NAMM 2008- Controllers Reviewed (updated)

In 2008 Dj midi controllers are finally breaking free of their more conservative constraints and officially becoming completely bad ass. The biggest development, as I predicted several months ago, is the appearance of motorized platters in the midi world. Stanton, Numark, Denon and Vestax all premiered midi controllers that are using spinning platters in place of jog wheels. Not only are they spinning but several companies have duplicated the real feel of a record by incorporating real records and slip mats on top. Every one seems to be headed in the same direction but the way each company actually implemented these concepts in term of technology vary dramatically. We will do a full expose on all of them later, comparing the performance and technology to find out who has best replicated the turntable in midi land.
In the mean time take a look at what each of the new controllers brought to the table:

A European Upstart

One of my more interesting discoveries at NAMM 2008 was pulled out on the final day and shown to a few select people. Its an incredibly futuristic take on midi controllers from a small Finish company called EKS that released one of the first digital dj controllers in 2002. They have remained far out the spot light until now but that may all change at MusikMesse 2008 when they release the “Otus”. There is not too much to tell about it as all I saw was a plastic mock-up but it will boast some very cool features including; Ribbon-style pitch control, X/Y pad built into the surface, 4 mini jog wheels with integrated buttons, built in 2/3 channel sound card and motion sensors- all in the coolest packaging we saw by far at NAMM this year.

Upside: Was built to fit on a turntable. High tech design promises lots of totally unique control surfaces.

Downside: we don’t have any idea how well it will actually work.

Estimated Release Date – March

Street price- unknown

Serato Goes Digital

Well they were always digital but still kept one foot firmly planted in the analogue turntable world. That all changes now with the release of “itch” Serato’s new program built to be natively controlled by 2 dj controllers, The Numark NS7 and the Vestax VCI-300. Why not let every-ones controller work with their software? Simple, because midi wont work at all- they have developed a new control surface protocal that promises better resolutions and higher performance. I suspect its the same way the TTM-57’s control section also communicates with the Serato Scratch software today. The other reason was explained best by Serato head Sam Gribbon ” Things should work perfectly together out of the box. When you take it home from the store you want to plug in your new toy and play- not figure out a lot of complicated assignments.” So by working with the hardware manufacturers to design and connect their devices to itch natively Serato can guarantee that everything will work as you would expect it. That’s music to a lot of ears and a fundamental reason behind the un-deniable success of Serato Scratch Live. Hardly content with ruling the DVS market the Serato camp is now ready for a shot a new title in the pure digital dj division.

So what is different about Itch from Serato Scratch Live? Almost nothing- they are essentially the same software but designed to be controlled by different tools. You may know that you are unable to access all the features in Scratch live without having the Rane/Serato box connected to your computer via USB. The same will be true with Itch, as you must have one of the 2 supported controllers connect in order to run the program.

Upside: You don’t have to buy turntables and a mixer and you get reliable hardware/software compatibility.

Downside: No major upgrades to the software which means you might miss some features you got used to like on-board effects. no support now for the scratch video plug-in but that may change in the future.

Release Date: Unknown- first demo in march

Price Point: Included with the controllers and no prices now on those.

Everybody wants to hate on Stanton.

After the final scratch debacle and a history of less than solid gear its going to be a long uphill battle to convince the public to try them out again. This year at NAMM 2008 they released a Digital DJ mixer/player combo package and at first glance, the product looks decidedly Stanton. There-for many people have written it off as a toy and not looked any deeper. After Jim Mauzer from Stanton gave me a personal run through of the product I left with a completely different impression. Although it does not look terribly pro, there is some seriously cool technology under the hood. The plastic housing belies the solid construction and well made components. Many people will look at the scooped rubber faders and laugh but apparently they will be replaced by the more standard square fare (same as the SA-5) upon release. The platters will send out midi data but if software will support it they can send out resolutions of up to 1000 points per revolution. Stanton has also tried to restore their image by bringing in an entirely new engineering team led by Alen Zack who was the head engineers for Line 6.

