NI: The App Controller

If anyone was going to develop a credible DJing app, then it was going to be Native Instruments.

TRAKTOR DJ is their DJ software app which allows you to create mixes, using the familiar Traktor sofware, on your ipad.

The days of laptop DJing could finally be over.  All they need to do is make it wireless so you can DJ, whilst raving with the crowd and everyone would be happy!

Check out more here.

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Vestax: Where it’s at

As you know, we here at FunkNaughty.com are big fans of Vestax and the quality products they offer.

You can click here to read our review of the VCI-400.

You may or may not be aware that Vestax have recently set up a website to sell their products directly to you in the UK,  click here to see what it’s all about, enjoy!

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There are certain manufacturers of DJ equipment, that when they release new hardware, you instantly take note and Vestax are certainly in that group.

At FunkNaughty.com, one of our favourite manufacturers is Vestax and we were only to happy to review their latest controller the recently released VCI-400 Midi Controller.

Overall Impressions

Awesome would be my first and lingering impression of the VCI-400.

It looks good, the build quality is metal and solid, as you’d expect with Vestax.  There are over 200 assignable knobs, faders and buttons, which are well spaced and easy to use, just what you need for customising your hardware to your chosen software.

The controller will work with any DJ software, that has a MIDI learn function and comes with Serato and Traktor MIDI mappings already loaded.

I especially like the feel of the platters and found these to work really well with Traktor.  For me, the best thing about the controller is the 2 sets of 8 trigger buttons, which are fully customisable.

A number of controllers have incorporated these type of buttons, think Akai APC 40 and I personally think they are the way forward.  Incorporating trigger buttons in to the controller gives you the flexibility that allows you to create something totally suited to your DJing style, which ultimately will help you to get noticed.  My advice, think about what you want to do with your DJing, then get stuck in to mapping the controller.

My only gripe and it is only minor, is regarding the size of the controller but considering the functionality on offer and the layout, the size is totally understandable, you just might have to think about the best way of transporting it to your next gig.

Quality Sound

In the club or in the studio, the VCI-400 simply delivers.

Vestax have not compromised when designing the new audio system built in to the VCI-400.  The studio sound quality is determined by its D/A conversion capability, providing a low-latency, bit-perfect audio at 24-bit / 48 kHz resolution, with high level output, Native Instruments, take note for your next controller!

The Competition

In terms of a 4 channel Midi Controller, the main competition to the VCI-400, is the Native Instruments S4 Controller.  Currently priced at around £689.  However, in FunkNaughty.com’s opinion, that’s where the similarities end.

The serious issue I have with the S4 is the lack of volume output for headphone monitoring, the built-in soundcard just isn’t up to it.  To overcome this you can use a separate soundcard, assuming you have one.

The build quality is pretty flimsy as well, which leads me to the following conclusion.  The S4 is a controller you could use at home, all day, woithout any issues but if you’re looking for a robust, hardworking contoller, that’s club ready, then you need the VCI-400 and at £629, you’ll be saving yourself a few quid as well.

Technical Features

  • Works with: Serato, Virtual DJ, Traktor Pro, Torq, Mixvibes, Mixx, Deckadance, djDecks and more
  • 200 assignable parameters
  • Fully customisable
  • Optional overlay and mapping files to any software
  • Exceptional D/A conversion with 24-bit / 48kHz resolution
  • High level output
  • Studio-grade asynchronous USB streaming system
  • Low-latency bit-perfect audio
  • Bundled with Serato DJ Intro and Virtual DJ LE 4 Decks
  • Dimensions: 457(W) x 328(D) x 61(H) mm (includes knobs)
  • Weight: 4.5kg

A big thank you goes to Reishi at Vestax and for more information about the controller click here.

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Mostly Robot: Behind the Scenes of Sónar 2012

Mostly Robot Logo

A behind the scenes look at the debut gig at Sonar 2012 of Native Instruments new DJ super group Mostly Robot.

Early this year Native Instrument’s announced the formation of a new DJ super group made up of an array of industry stars – Jamie Lidell, Tim Exile, Jeremy Ellis, Mr. Jimmy and DJ Shiftee. Who would be utalising an array of N.I. hardware and software, pioneering creative live performance and showing what is capable with N.I.’s technology.

The video gives you an an insider’s view of each group members role and how all the different elements of the band work together, whilst showing the groups preparation, build up and explosive debut performance.

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TRAKTOR VS SERATO Comparison By DJ Qbert !!!


Scratch legend DJ Qbert checks out and compares Traktor Scratch Pro and Serato Scratch Live. Putting the two systems up against each other and analysing their pro’s and cons.

