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DDJ RZX - Its not there yet

So, I finally received the RZX and the expectations were high...
So far it has been a major disappointment.

I am pretty sure the architecture of the system is poorly designed.
It leaves a lot to be desired in a few fundamental areas, and it boils down to basic computer science.

First of all, the traffic of data between the PC and the controller is massive and there are a multitude of parallel threads that channel data back and forth, in relation to the tiny bandwidth of a USB 2.0(3.0), which you should be happy if you get more than half of the theoretical rated value. This is the main culprit.

After spending almost 48 hours straight to go to the bottom with the problem, and after being through three laptops and one fat Intel server, I find it unlikely that any professional DJ will get a satisfactory performance of of this system via a normal laptop.

I tried windows, 7, 8.1, 10 and Server 2000 with the latest drivers and service packs and even made clean installs to be sure.

The processing power the controller requires from the pc is very high. Another bottleneck a laptop faces is the bus speed, and that is greatly reduced compared to stationary pc's often in conjunction with less aggressive processing, in order not to set the laptops on fire. That's why the fans go full speed.
What I found, which might be helpful to some, was an improvement in usb bandwidth by plugging in two usb cables on the pc side and A+B on the controller side. Still, only usb A can be used to interact with the pc, but the latency and the lagging of effects, etc, gets somewhat better.

The controller is unable to display track info, wave forms and other useful information in a reliable way, which basically glues you to the pc screen. This might have been the original idea, but why selling us something that can be used in a stable way ONLY from the controller, if we wish...

There are major lagging and latency problems when dealing with such a complex controller hooked up to a pc. You are always faster than the controller, which says a lot.

My current view is that things might get better if we all upgrade to the fastest laptops, such as eight core and 32gb of ram and multiple usb 3.0 ports, but hey, are we supposed to spend 3-4K on a laptop plus the controller, and still get a dicey system?
I think for some time to come, CDJ-USB-DJM is the way to go if you make a living out of djing.

Pioneer needs to find a high bandwidth connectivity interface between the PC and the controller, which a consumer usb interface is not.

For those with affection to Rekordbox, it would be better to use a CDJ and a well proven network connection to the data source, which is capable of transfering decent amount of data in a reliable way. Or just a usb stick.

Put the processing power and the effects in the hands of the deck and the mixer for the time being. The laptop is not fully capable to run these controllers yet.

The fastest and the most reliable way to speak to a pc today is via a PCI-E 3.0 interface, those where we usually install massive gaming cards, and forget about usb-cable-pc in a professional environment. Its just not there.

I think I will send back my controller, cause its simply not working for me. It could also be something wrong with it...


Please comment on your experiences so far with RZX.

ragdoll Avec réponse

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17 commentaires

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I've switched to vdj8 with my rr,was up and running within minutes ,cpu meter not even going near halfway whilst experiencing no lag issues at all with effects,I can't use needle search and I have lost out on some effects but I have also gained a few cool effects ,the sampler actually works now! and I can use vst plugins,rekord box is on stand by,I've been thinking all along am I doing something wrong ,am I moaning too much but then installed vdj8 and no problems at all so I will be back to rekordbox when it's fixed and usable.

Chris Longman 0 votes
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I also had a lot of these issues.  Switching to a Mac Mini cleared them up.

My guess is a laptop is just not going to really cut the mustard for the RZX unless you have some overpowered beast.   Besides are you really going to take this monster out on gigs?   Might as well feed it a dedicated machine.

My experiences are here: https://forums.pioneerdj.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/210652846-DDJ-RZX-Jogwheel-feels-cheap-like-the-XDJ-1000-and-other-gripes

Kompiler 0 votes
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Guys, I am getting closer to the problem.

So far :

- Windows 7 latest SP, Pioneer driver 1.00 is not working.

- Windows 8.1 Pioneer Driver 1.00 works but USB 2.0 gives lots of lag, effects don't work, poor sound, unusable system

- Windows 10 Pioneer Driver 1.00 works but USB 2.0 gives lots of lag, effects don't work, poor sound, unusable system

- Processor-wise forget about anything below I7 with Turbo Boost and at least 8GB of RAM

- Next step is to find a PC with USB 3.0 to up the bandwidth between RBDJ and hardware.

