Rane Sixty-One Serato Mixer Review
Overview: The new Rane Sixty-One has landed in the DJbooth.net Lab and the full video and written reviews are now complete. The Rane Sixty-One is a premium-grade Serato Scratch Live (SSL) two-channel DJ mixer that comes with everything a DJ needs to convert their Vinyl or CD decks into virtual timecode decks that can be used to manipulate the digital files located on a computer. Check out our full HD-Video and written reviews inside to see how it handles the test.
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Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
Anyone who’s anyone in the DJ world knows all about the Rane Brand and their standards of high-quality when it comes to putting their name on a product. Rane has been producing some of the World’s best DJ mixers for the past 20+ years and it seems that they plan to continue this strategy when introducing the new line of “Sixty” mixers. Prior to this new line of mixers, there was the well-known Rane TTM line that exhibited some of the best magnetic faders ever, sturdy build quality, and tight-crisp sound for all DJ’s to enjoy. So we’ll take a look at the new Sixty-One mixer to see if it’s a worthy follow up to the iconic predecessors.
The Rane Sixty-One is a premium-grade Serato Scratch Live (SSL) two-channel DJ mixer that comes with everything a DJ needs to convert their Vinyl or CD decks into virtual timecode decks that can be used to manipulate the digital files located on a computer. The Rane Sixty-One exhibits MOST of the classic and well-known Rane Mixer build quality with a (very thick) full-metal chassis and those sturdy magnetic faders that seem to last forever. The only small issue with the build quality that I must mention is that all of the knobs for EQ’s and other controls are NOT metal reinforced. Meaning the actual post that the plastic short-bodied knobs fit on is actually plastic. Most other $1000+ Mixers on the market usually have metal-post knobs for reinforcement for DJ’s who may hit or bang their mixer while on the move, so I’m somewhat surprised that Rane left this off of the Sixty-One. The knobs do have a lower profile than most other mixers or controllers, but I like the way they feel to the touch and they feel good on the fingertips. The buttons are all plastic with a backlight so that the DJ knows exactly what is on/off. The sound quality of the Rane Sixty-One is SUPERB! Rane has always been one of the best sounding Mixers that you can get on the market and the Sixty-One is no exception. No matter what source you use with this mixer, the sound always comes out just as it was intended to by its creator. Everything is just so crisp and clear and the bands of EQ don’t overpower or cancel each other out. The sound quality remained consistent and true throughout our entire testing period.
The Rane Sixty-One mixer has an internal Serato Scratch Live high quality DJ soundcard that allows users to simply plug in their CD or Vinyl decks using the RCA ports on the back of the mixer for complete analog-to-digital of the audio files on a computer. The Rane Sixty-One comes bundled with the full Serato Scratch Live (Now updated to 2.4.3 for free online) DJ software. DJ’s who purchase the Rane Sixty-One mixer will use the combination of the SSL software and built-in DJ soundcard to connect two external CD or vinyl decks with timecode control CD’s/Vinyl to the Sixty-One mixer for a complete DVS solution. Users can then use their CD style decks or analog Vinyl turntables to manipulate and play the music files that are on their computer. The setup process was very easy as all I had to do was run the software setup disc in my computer, connect the mixer to the computer with the supplied USB cable, and connect the two vinyl turntables with the supplied Serato NoiseMap vinyl to the RCA inputs on the back of the Sixty-One.
The Rane Sixty-One has a total of four Line or Phono level RCA inputs that can all be used as either a straight-through setup (with no software) or as a virtual deck (with software) depending on the placement of the selector switch at the top of each Channel on the mixer. Since this is a two-channel mixer, the DJ can only mix two Digital Vinyl Decks at a time, but since there are two extra inputs, DJ’s are able to mix between Virtual Decks and Live Decks on the fly by using the selector knob to switch to the deck the user wants to mix next. Just as we all expected, the Digital Vinyl System performed flawlessly throughout our testing and usage. The Latency while using Serato NoiseMap Vinyl or CD’s is basically non-existent which made scratching/juggling a breeze. Also on the rear of the Sixty-One there is a set of quarter-inch Send and Return connections for external effects modules. There’s also a Session input RCA set (with its own volume control knob) for any additional line-level input devices or for connecting another mixer for transitions and shows. The Session Output RCA functions as a Booth output and has its own volume control knob as well.
The main component of any two-channel scratch mixer will undoubtedly be the faders. The Rane Sixty-One shines brightly in this area as both the crossfader and the linefaders are all magnetic and have a loose but sturdy feel to them. DJ’s the world over have been swearing by the Rane Magnetic faders for years and years now and it seems they’ve done it again with the faders of the Sixty-One. Personally, the Rane Magnetic Faders are almost perfect to scratch on with the perfect amount of resistance to them. While scratching it up on the Serato Sixty-One, the default cut-in distance and tension of all the faders allowed for easy crab and fast fader intense scratches while still allowing the DJ to be sure of fader placement. All three faders have a Reverse button to switch the poles of the fader, and they have a small fade contour slider that adjusts the fader from hard-cut to slow mix. There is also a Channel Swap button that completely swaps the controls for channel one with the controls for channel two.
