Reloop DJ Gear. It may not spark a light of familiarity in your memory banks right off the bat like some of the other better known names but that certainly does not mean it isn’t a quality product.
To the contrary, this German brand was established in 1996 and professes to be ‘Europe’s leading brand of DJ equipment.’ It certainly is very popular over there and has started to make inroads on other continents too, including Africa.
Fact: The Reloop Jockey 3 (to be reviewed soon) was voted ‘Best New Controller’ by DJTechTools.com at NAMM 2011 (affectionately called the Nammies). But I was particularly curious about the Contour, a compact controller resembling NI’s X1 but with the added bonus of a jog-wheel and built-in soundcard.
Here are my thoughts…
Unpacking, I found the Contour to be a little larger and heavier than I expected but if you consider that it has the aforementioned audio interface and jog-wheel it still ends up being a mighty compact unit for all its features and functionality. Let’s first look at how the Contour differs from the more conventional all-in-one controllers.
An all-in-one controller replaces the two CDJ’s (or turntables) and the mixer in the DJ booth. The Contour only replaces the CDJ’s and an external/ conventional DJ mixer is still required.
That’s it! In theory.
Physically the other obvious difference is that with an all-in-one controller you have two separate transport sections with two jog-wheels, play/cue buttons etc. so it does indeed fully resemble a familiar DJ setup. With the Contour, you only have one set of transport controls – in fact you only have one set of controls for everything.
But here’s the secret. Although there are only one set of controls, you can control all 4 decks in Traktor Pro with this single slim line unit. Pretty nifty hey? How does this work you may ask? Well simple really. The top right hand corner has four deck buttons – a, b, c and d. Depending on which one you press, that’ll be the deck you are controlling at that time. So you’ll rock up at a gig, boot your laptop and Contour up and connect the four stereo out channels (if you’re playing of 4 decks, else just 2) into the line inputs on a mixer and away you go. The mixing of tracks will still take place as usual on the mixer and all laptop control via the Contour.
But Does It Work?
It sure does. And very well I might add. All the buttons are a tactile rubber compound with nice big play/cue/cup buttons. The jog-wheel is a decent size and is comparable with most units. It’s not motorized but is well weighted and easy enough to mix with.
Track browsing is via a single rotary at the top of the unit and the layout is familiar enough for anybody using Traktor to find their way around. The looping and hot cue section is particularly impressive with well lit buttons too. The FX section is probably the only contentious area on this unit. They have opted for sliders instead of rotaries and very short one’s at that, to control the FX parameters. They’re passable and do function but lack the feel one really needs when manipulating FX. Sliders have never been the best for this and they really are short making the calibration between dry and wet way too sudden.
Once I got used to it though they were manageable.
I like the Contour a lot. It’s not for everybody though. Many may favour the conventional all–in-one units and it does take a little mind over matter to ensure you have the correct deck button selected to avoid stopping the track playing out.
But the portability and functionality on this compact unit far outweighs this so for DJ’s who travel a lot to gigs this one’s a winner. It’s very well made, looks like it’s built to last, manages Traktor (completely plug & play) very well and has an excellent sounding 4-channel stereo out audio interface.
I’d use this anytime at a gig.
Price: R 4,555.00 incl. VAT
Tel: (031) 502-3080
Written By : Damien Albetto