What you see before you is the new addition to the rotary mixer family from Union Audio and Mastersounds, and being the jammy gits we are, we managed to get hold of the Radius 4 for a test run. A continuation of the collaboration between Ryan Shaw’s Mastersounds metalworks and Union Audio’s mixer building all star, Andy Rigby-Jones, this represents the second member of the Radius family, joining the already excellent 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 4 channel mixing machine which provides an additional 2 channels compared to the Radius 2. All are equipped to provide line or phono inputs… so if you’re Jeff Mills or you’ve got more CDJ’s than room 1 at Fabric, it matters not. The connectivity is there.
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 is almost instantly justified in sound quality alone. Clarity and warmth is recognisable across the whole frequency range. It begged us to listen. The subtlety of the response on the channels, and in particular the filter, has you gently blending from track to track, and it turns DJing into a real joy. So often these days DJs are just dropping bangorz after bangorz, but instruments like the Radius 4 remind us that discretion can be just as powerful… if not more so.
Working our way through vintage vinyl, modern heavy weight pressings, 320kbs mp3’s and even just a youtube stream, the Radius 4 improved 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 we plugged turntable 2 into another of Andy’s creations, the Xone42 mixer. 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.
When we reviewed the Radius 2, we remarked…
“The set up of low pass filters for each channel and a master EQ is unconventional. After a few mixes 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.”
The aforementioned set up is simply extended across four channels on the Radius 4, but the sensitivity we found on the Radius 2 master channel (albeit a prototype) would appear to have been softened on the Radius 4, and at just a smidge more expensive (£1450) than the Radius 2 (£1200) it’s clear where your money is going… “minimal distortion, low noise floor and high headroom”, as Ryan himself would say.
If the Radius 2 was a 9 out of 10… I’d suggest the Radius 4 is easily good for a 9.5….
As they say these days. WANT!