Pioneer XDJ-AERO WIreless DJ System

My my… Pioneer have been busy haven’t they? Just when you thought they could only knock out a spring cleaned controller, they lull you into a false sense of security and disdain, and go right ahead and drop something pretty special on you. Why special? Well just like CD change the game, and DVS changed that game, and then controllers brought  a whole new game, the Pioneer XDJ-AERO brings one more game to the table – AERO brings proper wireless streaming DJing, along with a generous scoop of what you love about digital DJing too.

First the obligatory video which I insist you watch:

And the words:

Pioneer presents ­the XDJ-AERO, the first-ever wireless all-in-one DJ system, and the first native player for rekordbox™ music management software 

31st July 2012: Pioneer has broken the mould yet again with the XDJ-AERO, the industry’s first[1] Wi-Fi enabled all-in-one DJ system and native rekordbox™ player.

The groundbreaking DJ system is set to change the way DJs play by liberating them from endless cables and connections. In an industry first, the XDJ-AERO allows DJs to load music wirelessly from smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs[2], instantly taking the hassle out of set up. A multipurpose unit, the XDJ-AERO also works with Pioneer’s new mobile application, functions as a standalone mixer and can be used as a MIDI and HID controller.

The XDJ-AERO creates its own private Wi-Fi network, allowing DJs to connect to up to four wireless devices at once. The audience can even get involved by sending tracks from their own smartphones or tablets to the XDJ-AERO for a more interactive experience.

And, as the first native player for Pioneer’s rekordbox music management software, the XDJ-AERO puts all of the software’s features and functions right at DJs’ fingertips. rekordbox allows DJs to create and edit playlists on the fly; view beat grids; analyse BPM; and load wave forms during their sets.

Compatible with Pioneer’s new mobile application[3] for smartphones and tablets, the XDJ-AERO makes DJing truly mobile. DJs can use the mobile application to manage their music on the road and then wirelessly load their tracks and playlists to the XDJ-AERO.

DJs can switch between the XDJ-AERO’s mobile and USB inputs at the touch of a button. And the DJ system boasts all of their favourite features, including sample banks, Sound Colour Filters and rekordbox quantized beat sync.

The XDJ-AERO also functions as a 24-bit audio interface, MIDI controller for Traktor and HID controller for Virtual DJ software. And it can be used as a stand-alone mixer when connected to CDJs and turntables.

A premium piece of kit both inside and out, the XDJ-AERO has the look and feel of a pro-DJ product with its classic black finish and sleek aluminium faceplate. And, at just 45 mm thick, the portable, lightweight XDJ-AERO is the world’s thinnest combined player and mixer.

The XDJ-AERO: the world’s first wireless all-in-one DJ player, mixer and MIDI controller.

The XDJ-AERO will be available from August 2012 at an SRP of 869 GBP/999 EUR, including VAT.

 

Key features of the XDJ-AERO

  1. 1.     INDUSTRY FIRST: Wirelessly connect up to four devices

By creating an ad hoc network, the XDJ-AERO can sync with up to four Wi-Fi enabled devices at once, without the need for any extra equipment. For the first time, DJs can use smartphones, tablets and computers to wirelessly load rekordbox music to their decks.

DJs can use the XDJ-AERO to control wireless devices remotely so they can browse tracks and load them directly to their decks even if the device is not in their hands.

And the new mobile application allows DJs to use their smartphones and tablets as remote controls for the XDJ-AERO. With USB source selected, DJs can browse music and load tracks on the XDJ-AERO using the devices’ bigger, touch-sensitive screens.

The audience can send music from their wireless devices to the XDJ-AERO, though tracks will not load until the DJ accepts them. If a device goes out of range while a track is being played an emergency loop is created so there is no break in the music. And if a call is made on a smartphone mid-track, the music will continue to play as long as the device supports multitasking.

Plus, by switching the XDJ-AERO’s music source from wireless to USB, DJs can play tracks on both decks from a single rekordbox-ready storage device.