- So I am getting closer to the conclusion that Pioneer have engineered this controller in a test bench running only USB 3.0 or better. It's a bad thing to do if you guarantee functionality back to Windows 7 when USB 3 was virtually non existent.

- I checked both Mac mini of 2016 and Macbook 2016 all have USB 3.0

I will update once I'm done with my lengthy investigation.

When I'm done I am worth a few CDJ2000's as a bonus for this load of work :) Are you listening Pioneer ?

ragdoll 0 votes
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I picked up the RZX about 3 weeks ago.  Using a 15" MacBook Pro with absolutely NO issues of crashing or response latency.  Realtime CPUs usage is than 20% with video usage.

Ron Chisolm 0 votes
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Update:

It was a USB problem. I am now using USB 3.0 and all my problems went away.

There has been a tough week. All this because poor documentation in the Pioneer documentation. 

They need to tell people early on in the system requirements.

I am sure lots of people buying this controller have not been prepared to spend another few thousand on a new laptop, but if they do - they should buy one with USB 3.0 !!

Cheers

ragdoll 0 votes
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Thanks all, your feedback is important and we appreciate you contributing both negative and positive experiences.

The majority of users will have no problems provided they are using a computer system meeting the recommended specs for rekordbox video (not the minimum, the recommended specs, and having a dedicated graphics card / chipset doesn't hurt either).

Personally, I feel the majority of the disappointment comes from the user's expectations. These products are being designed and manufactured to meet demands users have, but then they also want it to come in at a certain price point and perform well on a 3-5 year old computer. It's a precarious balancing game and so long as users understand the full scope of what's involved in having these systems run smoothly, their expectations may change and thus result in less disappointment in performance.

@ragdoll > I'm glad to see you were able to improve your performance with a USB3 connection. This is not the minimum requirement (USB2 is), but I'll pass along the feedback that there should be a recommendation for users to connect via USB3.

 

Pulse 0 votes
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@Chris > The minimum specs mean for the software to run -- you won't get OPTIMAL performance, and video, and all FX running properly with the minimum spec. It's not a "false" requirement, which is exactly why we have a recommended spec.

Pulse 0 votes
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There is no recommended specs though ,even googling it just brings up the specs on that link I previously posted,even 4 gig of ram is wrote down as a system requirement and a core 2 duo at 2.ghz or above ,so when people buy a controller and view that page before hand and already have a laptop meeting them requirements they are going to think it's OK but will most likely suffer cpu overload meaning that they will have to spend 600 or more on a new laptop because the software is completely unoperable and meaning that the information given is very misleading.

Chris Longman 0 votes
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@Chris > If you toggle over to the rekordbox video you will see that there is a recommended specs column.

I will also note that "system requirements" on most software websites are listing the minimum, so anyone using that lowest level of computer will be able to use the software but won't get the most out of it. Look at video game titles as a perfect example - I could run a brand new game on my 4 year old computer, but in order to get super smooth motion, high refresh rates and full textures and shading, I'd need to be running a computer made within the last year with a pretty hefty graphics card... but I can still play it on my old computer.

Pulse 0 votes
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Comparing djing and the stability it requires against playing a computer game on a gaming pc is just ridiculous. Also people are not going to toggle to rekord box video to view recommended requirements ,they are going to type in to google " rekordbox recommended requirements" we are all starting to get now that rekordbox is a ram eater and cpu hogger because of its low latency and use of multiple effects at same time etc but a heads up would have been nice ,strangely enough as well another dj software program works perfectly with my rr and I have no issues at all with it and this is whas annoying me.

Chris Longman 0 votes
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This setup has been my test bench for over a week trouble shooting this system.