Moving up from the faders and controls; the top-half of the mixer has all of the buttons and knobs to control Effects, Cue (headphone needs) and Volume controls. The Cue Section is a set of buttons that allows the user to hear the selected item in the headphones before it is played through the Master output. The user can pre-listen to either channel, the Master output, the Aux input, or the Flex FX. To the right, there is a Split Cue button that allows the DJ to split the headphones where one side plays the master output and the other side plays the items you have in Cue mode. There is also a Cue volume knob for headphone volume adjustment and another knob that allows the DJ to fade between the Master output and the Cue selections. Each Channel has a cool spring-loaded, long-stem transformer switch which allows the DJ to do some really cool scratching on the fly. When the transformer switch is in the middle, then the sound is active, but as soon as you move the knob anywhere outside of that center point, the sound cuts off. It has a 360-degree angle rotation that lets you move it into any direction making it unlike any other transformer switch I’ve used in the last 20yrs...
All the way to the left is an Aux Input Volume control knob that controls the SP-6 Sampler volume. This brings us to the FlexFX section where the DJ can use the wet/dry slider to control the effects parameters of an external Effect module or the internal effects within Serato by selecting either the Analog Insert or Digital buttons. Each channel, the microphone, and the digital Aux input all have their own FlexFX button to individually activate an effect on any given input at any time. Each channel on the Rane Sixty-One Mixer has a nice set of full-kill 3-Band EQ’s, A Low/High Pass Filter knob, a PAN Left to Right knob, and a Source Selector switch that allows the user to assign any of the four RCA inputs to either channel on the fly. Right next to the Set of EQ’s lies the LED meters that show the level of each individual channel. There is also a set of Left and Right Master LED meters near the volume control knobs to let users know what levels they are working with. To the left, there is a Microphone level knob and a 2-band EQ with knobs for High and Low to get the vocals to sound just right. All the way to the top-right of the Sixty-One is the Main Volume knob, Session Out knob, and Session IN knobs to control all the volume levels. On the front of the mixer, there is a ¼-inch and a Mini headphone connection for DJ’s to choose from.
The Serato Scratch Live 2.4.2 Software is included (now upgradable to 2.4.3 for free!) with the mixer along with two Serato NoiseMap CD’s, two Serato NoiseMap vinyls and a USB cable. When everything is connected as specified and the timecode vinyl or CD’s are in place on the decks; the DJ can now manipulate the digital files with the deck of choice. Serato Scratch Live can playback many different files including FLAC, MP3, MP4, AIFF, AAC, ALAC, WAV, OGG Vorbis, CD Audio and direct from the mixer. You can also record your mix using the Sixty-One by pressing the record button in SSL and selecting which audio to record (Channel one, channel two, or master). iTunes integration is excellent with the tags and playlists all working in perfect harmony. The waveform of tracks can also be positioned in many different ways including vertical, horizontal side-by-side, horizontal separated, and more. SSL also lets users control many advanced features via keyboard or separate MIDI controller that can be plugged into your computer. (Note: The Rane Sixty-Two has many MIDI buttons to control advanced features) These advanced features include six sample banks, up to 5 cue points per song, and up to 9 loops per track which are saved in the file for later use. The software is pretty powerful and you can also purchase the Serato Video 1.1 plugin for cool Video mixing all while controlling everything with Serato NoiseMap vinyl or CD’s.
There were only a few minor issues that I found with the Rane Sixty-One mixer. My first issue was the lack of metal posts for the EQ and control knobs. It just seems like when you are paying more than $1,000 for a mixer that it should have metal post knobs instead of the plastic posts found on the Sixty-One. My next gripe with the Sixty-One is the steep price. Rane makes some very high quality gear and the price is will reflect this fact. You get what you pay for. My final gripe with the Sixty-One is that there are no advanced software controls for functions like loops, samples, cue points, recording, etc. But if that’s a real issue for you, then check out the Rane Sixty-Two mixer which includes MIDI buttons right on the top panel for those functions plus more…
Conclusion / Recommended For
In Conclusion, the Rane Sixty-One two-channel Serato Scratch Live Professional DJ Mixer is a great setup for any DJ looking to get a very high-quality and battle-ready DJ mixer with a built in Serato Scratch soundcard that allows you to attach vinyl/cd decks for Serato NoiseMap control. The Chassis is solid and the Magnetic faders are legendary amongst turntablists. There’s also a bunch of inputs, outputs, and effects options to play nicely with almost any setup. The price is a bit high and there’s no advanced software controls, but its still a tight package with almost everything you need to get started in the DVS realm. I’m going to recommend the Rane Sixty-One to any scratch or hip-hop oriented DJ who will really put the magnetic Rane faders to the test while using Serato scratch Live on their vinyl or CD decks for ultimate DVS control.
Pros & Cons
- Solid Rane Professional All-Metal Chassis & Sound Quality
- Built-in SSL Interface & Complete SSL Software for DVS Serato NoiseMap Playback
- Long-Life Magnetic Rane Crossfader & Linefaders (Excellent for Scratching)
- Additional Aux Input, Booth Output, & Effects Send/Receive on rear panel
- FlexFX Controls for External Effects Units
- Rotary Knobs have Plastic Post Instead of Metal
- High Price-Tag
- No Advanced Software Controls
Features & Specs
Bundled with Serato Scratch Live along with ASIO and Core Audio Drivers.
The USB 2.0 port supports six stereo record and four stereo playback channels.
32-bit floating point audio processing sampled at 48 kHz.
PGM controls include:
Gain trim, 3-band full-cut EQ, Left/Right Pan, HP/LP Filter with adjustable resonance.
FlexFx assign, Headphone Cue assign, Q-peak meter.
Magnetic fader with contour and reverse controls.
Mic/line switchable input on XLR/TRS jack with gain trim, two-band EQ, and FlexFx assign.
External analog insert for analog effects processor
USB Insert for software effects such as DJ-FX in Serato Scratch Live.
USB Aux Input for SP-6 sample playback with Headphone Cue and FlexFx assign.
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