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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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Ableton Blog

A new community based blog has been set up by Ableton called Ableton Blog……genius!

Well actually it is, the idea behind the blog is for Ableton users to share everything Ableton, from free max for live plug-ins to tutorials and free instruments.

One of my favourite items on the blog at the moment is a free drum rack using a Casio Rapman keyboard and you have Florian Blauensteiner to thank for it. You can download the drum rack here.

Ableton Update

If you use a Mac for Ableton then you’ll be please to know Ableton have recently released Live 8.2.6, which among other things promises to fix the issues with the Lion operating system.

The latest version of Ableton is now ready to download now.

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