Head to Head: Pioneer DJ Opus-Quad vs. XDJ-XZ

Pioneer DJ XDJ-XZ and Opus-Quad

Pioneer XDJ-XZ is a standalone semi-4-channel DJ unit ideal for events, pubs, clubs, or at-home DJing. Its professional layout, sturdily built, and great club-ready sound delivers all the features DJs need.                       

But what are the differences between XZ and Pioneer Opus-Quad that just came out? To whom are these two units intended? Are the prices reasonable?

There is a reason Pioneer named the new unit the Opus-Quad, not the XDJ-XZ2; because people shouldn’t see it as an XDJ. The XZ is more focused on club DJs, whilst the Opus-Quad is aimed at wedding DJs or DJs who perform at higher-end events.

Pioneer DJ OPUS-QUAD Full Review The Initial Tests

What Features Are Lost/Upgraded Between the XDJ-XZ and Opus-Quad?

Let’s examine what features have been moved, upgraded, or removed. Also, what are the fundamental changes to the workflow on the Opus-Quad?

  1. No slip mode

Slip mode has been iconic on all Pioneer DJ standard gear for years. So the fact Quad doesn’t have slip mode is concerning, but it does have slip reverse. I’m positive an on-screen slip button will make its way into the Opus sooner than later. 

  1. Performance mode (featuring slip rolls on touch and beat jump functions) is fully reworked.

The beat jump features have been moved. It’s now more readily available, BUT choosing your timing is now less available.

Personally, I like the removal of the performance pads. On my XZ, I only used the hot cues and beat jump pads. With the hot cues the same as on the CDJ-3000, I don’t think that will be an issue. On the XZ, I did have some accidental presses on the pads now and then.

  1. Autoloops is more like CDJs instead of XZ (fine but significant)
  2. The XY strip for FX is upgraded (compromise) 

Instead of being at the ready in the FX strip, you press a single button on the controller and it pops right up. 

  1. The Opus-Quad has four channels, whereas the XZxz only has two unless you add external players/turntables.

It won’t show all four waveforms, but you can see the overview for all four channels at the bottom of the screen. 

  1. Opus-Quad kept all the effects and sound effects of the XZ

The waveforms swap out as the other channel is selected; an XY effects screen is more valuable than anything I’ve seen effects-wise while keeping all the XZ’s effects and sound effects. 

  1. Opus-Quad has wifi and can connect to a computer wirelessly.
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By the way, this is not the first time Pioneer has included wifi on a controller. The XDJ Aero was their first controller with built-in wifi.

Besides everything mentioned, the main thing for me is data on tracks/ best grid. One gripe with the XZ is that it does not have the master track tracker. The Opus-Quad doesn’t have that, and it’s taking away even more (key, touch to find on track, little stuff like that).

The design and moving of functions to the touch screen are a bit bold, but people were always complaining that Pioneer almost changed nothing whenever new gear came out.

Also, the Opus-Quad is not much larger than the XDJ XZ. The weight is also similar.

Why I would take Opus-Quad over XDJ-XZ

As someone who regularly uses CDJ-3000s and has used the XDJ-XZ – I’d go for the Opus-Quad over XDJ-XZ.

Most clubs and venues have adopted CDJ-3000s. And as someone who mixes on CDJ-3000s every week, going back to mixing on the XDJ-XZ is a pain, primarily for these reasons:

  1. XZ has no touch preview, a handy and powerful tool.

It’s easily the most used function besides looping when I mix. The fact you can preview songs without loading them onto the deck is massive.

  1. Loading tracks with many cue/memory cues takes forever on the XDJ, whereas it is instant on the Opus-Quad and CDJ-3000.

And because it takes forever, I can’t do certain things with two decks that I can do with the CDJ-3000s. 

The Opus-Quad is capable of the exact fast loading times. Saving an extra five seconds in loading time might not seem much, but if I’m mixing a 3 hour set with over 200 tracks – that’s over 15 minutes wasted. Going from a unit that loads super fast to something that takes seconds feels like agony to me.

  1. The screen is pretty tiny, feels cramped with information, and the UI feels aged and antiquated on the XDJ.

Screen size is also important, and the new technology has a better UI layout. The touch FX screen looks more intuitive than the CDJ-2000NXS2, and I welcome it. 

