Pioneer RMX-1000 Effects Unit Review

In a world of computers and controllers, Pioneer has stayed fast by their postion that dedicated hardware still has a major place in the DJ landscape. The RMX-1000 is no different, providing controllerism-style effects and remixing in a single dedicated FX unit that relies on excellent beat detection to keep it in time with any music source. How does it fare? Let’s take a look.

Reviewed: Pioneer RMX-1000 Effects Unit
 $799 street
Communication: Audio in and out
Available: Soon
Ships with: Remixbox (TM), RMX-1000 Plugin
Weight: 2.86 lbs
Dimensions: 13.14″ W x 6.18″ D x 2.24″ H


The beat detection algorithm and  syncing is quite impressive for electronic music. Pioneer’s three stage workflow of shaping, building, and then killing effects is intuitive and very effective in producing good sounding results. The overall tones and creativity of the effects is excellent with a wide range of unique sounds.

The unit should come with more drum sounds and samples built in (we did have a pre-production unit, which might not be typical). The beat area was highly addictive but there is a lot of room for improvement as a live drumming instrument. At $799 it’s a tough price pill to swallow for just effects – especially with so much effects diversity into Ableton and Traktor these days.


Even though they may be one of the biggest dj manufacturer in the world, Pioneer actually does some pretty innovative things in their hardware. From multi banded cross fading to sound color – the “industry standard” hardware is armed with some surprisingly fun performance features. The RMX is no different. They have really stepped up their game here creating a traktor/controllerist style dj interface for djs that are using any source of music.


There are three ways we might suggest you would work this into a DJ setup:

1. Send and return via mixer

The most logical use for this device is as a send and return FX unit that affects the master channel of all audio sources. With most mixers you can easily route the send, return to indidual tracks in order to isolate the results. This is how we tested the unit, and it worked well.

2. Master output from controller or sound card

If mixing internally in DJ software, you could easily route the output of your controller or sound card to the input of the RMX, and then send that output to speakers or a mixer. The RMX would then be your final master stage affecting all tracks at the same time.

3. Input from a deck source and back out onto a single mixer channel

Since the beats are really a sound source of their own, you may want to use a AUX send on a controller or mixer and then route the RMX back in on a dedicated line allowing you to blend in the beats or effects in a more effective wet/dry manner. Since they can be overpowering at times, it would be handy to have an easy blend that builds them in or out of the mix. Elements could be grabbed and essentially “saved” and mixed into the decks even after you have loaded a new song.


The RMX-1000 boasts an internal sample playback section with four banks and four voices per bank. These are polyphonic, so you can play them at the same time. There is an overdub which – while primitive – does allow you to record your patterns and loop them. This rhythm section can be quantized to the master tempo and beat phase (determined automatically by beat detection) making it easy to tap out some decent beats without practicing like Jeremy Ellis.

With pitch control and independent volume level, everyone at the DJTT office that played with the unit ended up jamming on this section the most. It was disappointing that there was only one bank of sounds that shipped with the RMX, but you can load your own via a built-in SD-card slot. Here LaidBack Luke uses some custom loaded samples in a Pioneer promo video:


In Traktor and Ableton we have the benefit of knowing exactly what BPM a song is and where it’s beats are within the tiniest of fraction. This allows effects and beat fills to be timed perfectly to every song- every time. Sometimes I take it for granted how well the beatgrid system is until I try to perform a beat roll on a CDJ-1000. Without some really smart audio technology – hardware will always have a hard time beating software with beat detection and beat grids.

That being said, the RMX-1000 gets REMARKABLY close. They have 2 easy to use features that make syncing affects to any audio source (like turntables or CDJ’s) a breeze.

  • 1 – Auto Tempo detection, which in combination with tap works REALLY well. I was surprised how accurate it go the BPM and the phase of the beat
  • 2 – Nudge. If the phase of the beat rolls is off, just nudge the RMX-1000 just like a tempo match and it will be in time.

With these features it was easy to reliably get a rhythm rolling in time with a song or play drums along with any track.


