• Price: US$249
  • Rating:

Reloop Spin Portable Turntable Review

Last updated 22 January, 2020

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The Lowdown

The Reloop Spin is an affordable, feature-packed portable turntable that’s easy to use, great fun to perform on and is perfect for both beginner and experienced scratch DJs who need to practise their cuts on the go. The versatile options for power supply, audio inputs and outputs and the record to USB feature make this a no-brainer for DJs looking to have no excuse to practise your scratching when not at your decks.

Video Review

First Impressions / Setting up

The first thing to note is that it’s small, and light. It weighs just 2kg (4lbs) and even with the protective lid on, it slipped neatly into my backpack with plenty of room to spare for cables and my JBL Charge 4 speaker (more on this in a bit). The whole unit is made of plastic but feels sturdy enough and with the supplied lid locked in place, it feels solid and protected. Once you pop the clips the lid comes off entirely so you’re free to put the unit on a table, or just have it sit on your lap quite comfortably.

At US$250 the Spin is around twice the price of the Numark PT01 Scratch which is a popular and capable turntable, but for the features that this has over the PT01 (plus the still relatively low price point in the grand scheme of DJ gear) this is likely worth the extra outlay as you’ll see as we delve further.

The deck


The Spin has a 7” belt-drive turntable and comes supplied with a slipmat and a vinyl 7” with practice beats and tones on one side, and “skipless” scratches and tones on the other. The skipless feature (where the sound you are scratching stays the same even if the needle jumps to another part of the groove) is especially welcome on this as skipping was not uncommon in our testing – more on this later. The Spin also plays 12” records, but even though scratching is almost impossible as the platter underneath won’t support the records, this is a nice feature to have if you’re a crate-digger looking to audition vinyl when out and about.

The crossfader

The two corners to the left of the platter are home to the slots for the faders. There’s a 45mm fader supplied, which can be removed and moved to the other corner depending on whether you are a left or right handed scratcher. Inside the fader housing there are also connectors to be able to replace the stock fader with one from a 3rd party such as Innofader, if you really rely on all the cut and lag settings that they would give you.

The fader is a full crossfader, so if you have an aux input source of music that you’re scratching over, that source will cut out if you move the fader all the way to the end, just like on a normal mixer.

The top of the unit also houses a 45RPM vinyl adaptor, and a clever sunken holder that the tonearm can be clipped into to keep it protected when being transported.

The tonearm itself is plastic, and is mounted on what feels like a sprung-loaded dampener unit. It’s very light, but heavy enough to (mostly) stay in the groove. In addition to the secure holder there is a rest that the tonearm sits on when you’re changing the vinyl. The cartridge is a super-simple plastic housing and ceramic needle that performs well enough.

Over on the right of the top plate is where all the main controls are. There are controls to select between 33, 45 and 78 RPM speeds, adjust the tone of the sound (on the vinyl output only) and adjust the volume levels of the aux input and the overall output.

The pitch control knob lets you adjust the speed of the deck +/- 20% and has a notch to indicate where “zero” is, although this is by no means an exact science compared to the accuracy of DJ software.

There’s a backlit USB record button to be able to record your practice sessions to a USB drive slotted into the side. The drive needs to be formatted in FAT32 and the recordings are in 256kb MP3, plenty good enough as reference recordings to listen back to, or for recording the sound for videos.

There’s also a Bluetooth button and connection indicator on the top, where you pair your phone or any Bluetooth device to play music through into the Spin to scratch over. Lastly the play / stop button is there to give you control over the deck.

Power

In addition to the USB recorder, and Bluetooth connectivity, the variety of power options for the Reloop Spin is another killer feature that sets this apart from other portable turntables. Firstly it can be powered using any 5v USB charger, plugged into a power outlet (home / car) in just the same way you would power a phone – it’s a shame a plug is not supplied. This method is obviously not totally portable, so there are two lithium rechargeable batteries included that you fit into a slot on the bottom that will happily power the unit for a couple of hours on full charge. Anytime you are connected to a power supply via the USB cable, these batteries will be recharged at the same time, pretty neat.

You can also use battery booster packs (yep, the ones you use for your phone) to power the Spin. In testing I used my JBL Charge 4 bluetooth speaker, not only to power the Spin from, but also to route the audio out to from the RCA output, a really slick setup!

Connections and audio

The Reloop spin has a built-in speaker on the front of the unit that won’t trouble your neighbours, but is plenty loud enough for most environments. The speaker is muted whenever external speakers or headphones are connected. There’s also an auxiliary input 3.5mm jack so you can route another audio source in to scratch over without the need for Bluetooth.

On the back there’s a Kensington lock slot, the USB drive slot for recording, two headphone outs (3.5mm and 6.3mm jacks), stereo RCA outputs, the power switch and USB power input socket.

