When the Pioneer DJ XDJ-XZ was released at the end of 2019, many expressed disappointment. With Denon DJ recently consistently releasing unarguably next-gen kit (it’s Prime 4 for instance), many were hoping that Pioneer DJ would match that with a four-channel standalone DJ system of its own.
Then the XDJ-XZ arrived. Full sized? Yes. Decks that looked and felt like Pioneer pro CDJs? Yes. A mixer virtually indistinguishable from the pro DJM-900NXS2? Yes. But four standalone channels for DJing from USB? Erm…
Truth is, this was the same tech as in the years-old XDJ-RX2 and XDJ-RR units, meaning while it had standalone mixer capabilities, all the hardware FX of the pro gear, and the look and feel of CDJ-2000NXS2 units, it was basically the XDJ-RX2 shoved in grown-up clothing.
This is what people didn’t like, feeling Pioneer DJ was letting its rivals steal a lead.
But here’s the thing:
This thing is flying off the shelves!
One of the things our community is telling us over and over again is that they simply can’t lay their hands on a unit. By all accounts, it’s been a huge success.
So why is that?
Four reasons spring to mind:
- It pretty much does everything a pair of CDJ-2000NXS2 units plus a DJM-900NXS2 mixer do, but for a fraction of the price – Sure it only has one small screen instead of two, but the look, feel and overall functionality is there or thereabouts. You can’t use four decks with two CDJs, either, and never have been able to . To the people buying this, that simply isn’t a disadvantage
- It looks and feels exactly like pro gear – This can’t be underestimated. Hobbyists want gear that is similar to play on to that found in DJ booths. It helps for when you get as chance to play on “pro” gear yourself. And it’s just fun! Who wouldn’t want to know their gear felt just like doing it in the best clubs in the world? The unit may be technically under-powered, but it sure feels and acts like the “real thing”
- If you really want all the bells and whistles of a four-channel controller, they’re there – you just have to plug in your laptop and use Rekordbox DJ (and now, Virtual DJ 2020 too – with Serato DJ Pro due soon)
- Despite not being “cutting edge” tech, it is kind-of future proof – Why? Because in truth, DJ gear hasn’t changed much in years in the pro booth, and isn’t likely to (pro DJs hate change, they just want stuff to work as it’s always done). Pioneer DJ is likely to tread very carefully when upgrading and changing the look and feel of its kit. I’ll bet that in 10 years time, the Pioneer gear in pro booths will look and feel pretty similar to this. Pioneer-loving DJs kind of know this, as it’s part of the brand identity
So does all new gear have to be cutting edge?
I think this proves that while there’s room for the latest tech in DJ gear, there’s also room for workhorse kit that achieves something other than simply pushing the technology forward. In this case, the price, the look and feel, and the favourable comparison with pro gear seem to have won the day.
If you want the “Pioneer experience”, then, the XDJ-XZ is a great bet… if you can find one.
• Read our full review of the Pioneer DJ XDJ-XZ.
What do you think of this? Are you lucky enough to have found one? Or are you waiting? Let us know your thoughts below.