I’ve been rediscovering my love of vinyl over the last few months, and I finally updated one of my turntables to something more modern and user friendly. German DJ company Reloop do a range of decks that suit both DJ and home use, and I picked up their entry-level model, the RP1000M, from the superb team down at Juno. Priced at around £129, it represents classic styling and good, entry level specs with room to make upgrades to cartridges and shells.
There is no denying a classic design, whatever the subject might be. Certain things seem to tick almost every box when it comes to style, substance, functionality and usage. The Technics 1200 series of turntables is one such object. A design that barely changed over its near 40 year lifespan. So when Matsushita killed it off in 2010, much to the dismay of Hi-Fi lovers and DJ’s everywhere, it was almost inevitable that people would attempt to clone it. Many have been successful, many have not. Reloop’s entry level turntable sits somewhere in between.
The visual design of the 1200/1210 decks has been copied ad infinitum, sometimes blatantly and sometimes with a degree of subtlety. The RP1000M makes absolutely no bones about its visual inspiration. It bares more than a passing resemblance to the Japanese classic of old. On closer inspection, there are give-aways, other than the branding, that tell you this isn’t quite what it seems. So, it has the S-shaped tone arm, the large Start/Stop button with 33/45 buttons to the right, a pitch slider, wheel-away needle illumination and an on/off rotary switch with built in strobe light. Certain things have been tweaked. For example, the buttons are rounded, rather than the straight edges found on the Technics. The pitch slider doesn’t sit in a recess and there is no record centre stored to the top left. However, it does have some considerable bulk and weight, giving you some confidence in its construction.
But most importantly, how does it play?
Well, fitting the cartridge, which houses an Audio Technica 3600L stylus, is simple enough. The cartridge comes pre-attached to the Reloop shell, but has all the standard adjustments should you wish to tinker with overhang and azimuth. I found these to be acceptable out of the box. Setting up the counter balance was straight-forward too. The 3600L has a vertical tracking force of 2.5g to 3.5g and I achieved perfectly acceptable performance at 3.0g, as one would expect. Anti-skate was set at just under 3.
Unlike the SL’s, this is a belt driven deck, hence the price point, but it has pretty good start up and stop response times and on the underside of the deck are two recessed adjustment screws, one for each speed, to get the speed as accurate as possible.
Mains connection is via a standard, removable figure of 8 style lead and there is around a metre or so of cable length for the two phono plugs and ground connector. This model does not feature a built in pre-amp, line out or USB connection.
Quite simply, I was playing discs within 15 minutes of unpacking, and all was good. Whilst the Start/Stop button felt a bit woolly at first, it was found to be responsive to a light touch, and if necessary, there is a remote socket on the rear of the deck, should you wish to connect a latching foot switch or some such.
I am far from any kind of expert, but I’ve thrown a lot of different vinyl at it this weekend and it has played it all faultlessly, with a very nice, clean sound. It feels well built, with a metal chassis and metal top plate, however, the rest of the unit is plastic, albeit seemingly sturdy plastic. The big feet on the base provide good vibration isolation and keep the deck locked in place.
These decks seem to be selling for around £130, although I managed to haggle £10 off my purchase. Clear, perspex lids are a further £25. A standard slip-mat is included.
Overall, this is a really good turntable for a simple, no fuss home Hi-Fi set up. What it lacks for in the boutique looks stakes, it makes up for in classic turntable design. I use mine for both personal use and to play out music on an internet radio station. For these purposes, it ticks all of my boxes. As to how good it fares in a DJ situation, I couldn’t comment, but I’d be happy to recommend this as a decent entry level purchase for any home listener.