This section was a great hybrid of old school EQ isolation with modern tempo based effects. The CUT/ADD feature cuts the frequency to the left, but adds an echo to the right. Watch the walkthrough video below for a demo of each of the Isolate FX sounds. We loved that you can select the input of this section, either the inbound music or the X-PAD beat section.

The big, old-school isolators are great and really fun to play with. Pioneer ups the game by doubling EQ and FX on one knob with the CUT/ADD and 2 other combo effects. While the sound of the second two was not to my personal taste, you can customize how the effects sound using the free RemixBox software. The parameters you can adjust are fairly limited but it does allow anyone to load their own personal “presets” on an SD card and update any RMX unit with those parameters. It would be nice to change out the effects, especially on this isolate FX section, but the software only supports tweaking their values for now.


The isolators lead to the main focus of the RMX, its sound shaping effects. These are selected by the ten presets around the central knob, which controls wet/dry and fades in each effect.  There are two sub-parameters shown above, which can be used to tweak each effect’s sound. The ten effects were interesting, and while I found myself missing a beat repeat (this is intended to be done in the FX pad section, which doubles as a non-obvious beat repeat area and sample player), most of the effects you would expect from a Pioneer unit are present.

The only work that could be done here is in tuning the wet/dry knob. It didn’t seem to blend the effects in and out as well as we’re used to with Traktor’s effects, and could be sweetened up a little bit. Personally, I would make it a wet/dry macro knob that both altered the effect, turned it on, and balanced the wet/dry all in a single sweep.

That being said, these are some wild sounds that provide epic build ups and drama out of almost anything.


This is my favorite part of the unit, and the most clever from a workflow perspective.  The large toggle switch on the right can be pressed down to engage the selected “Release Effect”, kill the music and upon release: turn everything back to normal. The unit is basically set up to create the following musical workflow:

  • Start to shape the sound with the isolator
  • Add a shaping effect to create a build up
  • At the end of the phrase, kick in the release effect for a big moment
  • Then release on the one and the music is back in without any effects

it works really well and with a little practice is easy to get good results. There are three hold and release style effects:

  • Vinyl Brake.  Sounds like:  Hitting stop on a record
  • Echo:  Sounds like:  Our popular echo freeze trick
  • Back Spin:  Sounds like:  A vinyl backspin.

Finally, since DJ effects are so popular in music production these days, Pioneer provides the RMX-1000 as a VST/AU plug-in for your DAW software. Since the RMX works as a MIDI controller when connected to the computer via USB, we presume you could use it to create DJ style effects in your songs and then edit the results at will!


Because this is an effects unit, a review only in writing seemed out of place, so I recorded a short walkthrough of the unit to demonstrate each section’s sound.


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Comments (77)
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  • Artist Gear Setup: James Zabiela | Deejay Store

    […] Pioneer RMX-1000 (4) – My favourite effect is the HPF Echo, I have changed the settings so when you whip it all the way around it cuts the signal completely but leaves the tail. This makes it really fun during mix-outs, allowing you to expressively cut & echo back in bit of the previous track. I do have some of my own hits on an SD card but space wise it’s limiting so for that kind of thing I mostly use Ableton. Watch Ean’s review of the Pioneer RMX-1000. […]

  • Artist Gear Setup: James Zabiela | DJ TechTools

    […] Pioneer RMX-1000 (4) – My favourite effect is the HPF Echo, I have changed the settings so when you whip it all the way around it cuts the signal completely but leaves the tail. This makes it really fun during mix-outs, allowing you to expressively cut & echo back in bit of the previous track. I do have some of my own hits on an SD card but space wise it’s limiting so for that kind of thing I mostly use Ableton. Watch Ean’s review of the Pioneer RMX-1000. […]

  • David

    I would not recommend this, some other FXs are old school already.
    maybe 1 or 2 features would be useful but paying 700 bucks for those 2 fxs is not worth.

