The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is the revamped version of the popular standalone DJ controller from Pioneer. Featuring a suite of features you’d find in pro gear. It’s a compact and enticing option for all levels of DJs.
Pioneer XDJ RX2
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 features 2 channel control and a large touchscreen. With a host of useful performance features, it’s positioned as the go-to all-in-one controller for Pioneer fans. Let’s check out what it has to offer.
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is an impressive controller that ticks a lot of boxes. But is it the best standalone DJ controller currently available? Let’s find out.
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is a 2 channel Rekordbox controller. The main mixer section takes inspiration from the DJM-450’s mixer section. You’ll find two channel faders and a crossfader. Above the faders are cue buttons for sending the audio to your headphones. A crossfader curve switch sits between the two-channel faders. This allows you to adjust the curve from a smooth transition to a quick cut.
Each channel offers a full 3-band EQ with trim control. Dedicated level meters for each channel sit next to the EQ. A master output level meter is also present to keep an eye on your mix levels. Above this meter is a knob for controlling master output volume.
The XDJ RX2 has an excellent mixer section with great FX controls.
Above the trim/gain knobs, you’ll find switches to set the channel to connected hardware. I’ll cover what you can connect in more detail in the connection options section below.
The left-hand side of the mixer offers you access to headphone volume and cue/mix knobs. Above these knobs, you’ll find the Sound Color FX options.
4 options are available via dedicated buttons. A dedicated parameter knob is present for adjusting the selected FX. You then activate the FX on a selected channel via the Color knob. I’ll cover these FX in more detail later in the review. AUX controls wrap up the left side of the mixer.
The right side of the mixer offers booth output volume control and more FX options. Beat FX controls allow you to select from 8 different FX. Adjusting the beat FX length is easy with the Beat buttons or via the tap button.
A dedicated channel select knob also makes it easy to assign the FX to a specific channel. Time and Level/Depth knobs round out the control over FX along with a big On/Off button.
Anyone already familiar with Pioneer gear will be right at home. Plenty of creative controls at your fingertips.
Included with the Pioneer XDJ RX2 is a full version copy of Rekordbox. To use the controller with Rekordbox you simply connect it via a USB cable. Rekordbox is excellent software and can handle exporting your tracks to USB drives so you can use the XDJ RX2 in standalone mode.
You also have the option to run Rekordbox in Link Export mode. This will give you access to library browsing and loading. A nice feature for those times that you don’t want to export your tracks to USB.
The jogwheels on the Pioneer XDJ RX2 are solid and responsive. They offer a loose feel which makes scratching comfortable. They are touch capacitive and offer LED illumination to show track position. A vinyl mode is available along with Slip and Reverse options.
Responsive jogwheels make the XDJ RX2 a solid option for scratch DJs.
While nothing groundbreaking they are a good size and offer low latency. You’ll be well covered for executing scratch routines or for adjustments to your tracks during your mix.
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 offers long pitch faders. The tempo range is adjustable via a button. This gives you the flexibility to move from fine tempo adjustments to larger ranges if needed. Long pitch faders with fine tempo adjustments make beatmatching by ear much easier.
A Master Tempo button sits above the fader to lock the pitch despite how much you slow or speed up the track. Above the tempo range button, you’ll find the Sync button which automatically matches the track BPM. There is also a Master button next to the Sync button to set which channel is the master BPM level.
The Performance Pad section of the Pioneer XDJ RX2 is capable but doesn’t contain as many features as other controllers.
Hot Cue mode allows you to set and activate your cue points. Beat Loop mode opens up setting loops. Slip Jump opens setting a set loop. When released the track playback resumes from where it would have naturally reached.
Beat Jump gives you access to moving your loops forward or the track forward in various increments.
The performance pads on the XDJ RX2 are responsive and fun to use.
While all these functions are useful it’s also fairly standard. Nothing stands out as innovative or impressive. I’d have liked to see the second layer of pad performance modes incorporated. Functions like Slicer or access to more Beat FX when using Rekordbox.
Dedicated controllerists might want to look at other controller options that feature more pad modes. But, for most DJs, the selection is more than adequate.
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 boasts a large selection of connection options.
The front panel contains the headphone connection with a choice of both ¼ inch and ⅛ inch. I would have liked to see a microphone option on the front but I also like the minimalist approach.
The back panel offers you two Master Output options. Both XLR and RCA. Plenty of flexibility to connect to your preferred set of speakers. A balanced TRS booth output option is also a nice upgrade over the common unbalanced RCA option you’ll find on other controllers.
An impressive variety of connection options to handle various types of DJ setups.
The XDJ RX2 also offers 4 Line In RCA options. These allow you to connect external gear like CDJs or turntables. Keep in mind the XDJ RX2 doesn’t support DVS so you’ll be unable to play with a timecoded vinyl layout. An extra RCA option is available for AUX connections.
Two combo TRS/XLR jacks are available for microphones. The XDJ RX2 also offers microphone controls above the left side deck. You’ll have access to volume control and a two-band EQ. Talkover mode is also available. This will reduce master output volume when a microphone is in use.
Twin USB ports are available above the right-hand deck. You can use this to load music from or record your mixes. A convenient track split button opens up the option to segment your recording while you are mixing.
With a solid selection of connection options, the XDJ RX2 is ready to handle a large selection of potential setup configurations.
The FX controls on the Pioneer XDJ RX2 will be familiar to anyone that uses Pioneer club gear. With 4 Sound Color FX, you’ll have access to the most commonly used FX options like Filter, Noise, Dub Echo, and Sweep.