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People constantly criticize things before they even try out the new features and a redesigned layout. For example, when the CDJ-3000 was first announced, everyone kept criticizing the cue point layout above the platter; now, everyone loves it. And after using the 3000s for literally hundreds of hours, I understand why Pioneer made that decision.

And let’s not overlook the fact that you can simultaneously do a filter and delay with one gesture, which significantly improves workflow. Trying to do that with a CDJ-2000 is not as intuitive, even if it is club standard.

  1. The Opus-Quad has better sound quality. Also, the jog wheel feels way more comfortable than the XDJ-XZ.

Matching the RGB light with the cue point and cue button is an excellent quality-of-life feature. There are tons of added features for mobile DJs as well. The Opus-Quad is more in line with the CDJ-3000s at clubs.

Overall, the Quad is a giant leap forward, and Pioneer didn’t disappoint me.

Opus-Quad as a travel-light substitute for CDJs?

What I value the most is the interface, cue buttons, and other elements that transition aspiring DJs from a home or travel setup with this unit into a club CDJ-3000 setup.

On Opus, features translate way better than the XZ to CDJ-3000. So in that regard, the price is not a concern if you view this as a combined 900 and CDJ-3000 x2. 

For example, if one has CDJ-3000 next to XZ, practices on both, and uses Zone K2 to control samples and effects on the other side, this deck will be fantastic in that setup and way less costly and bulky than lugging the full 900/3000 x3 or 4 rigs. This is just what a lot of people need!

Feature-wise, they aren’t a trillion miles away from each other. The Opus has three screens, the two extra beings the replacements for the jog wheel screens.

Check the price of OPUS-QUAD on Amazon or Sweetwater. And seize it as quickly as you can, as the supply is extremely limited these days!

The main feature XDJ-XZ has over Opus-Quad

Well, XDJ-XZ has no Bluetooth. It has no wifi. 

But it does have performance pads.

XDJ-XZ has more performance functions, link capability, better crossfader, and more CDJ-style jog wheels.

The XZ has a slip loop, slip mode, x-pad, effects (FX) isolator, and channel role assignment.

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But… the beat FX button covers the X-pad, right? And, aren’t slips in the new touchscreen menu? Of course, someone could also say that everything we mentioned is in the software on Opus-Quad. Not as ideal as a button, but still capable, right?

Well, no.

That takes them from being performance features to just features. More presses and physical movement between items increase latency and decrease the playability of a device. For the average push play a-b mix deejay, that’s fine, but to the rest, it is not.

So which one is better, XZ or Opus-Quad?

While XZ is more versatile and familiar, the Opus-Quad has more of the CDJ-3000 features and should be the better option for anyone not used to the touch pads on XDJ or DDJ.

The Opus-Quad also has a more club layout than the XZ, with the hot cue buttons and lack of performance pads.

The even more significant difference for me is that I use Beat FX and (Echo, Ping Pong, and Delay), which works differently with a touchscreen.

Changing how the beat FX operates and having touchscreen dependence for FX operation is not club. What happens when you are sweaty at the venue, or someone spills a drink on the deck? 

That touchscreen isn’t working the same. That is why having everything mechanical on the XZ (or pro controllers) is enormous. 

Also, how about a during the day at a 110+ degree festival? The little details matter, and while it has “streaming” and “4 channel”, it’s not what DJs need and want from their controller for club or festival use.

If you’re a club DJ and need the standard layout (which even the latest Pioneer mixer DJM-A9 is keeping) – stick with the XZ.

But feature-wise, the XDJ-XZ is overpriced compared to Opus. And this shows how outdated the XZ is.

It’s about time Pioneer started innovating for the newer market rather than solidifying the CDJ-only design they have been pushing for the last 15 years. This fills most of the gaps that the XZ had in the past.

I love the direction Pioneer is going. If they release an XZ2 with those screens, people will have to wipe me off the floor.

Tray Fiddy

Tray has come to terms with the fact he will probably never be a famous DJ.... but that hasn't stopped him from mixing and researching audio equipment. Tray has over 12 years of experience DJing at home and events.

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