Over To You: How Do I Plug An External FX Unit Into A DJ Controller?

Phil Morse | Founder & Tutor
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 5 April, 2018

Pioneer RMX-1000
The Pioneer RMX-1000 is a thoroughly modern FX unit, but is still best used when wired into a mixer using traditional send/return routing.

Digital DJ Tips reader Adrian writes: “I am looking at making the move from my Pioneer CDJ/mixer set-up, which has served me well for years, to the world of digital DJing. I have had a go on all controllers and found the Pioneer DDJ-SX the most comfortable for me. I was a hair’s breadth away from buying one when I found out about the lack of compatibility with the Pioneer RMX-1000. Although such a unit wouldn’t be essential to my set up, I would like the option of adding one when I’m ready. My question is, do you know if there are any plans for Pioneer controllers to have send and return features on their units?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

No, and indeed I am hard placed to think of any controller with a send/return on it. I guess because DJ controllers work with software that always has FX built in, the manufacturers feel there’s no real call for this.

You could buy a Serato DJ DVS system and a small controller like the Pioneer DDJ-SR to give you control over some of the additional digital functions, and then continue to use your current gear, incorporating a future external FX unit the traditional way. You could even buy Pioneer’s DJM-900SRT mixer, which is compatible out of the box with Serato DJ, meaning you won’t need a separate audio interface.

You could just plug the RMX-1000 across the master output of your controller, of course; although that doesn’t give the same flexibility, combined with the software’s effects, it might be a workaround you’re prepared to tolerate. I doubt you’ll ever find controllers coming out with a send/return loop – off the top of my head I really can’t name one that ever has – but I’d like to ask the readers whether they’ve faced this issue, and how they dealt with it.

So, over to you: Have you ever needed to incorporate traditional FX units with your digital DJ set-up? How did you manage it? Please share your experiences and solutions in the comments.

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