The Pioneer DJ DDJ-RR feels slightly lighter than the DDJ-SR, though both have metal faceplates. It’s got a new black colour scheme that’s consistent with other DDJ-R series controllers. The rest of the enclosure is hard plastic, as is the case with most Pioneer DJ gear.
It ships with a power brick which increases the brightness of the lights, but you can power it with just a USB cable. You can also use it as a standalone mixer for connecting line / phono level devices to it like CDJs and turntables if you want to spin with actual CDs and vinyl.
There are two Needle Search touchstrips here and controls for Rekordbox DJ’s sequencer, which we’ll get to in a minute. The pads are also backlit RGB now, as is the case with more recent controllers.
The centre ring has an LED that lights up in different colours depending on what you’ve got it set to, for example when you’re controlling deck one or two the ring’s blue, and when you’re controlling decks three or four it turns light blue.
I love the jogwheels on the DDJ-RR, I think these are close to perfect as far as controller jogs go, plus they integrate so tightly with Rekordbox DJ (version 4.12 at the time of this writing) that you won’t skip a beat. Kudos to Pioneer DJ for versioning Rekordbox DJ quickly too as a lot of the bugs that plagued earlier versions of the software have been squashed.
The DDJ-RR comes with a touchstrip for Needle Search, which lets you jump around a track directly from the controller itself: in the past you had to hold the Shift button and spin the jog to quickly move around a track, or you could bring your mouse pointer to the point that you want to jump to. It’s a minor tweak, but a welcome one especially for those who would prefer to keep their hands on the controller.
Just like the rest of Pioneer DJ’s DDJ-R series, the DDJ-RR works specifically with Rekordbox DJ. While mappings for Traktor and Virtual DJ 8 will probably crop up, the DDJ-RR is meant to work tightly with Rekordbox DJ, and the good news is that it works well with it. I’m particularly impressed with the Pad Effects that let you do momentary FX by using the performance pads in the Pad FX 1 setting. Rekordbox DJ has got much more stable since its first outing, and I’ve done a few gigs with it without issue.
There are also controls here for the Rekordbox DJ Sequencer, which let you record, save, and playback audio patterns that you perform via the Sampler. Once stored, you can trigger these Sampler patterns using the Sequence Call feature of the performance pads.
Another big addition that isn’t readily apparent here is Rekordbox DVS: both channels can be switched to control any of Rekordbox DJ’s four decks or two lines/phono sources, meaning you can hook up a pair of CDJs or turntables for timecode control.This is an important consideration for many who want to take the DVS route but found the DDJ-RX too big (let’s not even talk about the DDJ-RZ). With the DDJ-RR, you’ve got a considerably smaller, decently specified controller that you can spin timecode on at home. You can even take it to the gig and plug the venue’s CDJs / turntables if that’s what you want to do. Again, flexibility is a core strength of the DDJ-RR, and probably its biggest advantage in the market right now.
The DDJ-RR can also function as a standalone two-channel mixer with hardware EQs and filters, useful for DJing with actual CDs and vinyl without the need for a computer.
The crossfader is loose and capable of quick cuts but it doesn’t feel as sturdy as the DDJ-SR, and this is probably my only gripe with this unit. The same goes for the channel faders – there’s just something that feels “cheap” about them, but they’re still quite good. Pioneer DJ has also removed the crossfader curve knob and reverse switch from the front of the unit, so if you want to make those adjustments you’ll have to go to the settings menu.