Review & Video: Vestax Spin2 Controller For djay

Review Summary:

The Spin2 really shines for iPhone or iPod Touch users, or for users who want to use djay (or vjay) software with the same controller across all Apple platforms. Under the cover, it's a USB-class compliant Midi controller with dual stereo output sound card, and can be used with the DJ software of your choice should you want to.

Vestax Spin2 Controller for djay
Vestax Spin 2

The Vestax Spin2 promises to build on the original Spin, by offering better compatibility with all versions of the djay software that it’s built to control.

Review: Vestax Spin2 Controller for djay

The original Vestax Spin, which we reviewed back in 2010, was developed specifically for Algoriddim’s djay for Mac. Later, it was one of the first controllers to offer support for djay for iPad – albeit via the camera connection kit (CCK), which meant your iPad couldn’t charge at the same time as using the controller. (Of course, as the camera connection kit doesn’t work with iPhone, that meant it couldn’t control the iPhone version of djay at all.)

Now the Spin2 has arrived, with the promise to fix these limitations, among other things. So how exactly has the Vestax Spin controller evolved, and how does the Spin2 shape up with other controllers at a similar price point? That’s what our Vestax Spin2 review will reveal…

What’s new?

New look for the Spin 2

The new layout has made room for more features than the original Spin (Click to enlarge.)

The Spin was always an easy controller to use, but now some of the key controls have been repositioned to be in a more logical place. For instance, the “Sync” button is now alongside the other key transport controls at the bottom of each deck, and the output level display is now in the centre section, between the two volume sliders (kudos for having VUs at all; many budget controllers don’t).

The layout of the EQ and gain controls (as rotary dials) now feels much more intuitive and in keeping with other controllers, against the rather unusual sliders of the previous model. This also creates some space on the unit for other functionality. These new features include hi/lo pass filter, FX parameter adjust dial, three hot cue buttons, three slip loop buttons (1/8, 1/4, 1/2, which double up as instant FX buttons if the Shift button is pressed), and a touch-sensitive strip for quick track searching.

The six new buttons (for slip loop/FX and cues) also operate as sample pads when the “Sampler” button is pressed. Also, while it appears that you need to use the screen to change the FX you want to trigger from the unit because there seems to be no way of scrolling through FX from the hardware, there actually is; you just use shift plus FX on. for some reason this isn’t printed on the unit itself. This is all great news – more features means more options for creativity during a mix. However, not such good news is that the microphone input has been removed on the Spin2.

The back panel

Spin 2 - Rear of the unit

The Spin2 has connectivity for Mac and iOS, with sound routing options too. (Click to enlarge.)

Around the back of the Spin2 there are a few changes too. Vestax has been wise to add some user control over how the sound is dealt with, something we noticed when looking at the Spin2 at BPM 2012. This means that the Spin2 will work fine with the audio routing regardless of which iOS version you are running. Because the Spin2 is a certified Apple device, you will be able to use it and charge your iOS device at the same time – something not possible using a CCK with the original Spin unit. If you’re running iOS6 then all of your audio output will be in stereo (assuming you’ve flicked the switch at the back of the Spin2!).

This is also good news for iPhone/iPod Touch users who wouldn’t have been able to use an original Spin unit as the CCK is not recognised by those devices. In fact, the pairing of a Spin2 with a smaller iOS device feels like a good match for an ultra-portable set-up.

In use

Because the Spin2 is so closely tied in functionality and design to both djay and vjay by Algoriddim, it feels intuitive to use, and overall I found it to be incredibly good fun.

Spin 2 works with vjay

Here’s a bonus: Spin2 works perfectly with vjay by Algoriddim too.

Cueing on the Spin2 is a simple affair; the 1/4″ headphone jack at the front has a volume control and you choose which deck (or both) to listen to. There’s no mix of the cue signal, though, which would have been nice. The jogwheels are almost unchanged from the original model; however, gone is the cheesegrater finish, to be replaced by a sleeker, vinyl-type metallic surface. As before, they are good quality. The sensitivity of the metallic surface for each deck can be adjusted at the rear of the unit, and you can still use the plastic edge of the jogwheels for nudging your tracks (like pitch bend) during playback.