 - Toshiba Qosmio X500 Intel I7 3.0 Ghz 8GB Ram Windows 7, 64bit, clean install of windows with the latest service pack from Microsoft. USB 2.0

- Samsung Notebook 9 Intel I7 2,8 Ghz 16GB Ram Windows 8.1, 64bit, clean install of windows with the latest service pack from Microsoft. USB 2.0

- Intel Server Dual Quad Core Xeon E5345 processors (total of 8 physical cores), 2.3 Ghz 16GB Ram Windows 10 Home and PRO, 64bit, clean install of windows with the latest service pack from Microsoft. USB 2.0

All of them have dedicated GPU.

- Pioneer RZX Controller

- Pioneer Firmware upgrade from 1.0 to latest 1.05

- Pioneer Windows Driver 1.0

- Rekordbox DJ 4.2.2 Windows 64bit

The controller was totally unusable, huge lags, FX not working properly, sound breaking up, OS crashes,etc. 

After I finally got my hands on a PC with USB 3 everything started to work. 

I suspected all along the problem was related to USB bandwidth, but I couldn't prove it until I had a USB 3.0 device.

When it comes to computing power and RAM I its advisable to spend more than less, in particular if the system is to be used professionally.

So, say around 5-6K controller+pc to be on the safe side.

PS: for those with stationary USB 2.0 PC's there are cheap(5-10 gbp on Ebay) PCI-E USB 3.0 cards!

- Pioneer windows 7 driver 1.0 doesn't work. Works best on Windows 10

 

ragdoll 0 votes
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I have a pc with an i52500 though all USB 2.0 and I didn't get lag,I have 12 gig of ram in it and a gtx 960 ,only problem I had is I got crackling/sound breaking noises but the cpu never went above a quarter way.I then got a laptop 2.4ghz n3700 8 gig of ram,has usb 3.0 had no weird sound breaking issues and copes OK when I turn WiFi off and anything in the background ,sits at around 60 to 70% ,I'm done with rb tho at the moment, 2 much messing about eratic bpms ,effects freeze ,amongst other stuff,I've used worser laptops with other software with an Sr and had none of this.

Chris Longman 0 votes
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Hi I've been using a macbook pro i5. 2.5 ghz 16 Giga ram usb 2.0, Rekordbox with RZX is planted three times in full evening it's annoying give me a solution

Anin 0 votes
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I am looking forwared for a Firmware upgrade for DDJ-RZX, I got one 3 days ago and the CPU usage in my Sony Vaio duo Core i7-4650U with 8 GB + USB 3.0 and it is using around 50% of CPU just for Rekordbox and I am not using any Video feature at this moment.

I am also using the Public beta version of Rekordbox 4.2.4 advanced 5 in a Windows 10 x64.

I also see some improvements in the Firmware regarding the Waveforms for instance, this is a very poor display in the middle screen and for sure this can be improved a lot.

So in my opinion Pioneer should really have to deliver a new firmware as fast as possible.

Sérgio Herculano

sbherculano 1 vote
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I just googled this thread. I just noticed a  bit of a lag on my setup. I adjusted the buffer setting and that helped a lot.. 2015 MacBook Pro 15 i7 2.5GHZ 16GB ram & 512 SSD. 

With Rekordbox running I noticed I was using 8.0 to 9.0 GB of ram (no video). My CPU usage was 50%. At this point in time, If you're not using a Laptop with an i7 7th generation CPU and at last 16GB of ram, you may experience some lagging. I tried loading Traktor Pro and it did run but the lagging was even more evident so it's not strictly a software thing. I believe the solution is in the drivers. Another possible fix may be to lower/keep the sample rate to 44.1khz. 

I have not experienced any crashes or issues with sound. Screens look fine to me but I'm just looking for track list data most of the time since I don't pay attention to waveforms much. 

Would I gig with this live after 4 days of trial? I feel comfortable enough with it that I would. However, I'd feel a lot more comfortable if I used my 2013 Mac Pro 6 core desktop instead, if I was going to run video also. Yes, If that Gig was big enough, I'd bring that. 

Would I run Maschine or Ableton Live concurrently on the same laptop in a live gig? Not Yet. 

Torch 0 votes
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