There is a commonly regurgitated maxim (and not one that I necessarily agree with to be honest) that states that to be a DJ, you must also be making your own music. This year’s BPM Show signalled Reloop’s move into this area by adding a couple of Ableton oriented units to their rapidly growing arsenal. The Reloop Keypad and Reloop Keyfadr perfectly integrate with Ableton Live, and offer tools more suited to music creation than performance.
Full details follow:
RELOOP KEYFADR / KEYPAD
THE CREATIVE KEYBAORD- AND DAW-STATION FOR ABLETON LIVE:
RELOOP KEYFADR & KEYPAD
Based on the motto “Shape your Performance” Reloop will disclose new studio products at the BPM Show. Reloop Keyfadr and Keypad are especially designed and optimized DAW controllers for Ableton Live 9.
The Reloop Studio Keyfadr combines some of the most useful control functions for music production into a compact and versatile DAW controller for producers and performers using Ableton.
Aside from its extremely compact dimensions, which make the controller fit comfortably into almost any laptop bag, the Keyfadr offers users a variety of intuitive possibilities; from being a control station for studio projects through to being a creative tool for a live gig.
The Keyfadr is made up of 25 velocity-sensitive keys, 8 faders, 16 rotary knobs and 8 endless encoders with push function, making this USB MIDI controller an indispensable creative tool.
A unique highlight of the Keyfadr is its ability to help create complex compositions on the fly. The internal arpeggiator can build vivid sequences with flexible quantization possibilities that give subtle nuance to your sound, whilst the chord mode can punch out different combinations at the strike of a single key. Scale mode helps you hit the right key every time by playing the correct tones matched to the chosen scale.
Ableton Live Lite 9 comes included with Keyfadr, and the controller is ready to plug-and-play once the software is installed; getting you set-up and running in seconds, without having to make your own complicated mappings.
Creating a live performance is easy with Keyfadr, as Ableton’s live clip view can be set to control all major clip and navigation commands using only the Keyfadr surface. Pressing ‘shift’ at any time allows you to set up a second scene, making it easy to switch between performance modes.
The Keypad is made up of 25 velocity-sensitive keys, 8 faders, 16 rotary knobs and 8 endless encoders with push function, making this USB MIDI controller an indispensable creative tool.
Combines the most useful functions for music production into one device
Keyboard: 25 mini keys with 9 playable octaves
Control section: 8 Channel faders with endless encoders (pan), including 2 control knobs, (send/return) and three backlit function buttons (mute, solo, rec)
Full integration and easy plug and play for Ableton Live 9
DAW transport controls (play, stop, rec, scene up/down, play/ stop clips, overdub, set marker, marker left/right, cycle, tap, metronome)
On board appregiator with multiple modes and internal/external midi clock
Chord feature: Easily play the most common chords in this versatile mode
Scale mode: Choose from four different scales and always hit the right key
Shift button for second layer control and choose between two performance scenes
Fully USB powered controller requires no external power source
Other midi mappings available as download
Ableton Live 9 Lite included (value upgrade opportunity)
Drum pads: 16 velocity sensitive trigger pads with backlit LEDs
The keypad and Keyfadr firmly plants Reloop’s flag in Novation and Akai territory, but are essentially Korg nano units all glued together in a single case. I’ve become very used to Ableton controllers being covered in pads and looking like chessboards. But having more production based units in the same space under the same brand as regular DJ gear brings home just how blurred the lines are these days.
How do they feel?
Really nice actually. Yes they’re all plastic, but that doesn’t mean they’re poor. The velocity sensitive pads aren’t MPC pads, but they’re still pretty good for the price. I really hadn’t expected velocity sensitive pads in these units at all.
They both make very compact solutions for studio or on-the-go music production. But I’m surprised to see 2 units. I would have thought that the price and size difference would mean that the Keypad is a logical choice for everyone, and would have made production easier too. But hey, production and Ableton aren’t my bag, so I guess Reloop have got plenty of feedback that made them make 2 units.
As for price — the Keypad is £145 and the Keyfadr is £115, both pretty reasonable prices for what you get. Reloop seem to have judged this nicely, and should get a lot of attention for this first tentative move into the production market.