Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX3 review: The portable DJ booth refined

Pioneer DJ XDJ-RX3 review: The portable DJ booth refined

The last time you were on Instagram and saw a back-facing picture of a DJ with hands raised in front of an adoring crowd, there has to do with an 80- percent opportunity that the DJ was standing in front of Leader DJ equipment. Leader has actually controlled club cubicles and celebration phases for years, in part due to the fact that the business’s Rekordbox software application lets DJs prepare and conserve tracks and playlists to USB flash drives that plug into their now-ubiquitous multi-players, like the CDJ-3000 That suggests whatever a minimalist DJ requires for gigs– a number of drives and some in-ear displays– might fit inside a t-shirt pocket. 2 CDJ-3000 s and a 4-channel DJM-900 NXS2 mixer expense over $7,000, so unless you’re currently a handsomely paid DJ, it’s tough to work with state-of-the-art Leader DJ equipment if you likewise desire to consume at least one meal a day. That’s where the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 system can be found in: to narrow the opportunity space.

Given That 2015, Leader DJ has actually made XDJ-RX all-in-one DJ systems for DJs who do not require the total functions of 2 CDJ-3000 s and a DJM-900 NXS2 however do require to keep $5,000 in their pockets. These $2,000 2-channel efficiency systems can run on their own with Rekordbox-prepared USB sticks or as DJ controllers for Rekordbox software application on a computer system. The Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 system enhances substantially on the XDJ-RX2, however is it lastly the no-brainer all-in-one Rekordbox system that DJs desire? Let’s learn as I check out how the XDJ-RX3 has actually progressed and put it to the real-world test of carrying out livestreamed sets.

The Leader DJ XDJ-RX3’s style

At about 29 inches large by 19 inches deep by 5 inches high, and simply under 21 pounds, the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 is bigger than the majority of 2-channel DJ controllers however much smaller sized and cheaper than purchasing 3 top-shelf Leader DJ parts independently. It might be disrobed compared to among Leader DJ’s complete industry-standard set-ups, however it does obtain functions and the total experience, such as a comparable control design to the CDJ-3000 The XDJ-RX3 includes the CDJ-3000’s more responsive jog wheels– total with adjustable feel (light to heavy) and the on-jog color display screen, a circular LED screen in the middle of the wheel that reveals album art work, playhead position, and specific other info like the length of active loops. The delicious 10.1- inch color touchscreen at the center of operations is essentially the like the CDJ-3000 display screen and has a greater resolution (1280 ×800) and a greater frame rate than the XDJ-RX2’s 7-inch screen. Together with the brand-new visual user interface, the RX3 is likewise an upgrade on the previous design in regards to tone shaping thanks to Sound Color and Beat FX that drip below the DJM-900 NXS2–20 impacts in all.

Beginning with the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3

The XDJ-RX3 can run 2 methods: as a full-fledged controller for Leader DJ’s Rekordbox 6 software application or as a standalone DJ system playing music off a USB flash drive. The rear USB-B connection lets the XDJ-RX3 link to both Mac and Windows computer systems (while the brilliant touchscreen assists break your look from them). 2 top-panel USB-A ports, on the other hand, assistance MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF, and FLAC audio files, although Rekordbox software application likewise supports Apple’s lossless ALAC format. Leader DJ has actually likewise guaranteed a firmware upgrade in early 2022 that will make the XDJ-RX3 suitable as a controller for Serato DJ, making it suitable with more of the finest DJ software application choices on a computer system.

I have actually had substantial experience DJing with Rekordbox software application on a laptop computer with controllers such as the Leader DJ DDJ-400, and have actually messed around with CDJ multi-players and DJM mixers throughout the years, so the XDJ-RX3 felt familiar however likewise like a welcoming brand-new landscape to check out. For somebody who has actually never ever DJed without a computer system, an user-friendly design and aspects like the efficiency pads reduce the shift, while the adequate GUI actually did enable me to reserve the laptop computer and zone in on the RX3 while blending a few of my preferred electronic and indie-dance tracks of2021 Since you require to examine music in Rekordbox 6 initially, I prepared and practiced sets hooked up to a 2017 15- inch MacBook Pro and then dumped the computer system to work entirely on the XDJ-RX3 with a USB drive. The XDJ-RX3 is a genuine best-of-both-worlds scenario.

Believing inside package

While some all-in-one DJ systems– such as the closest rival, the Denon DJ PRIME 2— carry out onboard track analysis, the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 does not. You should do the track analysis initially in Rekordbox software application (offered for macOS, Windows, iOS, and Android), which figures out the track’s pace, beat grid, secret, and waveform display screen, along with makes it possible for efficiency functions like quantization for accurate timing for beat-synced results, loops, hint points, and so on. The XDJ-RX3 can playback unanalyzed music however with really barebones capabilities, which rather beats the function. After evaluating tracks, setting hint and loop points, repairing the beat grid if required, and developing playlists in Rekordbox, you export your playlists to USB sticks for plugging into the RX3. As soon as on the RX3, you can produce and modify hint points, loops, and the track’s beat grid from the hardware, however you can’t produce or modify playlists on the XDJ-RX3.

