Rane TTM57SL: the perfect work horse?
Although it’s basically impossible to compete with the MP2015 at this point, the new TTM57mk2 deserves a really close look as well because it doesn’t exactly suffer from a shortage of awesomeness. It’s a blend between the best things about the original TTM57SL and the Sixty-Two. To be honest, we all expected something in a more entry-level price range – but then again, it’s Rane, and you really can’t fault a manufacturer for not wanting to cut any corners.
The first thing I noticed are the new buttons. This is exactly the design change I personally wanted to see on a future Rane mixer: rubber buttons instead of the plastic ones, black on top and transparent on the sides and with RGB backlighting that mirrors your hotcue colours inside Serato DJ. Not that the Sixty-Four needs an upgrade anytime soon, but when it happens… I want those buttons, thank you very much! They look beautiful – but more importantly, they feel really good and have excellent response, too. We’ll see if they’re comfortably mappable for Traktor when it’s time to review the TTM57mk2 properly.
Cross-bred for efficiency
Besides the fully-featured fader section scratch DJs have come to expect from Rane (don’t fix it if it ain’t broke), the TTM57mk2 features a few interesting enhancements – I’ll start with my favourite: the updated joysticks. Located above the line faders, these control four functions depending on which direction you nudge them in. The available functions include censor (momentary reverse playback known as “bleep” from controllers like the NS7mk2 or the NV), toggling between internal playback and DVS control (in case you need to clean a needle or perform some cue mashing and want to avoid skiping), instant-doubling over to the opposing deck and momentary slip mode. The latter alone can lead to some very interesting new turntable tricks!
On the Sixty-Four, I have to either make a custom mapping far away from the faders or hit the slip button twice – this is way too slow to perform really quick moves. A switch directly between the fader and the hotcue buttons though… can we please get DJ Woody one of those and lock him in a basement with recording equipment for a few days? Pushing down on a joystick turns it into a transform switch and there’s also a footswitch port at the front of the unit – so you could use one of those to trigger something your hands are too busy for. Combined with the return of the channel swap button, I can’t begin to describe the amount of crazy ideas for tricks popping into my head right now.
The EQ comes with kill buttons (momentary by default, latching with shift pressed). The effects section is pretty basic – the TTM57mk2 has no internal effects processing at all, but you get both a physical FlexFX loop (RCA) and a USB insert, of course with post-fader return. I can’t tell how those are routed until I test-drive it, but I hope you can combine them like on the Sixty-Four. From the mixer, you can only control the main parameter and the tempo division of one selected effect – this may seem like very little, but keep in mind that this is a unit designed with hip hop DJs in mind – they generally aren’t effect mapping nerds and will be perfectly happy with a post-fader echo (again, something you could map to a foot switch) and loops/loop rolls, which also have a dedicated knob and button. Of course, there are library browsing controls on there as well (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: hands off the laptop keyboard unless you’re using the search function, damn it!).
There is a session input/output, a mic input (line or mic levels, no phantom power) and auxiliary inputs for each channel. The TTM57mk2 also has a USB aux input which is designed to be used with Serato’s internal SP-6 sampler. Of course, the TTM57mk2 also has a multiclient audio interface built in – two USB ports on the back allow you to hook up two computers. Due to the lack of a dedicated effects section, this doesn’t seem quite as hackable as on the Sixty-Four, so the only use of this feature may be the originally intended one: easy DJ changeovers during gigs or sessions. However, I’ll put this to the test in due time because I suspect there are ways to abuse the aforementioned USB aux input when working with two computers – we’ll see.
In general, the TTM57mk2 doesn’t try to be anything but an extremely efficient work horse. It significantly speeds up your basic work flow, everything important is in place and directly accessible – there are no useless features at all. On a side note, unlike the MP2015, it seems like you can put the TTM57mk2’s knobs on a Sixty-Two / Sixty-Four and probably vice versa. I’ll make sure to check if this works and what it looks like when I get the chance.