Who willl win, and be crowned champion of the time coded vinyl DJ systems? Check out the video to find out.

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Pioneer DDJ-S1 Controller Review

Guest writer Steve Williams provides his thoughts and insights into Pioneer’s DDJ-S1 Controller.

pioneer ddj-s1 controller review

Over the past 5 years It would be fair to say that Pioneer have been a step behind the rest when it comes to digital DJ controllers. Sticking to their guns and focusing their attention on their tried and tested main arm of products such as their mixers and CDJs. However in the past 2 years with the big swing towards digital DJing it was essential that Pioneer stepped up their game and threw their hat into the Digital DJ controller ring.

The DDJ-S1 (Serato) and the Traktor equivalent DDJ-T1 are Pioneers answer to a digital DJ controller. The DDJ-S1 maintains the familiar design and layout of Pioneer’s legendary CDJ’s. Which was more comfortable for me coming from a CDJ background. Whilst the addition of integrated Serato software with the controller would allow the greater expression that I desperately wanted. The cliché of the ‘best of both worlds’ had me feeling very optimistic about the controller, although I had to remain sceptical; at the end of the day it is Pioneer’s first attempt.

I had seen many pictures of the S1 but what you can’t gather from the pictures is the size of it, it is quite big! However surprisingly (in a good way) its not that heavy. One issue though I can see it being inconvenient to go gigging at clubs with it but by no means would it be impossible and that is evidently its intended purpose. However, it would be perfect as a professional home set-up, although considering its price tag, it would be a lot of money to spend on a controller that never leaves you’re bed room.

Its three separate unit appearance looks very reminiscent of a Pioneer CDJ setup but with a few tell-tale features and buttons. Given that it is Pioneer I expected only the highest standards of construction and would expect myself to break before the controller does. It doesn’t quite look as luxurious as the higher-end CDJ range but its equally as robust and that is one of my biggest criticisms of other controllers, they often really flimsy and incapable of performing at pro venues, which is certainly not an issue with the DDJ-S1. The unit sits of 4 sturdy legs which raise the controller off the surface it is placed on. Allowing you to easily slide your laptop underneath.

pioneer ddj-s1.2 controller review

On the digital decks section the large CD jog wheels feel typically Pioneer, in the sense that they feel authentic and weighted with comfortable finger grips in the plastic. Everything is where and how it should be with the large vertical cue and play buttons with a looping and hot cue section on each platter, as well as this the less significant controls such as vinyl/CDJ mode, slip, shift, reverse Pioneer have clearly stuck to what they know. That is until you reach the needle strip search feature, which has now been incorporated into various other controllers but this was Pioneers first attempt and to great avail. It makes searching through songs much quicker and easier and actually double function as an alphabet search for you’re library which is a very welcome and a time saving feature.

One thing that Serato have down to a tee is fine-tuning their software to the unit that is being paired with, and this is very evident with the Pioneer DDJ-S1. Take the alphabetised search function for example, this opens up a bar at the top of the screen which allows you to rapidly search through you’re music library solely through the unit. Also the physical controls match the software’s very similarly, which allows greater control over the Serato DJ FX. Two FX can be designated to any source independently with control over parameter, level and the ability to alter FX on the unit itself.

So all in all the DDJ-S1 is a very complete controller, Pioneer have stuck to what they’re good at which was the right decision, especially as it’s their first attempt at a controller. I would love to see Pioneers next digital controller to be based upon a higher CDJ model like the 2000s, it would be much more expensive but totally worth it for the features that you would have at you’re disposal. But the S1 would make a perfect first controller for anyone like me going from CDJs to controllerism to gradually make the transition. It could do with a few tweaks here and there but that’s to be expected. If you get the opportunity to try the S1 for yourself I would highly recommend it but at least watch this video for a cool demo.

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SW4 & the FUNKNAUGHTY DJ Workshop

Summer is here again and for Londoners the August bank holiday means one thing………SW4!

Last year FunkNaughty had the pleasure of hosting our own How To DJ tent, where we gave everyone the opportunity to work the decks like their favourite DJ’s, doing the business on Clapham Common.

SW4 have kindly invited us back to host our DJ workshop again and this year we’re going to make it bigger and better than ever.

We have plenty of surprises in store, so make sure you check us out and put your mixing skills to the test on the latest digital hardware & software.

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Vestax VCI-400

So it’s finally arrived, the Vestax VCI-400 is here!

According to the Vestax website “The VCI-400 is the hardware solution for DJs who have been seeking an instrument that perfectly adapts to their style of performance”.

FunkNaughty will be posting a review of this eagerly anticipated controller in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, you can get some more information about the VCI 400 by clicking on the link below.


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