Pros: 4 velocity sensitive drum pads beneath the spinning platter. Push button endless encoders with LED displays to show relative position. Large high Torq jog wheels with the same Torq and platter wheel (although 10″) as the STR-2150 . Very configurable and will feature many pre-set configurations built into the unit. motorized pitch fader that follows deck selects- a first to my knowledge. Both Pitch fader and the platter are temporarily assignable to multiple functions on the unit.

cons: heavy and a bit large for a single player/ Also expected to be quite pricey. Around $2100 with a matching mixer or $1200 for a single player. Firewire connection uses up your only firewire port

Release Date: may 2008- some units are already manufactured.

Estimated street price: $1199 for the player SES1-E and $899 for the mixer SES-1M

The Denon that does everything

Denon has been steadily making good cd players for many years trying to carve out a piece of the Pioneer market share. They have built up a lot of experience and technology in the process and all of that has been applied to their new CD midi controller. To just call it a midi controller does the piece disservice though because it is so much more than just that. Many pieces of gear are very focused on specific tasks in the dj world but this one certainly offers the best flexibility out of all of them. It can essentially do what almost every product out there can do and in some cases better. Like the IDJ2, you can use a single Denon to effectively mix 2 songs from single USB source. Perhaps you also want to play burned cds just like a CDJ, with a modular design you can easily place a CD drive in the front bay and it becomes a fully functional cd player. In place of the CD bay you could even install a hard drive and permanently load your entire dj music collection in the device and never touch a laptop. Then of course it appears to work well as a midi device with loads of options for some very advanced control. Don’t be surprised if this Denon becomes the third official controller that is approved to work natively with Serato Itch.

Pros: Very flexible, does almost everything you could ever want in multiple formats. internal FX.

Cons: record overhang causes user error when pitch bending with the side wall.

Estimated Release Date: Shipping mid feb

Price: $949

Serato + Vestax = Torq Killer

The question on every-ones mind last year was if they should go with the Xponent or the VCI-100 as each one brought different strengths to the table. The VCI-300 essentially takes all the best features of each product and blends them together. This dynamic duo promises to be a fantastic combo and a very popular product in the coming year. The team at Serato worked closely with Vestax for the past year to develop a more compact controller that would effectively control all of the options offered by the new Itch program. With a built in sound card, all you need is a pair of headphones and your off and running.

Pros: Reactive buttons borrow from my arcade mod to provide very good action.

Cons: if you really want motorized platters, this one is equipped with jog wheels but they are much more tactile and larger than the VCI-100.

Estimated Release date: Summer 2008
Street Price: unknown

Finally, something for the Ableton guys.

Staying in line with their motto “we give djs what they want” Vestax showed off their impressive VCI-600, a controller designed to be used with Albeton Live. I saw the drawings for this controller in Japan and made several suggestions for design changes, they were kind enough to include almost all of them and as result this wide and robust midi device offers almost every control you could ever want for driving Ableton live in a club. It remains to be seen how well people react to this mixer style layout but it certainly a very unique controller that will fill a much needed niche.

Pros: master tempo fader and pitch bend buttons offer dj style control for Ableton.

Cons: a midi only device, you will still need to purchase a sound card.

Estimated Street Price: Unknown

Release date: Summer 2008

Numark ‘s all in one

Numark is trying to follow their IDJ2 success with another new product this year called the “NS7”. Squarely aimed at the mobile dj and bedroom dj that want an all in one controller, mixer, sound card package. The NS7 offers everything you could expect in a package you are already familiar with. The size is what will catch you off guard, as it comes off smaller in pictures. Far from compact this device takes up a huge footprint that will absolutely need a flight case if you want to cary it around. That being said the large 10″ motorized jog wheels and ample space around the mixer will not leave you feel like your flying coach on a dj controller. One of the interesting features about this controller is that it was also developed with the team at Serato scratch to control their new software “Itch”. So not only is every function in the software covered by a analogue counterpart but you know that lots of thought went into the design from both camps.
Some notable facts:
High speed midi. 3600 point Resolution faders. 2 Torq settings on the platters @ 1.2 & 4.5 pounds. They might be using an Alesis sound card. Roughly the weight of 2 TTX turntables.

Upside: Hi torq moving platters and lots of space to get wild.

Downside: Its very big

Estimated Release Date: Late 2008

Street Price: Mums the word.

Pioneer CDJ-MIDI

Although many people associate Pioneer with cd players and may not give their new cd/midi device much consideration. Remember that their CDJ line is industry standard for a reason- they work well. So if they have managed a way to port that reliability over to the midi realm then it may make for a good product.

