What you see before you is the new portable rotary mixer from Union Audio and Mastersounds, and we were lucky enough to get our grubby mitts on the prototype of the Radius 2 for a test run. A collaboration between Ryan Shaw’s Mastersounds metalworks and Union Audio’s mixer building all star, Andy Rigby-Jones, this represents a first for Ryan.
Mastersounds are ubiquitous for their turntable weights, and audiophile 1210 upgrades… but the set is now completed with the addition of the Radius 2. Alongside Rigby-Jones, himself responsible for latest Hawtin plaything the MODEL 1 DJ production mixer, as well as the much lauded Allen and Heath Xone series, the pair combine to provide a robust, expertly built little machine.
As soon as it’s prized from the box, the quality is clear. Compact and solid, the knobs and dials give it the feeling of controlling a member of our underwater naval fleet. Plugged in, and with a 1210 either side (and accompanying Mastersounds turntable weights of course) the expense (not insubstantial at £1200-£1350) is almost instantly justified in sound quality alone. Clarity and warmth is recognisable across the whole frequency range. It invites you to listen.
Working our way through 90’s house pressings, 70’s soul and funk 7″s, and modern electronic releases the Radius 2 lapped up whatever was thrown at it, offering articulate representations of the original which were full of character. To ensure we weren’t getting drawn in under the spell of playing with a hand built rotary mixer we plugged turntable 2 into a Traktor Kontrol K2 mixer. Armed with 2 copies of the same track we proceeded to flip between the two. It was like switching between night and day. Low end was fuller, the mid more textured, and the highs sang with the clarity of crystal.
The set up of low pass filters for each channel and a master EQ is unconventional. After a few mixers however, it seems very natural. The draw back of not being able to roll off the highs of an incoming track is slightly frustrating, but on the other hand forces you to think about the tracks you’re playing. Which is no bad thing in this day and age. The channel master volume knobs are perhaps a little sensitive, but we’re nit-picking now… and would be easily solved with practice.
So if you’ve got £1200 – £1350 burning a hole in your pocket, you could do a lot worse than heading to Mastersounds and placing an order.