REVIEW: Reloop Beatpad djay Controller

Link: Reloop  |  Price: $599/€449/£375  | Manual: PDF

Reloop Beatpad djay ios controller review (2)


Having established that iOS DJing is a legitimate part of our DJ lives, it was only a matter of time before the manufacturers started to think about how these devices could be incorporated into a DJ setup. Vestax and Numark have done it successfully, but now it’s the turn of Reloop with their Beatpad controller.


The Reloop Beatpad is a  conventional 2 channel controller that is primarily designed to work with algoriddim’s djay on the iOS platform, but can work with computers too via MIDI. The layout is much the same as any number of controllers on the market, but is focussed on the features of djay. It does have some inputs for mic and aux but does not double as an analogue mixer. So really, it’s a controller first and foremost for djay.

Reloop Beatpad djay ios controller review (13)


The Reloop Beatpad fits in the nice gap between the diminutive Vestax Spin 2 and the rather more expansive Numark iDJ Pro, and definitely in that mid-sized controller bracket. Reloop’s developing ID is strong here, dominated by the now standard large jog wheels. The layout is just about symmetrical, with the only allowances being made for the pads and effects above and below the jogs. The chassis is plastic, but much of the case is metal which lends to a greater feeling of quality.

One thing, and a note to all manufacturers — I miss the cut-outs that makes lifting controllers easier, especially when they get as heavy as this. It really could have done with the cut-outs.

Reloop Beatpad djay ios controller review (8)

The buttons are all rubber, and brightly backlit with a variety of different coloured LEDs. They have a great feel as well — not too squishy and not too hard on your fingers. It’s also fair to say that the light show from the Reloop Beatpad is one of the best around, especially when in idle mode. On its own it could provide plenty of interesting illumination in the corner of a room. I certainly found it hypnotising to watch.

Now I could go into every detail about the features and controls, but that’s what the manual is for. But you can take it from me that this generally operates like a conventional MIDI controller. Instead, let’s talk about some of the quirks of the Reloop Beatpad:

Jog Wheels — classic (too soon?) Reloop, large and well weighted.

EQs — three band with full kill EQ in Traktor, but not kill in djay. That could do with fixing.

Metering — the Beatpad lacks master metering, but does have some very odd horizontal channel meters next to the iPad slot. Blue with white peak LEDs, these sat either side of the slot is strange, but with auto-limiting in djay, I barely looked  at them.

Filters — while the effects controls are in the now established position above the jog wheels, the filter controls sit next to them. I don’t know if there’s a preferred location for the now standard filter, but I would have preferred them in line with the EQs, but there’s no space.

Markings — I really would have preferred them in front of the knobs. They’re really hard to see behind them.

I’ve pulled these out as things that for good or bad stand out a little, but generally the Reloop Beatpad is an excellent controller.

Reloop Beatpad djay ios controller review (10)


Controllers have got to a point where it’s just a matter of saying if it has a balanced output or not. But let’s go through everything just to be safe. We’ve already covered that this isn’t one of those mixer/controller hybrids, but it does have a single line/phono switchable RCA input, which is handy for playing through or for those times when your connected computer or iOS device stops playing ball. There’s also a mic input with a level control, making this immediately more interesting for mobile DJs. As far as outputs go, there are master balanced XLRs and unbalanced RCAs with a single master volume control. But there’s no booth output. I’ve given up wondering if this is an issue or not, but you need to be aware.

The other connection to be aware of is the iPad connection. I had expected something a little more USB like, but instead Reloop has opted for a rather less conventional 8 pin DIN port. Luckily for you, the Beatpad comes with the necessary 30 Pin and Lightning connectors. More on this later.

Reloop Beatpad djay ios controller review (1)


Let’s turn our attention to regular MIDI control. And the one that most people would be interested in is Traktor. Reloop has supplied a mapping, which does mostly work, but the experience feels somewhat lacking. The jog wheel is a tad over-sensitive, and the effects wet/dry zero when you adjust the parameter. And the buttons are all labelled up for djay specific features, which can make Traktor use confusing, and most probably any other software you mapped with it.

Ultimately, mapping a controller that is designed to be totally in harmony on a hardware level with djay is a compromise, and a very unsatisfying one at that. It feels alien, whereas the djay integration is superb and engaging. There are better Traktor controllers than the Reloop Beatpad.

Reloop Beatpad djay ios controller review (5)


When a controller is designed to work explicitly with a particular piece of software, you should reasonably expect that the results are going to be excellent. And with djay they are. Plugging in immediately recognises the Beatpad and flashes the Reloop logo up to confirm. After this, you’re using the regular djay in landscape orientation, unlike the Numark iDJ Pro that has a customised version that changes the layout to a portrait orientation. The short cables don’t allow for turning anyway.

I’m not going to detail every single button and feature, because all this stuff is pretty standard fodder now. It’s worth mentioning the shift key action that doubles up the functions of some of the buttons. For example,  shift-pitch bend jumps the audio back or forward a beat and shift-play makes the track play in reverse. There are more but you get the idea, and I welcome this approach for lesser used functions.

Overall, the experience is excellent. Much of this is down to djay’s ease of use and overall ability to perform. Despite making no attempts at catering for the scratch crowd, the Beatpad is surprisingly accomplished, even if the curve is handled by the app. Hip Hop DJs will have little problem adapting to the idiosyncrasies of djay and the Beatpad.

Using the pads takes a little getting used to because they’re so djay specific. The colour change certainly helps, but expect to spend some time getting used to where each mode is and what it does.

There are a few quirks such as having no visual feedback for effects unless you engage them on screen first, and not being able to scratch in automix (a nice flourish here and there would be nice but moving the fader just loads the next track. And there are only 4 hardware pads for 6 sample pads. The effects one is a little annoying. Perhaps the moment an effects knob is engaged, djay could switch the effects display on to make it better.

But be in no doubt — small misgivings aside, the Reloop Beatpad gives the most complete and accomplished hardware experience for djay in the market today.

Reloop Beatpad djay ios controller review (12)


Given that djay does things a tad differently to what most would consider normal, trying to make a hardware controller in its image was always going to be difficult, especially when trying to make it work as a generic software friendly controller too. In this day and age where hardware is becoming increasingly tied to software, trying to use the software it’s not made for is an unsatisfying experience. But when paired with an iPad (or indeed iPhone), the Reloop Beatpad is a very slick and rewarding experience. You plug it in, it works, and if you so choose you get all that Spotify goodness too. So my advice is this — if you want a Traktor or Serato experience, look elsewhere. But for djay, the Reloop Beatpad is about as good as it gets.


Reloop’s strong build quality is now established, and the Beatpad continues this in style. Nothing is flimsy, and in use it feels like something that will last.

For desktop software, it does a pretty good job, but does depend on the mapping. But as an unashamedly djay focussed controller, it delivers a lot, and acts just like a regular controller.

Value for money
The Beatpad delivers a brilliant djay experience in a solid unit, but less so for other software. Thus the relative value depends on what you want to use it with.


If you’re looking for a controller to work with djay and iOS, it’s hard to find anything better than the Reloop Beatpad right now.