Pioneer XDJ-RX3 vs. XDJ-XZ – Why It Makes (No) Sense Buying RX3


Pioneer XDJ-RX3 vs. XDJ-XZ

Pioneer XDJ-XZ is a pro, all-in-one 4-channel system DJ system excellent for events, a pub or club, or home DJing.

With its proficient layout, sturdily built, and outstanding club-ready sound, it provides all the features we DJs need to get the work done.

But what are the features of the unit that just came out, Pioneer XDJ-RX3? Is it better? What are the experiences for now? Is the price fair?

After the release of XDJ-RX3, everybody’s talking about Pioneer. In this article, we’ll compare RX3 and XZ, reveal our opinion, and inform you as much as possible about the features of XDJ-RX3.

We’re Testing Pioneer DJ OPUS-QUAD – Here’s the Initial Review

Overview

Pros & cons of XDJ-RX3

Advantages:

  • Huge improvement in terms of the screen quality
  • Intuitive and responsive updated GUI as seen in the CDJ-3000 players
  • two more Sound Color FX and six more Beat FX in comparison to the XDJ-XZ (features complete DJM-900NXS2 mixer audio FX section)
  • Jog wheel tension adjustment knobs for decks 1 and 2
  • Has an extra 3.5mm aux portable audio input

Disadvantages:

  • Features just a resistive touch screen – no multi-touch, scrolling, etc.
  • No key shift and no key sync in all-in-one mode
  • No streaming services support in all-in-one mode
  • You can’t analyze songs on the XDJ-RX3 – you have to do that within the Rekordbox software

You can check the current Amazon and Sweetwater prices of XDJ-RX3 if in stock.

The RX3 is really a successful update for the previous RX models. If it weren’t for the steep price, it would definitely be a no-brainer, provided you were satisfied with the range of functions.

Obvious advantages of the XDJ-XZ over RX3:

  • Mechanical CDJ jog wheels, not cheap capacitors. For me, it’s like day and night, regardless of size.
  • Four real channels, an absolute minimum for permanent installation, and external players’ connection in club/bar operations.
  • Master EQ, a dream especially for bars or mobile use in different locations
  • 2 microphone inputs, each with its own 3-band EQ and feedback reducer.

You can check the current Amazon and Sweetwater prices of XDJ-XZ if in stock.

Head to Head: Opus-Quad vs. XDJ-XZ (Full Comparison)

The display on the XDJ-RX3 vs. XZ

XDJ-RX3 contains a 1280×800 10.1-inch touch display and features with GUI that you may already recognize from the Pioneer CDJ-3000 players – the user interfaces are nearly the same.

The screen is a big step up from the XDJ-XZ 7-inch display. The screen can now provide more information and features fresh, convenient navigation options and added FX controls.

Navigation buttons and category search buttons are still there on the unit, so you can choose your songs without using the touch controls.

The 10-inch touchscreen and the CDJ-3000 GUI are one of the most significant advancements.

On the XDJ-RX3, you can preview the tracks by triggering the cue button on the bottom left side of the unit and then pressing and holding on to the song’s waveform in the library view. This functions precisely the same as previewing the library’s songs in the CDJ-3000 players.

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You can utilize the needle search feature by sliding your finger across the currently loaded song waveforms in the base of the XDJ-RX3 screen.

Because this is a resistive touch screen, it doesn’t support multi-touch or on-screen gestures like capacitive touch screens do – you can’t scroll through your playlists smoothly or pinch and zoom the waveform view (even though the waveform zoom itself is accessible via the track selection encoder).

The XDJ-RX3 also has an on-screen “X-pad” and FX Bank buttons.

In the status mode, the XDJ-middle RX3’s screen can either show you the performance pad functionality details or let you control audio FX in the beat FX mode.

Once the beat FX mode is enabled, you can save up to four custom beat FX presets in a bank, which can then be edited using the beat FX mixer.

The X-pad section is located on the right side of the middle screen section. It functions similarly to the X-pad on the DJM-900NXS2, allowing you to control the beat parameter of the engaged FX by moving your finger across the beat division slider.

RX3 and XZ have identical beat FX and sound color FX

The updated Sound Color FX and Beat FX modules on the XDJ-RX3 are identical to those found on the XDJ-XZ/DJM-900NXS2 mixer.

On the XDJ-RX3, there are 6 Sound Color effects and 14 Beat FX, compared to four Sound Color effects and eight Beat FX on the XDJ-RX2.

The DJM-900NXS2 sound FX set is included in the XDJ-RX3.

Space and Crush FX are Sound Color effects are missing from the XDJ-RX2, which had only four basic Sound Color effects and eight Beat FX, as we previously stated.

The XDJ-RX3 features the same 3-band EQ waveforms as the CDJ-3000 player series, with the option to return to the original blue / RGB waveform view in the settings.

One thing to keep in mind is that while the XDJ-RX3 allows you to zoom into the waveform, the final close-up view can be quite blocky and low quality in general – this is likely due to the device’s graphics chip.

This isn’t a major flaw because it doesn’t cause any issues when used normally. It’s just something to think about.

Differences in jog wheels

While both the XDJ-XZ and the XDJ-RX3 have capacitive jog wheels, the XDJ-RX3 has LCD screens built into the platters.

The RX3’s jog wheel displays can tell you whether the sync or slip modes are active, as well as whether the jog wheel is in vinyl mode or not. They have a needle position indicator, cue position markers, and current active loop length values. However, unlike the full-sized jog wheels on the XDJ-XZ, they cannot display the current track’s BPM or key.

