While the rest of the DJ software actors work out exactly what their roles are in this volatile industry, VirtualDJ (all one word people — take note) has been sitting in the sidelines, beavering away making their offering better with each release. But they’ve not been associated with any hardware for quite some time. But here is the new Reloop TOUCH, a VirtualDJ dedicated controller that absolutely plays to the strengths of each company.
Some official words, then some pondering:
7“ FULL-COLOUR TOUCHSCREEN PERFORMANCE CONTROLLER
Reloop presents TOUCH, the world’s first DJ controller with an integrated 7”-touchscreen. TOUCH was developed in co-operation with VirtualDJ and it runs plug and play after setup. A full version of VirtualDJ 8 PRO is included.
- 7” Full-Colour Touchscreen for Real-Time Control of XY Effects, Library and Settings
- Visual Feedback of Tracks & Videos including Waveforms, Track Information, Performance Modes and Video Mixing
- Tactile RGB coloured Performance PAD Section with multiple, customisable Modes
Stephane Clavel, Founder (VirtualDJ):
“The Reloop TOUCH is hushing in a new generation of controllers that brings a much tighter integration between hardware and software. Allying the trademark Reloop hardware quality, and enhancing VirtualDJ’s customization capabilities with the onboard screen, the Reloop TOUCH really enables DJs to do more.”
Gerald Barbyer, CEO (Reloop):
„We are exited about the Reloop TOUCH, which was developed in close collaboration with VirtualDJ. This first of its kind DJ controller is equipped with a highly responsive 7“-full-colour display, that allows you to creatively interact with the touch screen and customize your workflow – ensuring you to focus your hands and eyes on the center of your performance.“
Thanks to the clear and bright display of waveform and track information, DJs have all important details concerning their music in their field of view. The touchscreen’s integration opens up a world full of creative control possibilities including real-time control of FX via the XY panel, comfortable track browsing, organizing your media library via drag-and-drop, as well as visualization of the various performance modes. Video mixing can be played back in full screen mode, offering unique possibilities to support your set visually. Video clips can be assigned to both decks and monitored via the CUE function.
4-Channel Club Mixer Layout with Fader-FX Unit
TOUCH is designed in a classic 4-channel club mixer layout and with a combined EQ/filter section. Via colour-coded deck switching, DJs will always know which deck is currently playing. The two deck sections are equipped with high-resolution jog wheels, which are perfect for pitch bending thanks to their special non-slip design. Two fader-FX units offer direct control over effect and video parameters via four short-throw linefaders each. The multi-functional XCoder controls various modes, combining three convenient functions (Loop Size, Key and Grid Adjust) to use with one encoder.
Extensive Performance Pad Section
The 8 RGB performance pads are located below the respective fader-FX unit, offering a large number of creative mixing possibilities. As well as classic performance modes such as HOT CUE, ROLL, SLICER, SAMPLER, CUE LOOP, SAVED LOOP, BEAT JUMP and KEY CUE, TOUCH also offers
PAD MODE, allowing you to switch between pad functions and SPLIT MODE, making it possible to combine up to two different modes at the same time. All performance modes can be adjusted extensively via the PARAM button.
High-Retention USB Audio Interface and Software Compatibility
TOUCH has a powerful built-in audio interface with high-retention USB port which is especially sturdy, protecting you from unwanted cable pull-outs. As well as both balanced and unbalanced master outs (XLR/RCA), there are two headphones connections (3.5 and 6.3 mm) and a mic input connection (6.3 mm). Moreover TOUCH is fully MIDI compatible with other DJ and audio software.
Reloop TOUCH combines feel with visual control.
