Rane’s already near-perfect Seventy mixer gets an A-Trak makeover, with a stunning new paint job, tweaked bottom end, and some intriguing fader FX.
First Impressions / Setting up
This is a stunning mixer. The silver paint job positively sings, and the retro rotary knobs are a joy. Combined with the A-Trak font, it is unmistakeably a mixer that has had his hand applied to it. The big “A-Trak” lettering across the crossfader is bold but works well. For A-Trak fans, it’s fantastic.
Now, this is in essence a Rane Seventy mixer – what we have here is simply a Signature edition. So all that we’ve said about the Rane Seventy applies here, too. It is a large, supremely well-built battle mixer, designed for Serato DJ but just as happy being used as a standalone mixer, with easy paddle access to Serato’s built-in effects, as well as a host of hardware effects of its own.
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And it is in the hardware effects that the mixer really stands itself apart from the pack – so that’s where we’ll focus most of our attention in this review. Our review of the original Rane Seventy mixer is here.
So – setting up is exactly as ever. We tested it with a pair of Rane Twelve Mk2 software controller decks, plugging them in via USB to the mixer’s built-in hub, and then a single USB to our DJ laptop running Serato.
The hardware effects on the Rane Seventy are called “Flex FX”, and you can get to them by pressing the slightly larger button in the middle of the row of seven horizontal buttons controlling the effects, to make it turn blue (if it is yellow, it is controlling Serato’s FX).
On the original version of the mixer, the far right-hand of this row of buttons is a Delay effect, but that has now gone, to be replaced with Fader FX. (It’s not too much of a loss, as there is also an Echo effect.)
When Fader FX is selected, the faders suddenly don’t do anything! The volume remains where it was when you switched to Fader FX. If you want to control the channel volumes in this mode, you have to use the Level (gain) controls. But… the trade-off is that you now have the ability to select one of several effects to be controlled by the faders.
Rane Seventy A-Trak Demo Video
See the Signature Edition mixer in action with A-Trak’s futuristic “Pop Smoke” routine.
To select an effect, you hold down Shift and press Fader FX, which changes the display on the tiny screen on the mixer to let you choose an effect and change its parameters.
For instance, with Filter, you can choose different passes, with Loop Roll, you can choose whether a high-pass filter is also applied, and with Pitch, you can choose the pitch amount, whether it’s up or down, even the scales, major or minor!
When you pull the fader down, the chosen effect applies progressively more so – as long as the paddle is also engaged (that threw me for a second).
As well as those effects, there are generative effects. There’s a basic sine wave, plus others like saw and triangle, each with their own sonic characters. The fun here is that the fader is a “smooth” control, and using them feels a bit like using the pitch fader on a deck to control a record’s pitch.
With this latter set of effects, you can again choose whether the fader moves the note up or down, but you can also choose the starting note (to tune the tone to the playing track) and the octave.
We loved using the sine wave on octave 1 for a huge sub-bass hit – that really was a lot of fun.
They were simple enough to use, and it’s definitely something different for scratch, performance, battle and indeed just creative-minded DJs to have a play with – I think your mileage will vary though, as personally I couldn’t see myself using all of these too often.
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Apart from these effects, A-Trak told me that he has tuned the bass to make the mixer sound even better over big sound systems, but frankly this is not something we could test or run a meaningful comparison on. He says it’s pretty subtle, anyway.
I mean, this is a nice mixer anyway. Arguably it’s a more balanced overall mixer than the Rane Seventy Two, which just seems to be trying too hard to do too much. A-Trak’s alterations to it will definitely appeal to a sub-set of the DJs who have this mixer in the frame, which of course is the point – it’s not meant to appeal to everyone.
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Watch the live show above where I demo the effects to have a quick listen. If you like the concept and would be happy to pay a little bit more to have a mixer that gives you these points of difference, it’s certainly fun and you should consider it seriously over the original Seventy.
And if not? The Seventy remains a damned fine mixer. Now – where are the silver Rane Twelves, to match…