Today we have a special video for you, my first “Samurai Review” of the Reloop Jockey 3. DJTT looked at this controller at NAMM and gave it our “Best of Show Controller” Nammie award based on its looks, layout and feel. Now that we have the controller in the studio for extensive testing, does it still deserve that title? Hard to say- there are a few big bugs, but several great features as well. Continue reading for all the specs and check out my video review above!
Included software: Traktor LE 1 (Upgradable to 2)
External dimensions: 26.8 in (W) x 3.7 in (H) x 12.5 in (D)
- Multiple audio outs include master, booth and headphone
- Nice grippy knobs
- Ample controls for multiple cue points, effects, looping and more
- Professional looking and well-built
- Replaceable crossfader
- Poor scratch performance with the jog wheels
- Requires power supply
- Heavy for its size
- Requires an upgrade to Traktor Pro to use 4 decks (an extra $150)
- Jog wheel sensitivity can cause accidental music stops
THE BOTTOM LINE
The jog wheel problems aside, you have a well-constructed controller that does most of the things that the VCI-100 did and more. There are no amazing built-in effects features, and the pre-labeled buttons make different mappings and overlays somewhat un-realistic. Then again, the back-lit, well-labeled buttons make them easy to see in the dark. If this controller came in at around $499, I think it would make a really great first DJ option for those looking into Traktor LE.
For those that want a control solution for Traktor Pro 2, you will probably get a lot more value out of the S4, which will wind up being roughly the same price after software upgrades. I see this being great for those bedroom DJs that need a integrated sound card, 4 deck control, and a small portable size. In that range, this controller is certainly one of the best in its class, provided Reloop solves the jog wheel problems.
HANDS ON CONTROL
The jog wheels look and feel great. They are low profile with a large 5″ platter surface that turns smoothly with adjustable tension resistance. Unfortunately, they did not fare so well under testing. Scratching proved to be impossible and even cueing up a down-beat was equally un-wieldy (this was tested with Traktor Pro 2 and the official Jockey 3 mapping available at press time). Reloop told us:
“the mapping we have currently is not the 100% final one. For Traktor 2 we are still working with NI on a Hi-Res Implementation of our Jog Wheel (4096 Imp/Rot) – as this cannot be accomplished with a simple mapping.”
Jog wheels do take a lot of iteration to get right, so it is possible with some back and forth they could solve the issue. I am concerned, however, that there might be some hardware issues at play, as is the case with the touch sensitivity. One of the problems with scratching is how rapidly the platter responds to touch. As you saw in the video it is either way too sensitive (turning on without even touching) or not sensitive enough (slow release). Reloop commented:
” This technology is the same as on our CD-Players. The touch sensitivity of the Jog platters work with’body electricity’. Once the platter’s sensitivity is set to very high, the Jog’s can even detect this electric charge when your hand is very near - and not even touching the platter directly. You can try this out, for example try touching the platter with a plastic item and you will see that the Jogs will not respond. ”
One solid aspect of the Jockey 3′s offerings is their I/O selection. Reloop appears to have listened to DJs on our site and others and provided several of the features folks have been screaming for. They include:
- Discrete headphone, booth and master outputs
- Dual analogue inputs that support line and phono sources
- Microphone input that works without a computer connection
- Switchable mixer channels that can mix external sources like a standard analogue mixer
These features make the Jockey 3 a well equipped little controller. The only downside is that they do all require external power from a wall wart, but given that this is one of your only power requirements, it is not the end of the world.
The Jockey 3 is a solid upgrade from Reloop’s previous efforts at controller manufacturing. While it is not yet perfect, they now have a serious contender for controllers in the two deck class and the market has a real alternative to the VCI-100 MK2 at a reasonable price.