We’ve been staring down the barrel of a new Pioneer DJ piece of gear for the last few weeks. Today we finally are getting to see the XDJ-XZ, a brand new standalone and controller hybrid unit. The big surprise: instead of being 4 decks standalone, this unit runs as two decks standalone, and two as linked line inputs (CDJs/XDJs) or as DJ software inputs from a laptop.
XDJ-XZ: The Basics
- Gear: XDJ-XZ
- Manufacturer: Pioneer DJ
- Price: $2,299 / €2,199 / £1,899
- Release date: This month
- Pre order: HERE
- Software: rekordbox dj license included, Serato DJ Pro support coming 2020
Consider the XDJ-XZ like if you took the DDJ-1000 and combined it with an XDJ-RX2. You get the on-jog displays, the full color FX with parameter and beat FX with frequency selection.
There’s an advanced set of I/O on the back – including the ability to connect linked XDJ units (you could only connect to a computer’s Rekordbox library on the XDJ-RX2, not other Pioneer players).
But now we know why it’s the XDJ-XZ and not the XDJ-RZ: this isn’t a four deck standalone controller. It’s a four-channel mixer with an XDJ-RX2 attached to it.
Here’s what Pioneer DJ says in their press release:
“Choose whether you want to play rekordbox-analyzed tracks from USB drives via channels 1 and 2 on the XDJ-XZ or connect your laptop and use rekordbox dj or even Link Export mode. With 2 extra channels you can mix in audio from external sources like turntables, while Pro DJ Link enables you to browse tracks from CDJs via the 7-inch touch screen on the XDJ-XZ and sync them with your mix. Soon, you’ll even be able to perform with Serato DJ Pro, when compatibility for the software becomes available via a firmware update, coming early 2020. Want to play back-to-back? 3 USB inputs (type A x 2, type B x 1) make this, and DJ changeovers, a breeze.
Using the 3-band EQ on the master output, you can easily tune your sound so it’s optimized for each environment you perform in. If you’re playing gigs with MCs, 2 separate mic inputs with independent 3-band EQs give you total flexibility and when you switch on the Feedback Reducer feature, it’ll automatically reduce any “howling” sounds accidentally caused by the mic.
Get creative and animate your sets with 14 professional Beat FX and 6 Sound Color FX taken straight from the DJM-900NXS2 mixer, and trigger software-specific features using the 16 multicolored Performance Pads (8 per deck).”
Our Take: It’s Pioneer DJ’s MCX8000
It might be hard to remember, but one of the first pieces of this new era of standalone DJ gear was the four channel MCX-8000 from Denon DJ. It made a big splash at first glance because everyone thought, reasonably, that a four-channel unit would mean that there would be four decks to play from in the standalone system. It turns out, it was just two channels internally, and you could connect other external inputs to channels three and four.
Pioneer DJ seem to have done the exact same thing here. They’ve bulked up many of the secondary features of the XDJ-RX2 when making the XDJ-XZ, but neglected the core functionality. It’s not hard to imagine a justification based on profit: they’ll make a decent amount more if they can keep selling standalone XDJ/CDJ players to DJs who want a true four deck experience.
Honestly, this feels like another squandered opportunity for Pioneer DJ to come out strong with an innovative but also commonly-desired piece of DJ gear. Instead of releasing an answer to the Prime 4, they’ve released this unit – and we’re left wondering who it really appeals to, especially at $2,300.