rane68

It had to happen sooner or later: the computer has supplanted the turntable, so why not a mixer intended for two computers?

That’s the idea behind the just-announced Rane SIXTY-EIGHT. It’s intended for use with two computers via two independent USB ports, plus controller support (intended primarily for Serato’s tools, but presumably adaptable to other software) for up to four virtual decks.

Now, as a way to manage four decks, it seems like absurd overkill – hasn’t Traktor done four decks for years? But if this solution is indeed software-agnostic, it could be a boon to advanced computer musicians wanting to use computers, or DJs wanting to mix Ableton Live on one machine and a DJ app on another. Of course, you could simply do that with normal audio outputs, or even digital outputs that aren’t USB – in fact, many of the Apple machines (among others) come with digital outs.

Where the SIXTY-EIGHT starts to get very interesting – beyond just for Serato users – is its effects buses, which allow you to sub-mix up to six channels into a bus, insert analog effects or even computer effects (via USB), and use beat-synced internal effects on the box. And I’ve been impressed with the quality of Rane’s mixers in the past, too. It’s not its prime audience, but I can imagine the SIXTY-EIGHT being used by someone, somewhere, doing live computer performance and using the Rane as a powerful mixer/effects for two computer sources.

But ultimately, I have to admire the SIXTY-EIGHT not so much for what it does, but what it means: it means DJ mixers are entering the computer age.

It just happens that what some of us really long for is easier, HD-res video mixing — audio’s easy. We’re working on that, too. Full specs from Rane:

• Two independent USB 2.0 High Speed ports, each supporting twenty-two, 32-bit floating-point audio channels at 48 kHz.
• Real-time support for two computers.
• Support for 2, 3 or 4 Virtual Decks on one or two computers.
• Direct control of over 30 Scratch Live Library, Cue and Loop functions.
• Unique FlexFx bus:
Process a sub-mix of up to six audio channels.
Six internal effects with seamless on-beat switching between effects.
External analog insert support for legacy hardware effects.
USB insert support for computer-based effects.
• Four full-featured input channels:
Four stereo Phono/CD inputs of Line, Phono or S/PDIF.
Four stereo auxiliary inputs.
Four stereo USB playback options.
• Two mic inputs: one with phantom power and one with line-level.
• 3-band full-cut EQ, plus new High-pass / Low-pass Filter.
• Flexible USB recording options, record from any PGM or output.
• Internal universal switching power supply (100-230 VAC)
• Unit size: 14.3″H x 12″W x 4″D (36.4 cm x 30.5 cm x 10.2 cm)
• Weight: 11.3 lb (5.2 kg)
• Shipping Size: 7.75″H x 12.75″W x 19.25″D (19.7 cm x 32.5 cm x 49 cm)
• Weight: 12 lb (5.5 kg)

rane68_2

http://rane.com/sixtyeight.html

  • http://twitter.com/c_runk Cody Avant

    Gasp!

  • Notorious Hanz

    It looks really ugly!!! :-(

  • Mark

    This mixer seems like it would be well suited to a club, where you could trade off between DJs who both are using Serato / ableton without having to cut out the audio by plugging-unplugging cables.

    This will compete more with the Pioneer 4-channel club mixers I think… New effects controls sound awesome!

  • myfriendtheZebra

    I don't quite understand the benefits of a dual computer mixing system.

    Isn't the point of having a USB mixer and a laptop in the first place is to mix two (or four, or more) channels from one audio source?

    Two computers may be good for multiple DJs at a time or (as Mark stated above) switching DJs, but otherwise I think it's a niche market.

  • djproben

    @Hanz – I agree. Coming from the same company that made the beautiful TTM-56 and the even more elegant Empath, you wonder what the hell happened. But it does sound fun to use, and Rane is top notch when it comes to mixers in terms of sound and build quality. I wonder if the price tag will be prohibitive (the TTM-57 was like 1700 USD list!)

  • nonstatic

    sorry but how is switching dj's a "niche market"? every nightclub in the world must switch dj's every night. this product is aimed for club installations. if you haven't seen digital dj's try to connect all their cables while the other dj is playing, you'll know why this is mixer is a huge deal.

  • myfriendtheZebra

    I see what you mean. I meant that it seems like only club owners would benefit from this. DJs are still going to use their own gear, and it's impractical for them to shell out the premium for this.

  • djproben

    According to the twittersphere, list price on this baby will be $3299. That's right, over three thousand dollars. I don't think even A+H has a mixer at that price point! Talk about a niche market; the *only* market for that price will be club owners and superstar DJs….

  • myfriendtheZebra

    @djproben

    List price? What about street?

  • http://Acidboxblues.blogspot.com Dylab

    When I saw a guy called Gerald play he had 2 laptops each with reason running and a mixer / controller between the two computers –

  • djproben

    If that's really the list price the street price won't be too much less; maybe 2900-3000 I would guess. Remember the TTM 57 was 1700 list and you couldn't find it for much less than 1500. I think you could probably get one for 1299 now but I haven't checked lately… Of course this is all based on a post on twitter from some random person so take it with a huge grain of salt, lol

  • http://www.stackinpaper.com keeb$

    Agreed w/ the two comments above regarding the biggest/real intention (and advantage) of the two USB ports: transitioning between two DJs using Serato.