  • Atomisk

    “Raw analogue signal”… out of itunes


    can i use this with my traktor s4? if so how would i set that up?

  • NENE

    hi guys.. can someone tell me how to connect the rmx1000 without using any laptop pls?? where do i have to connect the input and output terminals of the rmx??

  • Zac Cawdron

    Best bit of kit i have brought this year! well happy 

  • Zac Cawdron

    best bit a kit i have brought this yr 

  • 1000 Cutts

    Nice review and Vid Ean – I watched the Pioneer promo vids and was like eh? but look a solid bit of kit…really like those funky three effect kill switches..

  • Dax

    if your done with the RMX 1000 can you mail it to me?

  • Jovanni Alex Alecio

    native instruments F1 way better then the rmx 1000 in my opinion…

  • Garbitch

    That’s a lot of money for a dsp and some knobs/sliders. Future landfill.

  • @Philosurfer_

    All the promo vids I’ve seen for this make me think of that old cliche of beginner DJ’s hammering away at the FX and essentially butchering a well produced track. I’m sure this piece of kit is great (if you’re ballin’) but none of the vids has shown me a MUSICAL use- it mainly sounds like crappy gated and glitchy ish… Just my .02. If I were pioneer I’d pay Ean cash TODAY to make a vid that shows how a controller freak would use it.

  • Soulnessuk

    I bought one of these last week and must say I’ve no hesitation in recommending this to anyone that can afford it. The quality of the built in effects sound vastly superior to anything than I seem to be able to generate from Traktor and to be honest I wouldn’t be interested in spending the time and effort to try and replicate these effects with custom mappings. I was in the market to buy an isolator so I guess the purchase made even more sense to me than it would to many on this forum.

    • Gavin Varitech

      How is the isolator? As someone if the same scenario this (if the isolator compares with the higher end ones) will make the purchase an easy decision. 

      • Soulnessuk

        The isolator sounds good to me but I don’t have a clear reference point. My friend has the Bozak Iso-x with an EFX 500 so I’ll take round the RMX some time soon and then we can do a comparison on his set up for both the isolator and FX.

    • Drhiggens

      Where did you find one a month before the street release? I talke the pioneer rep the other day and he was saying production version had not even shipped yet.

      • Soulnessuk

        It came out here in the UK at the end of last week but there was only a  small number that came into the country and it seems like everywhere is out of stock now.

  • Luke Stein

    Im sorry laidback luke but what was that? that was very poor and makes me not want this product.

  • Pewpew

    I know everyone keeps saying traktor or ableton can do this all. And yes it certainly can, but it needs to be delivered in a way that can be easily useable. I mean how many iteration of controller, and set up do people need to replicate the sounds? I mean people have their s4s, then an x1, and a f1. Or a VCI -400 and tons of other controllers on top. Pioneer is just trying to package the most favored and useful effects onto one unit with easy work flow. 

    Sure ableton and traktor can probably do all the things, with tons more on top, but is not to many have made it into a controller that is easily used.

    That being said 800 is bananas lol.


    it makes a ton of sense for the cdj dj’s (not the guys using a-hid to control a laptop software)…. but not for us guys using traktor or serato.

    it’s meant to be a live sampling and soundfx unit in addition to the djm series of mixers.

    now, hearing these buildups/breakdowns, seeing the layout and tactile response, and the intuitive performance, I am seriously thinking of getting this for my live sets.  I love the idea of on the fly buildups and breakdowns (and not letting stupid traktor cue up 2 bars of audio before i can hit a turntable fx-style stop!).  you pay for the nice and complete convenient package… now if you want to go spend your time using a bunch of vst’s, midi controllers, and fx sends… basically everything i’m too lazy to do, SICK (i wish i had your patience).  I’m going with the ready made solutionn when it drops in price!

  • Terry

     so this rmx 1000. it can be used with a digital software? right?
    but i still wonder how… if can somebody explain it to me i would appreciate.
    cause i only have traktor as digital software and no other equipment.
    Can i use it only with traktor?