Notable features: Plays mp3’s off CD or flash drive media. Speed based jog wheel technology gets velocity info to the computer by paying attention to how fast your spinning the platter.

Downsides: Unable to play 2 songs off a single flash drive. They have no midi maps for any dj software.

Available: Now

Price: $599

“VCI-100” – for Controllerists

I forgot to mention our own controller! This new version of the VCI-100 is an update that brings better performance, controllerism style layout and a complete re-engineering of the VCI-100. The unofficial word on this release is as follows, and the official release will be forthcoming. This edition will be in all black (like the Japan release- the one in the picture is just the black plates placed on the older silver vci) and will only be available in very limited quantity (about 100 pieces). You may be able to place advance orders here on within the next month and they will be shipping in March.

Notable features: by engaging a foot switch or other midi control all the transport buttons and jog wheels become cue points triggers for cue juggling. Simple and easy deck copy implementation. Direct FX single button access not only selects each effect directly but automatically positions all the fx parameters for the best sound. All you have to do is select the button and turn it up for easy performance. Each FX knob not only engages the fx, mixes it in but when turned to 100% reverses or freezes the effect as well.

Pros: Completely engineered by a dj for dj use in clubs. Will feature all the improvements of the black vci-100
Cons: does not include arcade buttons or foot switches.

Estimated Release date: March 2008 (in very limited quantity)

Estimated Street price: Same as the VCI-100 ($5-600) unless they start going on Ebay for much more 🙂

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Comments (92)
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  • dj frikkie

    Hi guys i was to trying to updating the firmware,during? the process lost electricity and it shows please wait loading (Dmix-600) how can i solve this problem please help me.

  • Jamma

    ok ill try the paiting i figure ya just unscrew those top 9 screws…plus th e3 on each face place and paint it…

    how about the virtual dj midi mapping and the samples?

  • Ean Golden

    light colors are harder to do. That would be a much more complicated mod and not one that I would recommend doing. Painting is easy though!

  • Jamma

    ok i jus bought a vci-100…love it. Unfortunately i had to move from Virtual DJ to Traktor because i cant get the scrath wheels to work like they should (or as they do on Traktor).

    1. Is there a midi mapping for Virtual DJ?

    2. I used alot of smaples in Virtual DJ, and there is no sampling in Traktor…Advise me on how i can use samples. whether on traktor or an external program.

    3. I want to personalise my vestax (can't afford to get the Ean Golden edition as i dont live in the US). not to interested in the footcontrols and the arcade buttons (its cool but not my style of djing) basically i jus want to paint over the vestax with my DJ logo, and maybe if possible change the light colours, is it doable and how easy is it?


  • average joe

    yo ean.. are you gonna do a review on the cortex dmix-600??

  • Numsky

    Hey everybody! for all you guys hesitating between the vci and the xponent… why don't you seach a little bit this wonderful website and find the pretty fair and good battle match between the vci and the xponent.. that should help you in your choice…

    personally, my concern is: will the soundcard built-in the vci 300 will be good enough? compared to a vci-100 with a soundcard bought aside…

    thanks to Ean and all the team @djtechtools fo this great place.

  • Average Joe

    Damn… what the hell.. so many controllers coming out…I really don't know what to get anymore.. now I'm just thinking on the vci-300 as well as the xponent..

  • Average Joe

    damn i guess everybody is waiting on the black vci how about the xponent what do u guys think about this controller…????

    I also dont wanna buy the silver vci yet hearing a lot of stuff about it.. so I’m kinda in the clouds right now of what to get at the moment….

    I’ve been thinking of just getting some turntables with a mixer and torq…

  • Hidoki

    forget the 300. get eans or black

  • joe millionaire

    the vci300 is going to be 749$ well atleast thats the price on reserved ones on djdeals

  • tomasz

    since when does a can of paint include new LEDs, smoother faders, lighter buttons and rubberized controls


  • JC

    buy a can of black spray paint. or a littlelight and
    your in business.

  • Editor

    the important thing to remember is that you can do cool things with ANY gear- as long as you have the creative expression. yes there are a few things that are improved with the black vci-100 but owners of the silver one can do just as creative things. gear is just gear, dj tech tools is about giving people the tools to create cool things on their own not focusing on what gear everyone can buy.

