Rekordbox 7 drops support for older controllers

Rekordbox 7 doesn’t support older controllers anymore, unless you pay $120 a year fine!

A user on Reddit compared the Rekordbox hardware unlock list with the previous one.
He concluded that the following models weren’t supported anymore:

  • XDJ-RX
  • DDJ-RZ
  • DDJ-RX
  • DDJ-RR
  • DDJ-RB
  • DDJ-XP1

Personally I own a DDJ-RB.
While I admit, I rarely us it (CDJs with USBs are all the rage nowadays for clubs), but for that one non-profit gig without a CDJ, I do still use it.

Fellow content creator Digital DJ Tips reached out to AlphaTheta and they responded with the following statement:

“our products have a lifecycle, and we need to ensure we are channeling resource into new innovative technologies allowing us to continue to produce hardware that our customers value and trust”


Which is corporate speak for:
We want you to buy our subscription

The statement itself made me even more furious than dropping the hardware itself.
I want Pioneer to be a descent company with decent moral values, but the way the ship is steered lately makes it really hard to recommend AlphaTheta to beginners.

My problems with this statement:

  1. Alphatheta doesn’t innovate, like I talked about in The Downfall of Pioneer, they just hold up their hand for more money.
  2. This has nothing to do with a product lifecycle, everything with planned obsolesce, more on that later.
  3. You can’t trust AlphaTheta anymore.
    Users already have major trust issues with don’t trust big companies
    This doesn’t help.
    What is the next stunt they are going to pull?
    • A monthly subscription to export your music to USB so you can do you gig this weekend?
    • Charging clubs for using CDJs?

Planned obsolesence

While it is true that products have a lifecycle.
The DDJ-RB has probably has chips in it, that aren’t produced anymore.
If the product breaks, you have a physical shortage of chips.

But from a programming standpoint it makes no sense whatsoever (which we are talking about here).
They just have to keep their finger off the delete button for the code that supports older controllers.
All the code to communicate with the controller is proprietary, code only breaks when they break it themselves!

Alphatheta even admits that they still support older controllers.
For the “low” price of only $120 per year they don’t press the delete button.
So the whole lifecycle argument goes out the window.

With planned obsolescence comes also an inherent e-waste problem.
If the product isn’t physically broken, users need to discard it anyway.

Lessons to learn

What me gets riled up about this is that they broke their promise.
I already paid, support is included in the price!
I bought a perpetual license of Rekordbox (albeit Rekordbox 5).
I expect to be able to use it, like they promised.

Now, my DDJ-RB was a $400 controller, but the XDJ-RX wasn’t.
It was over $1500!
I would be extremely pissed if bought a XDJ-RX!

The only lesson users can learn from this is:
Don’t buy a AlphaTheta product!
Every time you buy a AlphaTheta product, you basically buy a ticking time bomb.

Companies (like AlphaTheta) understand only one language: the language of money.
We need to stop giving money to these companies, instead of enabling them their behavior.

Rekordbox 6

For now, Rekordbox 6 still works with these controllers.
Don’t upgrade to Rekordbox 7.

Rekordbox 6 and 7 use the same library, so it is really easy to go back.
You can find the Rekordbox 6 installer files on Pioneer’s website.

Virtual DJ to the rescue

Virtual DJ still supports the older controller mentioned above.
Regretfully Virtual DJ gets a totally undeserved bad rep (“Virtual DJ is only for beginners”).
But the software is amazing, even for pros, like I discussed in Virtual DJ review.

  • The software is fast and responsive, which Rekordbox isn’t
  • The software looks good, which Rekordbox doesn’t
  • The software is easy to learn, which Rekordbox isn’t
  • Virtual DJ actually innovates
  • Virtual DJ Stems sound better than Rekordbox’s
  • Can import your Rekordbox library
  • Supports a boat load of DJ controllers
  • A lifetime license tier, which will earn itself back within a year

The only thing it can’t do is: export to USB.

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