Using with iOS
Inevitably, perhaps, I found a few limitations with iOS devices. There are six slip loops available in the app, but only three are displayed; the instant FX triggered from the three buttons on the Spin2 are pre-determined (there are six available in the app); and the sampler isn’t accessible via the app, so you can’t adjust the volume of the samples or change the samples available (unlike the djay interface for the Numark iDJ Pro).

Overall, while using a larger-screen device with the Spin2 (ie your iPad or Mac) certainly makes browsing for the next track and moving between FX easier than on an iPhone, I did like the idea of being able to drop the Spin2 into a small bag and head off on the bus to a party at a moment’s notice, to be used with nothing more than the phone in your pocket. Quite liberating don’t you think?

Conclusion

For me, the Spin2 really shines for iPhone or iPod Touch users, or for users who want to use djay (or vjay) software with the same controller across all Apple platforms. The price may put some off though, as the Spin2 is a little more expensive than the original Spin, putting it closer to the Numark iDJ Pro, which is perhaps the better choice for iPad users.

Spin 2 detail

Rotary EQ and Gain controls are better than the sliders of old.

It’s worth noting that although the Spin2 is branded with the Algoriddim logo and is clearly aimed for use with djay and vjay on Apple devices, under the cover it is a USB-class compliant Midi controller with dual stereo output sound card. As such, it should be possible to map the Spin2 to the DJ software of your choice (such as Traktor Pro 2) if you wanted to.

Also, if you’re a DJ Player user then there’s an automatic mapping which will kick in if you connect the Spin2. This mapping redefines some of the controls of the Spin2 such as the central cross button to move between screens on the app and the six buttons map to cues / loops.

Overall, then, the Vestax Spin2 is a well built, diminutive, consumer-level DJ controller. Particularly for Algoriddim customers who use that company’s software across Mac and iOS devices and want one controller that works seamlessly with them all, or for iPhone DJs who want a controller full stop, it is a well thought-out proposition.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

The Spin2 really shines for iPhone or iPod Touch users, or for users who want to use djay (or vjay) software with the same controller across all Apple platforms. Under the cover, it's a USB-class compliant Midi controller with dual stereo output sound card, and can be used with the DJ software of your choice should you want to.

Vestax Spin2 Controller for djay

Video Review

Are you thinking of buying a controller for your iOS device and/or Mac? Is the Spin2 missing any “must-have” features for you? Do you own a Spin2, and if so, what are your thoughts? Please feel free to share in the comments.

 

Comments

  1. Dirty Disco Soundsystem says:

    Ta for that! Been waiting for this for what seems ages. Luv Djay so this may be the one.
    Not so sure about that build, tho’. We’ll see…

  2. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    When it comes to iOS software my preference goes out to DJ Player, but with an automatic mapping in place that need not be a deal breaker. What is a deal breaker for me though is the the lack of a mic input and (am I right?) the lack of an aux input.

    Lot’s of the parties I do (including weddings and business events) require me and/or others to use the mic occassionally and not having that option is … well … not an option :-)

    For now I’ll keep my eye on the Numark iDJ Pro, which has the added bonus of physically integrating the iPad.

    Greetinx,
    C.

    • I’m actively researching the NI Kontrol Z2 mixer for use with DJplayer.

      Seems it works, which I’m about to try in the next couple of days in a retail shop here. If it does, it will be my device of choice, most likely.

      Alternative to this, the vci-400 is tempting IMO, and it has two mic ins + two extra mixer channels, on top of the pure MIDI. Perhaps for wedding/mobile work, it’d be a better choice for your use case.

      Of course, none of these alternatives has the ability to charge the ipad, but I don’t care – it runs so long on battery.

  3. I’ve got a question, because this has the apple 30pin connection what happens if you want to connect and charge something with a lightning connection?

    Will a lightning connection adapter work with it without any issues?