  • Sid

    nope its not, the black one is usable in darkness AND its more practical due to the better knobs, buttons etc.

  • johan

    hmm since when did color or an setup on an tool maked it more pro.

    The silver vci is teh same, but in another color.

    Maybe it's time to talk skills before color of gears.

  • Quotify

    the silver vci is so out! get the black or the ean golden one if you are looking for professional club tools.

    silver is good for home use and showing off a mac book pro nuttin more

  • johan

    Just orderd my silver vci 100, gonna look very nice with my dell 1530 and xone 92 rotary.

  • JC

    Update:(from Vestax)

    The current black VCI-100 that is available in Japan is EXACTLY the same as the silver version exept in color. Same functions, buttons etc.

    "IF" they do make the version with "softer buttons" and different firmware it will "maybe, if ever" be alteast 6 months or more before release.

    The black version was a limited run and they are all shipped already to vendors.

    That is the word, from the inside people at Vestax that USA and Japan reps.

    I'm just going to buy the silver one and a black faceplate and call it good.


  • JC

    I contacted Vestax's US distributor, got the same info.

    talked about the mixvibes version, colored faceplates, and they had no idea of a black or Ean version.


    I hope they sell all the silver one's soon so that they can come out with the new model… Oh yeah…no one is going to buy the silver one's cuz they are waiting for the black ones.




  • Ollie Thomas

    Im in the same situation MGyver. Done a fair amount of research, am desperate to buy it but with two other models available, as well as the 300 coming out, Im going to have to wait.

    I gave the UK distributor a call. He knew of both the VCI300 and Ean Golden edition, but could not say anything about release dates, prices. Just going to have the play the waiting game.

  • MGyver

    Been planning for months to get the VCI-100 in March… now that I've read through all of the posts here, I'm a little wary. I don't want to be standing here holding a shiny new silver VCI when the "MK2" is released. Also, I asked the Canadian distributor about forthcoming VCI updates today… he played up the Mixvibes package, hinted at coloured faceplates 'coming soon', and didn't seem to know anything about the Ean Golden edition. But, unless something drastic happens, I'll probably get the silver one, 'cos I needs to play me some music!

  • Dudu P

    Something to think about it: if the Serato's guys asked for manufacturer to leave as much bandwidth as possible, how come the Scratch Live is USB 1.1 in plain 2008????


    Midi is not good, eh? It was meant to play music instruments. Oh, wait, DJs are so fast, they have supernatural reflexes, they need latencies too much minor than a drummer or a pianist…

    Ok, ok, ok….

  • bb

    The czech prices of VCI 300 are fictitious (I hope). It was typically czech fake

  • Norrin Rad

    1 Point DJ Tech Tools

    0 for the rest of the world! 😀

  • Editor

    Funny Side note on our EKS video and post. Djtechtools was the only outlet to report on the upcoming "Otus" and when we wrote about it there were 0 hits on google. now a week later after our post there are over 5K hits! Its nice to know people are paying attention to our little corner of the blogsphere 🙂

  • Tony O.K.

    Sorry "b" but I understand that 1200 are always an great classic was to DJ. But there are many different types of DJ out there with different needs. Sometimes I spin at weddings and well carrying around a laptop with tousands of songs stored is WAY better than the old days when I had to carry around crates of records and a mixer with 2 turntables WHEW! I embrace this new technology.

  • b

    digital is fun with all the options and new controllers, but all the controllers still miss something, look like a toy, or are not club quality. old fashioned analog 1210's still rule, and who needs controllers when you got timecode?

    3 decks, a high quality dj mixer and effects are still the way to go for me, maybe in the future a timecode system, but soundquality is just still not the same.

    i ain't living in the stoneage, and are very interested in the new technology, but it isn't quite up to par just yet!

  • Chris K

    VCI doesn't need ANY soundcard ??? as i can figure … and its no midi controller but a just ''usb'' controller ???

    >>>>>>>>> When will ''Ean Golden'' version release ….. tell us the date approximately at least. Because i have FS2 and i want smth new but i refuse to buy the silver vci-100 … come on do smth.


  • Editor

    Does it have a built-in sound card? Will it work with Traktor? What will be the retail price?

    I sent them an email asking to confirm all the official details. then I will do a post with the final facts.

  • Tony O.K.

