Link: 4MidiLoop • Price: €1300
When we talk of MIDI controllers, the general assumption is one of VCI style 2 deck me-too devices. God knows there are enough of them out there and currently sell by the containerload to the new generation of digital DJs. But sometimes a unit comes along that defies convention and tries to be something quite different. The 4MidiLoop is one such unit.
In A Nutshell
The 4MidiLoop is a MIDI controller designed to completely tame the complexity of Traktor. It’s entirely USB powered, has no audio interface and no ins or outs other than a single USB port. It is essentially a dumb controller that totally depends on you using it with a laptop. So you’ll need an audio interface and for this review, I’ve hooked up the NI Audio 8 DJ for full 4 deck fun.
It does however give total and complete control over just about every element of Traktor – all 4 channels with hot cues, loops, all 4 effects slots and parameters and track navigation too. But being a MIDI device you can of course remap it any way you wish – either for Traktor of any other software with MIDI learn.
If we’re talking about the very first impression upon opening the box, it would be the big yet small nature of the 4MidiLoop. When I say big, I’m talking about the front to back size – it’s the same as a regular turntable in battle position, which does make the top controls feel far away. It’s at a time like this when you understand my mixers are on an incline.
And by small, I mean the physical height. It’s an inch lower than regular turntables. This is fine for standalone use, but if used with decks then some of the controls do become a little harder.
IDEA: 4MidiLoop official accessories – a 4MidiWedge and 4MidiBlock to make using it a lot easier. Or you could just make your own out of offcuts of failed DIY projects.
MIDI controllers generally have the word “toy” associated with them, if only for the almost all plastic construction. The 4MidiLoop however does away with all that and is hewn from a solid block of Aluminium. Think Apple Unibody but for DJ gear. The precision is ridiculous – the CNC machining allows for fractions of millimetres of accuracy. Indeed, when I flipped it over to take off the baseplate, it looks like it’s still one piece.
The controls however are more conventional and very Faderfox like. The knobs feel solid, with just the right amount of resistance and centre detent where necessary. It’ll be the buttons where people may have an issue. There’s nothing wrong with the quality – it’s a gentle click that never presses beyond the faceplate (so no stuck buttons) but it’s the size of them that is the problem.
In trying to squeeze so many controls into a DJ friendly space, the 9mm buttons may not find many fans, with people used to larger pad type devices. It does take a little getting used to, and the multicoloured buttons do give a quick visual reference, although an orange play button would be welcome though for non turntable users.