Pioneer XDJ-R1 Controller: DJ’s swiss army knife

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Pioneer run a very tight ship, with leaks generally being official and managed. But somehow, the all new Pioneer XDJ-R1 all in one wifi enabled iOS rocking controller managed to sneak out under the radar into some online communities — and also into the rekordbox manual a tad earlier than expected. So despite this not being a surprise as such, I still find myself having a little bit of a wow moment. Before my first cup of tea, my breakfast, or a shower, this XDJ-R1 looks really good.

As ever, and because I feel it’s important to have all the information at hand, so here is the extensive missive from Pioneer Europe:

Pioneer CDJ-R1 Rekordbox remotebox DJ controller (2)

pioneer logo 

Pioneer unveils the XDJ-R1 all-in-one DJ system –

the portable, rekordbox™ ready DJ unit that delivers wireless control from

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

30th May 2013: The Pioneer XDJ-R1 complete DJ system is the all-in-one dream: the union of CD/USB decks, DJ software control, a top-flight mixer, powerful performance features and – in an industry first – intuitive remote control via iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The perfect package for DJs who demand flexibility without the fuss, the self-contained XDJ-R1 enables instant switching between multiple sources: twin CD, USB and MIDI. DJs can analyse tracks in the included rekordbox™ DJ software and load via USB media to access a host of exciting features including Beat Sync and Quantized Beat FX. Or they can choose MIDI to control any DJ software, such as the included VirtualDJ LE.

The XDJ-R1’s tactile controls deliver limitless possibilities for live performance: packing in two touch-sensitive jog wheels for precision scratching, a two-channel mixer, and dedicated buttons for loops, Hot Cues, samples and studio-quality sound colour effects.

Redefining versatility, the XDJ-R1 can be controlled wirelessly from an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch using Pioneer’s remotebox app. DJs can connect to the XDJ-R1’s own wireless LAN and use their touch screen to intuitively browse music, mix and mash up tracks – all from outside the booth. The app also introduces the XY pad: a two-dimensional way to assign and manipulate Beat FX and Colour FX using one intuitive control.

The XDJ-R1 crams Pioneer DJ’s extensive capabilities into one portable, rekordbox ready, affordable unit. All DJs need add is creativity.

The XDJ-R1 all-in-one DJ system is available from June at an SRP of 859 GBP/999 EUR, including VAT.

Watch the XDJ-R1 system in action.

Download information

  • remotebox is available for download from the App Store.
  • VirtualDJ LE will be available from Middle of June 2013 at:


All-in-one rekordbox system packs everything DJs need into one deck

The XDJ-R1 is DJ-ready out of the box, so there’s no need to add other equipment or fiddle with multiple cable connections. The unified deck packs in USB playback, two CD drawers, two touch-sensitive jog wheels, a two-channel mixer – plus effects and performance features taken from Pioneer DJ’s industry-standard set-up.

Mix from multiple sources including rekordbox USB, CDs and VirtualDJ LE

DJs can simply load tracks from USB or CD to play a range of media – including AAC (USB only), MP3, WAV, AIFF and 24-bit files. Just like the pro-DJ range, tracks prepared in rekordbox can be exported onto USB, allowing DJs to take advantage of features such as the track database, beat grids and Hot Cues. Or they can effortlessly switch to MIDI to control other DJ software on their laptop via wired connection – including the free download of VirtualDJ LE with its four-channel and video mixing.

Crammed with performance features from Pioneer’s pro-DJ range

The XDJ-R1’s intuitive controls put the power of live edits for impressive performances at the DJ’s fingertips:

  • rekordbox Beat Sync: automatically syncs tracks to the master deck using rekordbox beat grid information
  • Auto Beat Loop: automatically loops tracks at specified beat lengths
  • Hot Cues: DJs can instantly access up to three Hot Cue points on each deck
  • Sound Colour FX: NOISE, PITCH, CRUSH and FILTER FX are inherited from Pioneer’s pro-DJ mixers, offering a HI and LO Pass sweep on each channel for even mightier manipulation
  • Beat FX: dedicated buttons on each deck for TRANS, FLANGER, ECHO and ROLL beat effects with Tap Tempo
  • Four-beat Sampler: access three pre-loaded samples
  • Shift Mode: fast access to advanced features, including:
    • Quantize: locks the beat timing of effects to rekordbox beat grids for perfect sounding performances
    • Search: quickly scan through whole tracks with the jog wheel
    • Edit: delete Hot Cues and samples

INDUSTRY FIRST: Remote mixing and FX control with remotebox for iPhone/iPad

DJs can download the free remotebox app for iPhones, iPads and iPod touch (available from the App Store) to use their device as a remote control for all the XDJ-R1’s amazing features.[i] The XDJ-R1 creates a private wireless LAN for reliable connection to the DJ’s iOS device.

