First Look: Rane Performer

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First Look: Rane Performer

Rane Performer closeup
Words by Rob Gee

We’ve come a long way in the world of DJ consoles in the past thirty years.

We’ve come even further in the past twenty years. Further still in the most recent ten. And thanks to Rane, we’re seeing an even bigger leap this year. This is one you won’t want to miss as we get a sneak peek on the release of their new 4-channel, motorised DJ control: Rane Performer. 

This is the DJ controller deck for the turntablist. It’s built tough, and has the feel that brings back memories of every club in the 90’s, when revolving platters were the norm. With that, the Performer offers a pair of 7-inch die-cast aluminium platters that look and feel just like the real thing, except on a smaller scale. Sure, they’re a smaller platter than what you’d find on an SL1200 turntable, but these are way ahead of other controller platters on the market. Aside from the size, they feel and respond like a real turntable. They feature a textured acrylic top that has that etched vinyl toughness. This comes with the option of adding different slip rings under plate, so you can change the resistance to have the Performer behave like your own preferred slip mats.

DJ controller deck

Rane have gone all out here and used the centre of each deck platter to work with you. There’s a 3.5” LCD screen right there in the middle of your platter, so you can see all the important information just inches from your fingertips, where your focus is naturally going to be. There’s no need to look away to a separate screen, or a laptop in order to see what’s going on, it’s right there in your line of sight. This screen shows a running waveform of cued and playing tracks, as well as critical information like platter position, BPM and track time stamp, and even album artwork! This screen shuttles into menu mode at the touch of a button or control knob, when you want to search through your library to load new tracks, keeping everything right on the deck itself. Best of all, the screen defaults to Night Mode, so it blends in with the ‘vinyl’ top, but can be reverted to day mode, contrasting to a white background so everything can be easily seen in outdoor and daytime gigs too.

Beneath each platter you find a host of performance features, including touch sensitive pads for triggering effects, samples and other controls as well an OLED display to show you information like cue points, sample names and stem elements, to name just a few. These pads are touch sensitive and colour changing, so you can distinguish between the features assigned to each. They are internally assigned to the deck beneath which they are placed, with a crossfader sitting in between. Above this, four channel faders are found, with a newly designed traction control that allows them the free movement of the crossfader for dynamic adjustments with the slightest touch. You can manually increase the tension on these faders by removing the top panel and tightening the head screw on each slider, should you so wish. Being designed from the ground up by Rane, and not just any ordinary board mounted volume fader, these are incredibly resilient and offer exceptional feel in their movement.

Rane Performer

Stem Split

Rane has designed the Performer to work seamlessly with Serato Stems, offering more control over your music than you’ve seen before. With four modes of working with stems on the Performer, you guys are going to go wild for what you can do here, with EQ, acapella and performance pad modes. But, what is off the charts is the Rane exclusive Stem Split feature, which divides your stems into three components and assigns them to the three EQ knobs on the specific channel that is being used. With this, you are able to dial in the amount of each element as you please. It’s not just a case of removing or adding the element, you can blend them and control their volumes from the three EQ knobs. That’s super cool when you can have drums, bass and vocals on each knob and kill them completely, fade them in and out or set different levels as you go along. 

It gets even better with the Stem Split function which, at the press of a button, assigns the vocals to one fader channel and the drums, bass and melody to the other. You then have a fader, EQ and, most excitingly, effects, that can be assigned to one part of the stem, like the vocals alone. Then, you are able to assign the two halves to the crossfader, for more dynamic cutting up of the vocals, and… wait for it, assign either half of the stem to the platter! Look out. Now we can have our vocal track on the vinyl platter and scratch with that, while the rest of the rhythm and melody continue in time on the other side of the crossfader. This is a total game changer in DJ performance, which backs the name Rane gave to this unit: Performer.

Rane Performer 2

The effects section is just as exciting with a host of options at your fingertips, and so much more to be found by deep diving into the effects editing. There are six effects buttons just below the EQ section with a host of additional options and parameters that can be added and saved. You can then apply the effects momentarily, or latch them on with the toggle that is located on either side of the effects section, for the relevant channel.

There’s so much going on here, it’s hard to even scratch the surface, even with a pun. It’s a big unit, with big potential. Solidly built and well-spaced out, this feels like you’re performing with two decks and a four-channel mixer, not just a compact computer controller. Rane have seriously stepped it up with the Performer. You need to get into your local dealer and check one of these out right away, as they are just available now and are sure to be in hot demand.

For local enquiries, visit ELFA.