The perfect computer DJ controller remains elusive. Serious turntablist DJs, of course, will want decks. But what if you’re scratching homebrew Reaktor instruments, or jogging through video for a VJ set (which, sorry, isn’t really subtle enough to require a full deck), or just adding scratch to a laptop set?

Our own Adrian Anders notes the new Vestax VCI-100 in comments:

Vestax VCI-100 Product Page

Here’s what it looks like on paper (or, erm, website pixels anyway):

  1. Jog wheel “constructed with a high-resolution pulse sensor; touch sensor and acrylic platter mechanism”. Have to actually try that out to know what that feels like. Jog wheels have built-in “sensor LED.”
  2. Hardware-adjustable crossfader controls
  3. USB MIDI connection, bus-powered
  4. 90 assignable parameters
  5. Plug and play (class-compliant)
  6. Bundled with Traktor LE

The controller layout is a little unusual in that there’s a loop/sampler section at top left and generic “effects” controls at upper right. I’m guessing some folks will like that, and others won’t.

Pricing, availability — no official word. Hopefully we’ll hear more at NAMM.

Updated: DJDeals is showing March 2007 availability and US$499 price (lower, unlisted price available):
DJDeals VCI-100

I’d want to test it first, obviously, and I’d take reseller availability dates with a grain of salt, but that gives us a ballpark.

NAMM Hands-on:

More on the VCI-100 from Josh Jancourtz on the floor of the Winter NAMM show:
NAMM: Vestax VCI-100, Heavy Metal MIDI Controller for the DJ

  • Adrian Anders

    The controller layout is a little unusual in that there’s a loop/sampler section at top left and generic “effects” controls at upper right. I’m guessing some folks will like that, and others won’t.

    It should be noted that this is not in any way an audio device, and all of the controllers are strictly MIDI in nature. Hence, they don't HAVE to be anything. They have Traktor parameters printed because that's what the device was originally intended to be used with. However, since it's a generic MIDI controller you can map those controls to ANY synth, effect, mixer, device, etc. parameter as long as it accepts MIDI automation in one form or another.

    I can't wait to do crab cross fades with this sucker. I want to see for myself if what they say about MIDI latency/resolution when it comes to scratch mixing is true, or is it a whole lot of bunk spit by a bunch of anti-computer turntablist luddites.

    ATA

  • http://www.jaymis.com Jaymis Loveday

    I'm very excited that there's a serious competitor to the Behringer BCD2000 coming out.

    That review is now hitting 100 comments, there's plenty of interest in the thing, but I have trouble recommending it to newbies technically inexperienced people because it's such a cantankerous bitch to set up.

    Very interested to get my hands on this thing, and to discover how customizable the midi assignments are.

  • anon

    "what they say about MIDI latency/resolution"

    Who cares what 'they' say. Do the math! Midi just can't keep up.

    It'll get close though, and that's enough for most.

  • http://una-love.com/beatbike Michael Una

    Vestax makes solid products. Their turntables have so many control parameters it's ridiculous.

    They developed a mass market home vinyl cutter/player a while back, but didn't release it due to lack of consumer interest. I'm still sad about that one.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Well, I agree — let's do the math. At just over 31,000 baud, MIDI is able to transmit 31,000 symbols per second. (That's actually more than 31 kbit/s — a single symbol can contain multiple bits.) Because MIDI uses data encoded as bits, that's actually quite a lot of resolution, even for musical applications. Much has been made of MIDI's data bandwidth, but I think part of the reason there hasn't been a major incentive to replace it is that for most *control* applications, it's actually sufficient. In fact, with a DJ device, it's even less of an issue: extremely small distance to traverse to the computer, and only one device, generally doing only one thing at a time.

    The addition of USB means there are ways of squeezing additional performance above the original capabilities of MIDI over serial DIN.

    For video, even if we're not running at full speed (i.e., you're scratching/jogging, thus changing the speed of the video), it's absolutely a non-issue, because your output video is — if you're lucky — topping out around 30 fps or even 60 fps under optimal circumstances.

    Timing resolution is far less of an issue than data resolution. If you use controllers that scale from 0 to 127, that will obviously be a problem; if you're using MIDI, you need to either interpolate between values in software (which still won't be enough for something big like a jog wheel) or use more data.

    And I think just throwing resolution at a problem doesn't solve it. Consistency of controller response, the feel of controllers, and the overall skill of the performer get far too little consideration.