    Does it have a built-in sound card? Will it work with Traktor? What will be the retail price?

  • Will

    Reloop available in April

  • Tony O.K.

    Is the Reloop Digital Jockey midi controller available now? If not when will it be?

  • Jesse Brede

    Great reviews. Thanks for the looks.

  • Editor

    <blockquote cite="#comment-534">Yes it is vendor locked. The person that created the software (works for Serato) told me this a "closed system" and you need the controller to use Itch with it and it's NOT MIDI.


    I can absolutely confirm that yes you need to buy the Numark or Vestax product to use the "Itch" program from Serato and yes, they will be communicating via a different protocal that is not public. BUT the numark device is also sending out MIDI and can be connected to other software. Its safe to assume the VCI-300 will be the same but I have no confirmation as of yet.

    <blockquote cite="#comment-543">I checked that czech site out as well.

    They sell the VCI-100 for 435 Euro (640 USD), wheras the VCI-300 goes for 810 Euros (!!) (1200 USD)

    Is Vestax going crazy?

    Vestax has not even stated a expected retail price yet, let alone are they ready to sell it via pre-order. I have very little faith in a random Czech site actually being the first people to sell a unit that was announced 1 week ago. Something tells me those prices are wrong 🙂

  • bb

    We are an expensive country ( I'm from Czech rep.), find some other prices of dj equipment … I bought my vci 100 in May and it costed 15000czk = 750 USD

  • Cage Hauser

    I checked that czech site out as well.

    They sell the VCI-100 for 435 Euro (640 USD), wheras the VCI-300 goes for 810 Euros (!!) (1200 USD).

    For that price, i get a VCI-100, a decent firewire ECHO Audio interface which is far better than the integrated one and Traktor 3 Full, and I am still saving money.

    Is Vestax going crazy?

  • Will

    VCI-300 is NIDI controller, no not MIDI. Serato ITCH software work only with certifacation MIDI controller.

    VCI-100 + Traktor 3 LE – 520 USD

    Soundcard Maya44 USB – 140 USD

    TT: 660 USD

    VCI-300 + Serato ITCH – 980 USD

    Soundcard only 1x stereo input, not use for bypass and play with timecode vinyl !!!

    Reloop Digital Jockey + Traktor 3 LE + Relopp Attack software – 620 USD

    Include soundcard (4 IN / 4 OUT, MIC, headphones), Jog whell very good (as Pionner CDJ-1000) and big size.

  • JC

    Yes it is vendor locked. The person that created the software (works for Serato) told me this a "closed system" and you need the controller to use Itch with it and it's NOT MIDI.


  • Editor

    <blockquote cite="#comment-519">Just czeched out that site with the reloop controller. The VCI300 is on there for ?600! Insane!

    wow, that cant be right.. sure in includes software but your right the sound card can only be worth about $100 dollars.

    vcI-100- $550

    sound card – $150

    softwre- $200

    $900 for a comparable, but more flexible package so you cant think about charging more than that.

    HAs anyone confirmed that is a no-midi vendor locked deal??? any facts on that one???

  • Roberto Vitiello

    So it is 900 Euro / 1400 Dollars for a no-midi vendor-locked VCI-100 with piano finish and a mediocre audio interface.

    which idiots are going to buy that? whats so hard in releasing the black VCI-100 with the traktor effects thingy fixed?


    Just czeched out that site with the reloop controller. The VCI300 is on there for ?600! Insane!

  • JC

    propietary is not the way to go. I spoke to the guy that invented Serato Scratch AND Itch at the Vestax booth as I got excited over the VCI300 until he told me it was a "closed system" (no midi). My excitment soon changed as I asked again if i could "choose" to reassign knobs with their system even though it didn't use midi…my frown got larger as he answered "no". I then proceed to tell him how I would never buy a system that took away my creativity and locked me in to specific software/hardware (same reason I don't use ProTools anymore and switched to LIVE).

    I was regretting buying Traktor at first until I realized that Serato will always make you buy their "box" or controller and you have to use their "box" with it to make it work.

    I will probably just get a VCI-100 and wait for the "new" one whenever it finally gets released and hate using it while I wait.


  • aiden

    ean and friends,

    i hope this doesn't expose my ignorance (because i think i do a pretty good job of faking it) – but, on your setup u have a button in the the top right that is "unused".. isn't there anyway to make that do the job of your foot pedal? thanks!