    • Yes it will charge with no issue at all. I had this unit with my ipad mini which I needed the adaptor,and it work with no problem I had it running 4 hrs straight. I don’t have this unit no more I return it.Two reason why I return it 1 it was to pricey and 2 the power plug is very lose it come off very easy so u need to be careful not to move it. Don’t get me wrong it’s a nice unit I like it a lot if they drop $100 off I will buy it again. I’ll stay with my xdj aero unit they come out with something nice for the ipad. Well I got my eye out for the numark idj live 2 see what happens and it’s only $100 too :0)

  4. When I look at it, it just seems like looking at my MacBook screen with DJay running. I mean, in what way does this controller add to the functionality of the software? What does the Spin2 do, that can’t be accomplished with one, SINGLE key stroke, on my laptop keyboard? I want this to simplify my journey through my iTunes library, make it easier to navigate FX, set cue points, and adjust the mix. I guess DJay is simple and it just works. I get using this with the iOS versions as what can fit on the screen is limited. I enjoy the Mac version, but I don’t see the Spin2 adding to my experience in any way. It’s time for Algoriddim to come out with a pro version of DJay with beat grids and sample decks. I’d buy it.

    • Same as all controllers – it gives you physical control over the parameters of the software. There’s no keystroke that can begin to replicate the feel of a jogwheel, for instance, and overall most DJs prefer physical controls.

    • one thing we can be sure of is that karim and co are constantly working on new updated versions of the software. but ya know, success is a funny thing, it makes you want to hold onto it, so where we the consumers, expect innovation, we often get stagnation. and on that note, I couldn’t agree more about this, and other controllers, not adding much that I can’t do with the keyboard. i think there should be a full scale mutiny by the dj consumers to just stop buying any and all midi controllers until we see something that actually adds functionality relevant to the way we are playing right now. and sadly, this thing ain’t it.

      • Right on. My only exposure to DJing is in the digital genre, so the whole “feel” thing doesn’t exist. I guess, in a way, I’m lucky, a blank canvas. I enjoy djay. I have been able to gain a comfort with a two deck setup and the fun I’ve had has lead me to sites like this with a thirst to know more. After a period of investigation, I’m going the Traktor route. I’m plan to do as much as I can with the software, my keyboard, and a mouse. I want to learn as much as I can before selecting a controller. I refuse to buy something for the sake of fun, or because it looks cool. WHEN, I find that my lack of whatever device, is holding me back, I will purchase gladly. I feel like with the release of the DDJ-SX/Serato DJ package, that NI, or Vestax, will strike back. For some reason I’m turned of by the S2/S4. Right now, the VCI-400 looks like the best option and it would allow me to work with any software, including djay. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it is a year and a half old. There has to be something better around the corner. This is a highlighted quote from another lowly DJ site: “Traktor without a controller is like a bike without tires, it’ll do the same job, but it’s way less fun and it doesn’t look right either.” I don’t want to be the guy going, “shucks, if I had just waited a couple of months….” Maybe just adding an X1 and an F1 to my current setup, will do the trick. Time will tell.

  5. Mark Bryan says:

    Hi, Great review, I’m stuck now, saw the idj pro and wanted it, then heard about all the issues with the poor sound, what experiences do you guys have with the sound when you were testing it? Then decided to go for the Spin 2, it’s smaller than the idj pro and I preferred to have my ipad at the back like with a laptop, but no then no mike input? (Is there a way round this) I really don’t know what to buy now, love the Djay app, it just made me want to take my dj-ing to the next level as I own a ipad 2. Any suggestion would be welcomed.

    • There’s nothing wrong with the iDJ Pro sound in our experience. If you want to add a mic to the Spin2, the only way to do it is to use a small external mixer and plug both the Spin2 and the mic into that, and take the output from that off to your speakers like normal – you can get a mixer like that for around $80.

  6. Fay Garrett says:

    Does the VS2 work with mini Ipad and how does it charge when it’s playing music

    Waiting to play some music

  7. So I just bought the vestax spin 2 and I currently have and iPad. My problem tho is that every time I plug in my iPad to the system the sound cuts off and doesn’t play until I take it off the plug? Could anybody help me fix this problem?

  8. rodriguez says:

    Hello everybody.
    I’ve got a vestax spin 2 and i’m loving using it! But I meet one problem… I use it with my iphone (5S). I tried to make live mixing during a festival but there was a problem of power to much down! I actualy don’t unterstand why. I did connect my vestax spin 2 to a DJM 600. Is someone meet the same problem during a live mix?
    Thank you
    JiBi

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