The Reloop RP8000Mk2 is a hybrid analogue / digital turntable that can be used with Serato DJ Pro. You’re getting a lot of turntable for your money here, and apart from all the Serato control onboard, you also get the unique Platter Play feature that isn’t seen on any current turntable from anyone else. When paired with the Reloop Elite mixer, they are part of a complete pro scratch set-up to rival anything from the bigger names. Recommended.
First Impressions / Setting up
Reloop has two well-loved turntables, the RP7000 and RP8000, which have been upgraded recently to their Mk2 models. In this review, we’ll look at the all-singing, all-dancing variant, the RP8000Mk2, which is a certified Serato Accessory, offering lots of control over Serato DJ Pro software as well as the basic features expected of any DJ turntable.
Unpacking, assembling and readying the turntable feels just as satisfying as doing the same thing with a Technics 1200 or 1210 Mk2 of old – any DJ of a certain age will know what I mean here. Worth pointing out that these don’t come with dust covers as Technics turntables did/do, which may irk some – but they also don’t come with the thick, rubber surface mats – which nobody will miss of course. The turntable sits on four jumbo, damped and height-adjustable feet.
The back of the unit is where all inputs and outputs are, although when the turntables are spun 90 degrees into “battle” mode, that translates as the left-hand sides of the units. You get two sets of RCA outs, line and phono (the former is good if you want to record directly from a turntable without going into a mixer, or if you’re DJing with gear that doesn’t have – or has poor – phono preamps), as well as a “kettle”-style power lead and an on/off switch. There’s an earth pin, too.
This being a “hybrid” turntable, you also get a USB socket for connecting to your Serato-running laptop, and a USB extension socket for piggybacking further turntables – up to four can be plugged together.
The turntable is in a nice satin black finish, with everything where you’d expect it to be (it’s a turntable, right?), but with the obvious addition of a set of Serato pads in a long line down the left-hand side (the bottom when in battle mode), and four Serato pad mode selector switches (where the second stop/start button used to be on the original RP8000), an encoder for library browsing and loading.
Near the pitch slider you’ll find a small LED screen for showing pitch variations as well as Serato info such as time elapsed/left, as well as buttons that are variously used for pitch range, pitch reset, and switching scales for the “Platter Play” feature (more later).
There are small knobs for torque adjust and brake adjust. Down near the stop/start button is a Reverse button (nice!), and the feature-set is rounded out by a detachable LED surface light.
Overall it sits well next to the classic Technics that it’ll be compared to, just as the previous models did, the only downsides being a slightly wobbly tonearm assembly (that in practical purposes doesn’t seem to matter, but feels a bit cheap) and that detachable surface light – again, just feels cheap compared to the heavy-duty on on Mk2 Technics.
I tested these with Steve, our scratch tutor, who has had a few weeks to really get to grips with them. He said that as a turntable, they are just as good to use as any Technics – he really liked them and praised their value. But of course, they are not “just a turntable”, for two reasons…
The first reason is that they are a “Serato Accessory”. That means that you can select tracks from your library in Serato using the encoder, and you can do anything you could do on Serato pads direct from your turntable – all pad modes are there (hot cues, loops, slicer and so on), and there are even two user-definable sets for you to map your own functions.
In use, Steve reports that the pads are super-useful, and this is magnified by the fact that you can choose what each set of pads do independently.
When combined with a mixer that also has pads (the sister product, the Reloop Elite, which is co-reviewed in the video attached to this review, for instance), you can they switch pad modes between the two units, having hot cues on the turntables and looping on the mixer, for instance, or any other combo you desired.
The pads are mounted on a damped backboard, meaning your banging away on them is somewhat dampened from the turntable itself, which is a nice touch over the original model and which works well. They’re also bigger, and now RGB – more improvements over the original.
The second big thing here that’s new is “Platter Play” mode. By holding down the “Shift” button and pressing the pitch reset button, the pads stop controlling Serato and start controlling the speed of the turntable.
If you think about it, all other things being equal, speeding a turntable up will make whatever is playing play at a higher pitch – the best vinyl DJs know that +/-4% is about a semitone, for instance. Likewise, slowing it down will drop the pitch.
In this mode, the pads let you move up and down through musical scales by speeding up and slowing down the turntable according to the pads you touch – they act like a Midi keyboard. (Indeed, you can even map a midi keyboard to it if you want, and “play” your turntable in this way – the mind boggles!).
There are a couple of dozen musical scales you can choose from – major, minor, chromatic/pentatonic scales and many more, and the Serato encoder lets you also cycle through octaves giving you loads of “notes” to play.
Watching the accompanying video will make this all clearer. Think of it like analogue Pitch Play (a Serato function). It is much fiddlier than Pitch Play (because Pitch Play jumps back to a part of a track you choose each time you “play” a note), but in the hands of a musician who wants to use a turntable like an instrument, or an ambitious battle/competition DJ who wants to do something that really stands out in their routines, I can see amazing things being done with this feature. It’s certainly a talking point.
Any conclusion has to look at price. For US$699, you’re getting a lot of turntable for your money here. For just a couple of hundred more than the RP7000Mk2, you get all that Serato control too, and a unique feature that isn’t seen on any current turntable from anyone else.
When paired with the Reloop Elite mixer, they are part of a complete pro scratch set-up to rival anything from the bigger names. Just like the RP8000Mk1 before them, these deserve to do well, and the improvements are definitely worth going for the Mk2 over the Mk1. And if you don’t want any of the bells and whistles? The RP7000Mk2 offers equally good performance for less money.