I put the controller to my “turn everything up with no audio and listen for noise” test and it fared well. With my powered hi-fi computer speakers turned all the way up, I started to hear noise from the Terminal Mix 4 with its master knob about 1/3 of the way up. All the way up, it’s like a loud whisper. Quite good, considering that these speakers are nearly deafening at this volume.
The headphone output is about twice as noisy as the master output and has a slight constant whine in it regardless of the headphone volume level. You can also hear the controller’s CPU bus as it receives data from DJ Intro (though not with VDJ, strangely) or does it’s “give me attention” LED scan thing. These sounds are very slight and you can’t hear them at all when there’s anything playing through the headphones. (Taking a slight hit on headphone sound quality means a lower price for you, which is a good tradeoff in my book.)
The mic input added no noise when turned all the way up, but added some with a long cable attached. Considering the amount of pre-amplification applied, this is expected. None whatsoever was added by the line input, but in phono mode, you can hear the same whine as through the headphones only much louder, starting with the level control 1/3 of the way up. But when actually connected to a source, the whine disappears, so all is well in practice.
The Terminal Mix 4 is a high-quality, durable, well-designed controller with enough buttons and knobs to control all of the major aspects of today’s 4-deck digital DJ software. It is truly plug-and-play on your OS of choice (Linux too) and includes a choice of good quality software that will satisfy the needs of all but the most demanding users. Scratch DJs will be happy with the size and performance of the wheels and cross-fader, and MIDI mapping tweakers will appreciate that almost every control has a shifted counterpart. Its looping buttons are counter-intuitive as currently labeled, but once you get the hang of how they’re used in your software of choice, the controller performs well and should last a long time.
- Large, high-resolution wheels
- Good sound quality
- Sturdy build quality
- Class-compliant (no drivers needed)
- Light and loose cross-fader with curve adjust
- Confusing loop buttons (shifted and un-shifted functions/labels should be swapped)
- LEDs brightness and idle state
- No ability to monitor external input in hardware
- Included USB cable is too short for some arrangements
A Second Opinion from Mark Settle
I’m not going to repeat what Sean has said above – he seems to have the bases covered. Instead I’ll give you my impressions and experiences with the Terminal Mix 4.
When I first caught sight of the Terminal Mix 4 at NAMM 2o12, I was struck by the similarity to the Vestax VCI-400. Not so much visually, but more features i.e. 4 channels, lots of controls and bundled with VDJ and Serato DJ Intro. But having used it for a short time, it’s clear that they’re quite different. I find myself at odds with the VCI-400 – it’s a unit designed to be as compatible with as many applications as possible, but in doing so seems to get lost in translation.
The Terminal Mix 4 though goes the other way. Being so heavily Serato branded, but having the entry level DJ Intro software as the predominant brand, it’s very much of a sledgehammer to crack a walnut. There’s so much going on with the TM4, but only a small part of the functionality is used with DJ Intro. We can only hope that Serato has an upgrade path to unlock the full Serato based experience.
A quick skim over the unit – quality is top notch, built to last and built to break your back. Something that I want to see as a standard feature on all controllers are spaces on the sides for your fingers – being such a well built unit, and the sides being flush to the work surface, this is hard to pick up.
So to the controls – there are a lot of them, and it’s a little overwhelming to see a wall of closely spaced controls with a 2 colour interface. They’re all quite logically laid out, and I’m especially fond of the location of the track navigation controls. I do however really dislike the auto cueing of loaded tracks. As a quick mixer, it’s a barrier to speed. There needs to be a software toggle for this behaviour.
Reloop clearly do things their own way, and I can’t help but chuckle at the very literal button interpretations. Cup is hilarious.
A major attraction of the Terminal Mix 4 are the large jog wheels. Big and low profile, and enough weight to simulate vinyl makes these a rather nice plaything for a vinyl time-served DJ like myself. The spinbacks are amazing, and the scratch performance is excellent in DJ Intro, and surprisingly tolerable in Traktor too. But I would have dearly loved a tension control for the wheels. You get used to the freewheeling nature though. And that logo on the faders is just annoying when pulling off crabs.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the features and the quality, and also the price that it all comes in at. It works really well with everything I threw at it including Traktor, and comes across as a proper professional controller. Attention to detail is vital to separate one controller from another in the market, and some of those details like tension adjust and a slightly less cramped interface would have elevated this from really good to excellent.
If you’re in the market for a 4 channel (or even 2 channel for that matter), the Reloop Terminal Mix 4 should absolutely be on your shopping list.