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XDJ-RX3 Sound quality comparison

Hello,

 

I'm owning XDJ-RX2 for more than 2 years and I'm quite happy with the controller. The interface, the performance, the flow and functionalities are just what I need and cannot tell I need more from what it's already there. However, since I play on a great hi-fi setup I was never happy with the audio quality this unit delivers. The sound is quite muddy and with low resolution compared to when I play music from different sources, e.g.  local hard drive, streamer or CD. With RX3 coming out I'm tickled to go for the new model not because of the bigger screen or any additional new function, but because Pioneer is calming new audio circuit that brings the sound quality to a next level. How does the sound quality compares to the RX2 and XZ? Does someone has the DAC specification for all 3 units? That would really help or if someone had a change to compare side-by-side and share the experience.

 

Thanks! 

skopjanec Respondida

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"...the sound is not only related to DAC, but also to analog circuits..."

That's pretty much why the bits/pieces are not disclosed. It doesn't matter what DAC is used if there are so many other parts of the signal chain that color the audio.

Pulse
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I have no real comparison, only some technical details:

Master out:

RX2 has older DAC AK4382AVT / 24 bit

XZ has newer DAC AK4458VN / 115dB 768kHz / 32-bit 8 ch Premium DAC

However, the sound is not only related to DAC, but also to analog circuits finally buffering the signal before it is going to the outputs. For this the circuits/OpAmps used in both XDJs are almost identical.

Markus Marquardt 0 votos
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Markus, thanks a lot for sharing this info. It makes even more sense now why the XZ is superior in sound quality compared to the RX2. The DAC in the XZ is from the AKM Velvet Sound Architecture which is used in some of the high end audiophile equipment.

What about the RX3 though? I'm really frustrated that Pioneer isn't willing to share this information and owners are digging around the web to find out what are (or will be) paying for. I actually got the RX3 couple of days back and not planning to unbox it until I find out the information about the DAC. If they have stick to the same/old one from the RX2 and just 'fine tuned', then I will just exchange the RX3 with the XZ and get over it.

Btw I'm only using the controllers in standalone mode with USB flash drive as input.

skopjanec 0 votos
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As said above, the DAC alone wouldn't make you happy :-)

I believe it is not possible to distinct by ear 24bit from 32bit DAC. The original sound material in almost all cases is only recorded with 16bit.

Besides from the analog output stage after the DAC, especially with DJ equipment, there is so much signal processing applied to your source material even before the DAC: Decompression (MP3), MasterTempo / KeyShift algorithm, sample rate conversion, mixing, FX.

Each of the above steps will alter your source material, and depending how well it is implemented may cost some sound quality. So it is impossible to know alone from the DAC if you will be happy or not with your RX3 sound. From the published technical data on PioneerDJ webpage it has, as well as the RX2, a 24bit DAC.

I don't know the return policy of your dealer, but usually (Germany) you can try the equipment and send it back when you are not happy.

Markus Marquardt 0 votos
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...and on top of all that, playing from an MP3. ;)

Pulse 0 votos
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Marcus, thanks again for your comments. Totally agree that the implementation around the DAC is even more important then the chip itself, but if you look at specs, the one used for the XZ has THD+N -107dB, SNT -115 dB and the one in the RX2 has THD+N 94dB and SNR -112dB. Which means that's the best you get from the DAC and only more noise will be added during the signal processing. That is why (at least for me) the DAC module is a good starting point on what is the best you can get out of the unit even with a proper implementation around the DAC.

I'm connecting the DJ controller with high-end interconnect cables to a Hegel H390 amplifier that is driving a pair of Raidho C1 speakers. Talking about my music library, it is 100% consisted of 16bit WAV files downloaded directly from Beatport or other popular online music stores. However with the RX2 the WAV files sound poorer than a MP3 on average input device like a streamer or bluetooth receiver.

However, I still don't understand how hard it is to answer the question from my initial post "How does the sound quality compares to the RX2 and XZ?". I don't own all of controllers to do the comparison by myself and was hoping to get the answer here. 

skopjanec 0 votos
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I guess nobody could give you a "good" answer. Because there are not so many people reading here who've updated from RX2 to RX3 or from XZ to RX3.

Also "sound quality" is a subjective perception. Some people may not even hear a difference, others, as you, would prefer one sound color over another.

So what objective answer could PioneerDj (or anybody else) give you? One may state that the sound is better because of some technical details improved, but you may still be disappointed because it doesn't meet your personal sound preference.

From the measurements alone, everything close to 100dB (factor 100000) is beyond any doubts for me. But again, e.g. there are people who still dislike the sound of the DJM900NXS2 which has excellent specs, and prefer the sound of an analog mixer, because it sounds "better" for them.

So I would say there is only one way to find out if the sound is better for *you* - try it out. If you want the peace of mind to have hardware with better specs, get the XZ or modular setup with DJM and 2x CDJ 2000NXS2 (*).

(*) Why not CDJ-3000? Because there are also discussions about the CDJ-3000 sound quality. The CDJ-3000 is constantly doing resampling/sample rate conversion all the time - unlike the CDJ-2000NXS2 who only does when it is required because of pitch.

So you see, it is very hard to make a statement about audio quality. Maybe you can find a local dealer where you can try out the RX3 before opening your box?

Markus Marquardt 0 votos
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I'm talking about the sound quality from purely technical perspective on how accurate the output signal is compared to the source. Or how much the signal was damaged and distorted during the processing. The sound color/signature then is subjective and based on person's taste. I aim towards neutral/flat sound and would let my amplifier and speakers to do all the work.

If you read the published Pioneer technical specs for all 3 units (RX2, RX3 and XZ) they are almost identical. But then the output on the XZ is far more accurate, less distorted and true to the source so your WAV files sound as they should and not as an MP3. The only reason why I'm avoiding the XZ is because of its size and portability. 

In meanwhile the 2 available XZ units were sold out so I will just unbox and try the RX3 during the weekend.

skopjanec 0 votos
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