When a group of DJs get together the discussion will inevitably revolve around music and the latest equipment on offer, with each DJ singing the praises of their favourite choice of technology while pouring scorn on those who do not agree. Of course pro DJs are all too familiar with the most expensive shiny mix-machines, often having the same equipment as the top clubs for use at home, and those who aren't lucky enough to own this sort of top-end equipment lust after these technological wonders while saving their hard-earned cash so they too can have the bragging rights that go with these purchases. However it is easy to forget that even the biggest DJs who command telephone number fees for their gigs started somewhere, even Carl Cox and Sasha were once upon a time looking at a DJ console with confusion, wondering what on earth all those buttons and sliders did. Of course in days gone by the standard DJ booth consisted of a set of decks and a mixer, which are a lot easier to figure out than the combination of computer and hardware interfaces that today's new DJs are likely to find themselves learning to mix on.
Thankfully these days, starting out DJing doesn't need to be an expensive or particularly technically challenging affair, as there are a great many choices of inexpensive DJ controllers which give plug-and-play newbies instant gratification by removing the complex technical challenge the early digital DJing adopters faced, leaving newcomers to learn the art of mixing rather than dealing with the set-up nightmare.
With this in mind Reloop's Beatmix 4 is exactly the sort of controller that budding DJs will love because it comes complete with Serato Intro, it is easy to set up and is a complete DJ system that is ready to rock a bedroom or a packed club, while costing less than the price of a single turntable. DJing is an art-form that takes years to master but nowadays the basics can be very easy to learn, which means potential superstar DJs who are less than technically minded or on a tight budget have just as much chance of hitting the big time as anyone else, provided they put in the time and dedication required to become a master of the art, and that can only be a good thing for those on the dancefloor.
POWER OF FOUR
Given its rather modest price tag combined with the compact size and plastic construction, it is clear that the Beatmix 4 is a controller that is aimed towards the bedroom DJ market. But that doesn't mean that it is light on features or quality. In fact this controller looks and feels like it should cost a lot more than it actually does, thanks to the lovely industrial design and features, like the awesome jog-wheels that are both generously sized and a joy to use.
The Beatmix 4 comes equipped with an inbuilt 16-bit 48 kHz audio interface and also comes with a four-channel version of Serato DJ Intro, which means that new owners have everything they need to get mixing, assuming they already own a set of headphones and a soundsystem. While this controller is aimed towards the bedroom market it is more than capable of holding its own in a club environment, which means it will take new DJs a long time to outgrow the Beatmix 4. More experienced DJs looking for an inexpensive digital controller will also love this mix machine.
As the name would suggest the Beatmix 4 is a four-channel controller that features a four-channel mixer section, complete with crossfader. Each of these four channels features a gain control, three-band EQ, cue button and track load/fader start button (accessible via the shift button), which is rather impressive for a budget controller. The master section takes care of business in a simple-but-effective way, with a master volume knob, headphone level control and a cue mix control knob. That is a nice touch indeed, especially in a gig situation where the DJ booth monitoring is less than ideal.
Track browsing and loading is taken care of via a large encoder knob found in the centre of the mixer, and a back button. There is also a dedicated volume fader for the sampler and a rather lovely crossfader, which has an action that will delight DJs new and old. Clearly this is a very generously appointed mixer — however there are no VU meters at all, which is something of a disappointment. But in all fairness, levels are displayed within Serato so this is a niggle rather than any major inconvenience. The front of the Beatmix 4 has a mic input with gain control knob and headphone outputs in both quarter inch and eighth inch formats, and the rear of the unit has phono-style outputs and a USB cable socket.
The deck sections are also very well-appointed, with three effect control knobs and a beat adjustment knob found at the top, sitting above a very shiny and generously sized jog-wheel. The action of the jog-wheels is sublime and extremely accurate which, combined with the LED needle position indicators on the top edge of the platters, add up to a very impressive feature set which punches well above the modest price of the Beatmix 4.
Eight pad buttons sit towards the bottom of each deck section, along with Pad Mode buttons, enabling them to be split between cue points and samples. The usual transport controls consisting of sync, cup, cue and play are all present and correct as is a pitch control fader which although functional, is a little too small to be completely satisfying. Almost all of the controls in the deck sections have dual functions, with the secondary functions being engaged via shift keys. This arrangement makes great use of the limited space found on the control surface, but also adds a layer of complexity and a slight learning curve which may frustrate some users at first.
The team at Reloop have done a fantastic job on the Beatmix 4, both in terms of design and execution. The result is a cracking four-channel controller that manages to tick all the boxes in terms of functions, portability and, most importantly, value for money.
The build quality is excellent and there are some outstanding features such as the jog-wheels, crossfader and range of controls on the mixer, which really make this controller stand out from the crowd. Of course this is a budget controller, so there are some features missing that can be found on more expensive controllers, and this controller is very much geared towards Serato Intro so it might not be the best choice for DJs who are planning to upgrade to Serato DJ.
It is also worth mentioning that there is a two-channel version of this controller called the Beatmix 2 which is cheaper still, and will suit DJs who will be happy sticking to two-channel mixing (as most new DJs would tend to do while they are learning to mix). Overall the Beatmix 4 is one hell of a controller for the money and will become a treasured possession for many DJs and casual mixers.
BUILD QUALITY 8
EASE OF USE 8
VALUE FOR MONEY 9
SOUND QUALITY 7
Simple to use and set up, the crossfader is excellent and the jog-wheels are a joy to use.
There are no VU meters on the mixer and there are no manual loop controls.
The Beatmix 4 is a fantastic entry-level controller that will delight new DJs thanks to the easy set up and impressive amount of features.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.