  1. 2.     Includes all the popular features from Pioneer’s pro-range

The XDJ-AERO brings together all of the most exciting features from Pioneer’s most popular multi-format players and mixers, including:

  • Beat effects[4]: the XDJ-AERO boasts the most user-friendly and popular effects from Pioneer’s DJM range – Trans, Flanger, Roll and Echo.
  • Post-fader: the effects are applied to the sound after the fader, allowing the sound to fade out naturally rather than stopping suddenly when the DJ cuts the source audio with the faders.
  • Sound color effects: borrowed from the DJM series, the Sound Color Filters add high- and low-pass filters to the beat effects for even more creativity
  • Sample banks: pre-loaded with four samples.
  • Auto Loop: tracks can be automatically looped at specified positions.
  • Quantize: DJs will never miss a beat again as the quantize function automatically synchronises the beat of rekordbox-ready tracks and effects.
  1. 3.     Automatic features that make perfect mixes a breeze
  • Beat Sync[5]: automatically syncs all tracks to the beat to the master deck using rekordbox beat grid information.
  • Auto Mix: automatically mixes each track within a playlist if DJs need to step away from the deck during long sets.
  1. 4.     Performance features and sample playback
  • INDUSTRY FIRST Jog Drum: a more DJ-friendly way of engaging samples. DJs simply load a sample onto the deck and press Jog Drum; they can then trigger and scratch the samples by drumming directly on the jog wheel for more control and creativity.
  • Sample Launch: with four samples pre-loaded onto each deck, DJs simply push Sample Launch once to perform with the currently engaged sample. By holding down Sample Launch, they can select another sample to perform with. Samples can also be launched using the XDJ-AERO’s effects, loops and pitch controls.
  1. 5.     One-touch recording of popular mixes

Inherited from Pioneer’s DJM-350 mixer, the XDJ-AERO allows DJs to record their creations directly to USB as uncompressed CD-quality WAV files.

  1. 6.     MIDI and HID control for ultimate flexibility

The XDJ-AERO can be used as a MIDI controller for Traktor and HID controller for Virtual DJ software.

  1. 7.     Connect external hardware to use as a stand-alone mixer

For maximum flexibility, the unified player and mixer unit also has inputs to connect external hardware, such as CDJs or turntables, so DJs can use it as an independent mixer.

  1. 8.     Premium design and build looks the part every time

With its classic black finish, sleek aluminium faceplate, blue LED lights and Pioneer’s industry-standard interface, the XDJ-AERO looks professional in any venue.

  1. 9.     High-end components for superb sound in any environment

The XDJ-AERO’s audio circuits are the same as those used in Pioneer’s pro-DJ equipment to guarantee pristine sound reproduction. And full digital processing has been used to minimise distortion and noise from A/D-D/A conversion.

  1. 10.  Other features
  • Onboard 44.1kHz/24bit high resolution soundcard
  • Independent three-band equalizer
  • Dual headphone output ­–minijack for inner-ear headphones and standard jack for full-size headphones
  • Four-colour LCD displaying 18 languages
  • Mic input and balanced TRS output

 

Main specifications – XDJ AERO

Playable mediaSmartphones, tablets, USB storage devices (Flash memory/HDD, etc.), computers (Mac/Windows PC)
Playable file formatsUSB connection:MP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF up to 24 Bit/44.1kHzWi-Fi connection:MP3, AAC
USB storage formats supportedFAT, FAT32, HFS+ (read-only, when journaling)
Recording fileWAV, 16bit/44.1kHz
Number of channels2
Wireless communications formatIEEE 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz band)
Sampling rate44.1 kHz
A/D, D/A converter24 bit
Frequency response20 Hz~20 kHz
S/N ratio105 dB or above
Total harmonic distortionMax. 0.003 %
Head room19dB
USB portsA port x1, B port x1
InputsPhono/Line ×2(RCA)Mic ×1(1/4-inch phone)
OutputsMaster out ×2 (1/4-inch phone ×1, RCA×1)Headphone monitor out ×2 (front 1/4-inch phone, minipin)
Enclosed AC adapterPower: AC100 V(50 Hz/60 Hz) Rated output: DC12 V
Maximumexternaldimensions(W×H×D)623 ×289.5 ×65 mm
Unit mass3.7 kg
rekordbox™ music management software (included):
Supported OSMac OS®X (10.5.8 or above)Windows®7 Home Premium/Professional/UltimateWindows Vista® Home Basic/Home Premium/ Ultimate/Business (SP2 or above)Windows® XP Home Edition/Professional (from SP3)(Windows® XP Professional x64 edition is not supported)
Playable file formatsMP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF

 

Find Pioneer DJ online at:

