If there is any downside to writing the Tech Section of DJ Mag it certainly isn't getting to see all of the latest equipment from the various manufacturers many months before anyone else. But there is a price to pay for this quantity of digital gluttony and that is the fact that very little equipment truly excites our jaded eyes.
Unless something truly wonderful is found within any boxes being opened, the thrill of shiny new DJ equipment and the smell of new electronics just doesn't give the satisfaction it once did.
This isn't to say there aren't some leg-wobbling moments where the eyes are wide and noises of admiration are made, upon unboxing something that is ground-breaking or truly beautiful. One such piece of equipment that has elicited much noise-making is the Rane MP2015 rotary mixer.
The first of its kind in a very long time, the MP2015 is a fully rotary mixer that had been built to the absolute highest standards and is the sort of mixer that DJs sell their grandmothers to own.
While the MP2015 has a cool retro '70s look, thanks to the wooden side panels and big black and silver knobs, it has brought rotary mixers into the 21st century thanks to the onboard digital audio interfaces and other trickery lurking below the control surface.
As far as looks are concerned, Rane have done an outstanding job. The MP2015 is simply stunning to look at. It will have DJs young and old staring open-mouthed and drooling. Closer inspection reveals even more reasons to get excited because Rane have taken a completely no-comprise approach to the design and components used to build this mixer.
While classic rotary mixers such as the Urei and Bozak — which were built in the '70s — are still very much in-demand today, commanding eye-watering sums of money when sold, they are very much a part of history and are missing the modern conveniences seen on today’s high-end mixers.
This is where the MP2015 steps in, because it ticks all of the boxes as far as sound quality and rotary controls are concerned, but it also has many tasty features compared with its old skool counterparts.
Of course this mixer is a niche product: not only is it a rotary mixer, it has no crossfader, and while offering good value for money it is in the top end of the market price-wise. It is only going to be right for a handful of DJs and clubs but it is a safe bet that this mixer is going to make its select group of owners ever so happy.
The MP2015 is a four-channel mixer, with each channel having a gain, three-band EQ, filter and main level control, all of which are rotary knobs. The knob caps used for the channel faders are absolutely beautiful and the action of the knobs, while not quite as stiff to operate (I say! - Ed), as expected are also flawless.
Each channel's filter is selectable between high-pass, low-pass and a high / low pass filter via a small rocker switch located on each channel, and engaged via an illuminated push button which does a fine job of indicating which channels have their filter engaged.
A massive level meter is located next to the EQ knobs on each of the four channels, providing precise level indications to ensure tight level matching between channels. Each of the mixer channels can also be assigned to either of the two on-board soundcards and have a switch which routes that channel to the sub-mix channel.
The sub-mix channel is essentially a fifth channel, which is almost identical to the four main channels in terms of controls, with the exception of an additional resonance control for the filter. But instead of being used for external audio inputs, the four main mixer channels can be individually routed to the sub-mix channel for an extra dimension of control and flexibility.
The MP2015 is also equipped with a somewhat sparse-but-functional microphone channel, which has a gain control along with a single tone knob, an old skool on/off rocker switch and backlit ducking engage button. Further inputs and outputs are on offer in the form of a Session In and Out, and an FX loop, each of which have their own level knob on the control surface. There are both main outputs and booth outputs available along with a large 16-segment level meter.
Perhaps one of the nicest features and the best examples of Rane's no-compromise approach to building the MP2015 is the isolator/crossover, which is located at the top of the control surface.
Three large knobs give precise control over low, mid and high frequencies and the crossover points of these controls can be set via two smaller control knobs located between the larger knobs. Isolators are the sort of high-end EQs used by mastering engineers, and when in the right hands can make tracks sound absolutely stunning.
A simple backlit button engages the isolator, which not only gives great visual feedback when it is engaged but also adds to the flexibility in the ways the isolator can be used.
One of the main features which sets the MP2015 apart from its vintage cousins is the dual soundcards, which are ultra-high quality 24-bit affairs capable of sample rates up to 96kHz.
These audio interfaces sound absolutely stunning and are right at home in such a high-end mixer. Having two audio interfaces with separate USB sockets makes DJ change-overs a breeze, further adding to the appeal of this mixer, especially for club installations. Other features, such as the studio quality preamps and S/PDIF digital inputs for CDJ players, ensure that the sound quality is absolutely top-notch.
Rane really have outdone themselves when creating the MP2015 which is not only a unique mixer in the marketplace but one of the most feature-packed, best-sounding and downright awesome mixers to have ever been released.
While this mixer might not be right for DJs who like to cut and scratch, for those DJs who like long mixes and precise blending, the MP2015 is a slice of heaven that is an absolute joy to mix on. The build quality is out of this world, the way the MP2015 looks is simply stunning and the design and spacing of the control surface is absolutely faultless.
For those who are looking for the best of the best, there is no doubt that the Rane MP2015 should be at the top of their list when it comes to shopping around for the ideal mixer.
BUILD QUALITY 9
EASE OF USE 9
VALUE FOR MONEY 9
SOUND QUALITY 9
Amazing to look at; Isolator; Submix channel; two USB digital audio interfaces; digital filters and all rotary controls.
A mixer that effortlessly combines the best of old and new to create possibly the finest professional rotary mixer ever made.
DJ Mag Star Product
words: MICK WILSON/LUKE PEPPER