  • dj g-r-bs


    what foot switch do you recommend for us to use with your ean golden edition?

  • Editor

    Apart from the nice look of the Platters, let me tell you why the VCI-300 is inferior to the (black!) VCI-100.

    Sid brings up some very good points. I agree on all of them but you left out a few of the ways in which the vci-300 improves.

    1) better transport buttons (although there are only 2 now)
    2) improved jog wheel design (adjustable tension and more gripable)

    but overall, I agree, unless you want a plug and play music playback system like serato the vci-300 is not a next generation of the vci-100 but rather a different direction.

    hi Ean,
    thanks for all the updates in controller world. On your special edition Vci you wrote
    Will it have an input for the footswitch????

    I dont think it will include a footswitch input. I have been bringing up the issue though, I was even trying to get them to put in the arcade buttons but its just a logistical nightmare for the production team. it would be SOOOOOOoooo easy (in my mind) 🙂 to add a foot switch input in the front panel.


    Also, could anyone put a figure on the VCI300?

    i can get the vci100 for about ?350.


    Well, this is the shopping list:

    M Audio Fast Track sound card – is this good enough? reviews say yes, but you never know.

    VCI 100, silver seems to be the only 1 i can get my hands on, why get the black over the silver? PLUS, surely if i wait a little maybe Vestax will reveal more info over the VCI 300… They may include a good soundcard, unlike the behringer bcd 3000 for example!
    VCI100 does include traktor LE however, and i have a demo version of traktor 3 at home which i love, ?65 upgrade to full version if i get LE with 100.

    Mini Kaoss Pad

    Sennheiser HD25 mk2s

    Currently have a tidy Vaio laptop, 1gb RAM, intel dual core.

    Any advice appreciated, I want to get my spending right! Ive spent a good two weeks looking at different controllers, and had made the decision that the vci100 was the nuts. Some other controllers are utter wank (BCD 3000)!

  • Sid M.

    Apart from the nice look of the Platters, let me tell you why the VCI-300 is inferior to the (black!) VCI-100.

    first, it has only 3 eq pots, meaning that the excellent Xone92 EQ emulation that traktor incorporates cannot be reproduced.

    second, it seems to support only a propietary protocol, meaning a complete vendor (serato) lock-in. this would be the absolute no-go.

    third, it has less pots than the vci-100.

    fourth, it uses the “consumer” type piano finish look that so many consumer tech units have, with all its downsides – fingerprints, scratches etc..

    the vci-300 looks like its aimed at the beginner – it even incorporates an audio device, while true club professionals are using their own ones, e.g. MOTU , RME or ECHO products. it supports the ITCH software, which seems to have only a fracture of TRAKTORs features, quality and community support. it even looks like “iTunes”.

    its a pity that vestax seems to divert its focus from perfecting the vci-100 so that it can REALLY become a tool for professional club use, by aiming at the entry-grade consumer market. this is a big mistake.

  • Ollie Thomas

    First up, cheers for that review, been “itching” to hear about what NAMM had to offer this year.

    In the next 24 hours I was intending to buy the VCI100 silver, but since the announcement of the 300, I feel obliged to wait. However, I’m new to DJing and I have to agree with Sid M…just waiting for Vestax to make that club worthy product.

    Also, from the pictures it looks as if effects knobs have been left out of the 300, and that possibly this software isnt as good as traktor 3?

    I feel I might have to invest in a kaoss pad!

    Cheers again

  • danny

    hi Ean,
    thanks for all the updates in controller world. On your special edition Vci you wrote

    “Notable features: by engaging a foot switch or other midi control all the transport buttons and jog wheels become cue points triggers for cue juggling. Simple and easy deck copy implementation.”

    Will it have an input for the footswitch????

  • Norrin Rad

    This is all really great news Ean! Can’t wait to check out the final unit!

  • aiden

    Please! I been waitin soo long!! Lemme pre-order! 😉

  • Midifidler

    Damn, ordered my VCI 3 days ago expecting to upgrade it…
    Looks like its time to get modding then.

