Serato’s one of the most popular DJing software programs out there, but frankly, the regular updates, the lack of compatibility, and the compromises you make with your controller sometimes make it a pain in the neck to use.
These are just some of the reasons behind the development of the Reloop Neon, an extremely powerful (and very compatible) pad controller for Serato DJ released right at the end of this past summer. It’s rightfully considered one of the most extensive Serato SP6 sample controllers available, acting as the ideal support hardware for DVS users and controller DJs.
On a basic level, this controller gives the user eight ultra low latency and touch-sensitive RGB drum pads with after touch for effects modulation. They’re designed for triggering samples, cues, loops, and effects, all while LED feedback for each sample slot indicates status and mode information.
The Neon further provides eight power modes, all of which are accessed by up to four decks from a single device. You get a Sampler, Pad FX, Slicer, Looped Slicer, Cue, Flip Hot, Loop, and Manual Loop directly and intuitively at your fingertips. Flip Mode – corresponding with Serato 1.7’s latest feature – lets the DJ record and play back his own remixes, and cue and trigger sequences. Two endless push encoders, as well, let you navigate tracks, control the volume, and edit loops. A shift button lets you access secondary features.
Design wise, there’s much to like about the Reloop Neon, even before compatibility comes into play. First is the color-coding – it’s extremely easy to use and very visible. Second, it connects with a mini USB jack, freeing up the USB port for other devices. Third, its compact, sturdy construction means you can just slide it in a bag and take it to your next gig – and it’ll make it there in one piece. Lastly, when you actually go to use this thing, there’s enough space around each button, so your fingers won’t slip or miss and end up hitting something else.
As far as using it goes, the Sampler is the most comprehensive of its type on the market. You’ll find that each sample slot offers five trigger variants (One Shot, Toggle, Hold, Repeat Mode, and Sync), and all are available through four banks, with their own volume control. You end up with 24 samples per slot, and it’s rather easy to switch between the sample bank and the output channel. Again, LEDs give the right amount of visual feedback.
The Pad FX feature opens up the door to six selectable iZotope FX in Pad mode. Here, velocity-sensitive pads mirror the function of turning a depth or parameter knob in a normal FX selection.
The Slicer/Looped Slicer – kind of a controversial feature for many DJs – is included here. It’s designed to slice up a track, and while not typically added to entry- and mid-level controllers, some find it helpful for mash-ups and making beats. The Loop/Manual Loop lets you store and access up to eight loops per track. Flip Mode, meanwhile, lets the DJ create individual edits, which can then be triggered as hot flips.
As well, the Cue/Cue Roll function assigns eight color-coded trigger points. These prove to be particularly useful: The Neon offers access to all eight (not just the typical four), they all correspond with what you’ll see on your laptop’s screen, and you can switch and trigger cues from other sources.
Serato-leaning DJs will find it especially beneficial. The controller’s fully designed for effects management and MIDI-compatible with any DJ or studio software, while giving the user clear, accurate feedback. Along with fully lining up with Serato, those using a turntable or CDJ with digital vinyl mode will find out that extra controls aren’t needed.
Ultimately, the Reloop Neon proves to be a standout, versatile device for its type on the market. Producers will find it an easy-to-use percussion instrument, while for DJs, it provides just the right features to be a primary or secondary controller, depending on your setup. When it comes down to the issues many find with this popular program, DJs end up getting access to Serato’s full features, it appears to be ready to accommodate the software’s regular changes, and, as a bonus, it’s fairly affordable. If you’re trying to adjust to Serato from Traktor, the Reloop Neon makes the transition far easier.