    • Funkall

      No it can’t, or in every case not for live mixing, the only thing you got more is a digital copy as a plugin of the unit that you can use into productions software that support VST/AU plugin (Ableton, Logic pro…). It means you will be able to apply the same effect you’d have done with the rmx 1000 (without software) in your production steps, it’s like a virtual effect unit just like the real one. So to answer your question, you can’t use it with any software as Traktor, Serato, etc… For now!

      • Gavin Varitech

        What in the world are you talking about? Of course it can be used with software. 

    • Funkall

      And finally, if it could have worked with traktor, you would have lost some of the best new functions that are one of the particularity of the rmx, such as the eq/isolator, etc…

      • Pewpew

        thats not entirely true, Its like how ean has it in the video he can just have the master to though the rmx. So all effects on the rmx will effect the master of traktro.

    • Gavin Varitech

      Of course it can be used with software. Why wouldn’t you be able to use it with software? It doesn’t matter where you music is (vinyl, CDs, or on a computer being played via software) this, and ANY outboard effects unit, can still be used with it.

  • dax

    how can i get pioneer to send me one for free?

    • Funkall

      If you get how, just tell me, I’ll do the same!

  • Phasma

    Ean, you aren’t quite accurate with your video. You can add on beats on top of each other with the unit as shown in this video here.

    • Gavin Varitech

       I was wondering why Ean said that in the video myself…

    • Ean Golden

      you cant mix sounds with the buttons and the FX pad. You can mix sounds on the buttons but you can’t play a rhythm with the pads and then drum on top of that with the buttons. 

  • Anonymous

    I think Ean missed the mark on explaining the sample section, which to me is the thing that really sets the RMX-1000 apart from past DJ FX solutions. 

    In the Pioneer demos you clearly see guys building up sample patterns with some type of looping and quantize. I assume that’s what the “overdub/delete” button is for. Also what does the “hold/mute” button do actually? There’s also a dedicated “bank” button. How many samples can it hold?

    If you look at the RMX-1000 as a DJ-oriented sampling drum machine with performance FX, the price tag starts to make more sense. If only it had a dedicated looper for the input, a way to sample/assign to the pads on-the-fly, and some slightly larger rubberized buttons to mash, it would be the perfect standalone remix machine.  

    • Funkall

      the mute button is used to mute a particular sample of a loop you’ve created before temporarily, then when releasing it the sound in question come back into the loop, for example you’ve created a loop with a kick, a snare and a hihat, the loop is playing, and you suddenly want to mute the hihat without erasing it definitely, so you hold the mute button, then you press the sample button corresponding to the hihat, then if you want to make the hihat coming back in the loop you just do exactly the same (Holding mute+pressing hihat) and the hihat will come back with the same pattern that you made before.
      It can handle as many samples as the SD memory card you plug in can hold, so it depends of the size of your samples, and the capacity of your memory card

  • Joshuan Spaz

    Is it just me or is the old efx1000 much cooler?

    • Joshuan Spaz

       Also effects over a song isn’t necessarily needed unless it’s electronic music. I never hardly use effects over funk or hip hop. I will keep the $800 and buy a new synth.

  • Cool it down

    This is way too expensive just like the rest of Pioneers gear and not geared towards anyone but the big time dj’s. It’s all about the workflow so if you like what you see in the video’s just reverse engineer it and do it in traktor or ableton. Nothing is new Here but all in one easiness of setting it up. 

  • Chris Rawles

    Pioneer do some of the worst demonstration videos on the net,  They are all cheesy as hell.

    They should get the DJTT guys to make some.  

    • Rapido

      lol – u really think that?

  • Jose Tamoro

    This thing is awesome. I will be getting one to add to my DJM2000 and CDJ2000s amongst all my other Traktor and Serato controllers/gear. I tend to practice on all platforms so I can be versatile but my main rig is still my CDJ2000s/DJM2000.