  • www.djsounds.com
  • www.youtube.com/pioneerdjsounds
  • www.facebook.com/pioneerdjglobal
  • www.twitter.com/pioneerdjglobal
  • www.youtube.com/pioneerdjglobal

[1]Pioneer research as of July 31st 2012

[2]Requires PC with wireless LAN functions or wireless LAN network

[3]Downloadable from the end of August 2012

[4]Operates using music where the tempo (BPM: Beats Per Minute) has been analysed or automatically detected during playback by means of rekordbox and special mobile applications

[5]Operates with beat-analysed music using rekordbox and special mobile applications

And finally some pictures:

A lot to take in right? So let’s bullet point this for you:

Wireless connection

Looking past the PR hoopla, this is something that has been mooted for a while now, and it’s good to see someone really attacking it. Denon already have wireless library browsing it in their Engine software, but the AERO/rekordbox implementation takes it a step further and streams audio from wireless devices. So instead of punters annoying you with requests in the booth, they’re just going to spam you from the floor. I trust measures are in place to stop this ahead of time.

Logic tells me that Pioneer have now prompted a rush to knock out a slew of wifi enabled DJ boxes, essentially the next wave of products. Expect to see the CDJs and DJMs to get an upgrade soon if this is the case. How successful this will be remains to be seen. Less cables is good, but also less reliable than hardwiring.

But it’s a 2 way street. You’ll be able to use your phone (both Android and iOS devices) as a remote and for prep too. Desperate for a toilet break? No problem. And of course it won’t be long before some smart arse devises a hack so that Tiesto will be playing Scatman for real.

It’s a brave move that someone had to do, and can open many doors and push things forward. I wouldn’t expect immediate adoption by the whole industry, but if Pioneer roll out wifi as a booth standard, it’s just a matter of time.

Pro features

Looks like much of Pioneer’s features are being scooped into the AERO, which when combined with the mixer features, makes this a proper DDJ/CDJ/DJM mashup (which thankfully they didn’t call the DCDJM) that will find it’s way into the hearts of a huge cross section of users. Big thumbs up for post fader effects.

Jog Drum

Say what again? This is a jog wheel turned into a sample pad, which allows you to trigger and scratch a sample at the same time. It’s a lot like the cue scratch found on other decks, but just requires a touch and can be combined with effects too. Clever move here Pioneer, and something that I’m very excited to play with. Let’s see if the jogs can handle beatings usually metered out by pad bashers.

I’ve already had an idea for this – switch the scratch control to pitch and be able to slide up and down the scale while jabbing at the jog wheel. Perhaps a shift button feature? Make it happen Pioneer.

Software Friendly

MIDI with Traktor and HID with Virtual DJ out of the box, and will work with Serato DJ Intro soon enough too. It can of course be mapped so you should be able to get the XDJ-AERO to do more or less anything you want.

It’s clear that the XDJ-AERO is a multi-talented machine. It’s a MIDI and HID controller, independent player, mixer, wireless network player… but it can’t do CDs. Bravo – it’s about time we stopped thinking about legacy mediums and moved things forward. That might sound harsh for the mobile guys, but CD simply adds to the cost of units. It’s not just the unit price of the actual CD mechanism, but also the extra raw materials to make a deeper unit, and the additional weight for shipping and packaging that being 30mm deeper brings.

But as ever with an new Pioneer product, we wince at the bottom line, the closing paragraph that usually has haters chomping at the bit. The XDJ-AERO will set you back a not inconsiderable £869/$999, and most probably nudging into $1099. But when you factor in what it can do against the rest of the market, it’s not quite in the realms of facepalming “how much?” comments. I’ve certainly come to accept that Pioneer is a premium brand with an premium price, and you also need to accept that stuff just costs so much more these days. It could easily have been a lot higher.

The proof of the pudding is however in the eating, and I’m very keen to get a very big bite of this pie-oneer unit (sorry). I got excited earlier on this week when some Reloop headphones arrived (review this week), and then this gets announced. My mojo is back and wants to play. Send it here Pioneer and I’ll make a killer review and video – that is of course assuming it’s any good.

One More Thing…

Yes I’ve posted the PR just like everyone else does. But I’ve played with one. That story comes up next. Can you say WORLD EXCLUSIVE?

Yeah I’ve touched an AERO and I liked it. Coming soon…

 


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