New tracks that DJs should know about.
Reviewed by Styles Davis
With the Technics 1200 no longer in production, DJs who prefer the touch of vinyl and pull of a direct drive motor have until recently faced a difficult decision: dive into the unreliable world of Craigslist hoping to find previously owned 1200s or switch to alternatives by Vestax (2000 and 3000), Stanton (150), and Numark (TTX).
Back in December, British turntablist DJ Angelo was featured in a two-minute routine video (see below) which showcased Reloop’s new and mysterious RP-8000 turntable. Being the gear heads that we are, we were immediately intrigued by the device and thrilled when Reloop gave us the opportunity to review it.
Upon first glance, the RP-8000 looks like an updated Technics 1200. This was probably an intentional decision by Reloop, as the 1200 has been the industry standard for over 30 years and remains the weapon of choice for many DJs.
However, despite its striking resemblance, the RP-8000 differs in a couple ways which set it apart from the 1200 (or any other turntable for that matter). The 8000’s attractive MIDI capability, convenient drum pad section and precise pitch resolution are all standout features.
The RP-8000’s design is sturdy and straightforward. In terms of weight, it’s slightly lighter than the Technics 1200 and Numark TTX and about the same as the Vestax PDX-3000. The RP-8000’s rubber feet and tone arm are practically identical to that of the 1200 as both come with stock Hanpin parts. We put the RP-8000 through hours of scratching, mixing and juggling and it stood up acceptably.
Plenty of features
The digital pitch display, high-resolution +/-8/16/50 pitch, scroll/load wheel, and double start/stop buttons are just a few bells and whistles that set the RP-8000 apart from the 1200. The real prize is the built-in and fully MIDI map-able drum pad section that’s essentially a built-in Dicer. The pads are soft and responsive and you can seamlessly switch between cue, loop, and sample modes with the performance mode buttons.
Excellent needle tracking
The needle tracking is strong and steady and handles rigorous cutting like any other turntable on the market. We tested the table with our Shure M44-7 needle and it tracked to our standards.
The RP-8000 comes with native mapping packs for Serato and Traktor and can be also used with any MIDI mappable DJ software. It combines the powerful capabilities of a modern DJ controller with the trusted mechanics of a classic DJ turntable.
One of the best things about the RP-8000 is that the platter is visually and tactilely similar to that of the 1200. Unfortunately, the RP-8000’s platter rests about two centimeters above the turntable instead of flush against it. The result is a gap between the platter and turntable frame, which annoys us. Throughout our years of DJing, we’ve become accustomed to rubbing our fingers along the bottom of the platter as a way to slow or speed up the pitch. Although we eventually adjusted to it, the RP-8000 is the only turntable that we’ve used that has this gap.
Requires l-shaped power cords
The AC power input is another design oversight that we found. If you’re setup in battle style, you’ll need an l-shaped power cable and angled RCA cables otherwise there’ll be a gap in between your turntable and mixer.
Update: Reloop has informed us that the RP-8000 now comes with right angle cables.
Only one control for start and brake
We love that its possible to set the start and brake time but why didn’t Reloop give them individual controls? We never want our turntables to start slowly but we also like having our brake set to the length found on a 1200. However, you’re out of luck if you want to set the start time and brake time at separate speeds.
At around $800 a piece, the RP-8000 isn’t exactly a cheap purchase. However, its quality and design warrant the price — especially for those intending to utilize them to their fullest capability.
Reloop’s RP-8000 is probably the most powerful turntable currently on the market. After playing with it for a few hours, we fell in love with the streamlined design and ease of use when triggering cues, loops, and samples. However, if it weren’t for a couple minor design flaws, it would be one of the best turntables on the market.
Some Technics fans will continue to swear allegiance to the 1200 but the RP-8000 is a serious contender. For turntablists, it provides the stability and ruggedness that’s required for competitive use. And for mix DJs, the high-resolution pitch, cue point and loop triggers provide advantages in the club.
We recommend the RP-8000 for intermediate to experienced DJs (both turntablists and mix DJs alike) who understand the power of its capabilities.
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