    • Lee Grace

      I hope you own a gold pair of technics 1200’s to go with that blinged up set up also? lol 

      • Jun

        No I just have a pair of normal 1200’s MK2

    • 4321djgear

      DJM2000 already has EFX800 built into it. Why buy this too?

      • Scott

        I ordered one and I have a the efx 100 and the dim 900. it just has a different work flow and combinations of effects that are difficult to replicate if not impossible with the other gear. 
        that said I’m a hard ware dj I only use the laptop for samples and risers. IM sure all this stuff could be created if you wanted to build the rack and hen map it to controls on something. so it is not for everyone. 

      • Jun

        The DJM2000 has lots of effects on it but the RMX1000 will add much more.

  • Christopher Crayon White

    Ill end up making a fx rack that will do the same thing. maybe need to m4l but still why buy someonthing you dont need

    • Itstrutho.

      I agree This is all super cool and whatnot, But if i take the extra time I can just create all of this myself without spending a single extra dollar. But most people wont take the time to do that so theyll spend money to get it the easy way. gross.

  • Tragik11

    Laidback kinda sucked in that routine a little. But oh well i know the vid was just to show the gadget. Nothing i could not do with traktor effects already so skipping…

  • DJ PC3

    First, I am hip hop DJ (who sometimes plays commercial pop/EDM), so all these additional effects are cool, but completely unneeded for most of my audiences. My audiences know the words to their favorite songs and don’t want your glitch effects messing it up.

    But I can def see the potential for this device, and if I did more EDM, a device like this would def keep me busy, engaged and my sets unique.

    With all that being said thought, $800 is INSANE. Does pioneer realize most of these effects can be replicated in DJ software (like Traktor and maybe even Serato to some extent)? For a hundred more dollars I can get a DJM-T1 (an entire mixer) or for the same price I can get a lot of high quality mixers (with effects) from reputable competitors. 

    Sorry Pioneer, regardless of genres I play, for me to even consider this hardware the price needs to be dropped significantly…

    • DaftBot

      I think they’re more than aware but I also think that they’re aware that some DJs still don’t like using software. I know a lot of DJs who prefer CDJs and old school vinly, and for them to be able to have these kinds of tools at their figure tips is maybe worth the price tag.

      That said look at the price point for DJs who don’t use computers. In order to use a computer you have to get that, already over 1k, then software and a controller… looking at a little over 500 bucks there depending plus software… you’ve already doubled your cost.

      That’s why Laid Back Luke is just using CDJs in that demo. He’s showing EXACTLY the purpose of this thing.

      I’ve been hired to spin at clubs that say they’re all set and then I get there and there’s no room for my S2,S4 or even a midi fighter but they would have room for this to allow me to cut up some beats on the fly and really crank it out.

  • Ryan Supak

    In effect (although the user achieves it differently), it reminds me a lot of the EFX-1000. Combining the effects in that unit gets you to a lot of similar places. The 1000 is a very, very deep box and the reverb in it sounds like a Lexicon PCM-60 to boot.

    Personally I wouldn’t go for this one. Most of the music I play won’t be picked up by BPM detection and the Tap button on this seems almost like an afterthought. Also, the design of this box seems to want to point you towards certain uses, but for my part, I prefer more “basic” building blocks.

    I suspect these will be pretty popular though. As others have said, it seems expensive until you really start tallying up what it would really take to replicate this kind of setup with a laptop, software, a soundcard, and controllers.

    And — it must be said — Pioneer stuff seems expensive until you use it for a few gigs. Then you understand why it costs what it does.


  • Shishdisma

    I’m not really sure people keep complaining about the price or what software can do. This thing comes in at cheaper than an EFX-1000, and will probably sit around the $700 mark soon. Also, all the people saying that Ableton racks are superior to this are insane. Wiring and Ableton FX rig on stage involves a mess of cables and sound cards, a pile of controllers to keep everything usable, and a flipping laptop dedicated to effects. Running an Ableton S/R setup on stage for a regular set is just not realistic. Plugging in a hardware S/R, however, and not having to build a massive FX rack dedicated to doing what this thing does, isn’t exactly arduous.

