I’ve DJed on and off over the years and recently I picked up a Traktor S4. I love the thing. Native Instruments really has the software and hardware working together in a dreamlike manner. With the Sample Decks it’s also very interesting from a producer’s standpoint. What you see above is Vestax’s answer to the S4 the VCI-400. It does much of the same with a few differences. You can easily switch out the faders, the filter knob has a light when it’s on and some other niceties. The S4 is probably still the best choice for most people though. The new VCI will be available early next year.
“At about 2 inches shorter than the s4, the VCI-400 strikes a nice balance of being well spaced but looking reasonably portable. It will fit in more backpacks and conveys a nice solid look that feels at home next to turntables and mixers. Most other plastic controllers do seem a bit out of place in the rugged and utilitarian dj environment.” – djtechtools.com
I am a mouse and keyboard shortcut guy. I work faster sitting in front of a LCD screen than in front of a hardware mixer. If your an Ableton Live user I highly recommend opening Live, go to the Help menu and select Read the Live Manual… Next, head directly to Chapter 26 “Live Keyboard Shortcuts” and start memorizing.
For those of you who still want to touch some knobs there is an interesting new device from Vestax that was announced at NAMM. The VCM600 was designed in partnership with Ableton and it’s specific use is Live.
There are lots of controllers out there and almost all of them will work Ableton Live but this one is in my radar for a few reasons. First off, it’s designed for Live. Second, Vestax is a on a roll lately. Have you seen the VCM-100/VCI-100? Highly gearlustable DJ controllers that match Apple’s Macbook Pro line perfectly. The third reason is: metal. These things are made of metal. The faders sit and slide in a metal chassis. Lastly, check out the sides of the unit. From underneath the curved edges is a row of white LEDs that light up the face of the unit in the dark. Wicked!
If you buy a hardware controller it’s for how it looks and feels. The new Vestax makes me want to touch it. That said, I’m still sticking with my Matias Tactile Pro Keyboard and Apple Mighty Mouse.