Like digital, but not sold on controllers? Can’t afford big brand DJ separates? A pair of these with a decent mixer and maybe a DVS audio interface will give you versatility (CDs, USB and Midi), and a “club feel” for far less than from the leading brand.
First Impressions / Setting up
First impressions and setting up
They’re modern feeling, nicely built media players, heavy and with full-sized jogwheels. How you set them up will depend on what you’re using them with. As basic CD players or for playing from USB (they play MP3, AAC, WAV and AIFF), you can just plug them in and run an RCA out of the back of each into your mixer, job done.
There are two types of unit linking: simple jack leads to hook up to a Reloop mixer in order to facilitate fader start, and a single RCA jack lead for metadata transfer between two RMP-4s (USB mode only). If you’ve analysed your USB tunes previously using the database utility (a free download from Reloop’s site), you can then use the sync buttons to sync your beats just like with DJ controllers.
The RMP-4s also have USB connectors for hooking up to a computer, in order than you can control Traktor or Virtual DJ with them (there’s a mapping for the former on the Reloop site, the latter is natively mapped). Note that you’ll still need a four-out audio interface to give you two outputs for your mixer in either case.
Serato control is also possible, but you’ll need to use the units as DVS with Serato, by adding for instance the Denon DS1 audio interface, as there’s no Midi control of jogwheels possible. You could then also map the Midi functions to the desired functions in Serato yourself if you wanted, or add an accessory controller such as Reloop’s own Neon.
However you choose to set them up, once this is all done, you’ll be ready to start using them…
Let’s get one thing clear: They are “old school” in that there’s no attempt at track waveform displays or anything like that: The screens (which are covered in rather bendy plastic) instead tell you track information, time elapses etc, and give you info on BPM, key, pitch and other basic display functions. They have all the controls you’d expect from media players, such as a big pitch faders, play/pause and cue, master tempo (“key lock”), vinyl/CD jogwheel behaviour toggle, and browsing controls.
The looping section is comprehensive, with beat loop buttons from 1/8 of a beat up to eight bars, and manual looping too. But one of the big plusses of the RMP-4 past simply looping is the addition of eight small buttons that let you control the four performance modes, those being hot cue, hot loop, loop roll and sampler.
Hot cue and hot loop let you create cues and loops on the current track and jump back to them at any time. Loop roll is similar to the beat loop functions with slip mode turned on (note slip mode only works with USB), and neatly, there’s a sampler too – you can save the current loop to the sampler and play it back at any time, across all eight pads. You can save hot cues and loops for future use, too, even after the power has been turned off and on again. It would have been good if you could save samples as well in this way.
For DJs who sometimes just want music playing in the background, the fader start function has a neat “relay” mode, where it’ll pay a song from each deck alternately. Other nice-to-have additions include pitch bend buttons, pitch rest button, and BPM tap.
Frankly, they feel like any pre-waveform display pro DJ CD/USB/Midi player in use – and that’s broadly good thing, as DJs who are used to this kind of set-up will be able to just play on (once they’ve worked out how they want their system to run, ie with CDs, USB, DJ software, etc).
So this kind of set-up is not going to be for everyone. If you want the bells and whistles of DJ controllers (RGB performance pads, four decks, advanced software features, production features, etc), then for less money you can get more. And frankly, DJing from CD and USB with displays like that is never going to win over any controller users.
But if you want a set-up that you can take out for mobile DJing (CDs, USB or software), use at home with your DVS box (which is how we tested it with Serato), or simply want gear that looks and feels like “standard” club gear (as in the type of stuff you find everywhere) – well, for the price, it rocks. Not everyone needs or wants all those controller bells and whistles, after all.
A system like this (including for example the RMX-60 mixer, and an optional DVS such as the Denon DS1 that we used for the review should you want to use it that way) will come in at around £1400 – half the price of an equivalent Pioneer set-up. While Pioneer gear works with Rekordbox (Pioneer’s far more widespread library software), many DJ booths don’t, so this may not be an issue for you.
For pure versatility, bang-for-your-buck, and pro DJ gear feel, the RMP-4s as part of a DJ set-up with a decent mixer are fun to play with, especially so I suspect for our readers with with DVS, and great value too. I think the RMP-4 will gain a fair number of fans.