However, you can personalize the logos displayed in the center of each jog wheel by supplying 800x800px jpg files on a USB stick.

By supplying one image on one USB drive and another on a second USB device, you can easily distinguish between two different USB sticks.

These jog wheels are very similar to those found on the Pioneer DDJ-800.

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The XDJ-RX3 now has jog wheel feel/tension knobs on each of its decks, allowing you to adjust the tension of each jog wheel independently.

The mixer

The mixer on the XDJ-RX3 features all the audio FX that are present on an XDJ-XZ series controller and the Pioneer DJM-900NXS2 mixer.

The mixer plate on the XDJ-RX3 now has a black finish that nicely complements the brushed aluminum finish on each device’s decks.

RX3 does not support a pro-link connection (no Ethernet ports), so you won’t be able to connect CDJ players to your XDJ setup in any other way than through the audio mixer.

In one of the previous articles, I wrote about the best USB drives for DJs (and some SSD) that I know to work without any problems and with high speed in Rekordbox.

Both units have the same performance pad modes

The performance pads on both controllers are RGB backlit. The XDJ-RX3 pads have a slightly different appearance than the XDJ-XZ pads, as their rim is now fully lit rather than just having a black border all around.

Eight performance pads on both devices.

Hot-cue – standard hot-cue mode

Beat Loop – same as Auto Loop, but with different loop length access functions (1/16 beat to 8 beats by default)

Slip Loop, which works similarly to Roll mode on other Pioneer DJ controllers, creates momentary loops as long you hold the pad pressed down (1/16 to 2 beats + 1/3 and 3/4 beats).

Beat Jump – allows you to quickly and in sync jump forward and backward through the track by 1/2/4/8 beats.

Gate Cue – after the initial cue press, instead of playing the song, the controller will only play it for as long as you’re holding the button down (This is how normal hot-cues work initially with Serato DJ software)

Beat Loop 2: Contains eight additional irregular timing loops, such as triplets.

Release FX – a set of eight new audio effects that work in a momentary trigger function (are active as long as the pad is pressed down)

Beat Jump 2 – smaller beat divisions are available in this version.

You can access the additional pad modes by pressing the pad mode button twice.

The performance pad mode of the Release FX

All of the Release FX (in order of appearance):

  • Vinyl break (turntable stop effect)
  • Backspin with a short backspin (vinyl backspin effect)
  • Resound out loud (fixed one-beat loop slowly decreasing in volume)
  • Turn off the radio (mutes the channel audio output completely while pressed down)
  • Vinyl break for a while (slightly longer vinyl break effect)
  • Backspin with a long backspin (equal to several platter rotations)
  • Buildup (creates a loop that gradually decreases in length from 1 to 1/16 beat, then releases the effect automatically)
  • Taking a breather (fades the truck out by ducking the audio on each following beat)

These are not post-fader effects; for example, if you use a pad to trigger an echo effect and then try to reduce the active channel fader to 0db, the echoing audio will be cut short.

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Software compatibility

Both XDJ-RX3 and XDJ-XZ support both Rekordbox DJ and Serato DJ Pro software in performance or export mode.

Regarding RX3, the support for Serato has been confirmed but is not yet active. According to Pioneer, Serato DJ Pro compatibility will be available in early 2022.

DVS compatibility

While the RX3 doesn’t support the DVS function, the Pioneer XDJ-XZ all-in-one DJ system supports Rekordbox DVS (license available separately).

Also, from early 2020, users can unlock Serato DJ Pro by plugging the XDJ-XZ into a PC/Mac running the software and, from then, the unit will support Serato DVS (license available separately).

Pro DJ Link

While the XDJXZ is the first all-in-one DJ system to support Pro DJ Link, the RX3 has no network connection for the Pro DJ Link.

In RX3’s defense, it only has two already occupied channels – why would it need a Pro DJ Link?

With the XDJ-XZ, there were still two channels free. The Pro DJ Link makes sense because you can still connect 2 CDJ 3000 there.

It’s worth noting that those controllers don’t have a key shift or key sync options in standalone mode. You won’t be able to change the key of your tracks in any way due to this.

Audio outputs / XDJ-RX3 aux input (3.5 mm)

Regarding audio outputs, there are no differences between the two units. The XDJ-RX3 has an extra 3.5 mm jack portable audio input that can connect an audio device like a smartphone or laptop to an additional audio source.

Countdown function and repeat mode

Using the in-built timer app on the XDJ-RX3, you can set up a countdown timer.

It may be helpful for some, but one issue is that when the countdown is complete, the timer does not display any kind of notification. Aside from that, it’s a welcome addition all the same.

Should you buy XDJ-RX3 over XDJ-XZ?

The RX3 disappointed me. It is too expensive, and many things are missing.

And I’m not even talking about “fancy stuff” á la multi-touch, streaming, or track analysis, but basic things like key sync/shift, your own beat jump buttons (instead of, for example, track search), and EQ for the aux-in or an SD card slot.

The finest pitch range has been fixed at 0.02% since 2006 (!); Numark and Denon have long since offered 0.01% @ 4% range.

In contrast to the XDJ-XZ, there is even no track buffering, so the unclean emergency loop is used.

Also, the display would have been more sensibly dimensioned with 9″. This way, it looks too big and disturbs transport.

The added value for the user is limited when browsing when I look at how much space is wasted, e.g., with the column widths of Key/BPM.

For me, the RX3 is just badly neutered and overpriced for what it offers at a ridiculous 400 euros less in the price range.

1400 to a maximum of 1600 would be appropriate for me.

1. Sweetwater price for XDJ-XZ

2. Sweetwater price for RX3

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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