    I did like Ean’s little guide on how to plug it in, should cover most of those “HOW I USE THIS WITH S4!?” comments that surround this thing. Then again, that comment might resonate with the the bedroom DJs I mentioned above.

  • Lylax

     the “kill all” should be the efx off/on button located next to the wet/dry knob on the S4/S2.

    • Emery

      I have been dying for a solution to that with the S4. Builds sound great, but making sure effects and filter are off and bass is up at the drop is not an easy task

      • Stewe

         I did some mapping and found this could be done by inverting button options. Set button interaction mode to /direct/ with value 0 and then switch it to /hold/ and check invert. This way when you press the “kill” nothing happens till you release it.

  • Lylax

    Pioneer has some great effects….great package…lil too pricy tho just for efx.

    • Gavin Varitech

      It is expensive (everything Pioneer is) but it A.) costs less than the EFX1000 and B.) is not just effects. It’s effects plus a pro isolator, most of which alone cost more than the entire RMX1000 ($1,000 and up, plus isolator effects, and the sampler X-pad as well. For someone like me that uses a Pioneer EFX and has been wanting to get a pro isolator to add to my gear this thing is a no brainer @ $700-800 retail (if the isolator is as good as I hope it is).

  • A400712

    wow. laidback luke’s routine sounds improvised. maybe he just had to show most of the effects in 3 minutes.

  • Stewe

    We can do all of this effects with mappings in traktor. I can bat omeone will replicate it sooner or later.


      Livid CNTRLLR or whatever can easily be mapped to replicate the isolation FX part. WHICH IS WHAT I NEED. IF anyone knows a possible way to do this through a 4trak i’d greatly appreciate it. $600 for isolating just highsmidslows makes no sense though. THe unit is great but I think Numark actually is coming out with something similar to this. NOT SURE and IDK why they would. But the thing is DJ JWILL said something about Numark changing the way people dj and to me that sounds like there’s a cheaper version of this to replicate the isolation fx in tractor without costing so much. Call me stupid or call me hopeful. That’s just what I want to be able to do.

  • G-Unit

    I think it has some pretty sweet features overall. The price tag is a little hard to chew, but honestly who really pays full price for anything pioneer? We all wait for some noob to buy it not know how to use it then buy it used from him for 600 bucks. At least thats my plan. lol.

    • wampaone

      or just price match in general, but still 600-650 (new) is still $$$ for an FX unit.  if you’re the type already shoveling out $1550-1600 for cdj-2000 i guess you are used to it… 

  • Grant Reynolds

    great review.. although, because i can copy most of the features on this unit in ableton or traktor im not gonna go forking out $800 for it.   im looking forward to making my own rack in ableton 🙂 

  • Taahir

    can u use this with an s4

  • bigbirdis

    Looks like Pioneer has taken some stuff from Traktor.

  • MPTY

    anyone knows how to replicate any of these effects in Traktor (using FX combo etc.)? that would be greatly appreciated!

    • Matthew Ingram

      Well the Echo Freeze type one is simple enough, and the brake should be covered by Turntable FX (in Traktor) I guess you just need to map the button to also kill all (and reset?) other effects on the second press? Or simpler map another button to kill and reset all effects.

      • Funkall

        In traktorg for the brake there is a another simpler way to do it, just press the third button on the turntable FX, you get a brake effect, and you can adjust the lenght by changing the parameter just above the button.

        • MPTY

          Thanks guys 🙂 actually Ive already know how to map the brake and the echo freeze. also the HPF/LPF Echo should be simple enough using Traktor filter FX + echo in combination with D/W control. I’ve just tested it and it seems good enough (though I’m not sure if it sounds like the Pioneer)
          but how about the Spiral Up/Down, Crush Echo etc.? that’s a whole different problem since I don’t even know how those effects work.

    • Macmiata

      Is it just me or does it look butt ugly?

      • Funkall

        Just a story of taste, personally, i find it pretty well designed