Aesthetically, the 4MidiLoop may be an acquired taste. It absolutely comes from the Faderfox school of functional rather than beautiful design. Looking at it, the designer in me cringed at the ill placed Helvetica wording and screened boxes. But that functional word is used for a reason – it does just work rather than attempt to be pretty.
I was sent the Silver Bullet edition, with the silver faceplate and tutti-frutti knob set. I suspect however that more traditional DJs will want the rather more conservative Black Pearl model. I have to say that despite my reservations about colour, I think the one I was sent would be the best overall to use. Because of the heavily populated faceplate, being able to pick out key controls by colour is very helpful. And I fear that because of the tiny size of the type, it may prove difficult to read the reversed out wording on a black model in a dark booth.
I’m sure it’ll be a matter of time before Styleflip gets on the case though.
Freeing the 4MidiLoop from its box, the first place I felt compelled to place it was between a pair of decks. It really gives off the aura of mixer rather than controller. And it’s only when you realise that it hooks up via USB do you begin to get into your head that it is just a MIDI controller with an identity crisis.
It is however completely at home as a standalone controller too. Decks are replaced by play buttons and a scratch knob – but then again, anyone using it without decks is unlikely to want any kind of traditional turntable feel or even jog wheel anyway.
Essentially, the 4MidiLoop can be whatever you want it to be. And you can use it with whatever you want to as well – you’ll still need an audio interface though, especially if you want to rock 4 decks.
I feel compelled to write a separate section about the faders. Normally, a mixer or controller is often let down by the manufacturers choice of fader. This is usually an economy measure, and generally is the Achilles Heel of a product. Not so with the 4MidiLoop. Inside is a full compliment of Pro X Fades – yes all 5 faders. For some, this is total overkill, but it does underline the quality of the overall product and also the mixed nature of its potential usage as well.
Out of the box, the crossfader has a 4mm lag (distance from the edge of the fader to 0% volume). This however can be tweaked internally via the brass wheel adjusters on the fader to around 2mm. The crossfader curve can be handled internally inside Traktor, but for software without curve control, the 4MidiLoop has a system mode where curves can be set directly on the hardware for cross and line faders. No channel reverses though (you could flip the faders inside the case though), but using the crossfader assign buttons offers a reverse functionality there.
And preempting the question – an Innofader physically fits, but is a tad too deep to be a permanent fixture. It’ll need a hole cutting into the baseplate to allow permanent fixing. And sorry – I’m not about to try connecting it up and risk potential damage to an extremely expensive controller. Seeing as the PXF is a standard fixture, I expect the Innofader will work just fine. But don’t quote me.