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November 7, 2011

../ TestDrive: 4midiLoop DJ Controller

We've been testing a boatload of MIDI DJ Controllers for Native Instruments Traktor 2 Pro lately and one entry has really captured the imagination of the FutureMusic staff. Aimed squarely at the professional digital DJ, the 4midiLoop is the most comprehensive,  best-built, 4-channel MIDI controller on the market today.


4midiLoop DJ MIDI Controller USB

Everything you could possibly want - at once!


Hand-built using Faderfox components, the 4midiLoop defies every single DJ controller standard to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience that no other controller on the market can match. Even though, there's a Shift function, you'll most likely never utilize it since the 4midiLoop puts 227 controls at your fingertips. That's not a misprint, there are 227 knobs, buttons and faders on the unit. It is housed in a "unibody" chassis fashioned from a single block of aluminum with the best fit'n'finish we've seen on any DJ controller on the market. Our silver test unit didn't have a single mismatched seam, known as "reveals" in the industry, or ill-fitting screw.

MIDI, MIDI & Only MIDI

Besides the endless array of controls in this 4-channel workhorse, you'll notice the 4midiLoop's size. It's big. Not heavy, but certainly large for a USB-powered MIDI controller. That's right, no audio interface; you'll need to purchase a separate unit to deliver the audio from your computer. Considering other popular MIDI DJ controllers/audio interfaces on the market, this may initially appear to be a detriment to the controller's market viability, but the folks behind the 4midiLoop feel that true professionals are better off purchasing a no-compromise, audio interface that they can upgrade without having to replace their controller.


4midiLoop Black Pearl Rotary

The 4midiLoop can also be configured with rotary knobs

Specifications:

» 47 Potentiometers
» 9 Push-Button Encoders
» 152 LED's
» 166 Push buttons
» 5 Eclectic Breaks Pro X Faders
» USB bus powered — consumption less than 300mA
» Class compliant - No drivers necessary
» Dimensions 11.41" (290 mm) x 2.36" (60 mm) x 17.7" (450 mm)
» Weight 3.6 kg
» Aluminium CNC shaped case from Avional
» Eloxalprint scratch proof layout

Am I DJing Or Docking To Skylab?

The 4midiLoop was designed by Mathias Fuch who worked with DJ Mole on the focus of the piece, as well as the layout, which reminded one reviewer of "what a NASA engineer might of used during an Apollo mission." What Mathias was going for was an interface where all the controls were available at once without having to resort to Shift acrobatics, as well as no-compromised control of effects and EQ, the bread'n'butter of top DJs who have embraced the post-beatmatching era. Of the five reviewers who got their mitts on this bit of kit, only one missed some sort of jog-wheel action for quickly browsing through tracks, ahem, scratching. Internally, we've been wondering when the jog wheel paradigm was going to bite the dust for the last few years, but it somehow keeps surfacing in new products.



Fuch isn't afraid to toss the jog-wheels and he even labels a small potimeter "Scratch." To us, this seems to be Mathias at his tongue-in-cheek, mischievous best, but one reviewer claimed he as able to kick out a few "baby scratches before breaking into hysterics." The point is clear, even if you're a scratch DJ (as evidenced by the video below) you can use the 4midiLoop with a turntable to get down with your bad self.