  • Editor

    At first sight, the NAMM 2008 news seem interesting and innovative as well, but a second thought reveals that professional users are now doomed to wait until something new comes out.

    and the Ean version (as much as i appreciate Mr. Goldens work) is just a faceplate without the invaluable practical improvements of the original black one (rubberized and marked pots, smoother faders, lighting scheme more straightforward, faders are more visible etc.

    you guys are all bringing up some VERY good points to the table.

    This in inaccurate though. I will NOT let them release my version unless its on the black VCI with the improvements to knobs, buttons and visibility (see the details above on my edition) There is not point in releasing a controllerist version if the buttons are too stiff.

    my version is not just face plates and a TKS but a complete re-engineering of the vci-100 which requires special firmware to be installed. There-fore they will only be available as a complete unit with Plates, black vci-100, and new firmware. Sorry, initially we thought it would be a plates kind of thing but this all in one limited edition package seems the best way to go.

    thanks for all your great participation guys, our forum is on the way!

  • Chris Wright

    The NS7 Sounds exactly like what I’ve been waiting on a midi controller that can actually give vinyl a run for it’s money hopefully. My only concerns with it is if Serato Itch is VSTI compatible, how it stacks up against vinyl, and price.

  • fatlimey

    At first sight, the NAMM 2008 news seem interesting and innovative as well, but a second thought reveals that professional users are now doomed to wait until something new comes out.

    right now, I cannot buy anything

    I totally agree. Lots of “integrated controllers”, lots of misguided UIs but nothing general purpose and must buy. They’re all either locked into bundles or “a bit crappy” reimplementations of classic vinyl mixing – where are the new paradigms?

    I went with a XSession Pro as it’s cheap, good value and something to play with until the good stuff comes out.

  • Jeremy Gray

    25 comments on and yet no one has mentioned that torque is a word, not just a trademark (Torq).

  • Aidan

    I think that Sid M. brings up some excellent points. Hopefully the designers and manufacturers are reading this (and listening).

  • dennis

    above 1000 dollars?

    that’s a bad value for the money. remember it’s only a midi-controller, no audio device!

    for that money i would buy 2 * Xone:2d with an nice A+H audiointerface

  • Julio

    Hey Ean, as Midifidler asked… will your templates and firmware update will still be availabe besides the full edition?

    I would hate to buy the new gear, when my VCI-100 is barely 2 weeks old.

    I even have the midi footswitch sitting in here, waiting for your firmware.


  • Sid M.

    At first sight, the NAMM 2008 news seem interesting and innovative as well, but a second thought reveals that professional users are now doomed to wait until something new comes out.


    becaue Vestax released a great controller concept last year, but refuses to get the final, practical and club-capable version of the unit (the black VCI-100 that so many want!) to the markets, and the Ean version (as much as i appreciate Mr. Goldens work) is just a faceplate without the invaluable practical improvements of the original black one (rubberized and marked pots, smoother faders, lighting scheme more straightforward, faders are more visible etc.).

    because the VCI-300 is hardwired (propietary, which sucks big-time) to Serato (which sucks compared to Traktor 3).

    because the VCM-600 is aimed at Ableton Live.

    because the stanton does not have a price advantage over 2 1210s and a mixer at all.

    because the Finnish thing or the VCI-B1 are just rotating plates and no compact performance units like the VCI-100.

    because the Numark NS7 is far too big to be considered “Mobile DJ gear”.

    right now, I cannot buy anything – i love the VCI-100, but refuse to buy the silver edition as its practical shortcomings have already been adressed but not released, or just to a small number of japanese people (unadulterated marketing stupidity), if at all. i would even agree to pay more for the black version, but it is simply unavailable.

    a disenchanted wannabe Vestax customer – Sid M.

  • Matt

    I bet the vcm-600 will be above 1000 dollars

  • dennis

    nice to see that finally manufacturers are building ableton controllers with build quality and a good thought out concept!!!

    I bet the vcm-600 sells very well.. it’s a niche!

    maybe the stanton scs.m is also a good budget resolution. i like the layout of both…

  • neil t. chambers

    i meant the vci-100 sorry

  • neil t. chambers

    any news on that black beast? wanna import it now but can't find it anywhere on japanese web pages, can someone help me out?

    kind regards from brixton/london

  • Klachick

    The OTUS looks amazing! Few questions that rise instantly: where's the crossfader? Maybe the X-Y pad is multifunctional, and replaces the crossfader too? Or is it XP10 style, so we will need two of these? (no, wait, it can't be, it has 4 jog wheels and deck select). Is it MIDI (will it work with exisitng DJ software)? It looks so hot.

