It's no secret that MIDI controllers have become an increasingly popular solution for DJs over the past few years. While MIDI controllers have provided additional functionality and creativity in the DJ booth, they might not be the right tool for specific DJs. Specifically, Scratch DJs who are used to the tactile feel of turntables are usually on the fence about using MIDI controllers because most jog wheels fail to mimic the feel of turntables. Reloop’s Terminal Mix 4, a 4-channel MIDI controller with integrated sound interface seeks to solve this problem by providing a solid MIDI control with outstanding jog wheels and crossfader.
What is it?
The Reloop Terminal Mix 4 is a Serato DJ, 4-channel, $599.99 DJ MIDI controller with integrated sound card. Of particular note is that the Terminal Mix 4 maps natively to the recently released Serato DJ software. This means that if you have a Terminal Mix 4 you can download Serato DJ Intro (free), plug in your controller and it maps completely to the software. If you’d like to upgrade to the full version of Serato DJ (which gives you full 4-deck control) you can pay $129 to purchase the license via Serato. For those who want 4 deck functionality out of the box, the Terminal Mix 4 also comes with a 4-deck version of Virtual DJ.
Starting from the mixer section, the Terminal Mix 4 has four independent channels with 3-band EQs. This means that you can have four independent sources of audio, all controllable through the line (volume) faders and your EQs. Each channel also has a high pass and low pass (software only) filter. The knobs are just the right size (you can grab them easily with your thumb and pointer finger) and have just the right amount of resistance. The channel faders may be a little stiff for some, but most people should be able to mix smoothly and cleanly without any issues. The unit also features independent controls for master, booth and headphones. There’s also a dedicated wet/dry knob for the sampler level as well.
On the front of the unit you also have mic input and levels, headphone output with tone control, and your crossfader assign. Outputs include balanced 1/4” and RCA outputs for the master, as well as RCA outputs for the booth. The unit also features an AUX input with a ground terminal if you’d like to hook up a turntable to play through. We’d like to see more than one input channel though, as the units 4-deck configuration could allow you to put analog devices on two channels and digital output from your software on the other two channels.
Moving on to the transport section, you have responsive and well-lit rubber buttons for play/pause, cue, cup and sync. Next to the transport controls are also the Deck 3/Deck 4 select buttons. These buttons allow you to effectively turn your two-deck controller into a 4-deck controller by switching between Decks 1 & 3 on the left side and Decks 2 & 4 on the right side. On each deck you also have direct access to 4 hot cues, as well as 4 samples. The unit’s pitch fader is long, smooth and has just the right amount of resistance (it's not too “sticky” or loose) so if you’d like to beatmatch manually, you can do so using the pitch fader. There is an LED indicating the “center” point for the pitch fader, but no center click.
The FX section features 3 encoders and 1 endless encoder for each deck. The size and feel of the FX knobs felt great, but of note are the spacing of the FX knobs. While engaging 1 effect at a time, there weren’t any issues, but while engaging 2 effects and also using the beat/time parameter, things started to get very cramped with both of my hands starting to cross over and run into each other.
You’ll notice that to this point nothing has been mentioned about the crossfader or the jog wheels. These two features deserve a little bit of attention on their own. As mentioned, MIDI controllers typically have very bad jog wheels. Either they are too small, not accurate enough, or do not provide the tactile feel or feedback that traditional scratch DJs are looking for. Jog wheels and crossfader go hand in hand, so to have a great working MIDI controller, you not only need to have a great pair of jog wheels, but you need to have a great crossfader that can keep up. The Terminal Mix 4 does a great job of combining a tactile and large (roughly 6-inches in diameter) jog wheel with an extremely smooth crossfader. If you’re a scratch DJ who has been on the fence about getting a MIDI controller, this might be the right unit for you to make the jump.
Who is it for?
The Terminal Mix 4 is meant for fully digital DJs who need to an all-in-one, portable, DJ solution. Specifically:
Digital DJs Who Need to Scratch: The Terminal Mix 4’s jog wheels and crossfader make this one of the best controllers on the market for DJs who need an all-in-one MIDI controller, but don’t want to sacrifice scratch performance capabilities.
New Digital DJs: The Terminal Mix 4 has all the major features of today’s modern MIDI controllers. If you’re looking for a MIDI controller that is sturdy, well built, and will last you for a decent period of time, this is a great option to consider.
Each Terminal Mix 4 contains:
1 x Terminal Mix 4
1 x USB cable
Virtual DJ LE (4-deck version)
Serato DJ Intro (via download)
What do we love about it?
Solid, metal build construction
One of the best jog wheels and crossfader on a MIDI controller
Serato DJ integration
What do we think can be improved?
Only 1 Aux input means that you can’t use extra channels to connect more than 1 CD player, turntable, or other external device
Serato DJ Intro is severely limited in functionality, to get full functionality you’ll need to upgrade to Serato DJ
FX section can get a little crowded if you are turning more than one knob at the same time
The past few years have seen a huge influx of MIDI controllers that have entered the market. Reloop has done a great job staying up with the competition by taking the basics and improving them. It's hard to believe that there are so few MIDI controllers out there that have great jog wheels and crossfaders to address the needs of scratch DJs, but Reloop has identified a need in the marketplace and developed a great product to solve it.
Release Status:Available for sale
Included Software: Serato DJ Intro, Virtual DJ LE (4-deck version)
Native Mappings Available: Traktor Pro