  • Brooklyn Terry

    I tried it for the first time today. I guess its ok. There reallllly arent many choices. There is the Behringer BCD2000 Behringer (a biger cumbersom monster ) then there is the hercules (in a word… Wack!!!!!!) so the Vestax VCI-100 realy wins by default.

  • Alex Sedov

    DJ`n + VJ`n + MIDI and more else. What about the price of this miraculous thing?

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Read up top — $500 list, it looks like. If it lives up to the quality of Vestax's other stuff, could easily be worth it. Hopefully I'll get up close and personal soon.

  • zoway

    brooklyn terry : you're forgetting XP10 (www.eks.fi or http://www.xp10.fr). And for the moment, this is the winner. One thing the Vestax VCI-100 misses, is : the audio soundcard… Do they at vestax expect us to use the laptop audio out ? I guess not, it's usually crappy – don't even think about using it in a club. So you'll have to buy a good pcmcia / pci-e soundcard to go with the Vestax controller…

  • daniel

    Has it an audiocard included like bcd2000?

  • http://www.onlyhousemusic.org Nicholas Vegas

    Finally a "serious sized" PRO &

    nice looking controller matching perfectly with my

    404. Like i said, i expected something like this from NI but it looks like the gap is filled,

    lemme take a closer look to this one Live in Frankfurt,but im already half convinced

    that this one will make my day.

    Are the "Sensor-LED" lights under the jog wheels simulating a rotation ?

    That would be a nice point.

  • http://www.corporation.tk corporation

    I love this.

    i will definitely upgrade my modded dm2 for this unit.

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  • Daniel Petermann

    Have someone tested, I been looking for information about the audio outputs.

    I bought one Hercules 2 years ago, it is a toy, but comes with one output for your headphones and another for your mix.

    I havent find any information about it.

    Do you need an external audio card?

    Pls tell me noooooooooooooo.

    All the best

    daniel

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    There is no audio interface on this unit; it's a MIDI controller. I say that's a good thing — there are countless possible setups for computer DJ/performance rigs.

  • Daniel Petermann

    Hi Peter, well i dont know what to say.

    I belive is very bad, why you should need another hardware?

    that is …….

    look the picture it loos so easy I dont see any other hardware around just the mac and the VCI 100

    daniel

  • Daniel Petermann

    I was very happy when I so it

  • Gunnar

    Here is an alternative: Kontrol DJ KDJ500

    http://kontrolprodj.com/content/view/3/11/

  • CHERRY-T

    This looks just like what I've waiting for. What non-expensive audio interface would you recommend for a compact set up? Also, is it reliable? I've heard Behringer BCD2000 crashes sometimes…

  • http://www.fredstudio.fr/vestax_vci-100.htm Fredstudio

    Some pictures of my Vestax VCI-100 here :

    http://www.fredstudio.fr/vestax_vci-100.htm

  • http://www.myspace.com/avemccree Da MastaMind DJ Av.

    why was my comment removed???? BCD2000 does crash, but thatS a software issue that can b fix'd if u use VDJ

  • Dave David

    Also, there's this beast on the horizon…

    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/TorqXponent

    Speaking strictly from a DJ perspective, I personally prefer the Vestax device – at least on paper – primarily because it's the only one that I've seen so far that has been designed with the consideration of a providing for 4 band EQ… similar to the A&H Xone mixers I've been using for years, which is also my EQ of choice when using Traktor for demo's, etc. …. also, I like that it's from a company that has long been associated with high "feel" based products… geared primarily towards turntablist's.

    Never the less, "the proof is in the pudding"… we'll just have to wait & see how it actually performs in real life while being used in the for mentioned config!

    To me, the Vestax layout is completely logical, as it addresses virtually all of my primary tactile needs for use with Traktor… although, one really, really nice feature found on the M-Audio surface is the integrated MIDI XY / Mouse!

    Also, for the record – I prefer a control surface that excludes audio capabilities… as I'd prefer to have a separate sound card, preferably one with a very solid ASIO, and of equal importance (to me anyway), balance TRS out… such as the Firewire 1814 I'm currently using right now.

    Looking forward to getting my hands on one of these soon… and probably not letting it out of my sight for weeks!

    Cheers,

    Dave-

  • Digimixer

    Consider the Numart Total Control, a cheaper alternative to the VCI, undoubtedly better better than the Hercules & Behringer

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