Reloop Terminal Mix 8 Serato DJ Controller Review
The Reloop Terminal Mix 8 is the newest and top-tier Four Deck Digital DJ controller with a very high quality build, smooth-oversized jog wheels, and an intuitive 16 Performance Pad section that control popular features like hot cues, loops, slicer, and sampler. The Terminal Mix 8 also comes bundled with the full Serato DJ software that unlocks all of the potential of this powerful controller straight out of the box.
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
I have always been a fan of the Reloop DJ equipment and they just keep creating DJ gear with better and better performance and features. The Reloop brand has continuously produced some very high-quality gear all with their no-nonsense black and silver coloring scheme with very intuitive layouts and controls for DJ's to hone their craft. In continuing with that same scheme, Reloop has announced their newest and Flagship Digital DJ Controller in the high-quality Terminal Mix lineup which consists of the Terminal Mix 4 (Four Deck Controller), the Terminal Mix 2 (Two Deck Controller), and now the Terminal Mix 8. The Terminal Mix 8 is very similar to the recently-reviewed Terminal Mix 4 so this review will sound and read almost the same except for the small differences that make the TM8 a better overall controller. Check out my full HD-Video review to see how it stacks up.
This review will focus on the Reloop Terminal Mix 8 DJ controller but I'm pretty sure the quality and build of the Terminal Mix 2/4 will be more of the same... In fact, the TM8 shares the same overall build quality, the same exact jog wheels, and the same faders and knobs. The Reloop Terminal Mix 8 still possesses a very nice and professional overall build and layout. The Terminal Mix 8 is made up of mostly metal with a little bit of plastic thrown in to save on weight. The unit has a very SOLID feel to it and it will last a very long time with normal DJ use. Each channel has a three band EQ with a gain knob at the top and a separate Master and Booth volume control knobs. All of the knobs are nice and over-sized so that the DJ can accurately mix to the exact levels as needed. The EQ and effect knobs themselves are made of hard plastic while the Master volume control and filter controls have a rubberized coating to them.
The setup process for the Terminal Mix 8 was fairly simple. The user must go to the Reloop DJ website to download and install the firmware/drivers, then head to the Serato website to download the free copy of Serato DJ to install that as well. Once the USB cable is connected and the device is powered up, the user will then be able to start mixing immediately. There was no need for me to go in and change any other parameters as everything just worked. The power supply must be connected for the Terminal Mix 8 to work in any mode as this is not a USB-powered controller.
Just as stated with the TM4, the Jog wheels on the Terminal Mix 8 are some of the best I have ever used on a DJ controller. They don't have any type of tension adjustment or touch sensitivity adjustment but the weight and the feel of the Jog wheels is just right. When you backspin and let them go, they continue to spin for a while and the ribbed top surface feels a lot like a piece of vinyl to the touch. They are truly some of the best High-Resolution jog wheels on the market and they were lots of fun to use. When using the jog wheels with Serato DJ, there was no perceived latency and it was easy to pull off juggles and jog wheel type scratching.
The Crossfader of the TM8 also has the same really great feel to it. It doesn't feel cheap and scratchy like other controllers and it has a nice audible click when you hit the end of the fader plate. I really liked the feel of the crossfader, and the cut-in distance was actually shorter than what I remembered on the TM4. I was able to pull off lots of fun scratch routines with the Reloop Terminal Mix 8 and the fader was crisp and accurate. The Line faders have more resistance to them and they also have the same higher-than-normal quality feel to them as the crossfader.
One of the major differences between the TM4 and the Terminal Mix 8 is that the TM8 comes bundled the full Professional Serato DJ software. This means that users get the full four-decks of Serato DJ goodness with all of the bells and whistles right out of the box. This is a huge value add for DJ’s as all of the features and buttons on the unit work perfectly with Serato DJ and nothing has to be unlocked later for an additional fee. On a side note, the TM8 is a fully mappable Digital DJ controller that can work with almost any DJ software out there on the market today including Virtual DJ and Traktor. There aren’t any additional mappings available at this time, so users will have to map the controller themselves for other software, while the Serato DJ experience is almost totally plug-n-play.
One of the biggest upgrades from the Terminal Mix 4 to the Terminal Mix 8 has to be the 16 velocity sensitive performance pads that are used to activate Serato features such as Hot Cues, Loops, Samples, and the Slicer. These new rubberized RGB backlit pads replace the Reloop TM4’s rather small and hard plastic buttons that controlled these features previously. The new Pads feel way more tactile than the original hard plastic buttons and they are generally more fun to use. They have multi-color backlit so the user can see the current performance mode of the pads and they feel just as good as any other high-quality pad on a drum machine or DJ controller. They have a great amount of “give” to them and they activate anywhere they are touched on their surface. The performance pad modes are broken down below:
Slice – The 8 pads turn into eight small “slices” of different sections of the song that is currently being played. Basically the Slicer divides a portion of the song into eight smaller pieces that can be rearranged and played back in different order depending on how and when you hit the pads. The software remembers where the song would have been during playback if you hadn’t touched the slicer in the first place, so the song returns to the normal playing position when you are done “slicing” it up.
Sampler – There are a total of 12-samples per side for a total of 24 samples that are ready at any given time within Serato DJ. The first six pads are used to trigger the samples within a bank and the last two pads are used to cycle between banks of samples. When the sample button is pressed, the sample plays in the mode that is defined by the user.
