Anyone who has spent much time in DJ booths will have come across at least a few Rane mixers here and there, because let’s face it, DJs love Rane. They sound fantastic, are built to last and their layout is intuitive, letting jocks get straight down to business. Such is the love for Rane that their MP24 became a classic in its own time and can still be found installed in clubs and bars across the world. But as times change, so do mixers, and the MP25 and MP26 — which are the new-and-improved replacements for the MP24 — are likely to find just as much love as their older counterpart.
The most obvious and important new feature to be found on the MP25 and MP26 is the addition of a USB port which supports both audio and MIDI mapping, but that is just the start. The MP25 and MP26 are all about connectivity and integration with multiple sources, especially when it comes to digital audio; rather than being stuck with one individual connection to a specific software package, the clever ASIO and Core Audio drivers supplied by Rane support multiple software connections at the same time. This means it is possible to record and play from different sources. For instance, running two channels of audio out of Ableton as well as another two channels from Traktor and then recording the mix in yet another piece of software such as Pro Tools, Logic Audio or Cubase. The drivers are also very low latency in both playback and recording, which makes these mixers even more useful and up to the challenge in real world usage rather than just sounding clever on paper.
The implementation of the USB input and output has clearly been thought out extremely well and is designed in such a way as to leave out nothing a DJ could possibly desire. As well as the amazing multi-software support, features like multi-channel record mean that four channels of audio can be recorded individually at the same time, making digital conversion of vinyl or CDs an absolute breeze, not to mention saving hours of tedious recording in the process.
Another fantastic new inclusion is FlexFX, as found on their flagship Sixty-Eight mixer. This gives two independent effects inserts that can be routed either to an external hardware effects unit or to a computer to open up these mixers to VST plug-ins via the USB interface. It means that the scope of effects that can be used is limited only to a DJ’s imagination and their library of VST plug-ins. The FlexFX returns can also be monitored and metered independently to ensure that nothing is left to chance, and everything can be checked in the headphones before being unleashed on the dancefloor. To further add to the functionals of FlexFX, a single button can be used to instantly punch in and out any combination of effects in use for even more fun and sonic devastation. The MP26 also has additional internal digital effects!
The MP25 is exactly the same size as its older sibling the MP24 — a 19” rack mount that is 4U high and is perfect for club installs, as it will drop neatly into the hole left by most other mixers that it is replacing. The MP26 is exactly the same width, but is one rack space (1U) taller to accommodate the controls for the inbuilt DSP effects. The two mixers are identical in features, with the exception of the added effect engine found on the MP26 which includes six effects, namely Filter, Flanger, Phaser, Hold Echo, Robot and Reverb, as well as six individual buttons to arm the effects.
Of course, no high-end mixer these days is complete without MIDI mapping capabilities, and the MP25 and MP26 are not about to disappoint on this front either. Every single knob, button and fader can be MIDI mapped to control software such as Traktor, Ableton, VST plug-in effects or even video controls. The implementation of the MIDI control is slick, straightforward and has a minimum amount of fiddling about, meaning DJs can start tweaking and twiddling rather than spending ages mucking around with the MIDI setup process.
The sound quality of the MP25 and MP26 are exactly what we have come to expect from Rane — exceptional — and the amount of inputs and outputs are nothing short of marvellous. The build quality is also as high as ever; MP24 mixers have had the hardest of beatings and have survived the test of time without missing a beat, and these next generation mixers are likely to be just as reliable. The only possible gripe anyone is likely to have is that the control surface is a little cluttered, but that is down to the huge amount of features packed into their relatively small space.
|Ease of Use||8.0|
|Value for Money||8.0|
|Hype||Great sounding mixers with fantastic build quality and the ability to playback and record from multiple software programmes at the same time|
|Gripe||The Control surface is a little cramped for those with big fingers|
|Conclusion||High-end mixers packed to the gills with great features complete with the usual bulletproof Rane build quality|