Just two months left in this decade, and one thing is clear in our industry: Pioneer DJ has absolutely dominated DJ gear sales. It begs some speculation: what will the company release in the coming year to keep competitors at bay?
For today’s article, we speculate on two pieces of standalone, all-in-one hardware that we think could firmly cement Pioneer DJ as the ecosystem of choice for another ten years. They’re both laptop-free, and both focus on fulfilling the essential needs of most DJs: giving them an easy way to practice for club-level gear without buying a full player and mixer setup.
Editor’s Note: Both pieces of hardware in this article are completely speculative – we have no insider information and any actual gear released may differ dramatically from these.
XDJ-RB: A Highly-Portable All-In-One
Think of the hypothetical XDJ-RB as a completely standalone version of DDJ-400/200 with an integrated Rekordbox display. It’s designed to be backpack-friendly, it delivers many of the essential functions of the rekordbox-ecosystem, it has an attractive price, and it is a no-brainer for most DJs looking to learn.
Just look at DJ Ravine playing a set on the DDJ-200, streaming tracks from Spotify via djay Pro on an iPhone and outputting it all to a Bluetooth speaker and imagine how Pioneer DJ could make this a complete system:
Pioneer DJ successfully made a consistently sales chart-topping model when they built the beginner-oriented and super-portable DDJ-SB. In my mind, there’s little reason why they couldn’t take those same learnings and apply them to their standalone lineup – and price it at a powerful $400-600 mark (as a point of comparison, the XDJ-RR is $999).
A feature set of the XDJ-RB could include:
- Internal/external 5v battery power
- Basic two deck mixing section
- Bluetooth speaker compatibility
- Basic jogwheels and filter Color FX
- Highly portable size
One important note here is that Pioneer DJ will probably not want to cannibalize sales of the XDJ-RX2 and XDJ-RR (or a future XDJ-RX3, should one be released) – so they’ll hold back on adding too many features so that DJs who want those features will be compelled to upgrade. Here’s what we expect they would not include on this model:
- RGB pads
- Mic/Aux Inputs
- Standalone Mixer functionality
- non-filter Color FX
- Pro Link functionality
XDJ-RZ: A Four Channel XDJ-RX With Advanced Features
This is the piece of hardware that so many DJs around the web heavily suspected would be released “next” in the XDJ lineup last year – but instead Pioneer DJ delivered the XDJ-RR, a slightly slimmed down all-in-one unit. Features over the XDJ-RX2 might include:
- DDJ-1000 style jog displays
- Advanced 4-deck display (borrowed from the TOUR1 line)
- Dual USB ports with recording options for both/either
- great VU meters and a higher-quality soundcard / DAC
- DVS support
- Linkable with CDJs or other XDJ-units for network drive use
- Pattern sequencing / basic DJS-1000 style playback
- toneplay performance pad more
We made our most recent guess at the XDJ-RZ appearing back in December 2018 in an article called “The Race Is On: Who Will Make The 4-Channel Standalone Unit DJs Crave?” Denon DJ won that race, but seemingly not the war – sales of the Prime 4 have stayed relatively secondary compared to Pioneer DJs standalone units.
The secret sauce here is switching costs: most DJs who are going to buy an all-in-one four channel controller probably don’t want to move to a non-standard platform. Denon DJ continues to face an uphill battle on that front. A popular industry-only report revealed earlier this year that a majority of DJs looking to buy new gear want to buy Pioneer DJ products (~65% of respondents – Denon DJ was closer to 5%) – and that’s a big hurdle for any competitors to take on.
“a majority of DJs looking to buy new gear want to buy Pioneer DJ products”
There’s quite a good business reason why Pioneer DJ is putting off releasing a unit in this category: sales cannibalization of their players/mixers. A DJ looking for a complete new-condition four deck solution might also seriously consider shelling out for four Pioneer DJ players and a four channel mixer, which ends up costing >$4,000 depending on the models chosen. That’s a lot more profit to be had than what we’d probably see the XDJ-RZ priced (probably closer to $2,500 – $3,000).
What do you think Pioneer DJ will release to continue to rule the industry? Or will they fall victim to a new challenger? Share your thoughts in the comments below.