Intuitive touch-screen control includes browsing, loading and mixing tracks, as well as triggering FX, Auto Beat Loops, Hot Cues and samples. Plus – unique in the Pioneer range – remotebox introduces the innovative XY Pad: a two-dimensional way to engage and manipulate Beat FX and Sound Colour FX in combination.

DJs using remotebox on the iPad/iPhone/iPod touch are liberated from the booth to interact more, showcase their talents and even let the crowd get involved with choosing tracks.

Custom-designed accessories, ease of set up and portability

The XDJ-R1 all-in-one system contains everything DJs need in one sleek box, including a handy iPhone/iPod touch stand to position the screen in line of sight at all times. Plus the DJC-SC3 sturdy carry bag (sold separately) is custom-designed for the XDJ-R1, with multiple pockets and a vertical structure to give DJs easy access even in confined booths.

Multiple input and output options for maximum flexibility

The XDJ-R1 is equipped with a MASTER OUT (XLR), BOOTH OUT, AUX and MIC, to enable connection to external hardware and professional PA systems. The central mixer can therefore be connected to turntables and CDJs and used as a stand-alone mixer.

High-quality audio circuitry for pristine and powerful sound

The XDJ-R1 inherits sound design from Pioneer’s pro-DJ equipment, including a built-in 44.1 kHz/24-bit soundcard and a high-performance CPU.

Other features include:

  • Independent three-band isolator with total kill
  • Dual headphone output ­– mini jack for inner-ear headphones and standard jack for full-size headphones
  • VU meters for each channel and the master output give a visual reference for signal levels

Main specifications of the XDJ-R1

Playable mediaUSB storage devices, CD, CD-R/RW
Playable file formatsMP3, AAC, WAV, AIFF

(only MP3, WAV and AIFF can be played from CD)

USB storage formats supportedFAT32, FAT16
No. of channels2
Wireless communications formatIEEE 802.11b/g (2.4 GHz band)
Sampling rate44.1 kHz
A/D, D/A converter24 bit
Frequency response20 Hz~20 kHz
S/N ratio98 dB or above (USB)
Total harmonic distortionMax 0.006% (USB)
Head room19 dB
USB portsA port ×1, B port ×1

MIC ×1 (¼ inch JACK)

AUX ×1 (RCA)

OutputsMASTER OUT ×2 (XLR ×1, RCA ×1)



Maximum external dimensions (W×H×D)623 mm × 308.4 mm × 107.7 mm
Body weight6.8 kg
System requirements – rekordbox™ DJ software (included)
Supported OSMac OS®X (10.5.8 or above)

Windows®8/Windows®8 Pro

Windows®7 Home Premium/Professional/Ultimate

Windows Vista® Home Basic/Home Premium/Ultimate/Business (SP2 or above)

Windows® XP Home Edition/Professional (SP3 or above)

(*Windows® XP Professional x64 edition is not supported)

System requirements – remotebox™ mobile application
Supported OSiPhone 3GS or above

iPod touch 3rd generation or above

iPad iOS5 or above


System requirements – VirtualDJ LE (free download)

Supported OS (Windows)Windows® 7/Vista/XP (SP3)

Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon™ XP

512 MB RAM or more

Supported OS (Mac)Mac OS X v 10.5/10.6/10.7

Intel® processor platform

1024 MB RAM or more

Required disk space50 MB or more
Display resolution1024 x 768 or more
Additional requirements for video mixingATI™ or NVIDIA® video chipset

Dedicated 256 MB DDR3 RAM video


* rekordbox™ and remotebox are registered trademarks or trade names of Pioneer, Inc.

* Windows®, Windows® 8, Windows® 7, Windows Vista® and Windows® XP are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the US and other countries.

* Intel® is a registered trademark of Intel Corporation in the US and other countries.

* iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac and Mac OS are registered trademarks of Apple Inc. in the US and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

* VirtualDJ is a registered trademark of Atomix Productions, Inc.

* Other stated company names, product names, technology names, etc. are the trademarks

or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

* iPhone, iPad and iTouch sold separately.

[i] Scratch function is not supported by remotebox

Yep — a lot to go through, so let’s pick over the bones.

Pioneer XDJ-R1 and DDJ-AERO

AERO’s mature sibling

The DDJ-AERO was a toe dipper — a trial balloon floated to see if the whole wifi thing would get some sort of acceptance. As a unit it’s of the high Pioneer quality we’ve come to accept, but for me seemed to try to do a lot of things but perhaps without the basis of having a fully formed idea of what it was supposed to be and do. One thing has become clear — streaming music via wifi is clearly not popular and is the biggest omission from the XDJ-R1’s repertoire.

