Vestax will today launch its latest DJ controller, the VCI-400, here at the BPM Show. But we have an exclusive: The official video from Vestax themselves introducing the new controller. Below we run through the controller’s main features, the software it comes with, and offer early analysis of who it will appeal to and where it fits in alongside other controllers, in order to help you decide if this high-end button-fest is going to be the controller for you. Watch and read on…
The Vestax VCI-400 is a heavy, large, metal-constructed controller with more in common with the company’s original VCI-100 or Reloop’s equally well built Jockey 3 than smaller, plastic constructed controllers. The unit is designed to work with Traktor, Serato Intro (which it is supplied with, although that software won’t power all four decks, only two), Virtual DJ (a four-deck LE mapping is in the box) and any other DJ software that can be Midi-mapped – which is pretty much all software.
The construction standard is genuinely high, with metal chassis-mounted knobs, all faders user-replaceable via a removable plate on the underside, multi-mode LEDs inside the buttons to show set state, and Vestax’s proven dual-touch touch-sensitive jogwheels (top plate for scratch, edge for nudge). It has the biggest number of controls I’ve ever seen on any controller, save perhaps the Stanton SCS.1 system, with pads, knobs, faders and buttons in great bit clumps across much of its super-sized surface.
Wisely, Vestax will be providing overlays. There will definitely be an overlay, which you can write on to remind yourself what functions you’ve assigned where, but hopefully the company will also come through on its promise to provide out-of-the-box mappings for major software packages, and then provide overlays to go with those too.
Definitely a power user’s controller, this model is aiming primarily, it seems, at advanced Traktor users and possible Traktor/Ableton hybrid DJs who need all of those extra controls to make their DJ sets something unique. However, as it doesn’t appear to have Serato ITCH certification, it is a non-starter for power Serato users in its present form.
It has a 48kHz/24-bit sound card built in and has input for two microphones, the full range of external devices, and outputs including balanced XLRs (but strangely, no booth out).
Where will it fit in?
The unit fits in alongside the Numark NS6, although as we mention because it doesn’t have Serato ITCH certification like that controller, there’s a limited amount of crossover there. It competes with the Traktor Kontrol S4, not least because it comes in at the same price point (US$999). With so many buttons, it will be possible to map all of Traktor’s functions easily to the hardware, which is an issue Traktor controllers have been having since sample decks rewrote what was required in this area.
As mentioned, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the Reloop Jockey III, not least because it is constructed to the same high-quality all-metal standards, although the Jockey III only has two mixer channels and is an appreciably simpler (and therefore smaller) device.
It’s also like the Denon DN-MC6000 in construction standard, but with the size constraints blown away and all the extra space used to cram in as many extra buttons controls as possible!
The unit is currently only at the prototype stage and the company is hoping to start delivering in Q1 2012. Once we get a finished production model closer to that time we will of course bring you the full Digital DJ Tips review.
Looks like Vestax has gone for the “more is more” approach with this one! What do you think? Have you been waiting for a controller with enough knobs and faders for you to make your mapping dreams a reality? Or does it all just look too big, heavy and complicated for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!