Cue – These 8 pads turn into 8 hot cue points for each deck when Hot Cue button is pressed at the top. To set a cue point, simply let the track play and press a Cue Point pad at the time you wish to save the Cue. In order to recall the cue, simply press the button. To delete the cue, hold down the shift button and press the pad of the cue point you want to delete.
Loop – This is the auto loop section where the pads will automatically start a Loop Roll to the whereas the first size is the smallest loop and the last pad is the largest loop. When the Loop button is pressed again, the Manual Loop mode is activated. Here you will be able to use the pads to set in and out points along with loop exit and reloop pads as well.
Dual Mode - Two of the Sample, Cue, and Loop functions can share the pads simultaneously with the top four pads corresponding to the leftmost function and the bottom four pads will corresponding to the rightmost function. They will also be color coded to easily identify the function. This is very helpful as its often the case that DJ's want to use two functions at once such as Cues and Samples. Now its easy to do so without switching between layers.
All the way to the top of the TM8 decks are the effects controls. Above the left deck there is an FX1 module and above the right deck there is an FX2 module. Both effects modules have three knobs and a Beat/Loop encoder to the left. There are illuminated buttons underneath each knob to activate the desired effect. Using Serato DJ’s new iZotope FX allows DJ’s to string together up to six effects at once using three effects per module. Users can also download additional effects packs for a small fee for Serato DJ as they will continue to offer new and exciting effects from different producers and engineers. The last Beat FX encoder at the top of each deck doubles as an autoloop encoder. The Primary function is an autoloop that can be initiated by pressing the knob and turning the knob to select the autoloop size. When shift is held and the knob is turned, the Beat properties of the effect also change.
In terms of inputs and outputs, the Terminal Mix 8 includes an Emergency "Through" Auxiliary RCA input on the back of the unit. It's great to have another input on a DJ controller just in case your computer software takes a dive during a gig; you can now easily plug in any RCA device (AKA MP3 player) to the rear of the Terminal Mix 8 and use the front Volume control to play from another source. The user can also run the AUX or MIC inputs through the software using the switches on the front so that you can use the EQ, Filters, and Effects. There is no standalone mixer option, but at least a user can mix it up with an external device as long as the software is running. There is also a Master balanced TRS, Master RCA, and Booth RCA outputs, along with a ¼-inch microphone input on the front panel. The front panel also contains a Microphone level knob and Tone knob for Mic EQ. The crossfader controls are also on the front panel which include a Crossfader curve control knob and four channel crossfader selector switches to assign channels to the sides of the crossfader.
There were a few other differences I noticed between the Terminal Mix 4 and the Terminal Mix 8 that may not have been apparent after the initial glance. The TM8 is a couple inches wider and thicker than the TM4. The TM4 has round rubberized transport controls for Sync, Stutter, Cue, Play/Pause, while the TM8 has a more traditional rectangular look. The Loop section on the TM4 had an additional two knobs for autoloop and parameters (more suited for Traktor) while the TM8 has a shared knob for FX Beat and Autoloop and the new Pads handle the manual Loop controls. The deck load buttons and headphone cue buttons have now swapped locations on the TM8 for a more user-friendly layout.
On the Downside, The Terminal Mix 8 cannot be used as a standalone mixer. Lots of other professional four deck DJ controllers that are built with this much build quality usually have at least two inputs on the back of the unit that correspond to the channels on the controller. In the Terminal Mix 8, there are no such inputs, so the device cannot be used as a mixer to mix between one or more external sources of music. The user can access the front panel switches to transfer the controls of the MIC or AUX input to a channel so that EQ's, Effects, and Gain controls can be applied, but only through the software.
Conclusion / Recommended For
In Conclusion, the Reloop Terminal Mix 8 is a high-quality and heavy-duty Digital DJ controller that definitely improves upon the capabilities of the Terminal Mix 4 while adding the full out Serato DJ software experience right in the box. The TM8 has excellent jog wheels and a smooth high-quality crossfader to match. All of the EQ and control knobs are nice and oversized with the Filter and Master control knobs getting the rubberized coating. The Terminal Mix 8 is also a full out MIDI controller meaning it can be customized to work with almost any DJ software on the market. The Terminal Mix 8 also has the new 16 velocity sensitive performance pads to control all the advanced Serato DJ features such as Slice, Sample, Cue, and Loop. There’s also a nice Emergency AUX through input in case the software takes a plunge.
If users are looking for a well-built DJ controller for Serato DJ that won’t break the bank, then the Terminal Mix 8 should be at the top of their list. If there is no need for a true standalone mixer function, we are going to recommend the Reloop Terminal Mix 8 to any DJ who doesn’t need a standalone mixer function but wants a professional and versatile (can be MIDI mapped to any software) DJ controller for Serato DJ.
Pros & Cons
- Very Durable and Heavy-Duty (Mostly Metal) Build Quality
- Extremely Nice Jog Wheel Feel and Emulation
- Nice Over-sized EQ and Rubberized control knobs
- Comes bundled w/ Full Serato DJ Professional Software
- 16-Velocity Sensitive Pads for Hotcues, Roll, Slicer, Loops, Samples
- Emergency "Through" AUX input
- No Standalone Mixer Option