Controller Clinic #13: Best Controller For Mixing Older Music?

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beginner digital dj tips dj controllers vestax vci-300
Last updated 6 August, 2017

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Vestax VCI-300 Mk II
Vestax VCI-300 Mk II: No effects, only two decks… but great for the DJ who wants to mix older music and doesn’t need any more than this.

Digital DJ Tips reader Gabriel from California writes: “I want to get back into small clubs, and find a crowd that appreciates my track selection. Mainly Motown, Northern Soul, Stax… so a lot of drops, less overlapping mixing, but If I do 80s then I’d need a good beatmatch. I currently have the Vestax Spin, but I feel it is arm wrestling me at getting my DJing done. I want to spend around US$800-900. Can you recommend a two-channel controller, with a safety input channel for an iPod (in case my Macbook Pro gets a glitch)?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Because of your requirements, I think complex controllers with effects, samples and so on are not necessary at all for you. What is necessary is good sound quality, something robust that won’t break on you, and something with software that’s equally at home playing older, non-beatmatched music as it is the early electronic music that was coming out in the 1980s.

The controller I’d recommend to you is the Vestax VCI-300. It’s getting old, so look for a bargain, and get the Mk II rather than the Mk I, because the Mk II has a higher output volume (the Mk I, for all its strengths, was a bit “quiet”). This controller is just two decks, very few bells and whistles, and it works a treat. It’s very close to the feel of two decks and a mixer, which is great for what you want. It is easy to DJ on, and comes with Serato ITCH, which is simple-to-use but powerful, effective DJ software that’s just as comfortable with non-electronic music as it is with music you wish to beatmatch – especially if you set the software to simple sync mode.

This set-up should last you for a long time and not “get in the way” of your DJing.

Do you DJ a similar style to Gabriel? What do you use? Are you a VCI-300 user? What do you think of the controller? Or if you think something different might suit him better, what would that be? Please share in the comments.