    In my mind it's ridiculous Serato hasn't already addressed this issue with their recent new (overly price) SL3 hardware in some other way. There may be technical difficulties with this approach, but it seems that something like the following could/should exist: a 128MB buffer on board so that "DJ A" can load a track into the Serato box itself (powered through an AC adapter) then unplug his computer, letting "DJ B" plug his computer into the same box and load up a new track without interrupting the music.

    Orrrrrrr you could buy a $3k mixer that 98% of DJs will have no clue how to use.

  • djproben

    OK looks like the twitter info I got on pricing was bogus; list price for this baby will be $2599. Still too expensive though, IMHO. And I have never had a problem transitioning between DJs with Serato or Traktor as long as you have regular vinyl to use in between … but assuming no turntables, obviously this becomes an issue.

  • Polite

    But it wouldn't work in a club environment, either, because if it's USB, wouldn't it need drivers each time a new laptop was plugged in? Being USB, wouldn't it be bypassing any audio interfaces that an electronic musician has on their laptop? Wouldn't you also need to reconfigure your music software to use this mixer as the audio out? Sounds like alot of hassle. Software hassles can be alot more frustrating than cabling issues.

    On top of that, even if you manage to sort all of that out, unless you were already using one of these at home, i doubt there is any way you could take advantage of the USB insert/effect send features.

    Still. I'm really looking forward to seeing demos of how this works, and possibly gets around these issues.

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  • mister_nick

    this is PERFECT for a club. as a club dj who often shares nights with other dj's, i constantly argue at the beginning of the night with the others as to who's computer will be used, and who is just plugging up external hard drives.

    as a very early adopter of scratch live, an owner of a 57sl, and as someone who is very picky about my specific settings inside scratch live, I really see the beauty of this machine.

    a local club owner just went out and got 2 separate dj rigs because he dealt with so many arguments on this specific subject. had he waited just a second, he would have been able to use this.

  • Mertz

    Major benefits:

    Two DJs that use laptops performing a tag set now can just use one mixer instead of two. That in itself is HUGE because tags sets with laptop DJs has always required one of the DJs putting their music collection on an external drive and plugging into one laptop.

    And yes, all you Traktor users have had four decks, but for us Serato users… FOUR DECKS is huge. HUGEEEEEE!!!!!

    The fact that loop points and sample player points and effects are all triggerable with buttons on the mixer instead of having to use an external midi pad is VERY appreciated.

    EFFECTS?!!?! Yes please!

    And above all… it's RANE… If you've ever had to service mixers, you know that NO company comes close to Rane's customer service. Granted, I also think it's not as gorgeous looking as an Empath, but I know those EQs are going to SOUND just as good.

    I am already looking for buyers my Empath just so I can snag this beast. I haven't been this excited about DJ equipment in ages.

    And no I don't work for Rane… just worked with them enough with personal equipment and a club's equipment to be very confident that they're going to deliver a great product.

  • http://seguesound.com DaveDri

    Interesting stuff. I wasn't aware of this one Peter. A colleague has been sporting a Xone 4D for a while, and to be fair is a distributor of it, and it was suitable impressive in a way that this is not. The goal is admirable in terms of a foxed install, truly plug-and-play setup for clubs. The "is that your Macbook power supply or mine??" hot-swapping of near-indentical gear in clubs at the moment is a certain level of redundancy that someone is bound to make a killing solving. I hope the future looks a little less, well, ugly than this does.

    Not a Serato user here, so I'm looking forward to seeing some of you who are pushing this to it's aesthetically unpleasing extremes. Great comments Mertz, post some links when you do get rocking on this!

  • http://www.readydot.net READYdot

    I really do see the point and the utility of such a mixer, but which I don´t see or can´t accept is the price tag… 2600 you must be kidding. IMHO overpriced beyond belief.

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  • http://www.hiddendriveways.net Hidden Driveways

    I think the Sixty Eight is really cool looking. Function over fashion. It looks like Rane learned their lesson from their awful integration of built-in effects on the TTM57SL. Backlit buttons with a little LDC display. Thank goodness. The dedicated cue point buttons are right where you want them too. $2600 does seem high, but anyone familiar with the Rane line of Serato interfaces knows that this isn't too far off. It's a four channel Rane DJ mixer with what the ability to act as two separate Serato boxes, with built in effects and a control surface. The pricetag isn't that crazy. It only seems crazy if you're not familiar with their product line.

  • Dj moht

    Its too expensive , its the price of 2 57s! Plus its ugly… Is there any other hard ware i can plug in my laptop and use the vestax mixer to play videos ?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.khan78 The Furious Fist of

    You can run 4 decks off of one computer just to settle everyones comments about how dumb it is to make a 2 laptop mixer. You can run 3 decks off one computer, and 1 off another, or 2 and 2, or 4 on one computer. Its a really sexy amazing mixer.