But here is the XDJ-R1 — a nameless alpha-numeric nomenclature signifying that it is most definitely in Pioneer’s pro camp. And looking at it, you can see why. For me, it sits very firmly in between CDJs and full-on MIDI controllers — all the features of Pioneer’s core products with all the form factor convenience and price tag of the DDJ range.

One thing is for sure — either the AERO is history or in for a massive price drop. I see little to no reason for the AERO now, if only because I really don’t think people want to wirelessly stream music when a cable guarantees hassle-free operation.

Wearer of many hats

The XDJ-R1 really is a swiss army knife of DJ hardware. In the general scheme of DJ things, I’m struggling to find something it can’t do. If you’re wanting the best of a lot of worlds, the XDJ-R1 offers a lot in a single box. If you hanker for a simple life without any form of electronic add-ons, you can run it entirely standalone and simply shovel CDs in, and still get a great deal of what people buy CDS and DJMs for. The XDJ-R1 certainly has enough of the new stuff that Pioneer are trickling out at the top end to make people with lower aspirations feel special.

Many of us felt that Stanton’s SCS.4DJ was a new way forward in that it really did mean entirely standalone operation. And the XDJ-R1 carries that on further. With the same process, you create a library on your USB device and you’ve got 2 decks running from a single device. The XDJ-R1’s screens will give you enough info and some low res waveforms to make USB just fine and still remain entirely standalone.

Pioneer XDJ-R1 Controller: DJ's swiss army knife


It’s the new remotebox that is of most interest. Essentially, it’s a remote (duh) library server and wireless controller. You still have to create your library in rekordbox and offload it to USB, at which point remotebox picks it up and delivers the library list to your iOS device’s screen. It also replicates just about all of your hardware controls, but does add a few extras of its own. The XY effects pad is the obvious and most useful one, but you also get loop breakdown buttons (instead of a knob) and a track strip.

For me, this beggars the question of why this handful of features couldn’t be put inside the rekordbox app, so that the iPad could be used to serve music along with all the extras that it brings (like waveforms because DJs really like those) and have it all wrapped up in one device. Yes, you’d probably have to do it wired, but I have my doubts as to how many people are really going to control the features that are already on the hardware via the iPad. If you’re dropping over £800 on a lump of controller, why compromise with touch controls on screen when the physical ones are right in front of you? Am I missing something here?

I hope I can use both apps at once on an iPad, but would prefer to use just one. It’s available now in the app store and can be run in demo mode for you to get a feel for what it can and can’t do. And no, it’s only a remote and not a full-on DJ app. It is however just a few lines of code short of being  full DJ app though — it has just about everything needed, bar decks and a link to your iTunes or rekordbox library.

Oh yeah… MIDI

Pioneer’s message on computer use is somewhat mixed. On one hand they’re all “leave the computer at home”, and then they’re throwing out a bunch of MIDI controllers that are useless lumps of metal without one. The XDJ-R1 is different, as it can be used with or without computers, but the whole MIDI aspect feels like an afterthought rather than a primary feature. It comes with Virtual DJ LE, and gets about 30 seconds in a near 9 minute video. It’s clear that Pioneer see the XDJ-R1 as a standalone or iPad unit, and so do I.

That said, Pioneer have a habit of putting units out, only for them to become Serato ready not long after. I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes Serato DJ Intro compatible very soon, especially with the 2 channel and limited effects format. And algoriddim djay too. Hell it might even get a Traktor map at some point.

Pioneer CDJ-R1 Rekordbox remotebox DJ controller (4)

Summing up

Other than this slight confusion with were rekordbox ends and remotebox begins, the XDJ-R1 is a lovely lump of Pioneer goodness. As a true all-in-one, it ticks more boxes than people thought possible and suits a wide range of needs. To get the very best from it, you’re still going to need an iOS device to get the useful remotebox goodies, but they’re dropping in size and price all the time. I personally love the versatility of being able to use this any way I please, and for anyone else to use it as well without having to be tied to a particular piece of software. The versatilely of the XDJ-R1 is great for casting the net wide to attract a wide user base, but also for clubs and bars to be as open as possible to different styles of DJs.

The long established Pioneer tax thing seems to be a lot less valid these days. In the absence of an alternative with mainstream acceptance, it is still applied liberally to the club standard products. But in markets where Pioneer are having to slum it with every other manufacturer, the prices seems to be nearer to reality, especially if you compare it to a pair of lesser CDJs and a small Pioneer mixer. In the UK, the XDJ-R1 is £50 more than a DDJ-SX, which has 4 channels and a lot more onboard features, but it needs a computer to be of any use. So as we say over here, it’s swings and roundabouts.

The XDJ-R1 has an awful lot going for it, and really is Pioneer’s swiss army knife. It’s coming in June with expected prices of $1099/€999/£859.

What do you all think? Has all the good stuff from the digital DJ age been distilled into the ultimate all-in-one? Does it do enough or must you have more?  



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