Technology and Gen X or Teaching an Older Dog New Tricks

August 1, 2019 by Michael Cordeiro

About a year ago I picked a brand new Pioneer XDJ-RX all in one controller. I had seen it at MBLV22 and thought it was really cool. Eliminate the need for a laptop with the built in big LCD screen. Put all your important music on two 32G flash drives and off you go to a gig. Sounds like a miracle. The unit is big, sturdy and loaded with effects and cool blinky lights (squirrel). I couldn’t wait to take it out of the box and start playing with it. I set up the unit, downloaded the firmware, downloaded rekordbox to my main PC and then hit that first wall.

I’ve always been a Pioneer guy. My first big boombox in the 80’s was a pioneer with dual recording cassette decks. When I was stationed in Germany I bought a complete Pioneer multi voltage home stereo rack system with a turn table, 18 disc CD changer, GR- 777 graphic EQ, four huge speakers and a 500 watt receiver. This was in 1989. I still have it and it still works. I could take this rig to Antarctica, plug it in and get sound. I even owned a 27 inch Pioneer TV back in the day before flat screens came about. The stereo receiver in my Benz is a high end Pioneer.

That all being said, rekordbox really was disappointing. To me, the interface felt like a bad version of iTunes. I just found it really cumbersome to use and too many steps to be able to start using the XDJ-RX. So back in the box it went and onto the shelf in my equipment storage area (had to keep that hidden from the wife). Now, the main reason is not that I couldn’t figure out how to use rekordbox, it’s just that I’m getting older and lazy. Face it, keeping up with technology sucks no matter how old you are. My seven your old grandson is quicker at new technology than I am. Although when it comes to using a rotary phone I’ve got him beat hands down.

A perfect example is the evolution of TV. my grand parents didn’t have TV as kids. My parents grew up on black and white TV. I grew up on color TV but you had to physically walk over to change the three channels we had and adjust the rabbit ear antenna’s to get a clear signal. My wife and I just upgraded our cable box. We now have a “talking” remote. I just say “spice channel” and the remote sarcastically replies; “Nice try, your wife blocked that channel”. Just kidding we only watch Disney and Nickelodeon at my house.

My point is that keeping up with technology is harder when you weren’t brought up with it. You either embrace it or fall behind. I must get at least two calls a week from my mom because she freezes up her computer. I swear one of these days she is going to type in something and black out the whole North East. Dealing with new technology is a real issue for Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers. I still see some older DJ’s in my area using CD’s. Old habits die hard. I still keep a Sony Discman and a cassette Walkman in my extra wire box just in case.

Back to the XDJ-RX. After letting it sit on the shelf for about a year I came across some videos on YouTube of guys that had successfully mapped and linked a laptop using the newest version of Virtual DJ with he XDJ-RX in MIDI mode. I watched all the videos, broke out the controller and started messing around. Honestly it took me about six hours to download all the right firmware, skins and add-ons, then install and map everything. Gotta say, I love it! This setup is a fast, powerful, sexy beast.

To complete the new rig, I bought a great rolling case from Odyssey. Along with the controller I installed a Furman M80x and a Sennheiser X3 wireless with front facing antennas, and I still have plenty of room in the case for cable management, access and little bit of storage. The newest version of Virtual DJ has many great features (my buddy DJ Rachel created some cool instructional videos for DJ News). The most impressive new feature is the expanded sound bank. I’m still practicing with the set up before I take it on the road, but I’m really looking forward to it.

Now I can already hear the purists screaming that the whole point of the XDJ-RX is to NOT have to use a laptop. I get that. My answer is this: 1. Use whatever equipment combination works the best for you. 2. Your clients don’t care what equipment you use as long as it looks good, sounds good and doesn’t break at their event. I’m just proud of myself for not quitting and forcing myself to figure this out.

Filed Under: Mobile DJ Business