In Use

The first test I did on the Spin was at home, connected to a constant power source. Getting the unit up and running with sound coming out was straight forward, and I was cutting and scratching away within a few seconds. Thankfully I use my right hand on the crossfader so didn’t need to swap the fader over to the other side. I also don’t scratch “hamster” (with the fader reversed) so didn’t need any adjustment over that, but some DJs will definitely prefer to have a switch for this rather than having to remove and replace the fader turned upside down.

Next up was getting some music to scratch over, so I opened Bluetooth on my phone, hit the pairing button and had my beats playing through again within seconds, super easy. Also it reconnected really fast each time the unit was powered off and on again. I opened a DJ app on my phone, loaded up one of the follow-along practice demos from our Scratching For Controller DJs course and set it looping so I could scratch away for as long as I wanted.

It would have been nice to have an aux / deck mix balance control on the Spin. I found that with some of my tracks, even with my phone volume up full, and the aux volume control up full on the Spin, the volume of the vinyl was still significantly louder with no way to adjust the balance between the two. Some of my tracks were OK though so I don’t see this as a big problem, just a “nice to have”.

The deck itself is certainly nowhere near as sturdy or solid as a pro turntable and you wouldn’t expect that, but the tracking of the needle and was actually very impressive. It does skip from time to time depending on how heavy-handed you are (which is where that skipless scratches 7” came in handy), but in truth the more you scratch with it the more you get used to the feel and the less it skips.

The fader feels great, pretty loose and light. The cut point will be a little too long for advanced scratch DJs at around 2-3mm in from the edge, but with slight adjustment in technique it’s just fine (and remember, you can swap out to a “pro” fader if you want).

I wanted to record my session, so popped a FAT32 formatted USB drive into the slot, and waited for the indicator light on the record button to stop flashing while it loaded the drive. Hit the button and I was recording to the drive. This was a little clunky at first to get used to because the indicator flashes slowly when recording, but takes 2 or 3 seconds before the first “flash” happens so it seemed like it wasn’t working. Repeated clicks trying to get it to work were only toggling it on and off without me realising, but once this was ironed out and I was used to the flashing system, all was well. The resulting recordings are plenty good enough quality to review your practice session.

My next test was out and about (it is a portable turntable after all) so I took my power packs, phone and speaker with me to a suitably glamorous location. When I packed the Spin in my bag, I forgot to take the vinyl off the platter and it was rattling around inside the case during the journey, so be sure to put your vinyl in its protective sleeves when on the move in case of damage.

The internal batteries were not charged up, so I needed to use a power pack, deciding to use the JBL Charge 4 speaker to do this and route the sound out to also. I used an RCA to 3.5mm jack adaptor to get the music from the Spin to the speaker and all was well, with the internal speaker muted once the RCA cables were attached. I was filming this for the video review, so I had the USB recorder running.

The size and weight of the unit meant I could sit cross-legged and have it comfortable in my lap for a long time, ergonomically it felt perfect and was a totally natural position to be scratching in. The internal speaker was also loud enough for what I needed and even though the turntable was slanted and not flat, the tonearm was nice and solid staying in the groove just as well as when on a flat surface.

My speaker didn’t have much charge either, so eventually ran flat and the deck died. This caused a problem – the only downside we found in testing using battery power, is that when you lose it, you lose it fast, and if you are recording to USB your recording will not be saved (as happened to me – no nice soundtrack to my awesome footage unfortunately), so make sure you have plenty of juice or are connected to a mains supply if you want to record a session when fully portable.

All in all I had a fun trip out with the Spin, and passers-by were intrigued and impressed with the impromptu open-air scratch performance.

Conclusion

Reloop has done an excellent job with Spin, packing it with features such as Bluetooth, USB recording, pitch adjust, replaceable fader and rechargeable batteries that DJs have been crying out for in a portable turntable. It’s more pricey as a result, but you won’t find another portable scratch turntable as good as this as of today.

Features like a charger plug, sharper fader cut point, aux / deck sound mix control and more intuitive recording functionality would have been “nice to haves”, but are not deal-breakers.

Who is it for?

If you’re a DJ who is learning to scratch, or already scratches and is looking to improve while on the move, you’re likely going to want this piece of kit in your toolbox. Or, if you’re a vinyl-loving crate-digger who is always on high alert for those rarities at record fairs and garage sales, the Spin would be great to have with you to be able to audition records wherever you are.

Also, if you’re a beginner DJ who wants to start because you think that scratching may be “your thing”, you can get started really cheaply with just a Reloop Spin and get to a pretty decent level before deciding if you’ve got “the bug” and want to splash out on any other other gear.

Students of my Scratching For Controller DJs course have bought the Reloop Spin to use to practice with when on the move, and they’ve been raving about it, which is why I was excited to get my hands on one to review, and it didn’t disappoint.

Good value, feature packed and most importantly, a ton of f-f-fun.

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