Pioneer EFX-500-R
Pioneer EFX-500-R

EFX-500-R, DJ Effect from Pioneer.

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songboy 02/27/2012

Pioneer EFX-500-R : songboy's user review

« Hardware Tactile DJ effects that stand up in a world of Software »

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The effects covered in this unit are quite comprehensive. You essentially have two categories, beat mapped and non beat mapped. The beat mapped effects include delay, echo, pan, flanger and transformer. The non beat mapped effects include Jet, zip (phaser style effects) wah, ring and fuzz. The beat effects are contolled via the "beat" section on the left. You get various division of time, a tap tempo button and a manual adjustment knob for tempo. On the other side for the non beat effects your primary controller is the "Jog wheel." With the jog wheel, you can spin your way to delicate, subtle effects to super deep craziness. You can control this unit with standard midi messages but as far as I know, no one has made a PC/Mac editor for this unit. In reality, it doesn't really need it as it is designed to be manipulated quickly and efficiently with you analog fingers. This is a digital processing unit with all digital effects. The connections include 1/4" and RCA audio inputs and outputs as well as MIDI in and out.


Once you get used to the layout, which won't take long (took me about an hour) you will be flying on this thing. With dedicated effect selection buttons and the jog wheel, you will be remixing your own tracks like you never thought possible. The beauty about hardware (especially if it is made right) is that you don't have much setup other than plugging in your sound source and plugging the hardware back into your PA. The manual is clear and efficient and is a good read if you won't to understand more about the effects them selves and very unique and interesting options the EFX 500r offers.


I use this mainly as an effector for my live performance set. I play various intruments (keys, guitar, bass, vocals, sampled drums, synths, etc....) in my set and I run everything into two stereo channels, one clean, and one into this. My rig is setup so that I can select at any time, what instruments are going into the efx or just going straight to the PA mixer. Therefore, everything at one time or another runs through this. As for faithful reproduction, this unit only operates at 16bit, so I feel that for live performance, I don't notice that much but for studio applications, I do notice some weakness in the sound. Especially in my vocals and my analog synths and bass. I am actually selling this unit now to purchase the EFX 1000 which runs at 24 bit and has more effects and options, including spdif in/out. I imagine this will greatly improve the sound quality of my set. I love the effects on this unit. I guess my favorite would be the delay as it comes in so handy having a solid delay with so much control right at your finger tips. The only effect I have any dislike towards would be the Wah. The filter isn't as clean as I get from my analog gear, but I can't be too upset, it is an older digital unit and in all fairness, the Filter isn't horrible, just an older digital version.


What I like most about this unit is what it is, a hardware standalone effects unit. Other than the EFX 1000 (and the 500) these are the only mass produced, somewhat affordable hardware, tactile EFX units I am aware of. I am honestly shocked that Pioneer is the only one who makes something like this. In an age of computers and software, it is getting harder to find quality Hardware gear without searching for boutique manufacturers and forking over an arm and a leg. What I don't like about the unit is simply the features that are missing from the big brother (efx 1000). These include the 16 bit processing power (1000 has 24bit) and the lack of the SPDIF in/out. I paid $350 for this many years ago and at that time, that was a good deal. I am very pleased with this unit and only plan on selling it to get the "step up" model. When I bought it, 16 bit was plenty good. Now, 16 bit is dated so I can't give it a great sound quality rating, more like a 7. The only things I have come acrossed that are similar are all software (Turnado, Artillery, Stutter Edit, the Finger). All the software units are great in there own ways, but I will go Hardware any day of the week when I can. I would definitely purchase this if you are looking for something to spice up your DJ sets or if you are like me, your crazy, massive Looping performance set. In the end though, unless you primarily run MP3's or CD's for your sound sources, you will won't to upgrade to the EFX 1000.