Connecting with Creative DJing By Ryan Burger

December 6, 2012 by Mobile Beat Staff Writer

Although I don’t actively DJ as much as I used to, and usually leave the writing of reviews to my staff, this product—the new Pioneer XDJ-AERO—just hit me and I wanted to take a tear at it personally.

Being an iPhone/iPad/iMac kinda guy for the last four years, the Pioneer XDJ-AERO’s interconnectivity with the outside world of audio and computer products interested me. At first glance, I was extremely impressed with the aesthetics of the product, with its smooth lines and curves, and heavy-duty construction.

In my gigging experience, going from CDs to rackmount DJ computers to a Denon hard drive-based unit to the MEP-7000 from Pioneer, I’ve been looking for a newer professional piece of hardware that doesn’t depend on a computer (being Windows or Mac) in the background doing most of the heavy work. Nothing against all the DJ software manufacturers out there, but I’ve just had too many operating system crashes pushing me in this direction.

There is a reason why Pioneer calls the XDJ-AERO a “DJ System” rather than a “controller.” It truly is a full all-in-one DJ setup with everything you need, that is not relying on a laptop to control it. The DJ can use USB drives, tablets, smartphones such as iPhones or Android units, laptops, and more.

While this unit can serve as a controller for software setups, its main function is to be used with music files via USB connectivity. Although I had a little trouble getting a hard drive hooked up at first, within a few minutes I was able to get a 500GB USB drive from Seagate to come up along with a number of thumb drives.

Next, I set up the connection with my iPhone through the rekordbox app, and was able to send the tracks via the built in wi-fi connectivity between the XDJ-AERO and my phone. No additional router or heavy settings needed other than the network that the XDJ set up with a protected password. At that point I was now able to control the unit from elsewhere, load songs across the network and do much more.

In practice, this allows the DJ at wedding reception to get to the entrance of the reception hall to introduce the wedding party, while still being able to trigger the needed tracks for a grand entrance. The wireless function is also great for tracks that are downloaded during the gig due to customer requests.

So now you have the three different aspects of control: rekordbox, MIDI controller mentioned quickly above, and the USB memory stick or hard drive storage device. On the mixer side of the system, it’s a very functional and flexible stand-alone two-channel DJ mixer that is switchable to up to four musical sources (Deck, Line In/Phono In, Deck 2, Line/Phono In 2), with a 1/4” mic input plus 1/4” TRS outputs, plus 1/4” AND 1/8” headphone
jacks mounted on the front. The stand-alone mixer also allows you to expand your setup with vinyl or CDJs.

When it comes to manipulating songs through sampling and effects, this is a well-stocked unit that adds some exciting options for the mix DJ. A new feature I haven’t seen before is the Jog Drum. The Jog Drum feature allows you to launch, scratch, and manipulate samples/sounds with a turn or tap of the jog wheel.

This unit is well designed for the professional mobile DJ who wants to be connected to the hardware from anywhere in the room. While it would be a challenge to quickly find tracks manually on the three-item scrolling screen, well-organized DJs could set up their directory structure to make it work or use the rekordbox functionality. Using the rekordbox DJ music management app, users can prepare and manage music stored on their portable devices, and also create playlists. If the tracks are analyzed in the included rekordbox software, the tracks can be sorted easily by artist or song title. The organized music in the device can also be wirelessly synched with a computer utilizing the Pioneer rekordbox music management PC or Mac software, adding convenince when preparing music for playback on a Pioneer DJ system.

Mobile Beat Staff Writer (375 Posts)

This is the general editors account for Mobile Beat Magazine and Website. Who reads Mobile Beat online and in print and attends Mobile Beat events? DJs, VJs and KJs to start with, especially those who own and operate mobile entertainment services. They provide music, video, lighting and a myriad other entertainment choices for corporate events, wedding receptions, dances and innumerable other gatherings.

Filed Under: 2012, Digital DJing, Sound Engineering for Mobile DJs