The XDJ-RX3 is a “Hardware Unlock” gadget for Rekordbox 6, which generally offers you the functions of the $9.99/ month Rekordbox Core membership without the month-to-month cost. That consists of Efficiency mode– whatever you require to blend music without restraints and tape your sets to a USB drive with no extra expense. Updating to a $1499/ month Rekordbox Creative membership includes functions such as video assistance, a sample sequencer, and Cloud Library Sync for keeping any modifications you make to your music’s metadata, playlists, and so on synced throughout all gadgets. The $2999/ month Rekordbox Specialist strategy includes unrestricted cloud storage through Dropbox for your synced music collection.

Making connections

A professional-grade audio user interface onboard the XDJ-RX3 offers 24- bit/441 kHz audio quality and a 20 Hz-20 kHz frequency variety. That does not rather match the 24- bit/96 kHz audio resolution of the DJM-900 NXS2 mixer, it constantly sounded crystal clear with the FLAC and uncompressed WAV files I played on it through Leader DJ HDJ-X10- K and Yamaha YH-L700 A earphones, as well as ADAM Audio T8V and KRK Rokit 6 G3 studio screens.

A generous enhance of audio connections makes the XDJ-RX3 ideal as the focal point of a bigger DJ rig. Each of the 2 mixer channels has both Phono and Line stereo inputs for linking turntables and media gamers (state, if you do purchase CDJ systems). An extra Aux input has both RCA and mini-jack stereo inputs and its own volume control (due to the fact that who understands what treasures you may still have on DAT, MiniDisc, and even cassette). 2 Mic XLR/1/4-inch combination inputs have EQ and level controls. The Master audio output consists of both well balanced XLR and out of balance RCA connections, letting you send out the primary mix to 2 synchronised sources, such as powered displays, an amplifier, a receiver, or another audio mixer. Furthermore, the Cubicle Screen output (well balanced 1/4-inch jacks)– vital to running DJ gigs without an extra mixer– lets you link a 2nd set of speakers with their own volume control if your set-up surpasses blending independently in earphones.

The natural performance and wide variety of onboard controls make the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 great for beginners or experts. Markkus Rovito

Secret functions of the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3

As an all-in-one DJ system, the XDJ-RX3 mixes a hardware blending experience with the possibilities of digital control. Even when you’re not connected to a computer system, you have actually stacked, scrolling waveforms on the screen and the imaginative live remixing abilities you can activate with the multimode efficiency pads. And, like when utilizing Rekordbox on a computer system, you have Vinyl mode for starting/stopping/scratching a track with the jog wheel, all the looping functions, reverse playback, and Master Pace– the capability to lock the music’s crucial so you can accelerate and decrease a track without altering its pitch.

Screen test

The Leader DJ XDJ-RX3’s standalone performance depends upon its focal point full-color touchscreen, and it does not dissatisfy. Its GUI fits whatever you require to see in the primary playback view to conveniently blend music without the requirement for other screens: horizontally scrolling waveforms, consisting of grid markers and hint point/loop indications; track information areas with tune title, BPM, track time remaining/elapsed; and complete tune waveforms you can touch to scrub music and dive to any point in the track.

With the on-screen Countdown timer, you can keep an eye on your remaining/elapsed set time, and the efficiency pad Status view reveals the active pad mode and the worths for each pad. This is extremely valuable so you do not inadvertently strike any of the 16 pads (8 per side) when they’re not set to the mode that you desire. The onscreen Beat FX bank lets you conserve 4 of the 14 Beat FX to touch-activated slots, and touch-control the impacts from the screen.

The display screen plainly reveals the scrolling waveforms in excellent information at any of the 5 levels of waveform zoom you can set from the rotary selector. There are 3 waveform color modes, consisting of the brand-new 3Band mode, which plainly reveals the low-, mid-, and high-frequency series of the track and is extremely reliable for rapidly examining the track’s audio character.

Buttons above the screen get you to the other primary view: the track Internet browser. From there you can browse music from the USB drives (or Rekordbox on a linked computer system) by Artist, Albums, Secret, Track, or ready Playlists (my favored technique). A bank of 4 presets lets you conserve any Playlist for quick, one-touch recall. From the Playlist screen, you can pack tracks from either on-screen touch buttons or the hardware Load buttons. The Internet browser’s coolest function by far has to be the complete graphic waveform thumbnail for each track, which you can touch at any point within the track to sneak peek the audio through earphones without packing the track to a deck. You can even sneak peek parts of a tune that’s presently playing, which can actually assist if you’re not familiar with the music and wish to hear what’s showing up.

