The first time I held the new Reloop Mixage Interface Edition in my hands, I just knew I was one power button away from something really, really huge. Fortunately, the Mixage did not disappoint. Built like a Kontrol S4 and equipped with enough controls to solidly outperform its price peers, the Mixage is truly a joy to behold and a pleasure to operate.
The Reloop Mixage is available in two flavors: the Controller Edition and the Interface Edition. The only difference between the two is that the Interface Edition includes built in sound card functionality, allowing for high quality playback and cueing directly from the unit itself. The Interface Edition even offers a 1/4” mic input on the front of the device for talk-over capabilities. Other than that, the two units are the same, so although I’ll be talking about the Interface Edition in this review, most of the following applies to the Controller Edition as well.
For a low-cost/beginner’s DJ controller, the Mixage is extremely well built, and is very satisfying to hold. It’s not what you would call heavy, but it has just enough heft that you don’t feel like you’re mixing with a toy; a good mixture of metal and rubber give this unit a satisfyingly professional feel. Faders and knobs feel extremely sturdy, and the crossfader is just like butter – which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your style. The buttons are also large and sensibly laid out – a definite advantage for beginners or those in need of a quick and simple mixing device. While the size of the buttons and the portability of the controller combine to limit the number of buttons that can fit on the controller, the Mixage has just enough controls to satisfy seasoned mixologists and provide beginners with more than enough tools to develop almost all skills necessary for controllerist DJing.
The Mixage, which offers fully-assignable USB MIDI control and tight integration with Traktor, is excellent in that it offers just the right amount of musical control: not too much so as to be overwhelming, but not so little that it leaves you wanting more. While the controller’s mixer section is entirely MIDI-based, all knobs and faders function flawlessly and as expected. The mix-cue fader is also a nice addition, and perhaps even better than the standard knob included on many similar controllers.
The jogwheels on the Mixage are also interesting; they can be switched between dedicated jog, scratch, and search modes at the press of a button, and they are extremely responsive (perhaps too responsive in the case of scratch mode, but that can be easily adjusted in Traktor’s settings, or via a “jog sensitivity” knob on the back of the device). I was also absolutely thrilled that Reloop included a knob dedicated to filter control; while this can be done with clever mapping on other controllers, not even my beloved VMS4 has a knob dedicated solely to that ever-useful control. I’m also a huge fan of the Mixage’s browser section. The search knob is large and attractive, and makes zipping through your playlists quick and easy, unlike many controllers which require you to repeatedly press arrow buttons (that is, if they include browser controls at all).
The only part that failed to tickle my fancy about the entire controller was the limited amount of space given to audio effects; as an FX junkie, I was disappointed to see controls for only one parameter of a single effect available on each side of the controller (and of course a dry/wet knob for each). Additionally, effect groups seem to be out of the question, as only one on/off button is provided. As someone who likes to have access to at least 6 effect parameters at all times (if not 12), I found this rather crippling. However, as there are similarly priced controllers which offer no effect controls at all, some users may find this to be all they need.
The Reloop Mixage Interface Edition packs into one small box everything more or less essential to controllerist DJing. The features are more than enough to get a beginner started in the craft, and just enough to satisfy more experienced DJ’s with an intuitive, cheap, portable, and well-built controller solution. At its low price point, there aren’t many controllers out there that can compete with the wealth of control possibilities the Mixage offers. For the money, the Reloop Mixage IE might just be the most functionally robust controller currently on the market.