A barebones turntable for the no-nonsense DVS / vinyl DJ. It looks and feels like a Technics, with a few subtle improvements (we especially liked the reverse and extreme pitch controls, and the more convenient connections at the back). A good value, high performance turntable for pro/club use.
First Impressions / Setting up
When Technics was the only brand anyone took seriously, what happened was that we all got used to their good and bad points, and nobody ever questioned any of them – it was what it was. Now Technics has gone, it’s always interesting when presented with an alternative to look at what’s the same and what’s been tweaked. So that’s let’s do just that…
OK, so the first impression is: Technics! they are just as heavy, the basic boxy metal design is the same, and frankly anybody used to DJing on Technics turntables will be right at home here in, oooh, about 5 seconds. That is a massive compliment, by the way: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Now, they are different in lots of small ways (we’ll get on to those), but basically they’re 95% what you would expect: Same style big feet, stroboscopic dots around the direct drive platter, same S-shaped tonearm, all the basic controls in the same places…
As I say, though, there are differences, most of them good. Against the Technics SL1210 Mk2 (the most popular by far of that discontinued range), you’ll find these differences:
- A “reverse” button by the main start/stop button
- A “quarzlock” (sic) button to lock the tempo, to the right of the centre LED on the pitch control
- A clickless pitch control (ie no centre “click”; it’s now electronic)
- Switchers to change from +/-8% to +/-16% and +/-50%, above the pitch control
- A protective lip around the power on/off button, to prevent accidentally switching the unit off
- A small knob to adjust torque from “classic” to even more powerful than the original Technics
- A small start/brake speed adjuster knob, from 0.2secs (fastest possible) to 6 secs
- An extra start/stop button at the top-left of the turntable, to make a start/stop button more accessible for scratch DJs with the turntable turned 90 degrees to normal
- RCA output sockets, rather than a hardwired lead, with no need for a separate earth lead
- A traditional figure-of-8 power socket instead of a hardwired lead
- A phono/line level switch so the turntable can output line level signal for use with mixers without phono level inputs
The only things that don’t impress on a full inspection are the rather cheap, plasticky vinyl surface light (the damped, pushbutton-activated metal one on the Technics design was far superior), and the lack of lids provided to protect the turntables when not in use. (There are machined bracket holders on the back where lids purchased separately can be screwed on though; we’ve found them online for about €30 apiece.)
The second start/stop button takes the place of the wide spindle hole adaptor that was originally intended to allow users to play US-style 7″ vinyl singles with “jukebox”-sized centre holes cut out of them; no great loss there then unless you’re a Northern Soul DJ playing rare imports from old jukebox companies, and even so, you can buy those adaptors online easily enough.
So on to how it feels to use. With apologies to those of you who’ve never used turntables before, it feels just like any decent direct drive club-style turntable, which is to say, it’s perfectly fine for DJing on and behaves both exactly as you’d expect a Technics to, and also exactly like equivalent turntables in other ranges. The torque is excellent, the tracking (if set up right) is as stable as any, and as I said right at the beginning, if you’re used to Technics, you’ll be at home here in seconds. The important thing is you’ won’t notice any quality drop at all.
(None of this is surprising as it’s no secret that the basic model Reloop has used is made from the same moulding – from Hanpin, a Chinese manufacturer – as many post-Technics end-brands use; what happens iscompanies like Reloop order the basic model and specify how they want their finished model to be as far as the fine details go, in order to add something of their own brand to the finished article.)
The only thing that caught us out in DJing with it was that if you turn the power on/off knob “off” for DJing effect (doing this causes the motor to stop, naturally, so the platter slows down over many seconds, for the archetypal “end of night” DJ music stop), and you have the output set to “line” not “phono” at the back, you lose the music instantly – not surprising really, as you’ve just cut the power to the line amp too! Set to phono this doesn’t happen, as the “traditional” phono output of a turntable takes no extra amplification bar the minute currents created my the magnetic cartirdge and needle, so doesn’t reply on mains power to feed the mixer; the mains power is purely for the motor.
One way around this is to use the start/brake control; setting it to “6 seconds” approximates the effect while letting you leave the power on. Just remember to set it back afterwards…)
Lots of improvements over the original Technics, most of which we thoroughly approve of. You’ll find very similar turntables out there from other manufacturers too, so it’s worth comparing the small differences between models to see if one has something you particularly like the sound of, but the Reloop RP-7000 is a fine example of adding subtly and usefully to what a Technics turntable provides with some useful 21st century features. It’s dependable, attractive, highly specified, more than good enough for pro use including scratching, and at £375 in the UK, is competitively priced mid-market for what is essentially a pro DJ turntable. (US price is $599).
A dust cover would definitely have been nice for this price, and that surface vinyl light is a quality let-down (only Pioneer DJ, with its appreciably more expensive PLX-1000, seems to have got that Technics-feel light as a feature), but overall if you want pro club-standard turntables, a pair of these will do you just fine without breaking the bank: They deliver both value and quality, which is always a good combination, especially in something as long-lasting and fundamental to the art of DJing as a turntable.