Protruding far above the chassis, the screen does incur some flex when pressing the shortcut buttons. The screen is, however, far brighter than any other all in one. And although there is currently no day mode, it remains ideal for use in well-lit environments. Screen flex aside, we have no issues with the build quality of the RX3. It continues Pioneer DJ’s run of superbly built units.
New Performance Features
Pioneer DJ has used the new screen to great use, with many new features integrated into the touch screen. The DJ can now control effects with an on-screen X pad, similar to those on club standard DJM mixers. On top of this DJs can now save their favourite Beat FX’s into one of four on-screen banks. These activate from the touch screen without adjusting the physical beat FX controls. A real time-saving feature! When not controlling the effects, the screen can also display the mode of the 8 RGB performance pads.
The performance pads are primarily unchanged from the older RX2 units, sharing the same edge-lit soft pads. The RX3, however, introduces a whole host of new performance modes, including release effects. Used to inject energy into the DJs set, this pad mode includes eight new effects: Vinyl Brake (Short / Long), Backspin (Short / Long), Echo Out, Build Up, Mute, and Ducking.
Also new to the RX3 is Gate Cue mode. Gate Cue only plays a hot cue for as long as the pad is depressed. In contrast, regular hot cue mode will continue to play the track even after the pad is released. Ideal for finger drumming and sampling, gates cues have been the standard in Serato DJ for a while.
DJs now have separate control over quantize on each deck. A big upgrade over the single quantize control found on the RX2, allowing DJs to have beat perfect loops on one deck and the freedom to finger drum on the other!
The XDJ-RX3 has the same connections as its predecessor, with two main USB ports connecting Rekordbox USBs. Unfortunately, there is no SD card reader, WiFi or onboard analysis, unlike the rival Denon DJ units, which is disappointing given the time between their releases. The RX3 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to audio connections, however. Featuring XLR and RCA connections for the master out and TRS booth ports, the RX3 can easily connect to sound systems at home or in a professional booth. A new 3.5mm TRS input allows mobile phones and laptops to be easily attached to the auxiliary input.
The USB-B connection on the rear connects a single laptop to be used with HID mode. Rekordbox 6 creative plan will automatically unlock when connected, as will Serato DJ Pro. Sadly neither will be available at launch, with Rekordbox support due just a week later (November 16th) and Serato due early next year. For future reference, Pioneer DJ, the world would happily wait a week for full software support at launch!
The RX3 is a welcome update to the now ageing XDJ-RX2, upgrading in key areas whilst retaining the elements which made the original so popular. The lack of onboard analysis and streaming support is a notable exception which many will find hard to swallow—especially given Denon DJ and Numark’s advances in this area.
The new interface and performance features are great additions that many DJs will appreciate. The RX3 showcases a screen and workflow so good that many may question how Pioneer DJ will continue to justify the range-topping XDJ-XZ’s price. Sadly, the lack of DVS support does feel like a conscious decision, ensuring power users have no choice but to upgrade to the XZ.
That said, for those seeking a Pioneer DJ set-up that won’t break the bank at home, the RX3 is a fantastic choice. It’s by no means cheap, but considering a set of CDJ-3000 and DJM-900 would be north of $6000, the $1999 XDJ-RX3 represents good value for money.
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