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A New Way To DJ: The Pioneer DDJ – RZX (A Review)

Pioneer has been on the forefront of CDJ’s and mixers for quite awhile. Given the market’s increasing predisposition towards DJ controllers, the company has slowly started to adapt to the tendencies. Props to Rekordbox, the company’s DJ software, as it has really accelerated in its niche and has already caught up with some representatives of the Big 3 in the field- Traktor, Serato and VirtualDJ.

 The DDJ-RZX appears to be a giant leap into the realm of a technically advanced controller that is able to process both audio and video signal. This is possible, due to three huge 7-inch touch screens; it is almost as the RZX transcends its primary function and merges the audio and the video in the same package. The monitors are designed to view track waveforms and ideally help you achieve flawless beatmatching, as well as have total command over the FX section. The screens make monitoring and previewing video files comfortable, and they provide access to all the essential FX in the Pioneer’s softwares Rekordbox DJ and the recently released Rekordbox Video Plus. All you really need to use your laptop for is scanning your Rekordbox library and choose the required tracks. This doesn’t come at a low price, though, the RZX is fairly demanding in terms of operative memory. To operate this monster properly you allegedly need eight GB of RAM, but there have been many users reporting that even sixteen GB aren’t enough to have it work at full potential, without your computer going into overheating. And speaking of computers, the fact that this product is not standalone, is a huge disappointment. When speaking of hardware of this size, and weight, the last thing you want is having to carry a laptop along. This particular issue compromises the entire idea of portability in this Pioneer controller.

The company has taken care of a set of recurring problems that all DJ’s are familiar with, such as making a more rigid and highly durable crossfader. The fader is made to work perfectly at around ten million movements. Now, let’s get down to numbers. The RZX costs three thousand dollars, quite a lot of money for what seems to be an amalgam of things that don’t necessarily add up to a bigger value. What you receive as a “bonus” are the Rekordbox DJ, Rekordbox Video Plus Pack, and Rekordbox DVS, which sum up to around four hundred bucks if purchased separately. In our opinion, this controller will not make it to a widespread commercial success and become one of Pioneer’s classics, due to a list of small shortcomings. To reiterate, the DDJ RZX is around a hundred centimeters long and around fifty five centimeters deep, which makes is almost as big as the “real deal”, and it still requires a computer to feed data off. Then, adding video mixing capabilities to it sounds a bit excessive, because, let’s be fair, how often do DJ’s have to deal with VJ matters? Moreover, will a VJ ever purchase the RZX over other niche controllers? That doesn’t sound too reasonable. Overall, the product seems overpriced. It is normally the case that the price is in strict concordance with the value of a product, and the quality it helps us achieve. Will the RZX make your DJ sets better in comparison to average CDJ’s and mixer setups or average non-standalone controllers? Hardly. It is without doubt that thousands of happy DJ’s will find this controller the most important investment of their career, that will eventually shape the way they approach the craft of mixing tracks in general. And who knows how DJ-ing will look in the years to come. What if the RZX is the new big thing. We’ll just have to wait and see.