Products Featured in this Article
Model: Reloop RP-8000 MK2
Base Price: $699.99 (contact by livechat, phone or email for preferred pricing)
Release: Late January 2019 Early March, per 1/17/19 manufacturer’s rep update
One day after Technics announces its ferociously anticipated, but ultimately conservative Technics SL-1200 MK7, Reloop dramatically ups the ante with with RP-8000 MK2.
While Technics took a nine-year nap on DJs, Reloop has been powering the new guard of world champions – DJ Brace, Vekked, Kris Karns (fka DJ Vajra), Fong Fong & IFTW.
The RP-8000 MK2 may be their single most impressive contribution to the DJ community to date. We take a look at how it stacks up against the new SL-1200 MK7 below.
The Reloop RP-8000 Mk2 is – umm – insane.
Reloop is calling it “the most advanced DJ turntable ever made” and if ever a hyperbolic marketing claim were substantiated, this’d be it.
The RP-8000 MK2 builds on a rock-solid chassis with amongst the best direct drive motors on the market. The humble drum pad section has transformed into a turntablism powerhouse. In addition to all performance pad modes available in top Serato DJ mixers (e.g. DJM-S9, Rane Seventy-Two and the newly announced Reloop Elite), RP-8000 MK2 introduces Platter Play. Previously only seen in $X,XXX instruments like the long-retired Vestax Controller One, Platter Play lets the DJ control the pitch/speed of the platter with its pads, turning the turntable into a melodic instrument with 22 scales and 34 notes.
In fact, it is a midi instrument. Other keyboards/controllers can control the RP-8000 MK2 and it can control other software in turn.
But even if you’re not DJ Woody, turning your turntable into a guitar, the other features of the RP-8000 MK2 make it a slam dunk for any turntable DJ. These include pitch bend (previously only available on CDJs/media players), Serato DJ-integrated digital displays with BPM, elapsed time, key and other track information, digital encoder for browsing and loading tracks to either deck and dual RCA outputs that give you more options in the booth and studio plus the ability to connect one turntable to two mixers.
And incredibly, during a time when manufacturers are raising the price of gear with each new generation (not to mention price increases due to China Tariffs), the RP-8000 MK2 is the same price as the original RP-8000.
Barring any horrible production flaws, we’re confident that the RP-8000 MK2 is the DJ turntable you want in 2019.
That said, let’s take a look at Technics’ new offering.
The Technics SL-1200 MK7 Gives You What You Want, but Nothing More
While Technics set the DJ world on fire with the SL-1200 MK7 announcement, it really didn’t break any new ground upon unveiling. Moreover, almost every upgrade has been offered by competing manufacturers for years, including detachable RCAs, digital pitch adjust, reverse mode and an improved motor (that nobody ever complained about).
Let’s be clear here, I own a pair of Technics 1200s. When they were discontinued in 2010 and their price shot up to over $1,000 a pop, I felt very lucky to have gotten mine in 2001. That said, with nearly 20 years in the DJ industry, I’m confident in saying that the Technics 1200 is one of the most effective branding exercises in history. It’s been so effective that the mere suggestion of the possibility of a better turntable has been known to start riots/flame wars where neither mommas, kids nor favorite sports teams are safe.
The Technics 1200 isn’t a turntable. It’s an idea. It’s carries with it the origins of both hip hop and house music. Built like a tank. Sounding great. Giving you absolute confidence during your performance. It was absolutely uncontested for 3+ decades. Its closest competitor was the plastic-bodied Vestax PDX-2000 that caught on with a few contrarians. But for the most part, the 1200 was the platonic ideal of a DJ turntable.
That said, the last Technics 1200 for DJs was shipped in 2010, when still-living Steve Jobs introduced the iPad and Kickstarter launched crowdfunding to the world. Innovation has skyrocketed since then and if you look at the history of the Technics 1200 honestly, innovation was never its strong suit.
The Technics 1200 was never perfect, but we loved it because it was the best we had. Our mentors swore by them, our culture was built on them, and they were a status symbol in our community. But technology has moved on.
Don’t believe me? Remember 2017 when Denon DJ announced the VL12 Prime, a bona fide engineering breakthrough of incredible build and sound quality? It eliminated the long-standing problem of turntable hum and feedback with special isolation feet and fully suspended internal motor. DJs had been concocting insane contraptions to deal with this problem for their Technics 1200 for years. Solutions included cut tennis balls, inflatable pillows and homemade tuna can + rubber band suspension rigs. It even shaped the way stages were built in nightclubs. But did the masses of DJs even remotely entertain that a better alternative to the 4-figure Technics 1200s (only available 7+ years used at that time) may have emerged? Not at all. The VL12 Prime is available today in relative obscurity to the Technics 1200.
Fast forward to 2019, and what do we get from the rabidly anticipated SL-1200 MK7? Basically, what we bargained for. Nearly the same features as 9 years ago, plus a few now-standard upgrades.
Do we expect the 1200 MK7 to be a great turntable? Absolutely.
Do we plan to stock it? Most likely.
Do we think it’s the no brainer choice for your new turntable setup? Not anymore.
Any contradiction? We don’t think so. The audience of “give me Technics or give me death” is far larger than who’ll see this article. Plus, we acknowledge the value of comfort, familiarity and pride in owning a pair of 1200s. That’s a value judgement and we support DJs either way.
We just hope that Technics heeds Mark Settle’s words in his The Dumbing Down of Turntables has Got to Stop when he says, “it’s not so much that new things aren’t getting added, but absolutely a case of existing useful features being unceremoniously removed, yet incongruously the price is going up for what is arguably less of a turntable.” In the case of the SL-1200 MK7, DJs aren’t getting much more than they already have with the straight forward Reloop RP-7000 MK2 or the upmarket Denon VL12 Prime. Therefore, for the sake of DJs, we hope Technics respects current market prices and doesn’t try to capture 1200s inflated value from years past.
(Update: early reports from DJ Worx confirm the European price at £899 and a US price of $1,200. So much for our hopes of a reasonably priced Technics SL-1200 MK7.)
So What’s the Best DJ Turntable of 2019?
The SL-1200 MK7 and RP-8000 MK2 are only announcements at at this point, which means we haven’t held them in our hands. That said, assuming the RP-8000 MK2 delivers on its promise, here are our current recommendations.
- Best Turntable for Digital DJ/Turntablist: Reloop RP-8000 MK2
- Best Non-Digital Focussed Turnable: Denon VL12 Prime
- Best Industry-Standard Turntable at Lowest Price: Reloop RP-7000 MK2
Need help selecting a turntable/building a setup or want vip pricing on any of the options mentioned?
Let Us Know Your Thoughts
What are your thoughts on the recent turntable releases? Which one are you buying if you need a pair in 2019? Want to smack our moms for not bowing down to the 1200s? Let us know in the comments.