It’s quick and easy to activate and the Color knob and Parameter knob work in conjunction to give you full control over how the FX sounds. Missing from the line-up is Crush and Space. While I’m happy with 4 I’d have preferred Crush or Space over the Sweep FX.
Beat FX gives you access to a further 8 common FX. Control over them is more granular compared to Sound Color FX. You can adjust the beat length of the FX via preset lengths or the Tap button for more specific requirements. Options to switch between various channels give you even more flexibility. The Beat FX range is solid with Delay, Echo, Spiral, Reverb, Trans, Flanger, Pitch and Roll.
Between the Sound Color FX and Beat FX, you’ll have access to 12 options. Plenty to add variety to your sets and experiment with creative transitions.
Located at the top left of each deck you have access to dedicated loop buttons. You can set the start and endpoints. To set an auto 4 beat loop you hold down the In button for a second. You can also store and recall loops if you are using Rekordbox.
These controls are the same across the Pioneer range. This is great for experienced DJs as you’ll feel right at home. Likewise, it’s good for new DJs that have ambitions of eventually playing on club gear.
Beyond this section, there are also the Beat Loop controls available via the performance pads. No matter how you like to play with loops you’ll find easy-to-use functions on the Pioneer XDJ RX2.
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is a solid controller. Weighing in at 9kg (20 lbs) it is comfortable to transport between gigs.
Solid feet adds height to the XDJ RX2 but they also help keep the unit stable.
The footprint is spacious. It straddles the line between functionality and size. Not overly large but also not as compact as other controllers.
Build Quality & Design
Despite the all-plastic build of the Pioneer XDJ RX2, it doesn’t feel flimsy. It’s a solid controller that feels comfortable to use. The large feet add stability to the controller. The build quality is what you’d expect from Pioneer. Not overly premium for the price but they do not use cheap components.
The faders and knobs all feel dependable. The rubberized pads also have a good feel. The screen is fantastic but I’ll cover that in the next section.
The large central screen is one of the best features of the XDJ RX2.
As for the design it all depends on if you like the look of Pioneer gear. The controller looks professional and inherits the appearance of Pioneer’s pro-level club gear.
This familiarity is a big plus. Easy for new DJs to get to grips with club-level layouts without having to spend a large amount of money on a full setup.
For club DJs wanting to practice at home, it also ticks all the boxes. Existing muscle memory will get you spinning in no time.
The 7-inch touchscreen is a big improvement over the original RX. Touch controls bring it closer in line with Pioneer’s latest media players. You’ll have access to the QWERTY keyboard search which for DJs with a big library (like myself) is invaluable. Updated browsing controls also make it easy to jump in and out of saved playlists and load tracks.
The screen layout does an excellent job to display relevant information. Plus, the stacked waveforms make it easy to align and manage your mix. The screen also sits at a comfortable viewing angle. I would have loved adjustability like on the Prime 4 but at no stage did I feel I couldn’t see what was going on at a glance.
If you have a desire to stop looking at your laptop the RX2 gives you all the tools you need at your fingertips.
What Others Have To Say
DJs both new and established love the Pioneer XDJ RX2. The Pioneer pro layout gives the feeling of using a CDJ setup at a much more affordable price.
The Power Of Waveforms
The modern era of DJing has brought with it a fundamental change to how DJs assess and prepare mixes.
One of the biggest changes is the ability to see the waveform of the music you are playing. This visual representation of the structure of the track is an invaluable tool. You can see in advance where major changes occur with just a quick glimpse. Adding cue points for key moments also allows for maximum preparation.
Screens have become commonplace on professional DJ equipment.
Combining the two gives you a higher chance of executing a smooth mix. It also helps avoid any unforeseen surprises when behind the decks.
DJ controllers with screens take this to a new level. With access to the waveform information on your gear, you spend less time looking at your laptop. It’s a more natural and connected experience. Something I recommend all DJs experience.
Standalone controllers are a popular category of DJ gear. Well suited to working mobile DJs as well as DJs that want to unshackle themselves from a laptop. But, there are some compelling alternatives to the XDJ RX2 worth considering.
Denon Prime 4 Review
If controllers with screens are your primary motivation the Denon Prime 4 is an excellent option. It offers a massive 10-inch screen. Standalone capability is also available. Plus, you’ll open up yourself to 4 channel mixing.
- Excellent high-quality 10-inch screen.
- Extensive connection options.
- Prime software does take some getting used to.
Denon Prime 4
Pioneer DDJ 1000 Review
DJs that need 4 channels should look at the Pioneer DDJ 1000 as an option. It offers full-size jogwheels. The jogwheel display helps to give you important information but it doesn’t have a dedicated screen like the RX2.
- 4 Channel premium controller with excellent Rekordbox integration.
- Full-size jogwheels for accurate and comfortable scratching.
- Locked to Rekordbox software limiting your choices.
Pioneer DDJ 1000
Pioneer DDJ SB3 Review
One final option to consider is the Pioneer DDJ SB3. The XDJ RX2 is an expensive controller. If you are a new DJ you’ll be better suited to an entry-level option. Plenty of features to allow you to get your feet wet. You can always upgrade down the line.
- A good layout that prepares you for more advanced Pioneer gear.
- Affordable and portable alternative.
- Not standalone capable.
Pioneer DDJ SB3
Should You Buy?
The Pioneer XDJ RX2 is an excellent standalone controller. The fantastic screen with touch controls is functional and fun to use. A solid selection of FX options backed by extensive connection options also makes it perfect for working mobile DJs.
If you already own the XDJ RX the improvements are not substantial. Mainly quality of life improvements. But for anyone else looking at a standalone controller with screens, the Pioneer XDJ RX2 should be high on your list of options.
Pioneer XDJ RX2