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Reloop Contour Interface Edition review

Reloop’s Digital Jockey series has been hugely popular, mostly thanks to their impressive build and performance.  But like so many of the other controller manufacturers, the need for a lighter, more compact edition is a priority in today’s ever changing digital DJ world.

Their recently launched contour series utilises the key features of the aforementioned in single, multifunctional jog-wheel format either complete with either an integrated hi-speed 10 channel USB audio interface or in pure controller only format with the Reloop Countour Controller Edition.

The Contour Interface Edition is a four deck controller that is optimised for Traktor (ships with the LE version with customers entitled to a discount on Pro), although it is MIDI and works with all of the current DJing software packages. It’s made from sturdy black brushed aluminum and at 160 x 44 x 370 mm and 1.8 kg looks and feels very professional.  The controls are solid, consisting of four faders, six encoders, two rotary knobs, one trax push-encoder, 32 rubberized buttons, one shift button and a touch-sensitive, 11 cm XXL jog wheel.  It has 1/8″ and 1/4″ headphone jacks on the front and four stereo RCA outs, a USB socket, a heavy duty on/off switch and a power jack socket at the back.  It will happily power itself by means of the USB bus but also comes with a power supply.  Looking at the user interface, it is quickly apparent that Reloop have grouped relevant control functions together in sections. The bottom ‘player’ section of the unit begins with the shift, transport controls and sync/tap button.

“The soundcard sounds reassuringly crisp and punchy and one of the great benefits of this model is that it can be used in standalone mode, eliminating the need for an additional mixer”

Moving upwards is the jog wheel, which is crowned with the jog mode selector buttons namely scratch, pitch bend, track search and select.  The next row is for assigning up to eight hot cue points per channel via four large dual function buttons with independent save and trash keys. Above these you’ll find the ‘Beat Loop Section’ which has encoders for loop length and the position of loop markers, as well as two buttons for auto loop, manual loop and Reloop. Next you’ve got the effects module which consists of four easily punishable FX on buttons, four short but sweet faders and four step illuminated push to make rotary encoders for controlling and selecting your desired effects.  Finally, along the top of the unit there are additional controls taking care of key master controls including sync, snap, quantize and LFO reset.  In the middle there’s a big encoder for yet more scrolling and selecting of tracks with four cue buttons for selecting up to four players in Traktor Scratch Pro.

Setting up the Contour Interface Edition is relatively easy.  You may need to download  the latest drivers and insert a .TSI file from Reloop’s website first, but on the whole you should be up and running within half an hour.  The soundcard sounds reassuringly crisp and punchy and one of the great benefits of this model is that it can be used in standalone mode, eliminating the need for an additional mixer.  The first thing you’ll notice about the control mapping is that manipulation of the jog wheel via the faceplate activates the channel faders with a one-touch up/down response.  This seems a little strange to start with, however with the rubber gripped sidewall for fine adjustments and buttons enabling the more familiar jog wheel functions you’ll soon adjust to the Contour’s workflow.  Setting your hot cue points and adjusting your loops is one of the key demands of the modern digital DJ so it’s no surprise that Contour’s execution is faultless in this department.

“The addition of sliders as opposed to rotary control knobs may baffle some to begin with, but closer inspection reveals that much faster manipulation is now possible with a smoother, less random result”

The other key area of interest is the effects control capabilities. The addition of sliders as opposed to rotary control knobs may baffle some to begin with, but closer inspection reveals that much faster manipulation is now possible with a smoother, less random result.  You can select your desired effect very quickly and toggling between effects becomes easy after a small amount of practice.  Those of us who are used to turntables or a twin player style controller need not be off put by the system of using one surface to control all as the deck select/cue buttons in the top right hand corner mean that you jump between the two (or four if you own Traktor Scratch Pro) quicker than your hands could reach a second technics/CDJ in a traditional DJ set-up.

Dicken Lean

SPECIFICATIONS:
Professional 4 deck controller optimized for Traktor
Integrated hi-speed 10 channel USB audio interface
External mixer mode: Up to 4 stereo channels can be routed to an external mixer
47 controllers on 4 player banks: 4 faders, 6 encoders, 2 rotary knobs, 1 trax push-encoder, 32 rubberized buttons, 1 shift button, 1 touch-sensitive, 11 cm XXL jog wheel
All controllers applicable for all current DJ and studio softwares
High-precision buttons, encoders and faders, professional quality
Power USB bus powered or optional adapter
Connection USB 2.0
Outputs 4 x RCA””s, 2 x headphone 3.5mm and 6.3mm
Midi Yes
Weight 2.60kg
Dimensions 120mm x 52mm x 294mm
System Requirements PC Windows XP, 7, pentium III / Intel Core Duo, 1 Ghz (No AMD processors recommended!), 512Mb Ram
System Requirements Mac OS X 10.5/10.6, Intel Core Duo family, 512MB Ram