A short while ago, Andy Rigby Jones was flexing his considerable mixer engineering and design muscles with one Richie Hawtin to create the playDifferently MODEL 1. It’s an epic beast with little to challenge it for the highest rung of the mixer ladder. So it does come as some surprise when the very next thing he’s involved in is a tiny wee mixer in collaboration with Ryan Shaw’s MasterSounds, refurbishers and master modders of 1200s and purveyors of vinyl playing accessories. The Radius 2 is no less epic from a quality perspective, but it’s just the smallest collection of absolutely essential rotary bits and bats.
Some beautifully crafted words to accompany the beautifully crafted Radius 2:
Much loved audio accessories company MasterSounds is delighted to announce the release of its next carefully conceived product, the Radius 2, an expertly engineered and lovingly hand built analogue rotary DJ mixer.
With more than twenty years’ experience of DJing, as well as a background in design and manufacturing, MasterSounds founder Ryan Shaw has teamed up with Andy Rigby-Jones, a leading figure in DJ mixer design, whose company Union Audio engineered Richie Hawtin’s recently launched PLAYdifferently MODEL 1 DJ production mixer.
Partnering MasterSounds and Union Audio brings together a meeting of minds, creating a truly superb Rotary mixer with a prime emphasis on quality of sound.
To date MasterSounds has established itself as the go-to company for people looking to upgrade their turntables to the highest specifications, whilst Ryan’s range of turntable weights now sell all over the world, with the likes of Discogs, R&S Records and Fabric all having their own personalised range. Key to the ethos of MasterSounds is Ryan’s passion for his work; he personally inspects every product he sells, at every stage of the process ensuring only the highest quality, from design to manufacturing and finishing, even hand delivering many customised turntables personally.
MasterSounds is the very definition of a boutique UK based company, an ethos echoed by Union Audio.
This new compact, highly portable mixer, has been developed by Union Audio at their Cornwall based workshops over the last twelve months. Andy, former head of design for the world-renowned Allen & Heath Xone DJ mixer range, has personally designed, built and tested the analogue electronics, whilst Ryan’s family owned metalworking factory manufactured the mixers outer casing.
Each mixer is hand built, tested and shipped by Andy himself, ensuring the ultimate in quality, reliability and performance.
Andy Says; “The heart of the Radius 2 is a carefully designed audio signal path, marrying classic analogue circuitry to the latest high performance components and design techniques, all of which contribute to the superb transparency of the mixer.”
The main focus was on accuracy of audio reproduction, with minimal distortion, low noise floor and high headroom, aided by only using components of fine quality”.
While Ryan adds, “I deal with customers on a daily basis who are interested in audio upgrades, and central to the setup is usually a rotary mixer. Going back to the 70’s and the original disco era, DJs like Larry Levan of the Paradise Garage were obsessed with sound; Larry’s music choice was to play disco through a rotary mixer and a great sound system. Now people want to play their records as the original DJs did back in the 70’s as there is something purer about mixing without using faders.”
The Radius 2 offers a fantastic clean, open and dynamic sound on both LINE and RIAA inputs, as well as great usability. The mixer also features easy-reading VU meters, a responsive Master EQ/Isolator, a smooth natural sounding hi-pass filter on each channel, and an AUX send/Return system for easy integration of external effects.
This is a premium product for true music lovers that comes in at a competitive price point given the dedication, quality and love that has, and will continue to go, into each hand built unit.
Prices start at £1200 including VAT, and £1350 including VAT for the even higher specification version. Both available in black and silver colour options.
ALL YOU NEED
Just to clear this up for those who might not be able to make out the minimalist feature set — this is an entirely analogue 2 channel rotary mixer with switchable RIAA (that’s turntables to you) and line (if you really must use CDJs) inputs. The audio path is kept as clean as possible and only features an EQ stage on the master output. But for those who do require more control, you can send the channels out to external devices, and have control over what comes back in.
And no, I’m quite certain that you can’t fit an Innofader in there either. But I would love to see wooden sides made for it.
FOR THE PURISTS
As I keep saying (and will do until I hang up my headphones) that the very basics of DJing is playing one track to the next and back again until the bouncers drag you from the turntables and kick you out into the street. And the Radius 2 is the very epitome of having just enough to fulfil this core function. But it does it with the absolute pinnacle of quality from a DJ perspective. It makes you focus on sound quality, and is all about delivering the very best audio fidelity to the dance floor that you can.
I see this as a building block — the foundation stone to an amazing setup that can be used on its own to play vinyl as it was intended to be heard, but also allowing for additional devices to be added into the audio path for more control. Of course, the output will only be as good as the input, and no amount of analogue magic is going to make a bootleg sound special. But at least it’ll sound the best that it can.
Given that MasterSounds is based just 20 minutes from the Worxlab, I hope to be able to grab one of these and give it a thorough road test and glossy photoshoot in due course.