The Web browser consists of a History tab that keeps the contents of your previous sets, and the XDJ-RX3 programs 12 tracks at a time in the Web browser– up from 8 tracks at a time on the RX2 thanks to the RX3’s bigger screen. The Internet browser does not let you buy tracks by BPM, which along with some fundamental Playlist modifying would be an extremely handy addition.

Getting the part

The XDJ-RX3’s rubberized, velocity-sensitive efficiency pads feel extremely long lasting and show a quick, delicate reaction. Pad quality differs commonly on various DJ equipment, however these are of the greatest grade. Whether playing off of USB sticks or off a laptop computer, you can depend on these pads to carry out consistently. The pads do things like dive to various hint points within a track (Hot Hint mode), immediately set loops of various lengths (Beat Loop mode), insert live remixing loop results (Slip Loop mode), and dive playback forward or backwards by various periods (Beat Dive mode). 2 brand-new pad modes consist of Gate Hint, which plays from a hint point up until the pad is launched, and Release FX, where each pad triggers a distinct result like vinyl brakes, vinyl spins, echo, ducking, mute, and a beat accumulation.

In addition to the imaginative possibilities of the pads, audio results ported over from the expert DJM-900 NXS2 mixer are managed from the big Noise Color knobs (on each of the 2 mixer channels to call in among 6 alternatives) and the Beat FX strip (with controls for designating the impacted channel, setting the time periods and the depth of the 14 tempo-synced audio impacts). The display screen likewise reveals the picked impact and timing worths for simple referral. I discovered it enjoyable and sonically rewarding to chain Noise Color and Beat FX together for some actually good outcomes; for instance, stacking the Sound or Crush impacts with the Flanger or Phaser or integrating an intensifying Roll result with the Filter are terrific mixes for increasing accumulation stress.

Independent artists

The style language and hallmark quality of Leader DJ’s higher-priced parts are apparent in the XDJ-RX3’s marquee functions, however likewise in touches as basic as the renowned LED-ringed Play/Pause buttons and the ultra-smooth crossfader with selectable fade curves. Simply the convenience and self-confidence that comes from having a strong, well-crafted blending console, there is a quality all its own from understanding that the XDJ-RX3 is based on the most typically discovered DJ equipment in clubs and other locations. After a number of weeks of crafting, broadcasting, and recording sets on the XDJ-RX3 (consisting of a downtempo/ambient/chillout/ lounge session and a bass music/dubstep/electro-funk mix you can stream online), I felt more positive of my capability to take USB sticks into a location and play them on CDJ-3000 s (or the similarly established CDJ-2000 NXS2) than I have from several years of utilizing DJ controllers with the most significant DJ software application (consisting of Serato DJ, Rekordbox, and Native Instruments Traktor Pro).

While the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 is too huge to require to the DJ cubicle at my routine club night, I quite taken pleasure in livestreaming with it as a standalone system for the TerraNova DJ cumulative’s month-to-month program. The XDJ-RX3 has actually shown a rewarding training ground for Leader DJ’s club equipment that costs far less– and takes up less area. The XDJ-RX3 is a capable, flexible system for at-home practice or independent gigs, either on its own or with Rekordbox on a computer system.

The Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 lets you bring the club house, simply include poorly lit space. Markkus Rovito

So, who should purchase the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3?

The Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 represents a clear and large enhancement over its XDJ-RX2 predecessor. Its improvements just make it a more remarkable system, and just the smaller sized display screen and less robust Web browser interfere with utilizing it solo rather than with a computer system. That stated, it might not be the all-in-one DJ system for everybody. The comparable Denon DJ PRIME 2 has actually onboard track analysis (which is missing out on from the XDJ-RX3), along with Wi-Fi streaming from music services like TIDAL, SoundCloud Go , and Beatport Link– and all for the lower cost of around $1,500 And if all you desire is a good all-in-one DJ system and aren’t thinking of high-end club equipment, the more entry-level Numark Mixstream Pro has a touchscreen, onboard track analysis, and Wi-Fi music streaming for around $600 The XDJ-RX3 offers you the feel of blending on the finest multi-players with the included functions of some of the finest Leader DJ mixers and controllers. Small companies like bars and mobile DJ services must consider this DJ devices as a feasible option to a complete CDJ rig. DJs who currently utilize professional Leader DJ equipment at gigs need to likewise discover it a deserving choice for house practice. DJs who either desire a secondary practice rig or to alleviate into the Leader DJ system– preparing tracks and playlists in Rekordbox, exporting them to USB drives, and utilizing those USB drives to carry out on CDJs– can train on the Leader DJ XDJ-RX3 system without dealing with the cost tag of an utilized Prius. It’s the most undoubtedly enjoyable, fairly inexpensive entrance into the expert Leader DJ universe you’ll discover in a single system.

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