- World’s first DJ controller with touchscreen
- 7” full-colour display: DJ without the need to look at the computer
- Touch-screen surface for intuitive operation, developed in cooperation with VirtualDJ
- Customisable user interface can be adapted to one’s own preference
- Display up to 4 waveforms, including track, artist and album information
- XY panel for direct control of FX via touchscreen
- Integrated video mixing feature with full-screen support
- Easy media library organisation via drag & drop folders
- Large TRAX encoder for comfortable browsing of media libraries & cloud streaming providers (Pulselocker and Deezer)
- 4-channel club mixer layout, combined EQ/filter section
- Fader-FX unit for real-time editing of audio and video material
- High-resolution jog wheels, special non-slip design for pitch-bending
- Activate quantize, slip-mode and beat grid adjustment directly via the controller
- Xcoder: Multi-functional encoder with various modes – loop, size, and grid adjust
- 8 RGB-coloured performance pads for creative remixing
- Multiple performance modes with quick switch via PAD MODE button and SPLIT MODE support
- Vast adjustment possibilities for performance modes via PARAM button
- Colour-coded deck switching
- 50 mm pitchfader
- Fader-start support
- Powerful audio interface with high-retention USB port
- 2x headphone outs, 1x mic input, 2x master outputs (balanced/unbalanced)
- Plug ‘n’ Play: Incl. full version of VirtualDJ 8 PRO
- MIDI compatible with other softwares
- Kensington lock to secure the device
- Box Includes: touchscreen controller, VirtualDJ PRO license key, instruction manual, USB cable, external power supply unit with international plugs
- Inputs: Mic 6.3mm jack
- Outputs: Master 6.3mm jack (balanced), master RCA (unbalanced), headphones 6.3/3.5mm jack
- Interfaces: USB for audio, video and touch transmission
- Power supply unit: 12V/3A
- Dimensions: 594 x 377 x 43mm (height touch display 73mm)
- Weight: 3,7 kg
- Minimum system requirements:
- Windows 8 or later
- Dual Core 2.5 GHz or better
- Minimum 4 GB RAM
- Mac OS X 10.9 or later
- Dual Core 2.5 GHz or better
- Minimum 4 GB RAM
Price: 699 € | 699 US $ | £ 620
Available beginning of November
FIRST THINGS FIRST
First controller with a touch screen? Just a few weeks ago, Pioneer came out with the XDJ-RX2 with a 7″ touch screen. And the DDJ-RXZ features three of them too. And I’m sure others will stake some sort of claim too — they usually do.
But outside of PR claims, I’m really quite impressed with the Reloop TOUCH. In a market flooded with me-too controllers, the ones that dare to be different are going to get my attention. And breaking free from the Serato blueprint allows Reloop to try out different ideas, something that the controller market so dearly needs right now.
My very first impression however was one of confusion. Is it standalone? The touchscreen and large slice of VDJ interface seemed to imply that, and I wasn’t alone with that impression either. But reading further, this isn’t standalone, nor does it claim to be either. It just feels like it should be.
About the screen — I’m keen to see this close up. Putting four full decks on a 7″ touch screen might be a bit of a squeeze, but having separate more detailed screens will be handy. Honestly, I’m stabbing around looking for problems, but there’s every chance that it will be excellent. And being run from a laptop, VirtualDJ will be able to tweak it as the feedback comes rolling in.
There are some interesting design choices here. Firstly the jog wheel at the top absolutely bucks the trend. But as a four channel device that’s probably more aimed at sync mixing and pad usage, why not? Remember the M-Audio Xponent? That was the same format too.
The symmetry is not necessarily going to appeal to everyone either. Because I prefer a symmetrical layout for a controller, I ran a poll and discover that people prefer an asymmetric (i.e like turntables) layout. But with the target market probably not coming from a turntable background, I’m sure this will be just fine.
The faders for effects is an out-there choice too. It’s not unprecedented — the Kontrol D2 has faders above the pads. Indeed, when you look at the D2, it backs up another of our first impressions that the Reloop TOUCH could easily be a yet-to-be-made Kontrol S4 MK3.
I’m going to reserve judgement until I get to play with it at BPM this weekend. But if first impressions are anything to go by, we’re probably going to like this a lot.
VIRTUALDJ’S POWER PLAY?
The DJ software scene is in a permanent state of flux. With Traktor doing a Norwegian Blue, and Serato and Pioneer jockeying for position while simultaneously doing the partner/competitor dance, there’s a clear space in the market to be an alternative partner for hardware companies not deemed worthy of Serato’s attention.
Firstly apologies to the good people at VirtualDJ and their loyal fans, but when people talk about DJ software, they generally mean Serato DJ, Traktor, and rekordbox. VirtualDJ makes all kinds of bold claims about the number of users, but I hardly know one DJ who is a proud VirtualDJ user. And it’s not a matter of capability either — VirtualDJ has a vast feature set, plugs and plays with just about everything out of the box, and their DVS is comparable to the majors.
This however is all about brand perception, and VirtualDJ is not seen in the same light as the others. My hope is that this dedicated controller is them staking their claim for a seat at the pro’s table. They have some way to go as far as reputation goes though, but with some tweaks to their offer, they can slowly change perceptions.
As mentioned, I’m suitably impressed with this. It’s different in a number of ways, and that’s something I like a lot. We’ll have a dabble at BPM and report back.