NAMM 2014 may well be dominated by the behemoth that is the DDJ-SZ, but Pioneer also has a smaller unit on offer. The Pioneer RMX-500 aka Remix Station 500 is a smaller and reimagined version of the RMX-1000. It’s an effects unit in the same vein as the bigger RMX-1000, but optimised for performance, and also looks a lot like a pair of boobs. Yeah — I can be juvenile when it suits.
A lot of words from Pioneer to explain this complex little unit:
Release the pressure: Pioneer DJ launches the REMIX STATION 500 effects unit
– with instinctive, one-handed control of multiple parameters
22nd January 2014: Pioneer DJ is launching the most easy-to-use multi-effects unit yet: the engaging REMIX STATION 500 (RMX-500). The lightweight effector takes some of the best features from the top-flight RMX-1000, but gains a more simplified layout, on-board customisation, and ingenious one-handed control of multiple parameters.
The RMX-500 puts dedicated buttons for five drum samples, five Audio FX and ten Scene FX at DJs’ fingertips. Then they simply rotate the large Pressure Controller knobs – one for Rhythm FX and one for Scene FX – to manipulate FX depth, and press to control sub-parameters – all in one intuitive movement.
The new Customise button adds even more choice, enabling DJs to quickly select and save their preferred variations of Scene FX and drum samples. Also new is the Rhythm FX section, which provides a simple way to access the Audio FX and Overdub sequencer. Plus the RMX-500 introduces a Signal Flow button, which gives DJs the option to instantly add Scene FX to Rhythm FX.
Like the club-standard RMX-1000, the effector can also be used in the studio as a controller for RMX-500 VST/AU/RTAS virtual plug-ins. An on-board sound card means producers can plug their headphones in to the RMX-500 for high-quality audio as they create music or master DJ sets.
The small and portable RMX-500 has RCA inputs for easy connection to all CDJs in the range; DJs could even add one to each CDJ in their set-up. Watch Origin Sound’s mind-blowing performance with two RMX-500s and the flagship CDJ-2000NXS and DJM-900NXS [URL]
Available from February 2014, the RMX-500 will have an SRP of EUR 399/GBP 339, including VAT.
KEY FEATURES OF THE REMIX STATION 500
1. Unique Pressure Controller knobs give simultaneous control of multiple parameters
Two large, Pressure Controller knobs give DJs access to multi-dimensional manipulation with just one hand. Once an effect or drum sample has been triggered, they can simply twist the knob right/left to manipulate the wet/dry balance, and press it to modulate sub-parameters. Multi-layered FX are made easier and more accessible for unlimited creativity.
2. Simple layout designed for instant access to all the unit’s features
The RMX-500 is divided into three easy-to-use areas, with dedicated buttons giving direct access to a host of features:
Ten auto-quantized Scene FX
Dedicated buttons and Pressure Controller knobs give DJs the power to intuitively build the music up using Mod, Echo, Noise, Spiral Up and Reverb Up, and break it down with High Pass Filter, Low Pass Filter, Zip, Spiral Down and Reverb Down. Each effect has two possible variations – four for Noise – that can be accessed by hitting the Customise button. And Echo+ adds extra echo for an even bigger sound and smoother mix.
New Rhythm FX with five drum samples and five Audio FX
The RMX-1000’s X-Pad has been replaced with an easier-to-use Rhythm FX section. DJs can use the dedicated buttons to trigger five versatile drum samples – Kick, Snare, Clap, Hi Hat, Cymbal – each of which has six beat/sound variations that can be selected during live performance. Five Audio FX – Roll, Trans, Add, Rev Delay, Offset – add another layer of manipulation, all controlled using the Pressure Controller knobs. The Overdub button enables DJs to sequence their own beats and Rhythm FX combinations on the fly, while the Signal Flow changes the flow of the music to enable DJs to add Scene FX to the Rhythm FX in play; or slice, dice and repeat processed audio from the Scene FX in the opposite direction.
Three handy Release FX buttons
The Release FX buttons have been moved to the centre of the RMX-500, giving DJs easier access to back spins, brakes and echo, helping them exit complex effect combinations in style. The length and interval of each effect can be changed using the Customise button.
3. Customise button enables on-the-fly changes to settings
The RMX-500 can be customised directly on the hardware, with no need to plug into software on a computer. Selected sounds and settings are automatically stored for next time when the unit is not in use. DJs can customise to:
- Select preferred Scene FX
- Select from six drum sample variations per sound
- Set the lengths of back spins, brakes and echo
- Change Overdub length between 4 and 8 beats
4. VST/AU/RTAS control and sound card bring a physical element to producing
In addition to live performances, the versatile RMX can be used in the studio for producing music and mastering DJ sets. Producers simply plug the unit into a computer to control a virtual RMX-500 VST/AU/RTAS plug-in – without using the mouse or keyboard – and run virtual instances on as many channels as their processor can handle. Plus an on-board sound card and stereo jack provide a high-quality audio output for their headphones or speakers.
5. Other features
- Auto BPM: automatically measures and follows the music’s tempo
- MIDI support: can be used as a MIDI controller
- Compact and sleek design: highly portable for DJs on the move
- X-Stand: can be mounted on the portable Pioneer T-U101 stand (sold separately)
MAIN SPECIFICATIONS OF THE REMIX STATION 500
Inputs Input x 1 (RCA, stereo) Outputs Output x 1 (RCA, stereo)Headphone Monitor Out x1 (¼-inch jack) Other ports USB x 1 (B port, stereo 1-in/-out) Sampling rate 48 kHz A/D and D/A converter 24-bit Frequency response 20 Hz ～ 20 kHz Total harmonic distortion 0.006％ or less S/N ratio 96 dB External dimensions (W x H x D) 306 x 67 x 132 mm Internal Sound card 48 kHz, 16-bit Weight 0.93 kg
RMX-500 – EFX successor?
Well kind of. Pioneer’s EFX-500 was not only excellent, but iconic too. So you can immediately see the inspiration for this unit, and also the optimised size means it fits right above a CDJ. But it’s so much more than the old EFX. Yes, essentially you route audio through it and out the other end comes effected audio, but it does so much more.
The pressure controller knobs are interesting, and sound like the hardware equivalent of software superknobs. Being able to twist and press to change multiple parameters definitely adds a very visual if knob twiddly element to using effects, especially if the unit is positioned in full view. It’s also worth mentioning that this can be used by DVS and non-DVS users alike. So having already applied a heap of (insert software name here)’s effects, once they hit your mixer, you can route them out to the RMX-500 for more effects craziness.
But the RMX-500 looks to be at home just as much in the studio as it is in the booth. Being MIDI mappable opens up a world of other uses, as well as being able to control the supplied VST plugin.
I read this morning that it’s going to be in stores next week (in the UK anyway), so not long to wait. If next level effects are your thing, then get to your nearest dealer for a play.