  • Huff

    Is another VCI-100 special edition able to sync to decks 3 and 4 in Traktor or is this a standalone 1 and 2 deck controller?

  • midifidler

    Hey Ean,

    You may have answered this elsewhere but is it still planned for the ean golden plates to be released seperateley?


  • Editor

    FYI- We posted a new video on the Otus- look at the top of this post.

  • Editor

    <blockquote cite="#comment-442">What's with this "It's not MIDI, yay!" thing? With a propriatory, closed, direct-connect protocol you're hosed. No more innovation or hackery.

    Not a fan of "making it more authentic, like real DJing". Instead make it expressive, customisable and open. You can do that and *still* make it work out of the box.

    you raise a very good point fatlimey, and one that we should all consider. I agree, open and hackable is better by far. We should remember though that midi is a 20 year old format and is very limited in what it can do and has latencey. Its about time someone brings in a new format that can be equally expressive as the new controls are but your absolutely right- IT SHOULD NOT BE PROPRIETARY.

  • Editor

    <blockquote cite="#comment-440">nice review ean!

    another really important question:

    when will the black vci 100 be available for import from Japan again? me and a lot of my friends here in Rome want to buy an vci-100,

    is vestax really letting us potential (and professional, as 3 of my DJ friends here in Rome want one!) customers down?

    mille grazie,


    to be honest Roberto your best bet is to wait until march when the "Ean golden" edition will be available as a direct order from Vestax. It looks like it will be the black vci with all the performance mods built in! There will be very few units available but the folks from djtechtools will have first chance at it for sure!

    The regular black vci-100 is a "japan only" release and wont get to the states or europe for a while.

  • Evan Jones

    Nice recap, one more thing you might want to mention though. The CDJ-400 is supposed to have native scratch live support if I recall correctly. God I want one of those so baaaaad.

  • Matt

    What about hercules RMx? another box for toy-djs? Not that sure this time…

  • Dudu P

    The one thing the ensures me that VCI-300 won't be the Torq killer is quite simple: its the motherfreakin' THIRD major controller from Vestax in a year (aside the updates on VCI-100). Xponent is just the very first try from Synchro Science. I hope at least they do some tests on it before launching a pricy defective product on the market that they aren't able to even patch post-launch (as if it were a good thing).

    Saturday I begin to teach classes to a guy who bought a VCI-100, and I really hope he did bought the updated firmware, because I won't charge him for 12 hours of particular classes with he unfortunately bought a defective product.

    And, again, it depends on software from another party, and worst yet, proprietary software. Have seen this movie lots of times: "people really serious about software should built their own hardware" — the other way around, too.

    I'm game for Stanton this time. Pricey, but really innovative, and not going the lazy "me, too" path all the others are doing, which is freaking dumb

  • fatlimey

    Replying to my own post: Worked out what my objection is – the ONLY part of a DJ controller that needs that super high resolution is the scratch wheels, and I don't scratch. I layer, I cut up, I reorder, I remix and I mash with effects, but I do not need to authentically recreate that one particular sound that was a side effect of some old technology.

    Hip hop is no longer the "global" sound, House is.

  • fatlimey

    What's with this "It's not MIDI, yay!" thing? Sure, I remember you talking about controller lag while reviewing the VCI-100 on Youtube and trying to scratch, but every single post since then has either used, showcased or documented any number of cool remappings you have done to get new effects from a standard MIDI device. With a propriatory, closed, direct-connect protocol you're hosed. No more innovation or hackery. These direct connects Bad news for controllerism, bad news for standard software (using controller for DJ AND Video mixing at the same time? It's being done).

    Not a fan of "making it more authentic, like real DJing". Instead make it expressive, customisable and open. You can do that and *still* make it work out of the box.

  • Klachick

    The VCI-300 looks very cool, but it seems like there are no effects controls? I think many of us Traktor users could use 4 additional knobs and buttons. I use the KP3 for effects, but still…

    And what's that "Censor" button? Not for censoring lyrics I hope.

  • Roberto Vitiello

    nice review ean!

    that finnish device looks really futuristic. and although the stanton thingy might incorporate some serious technology, it still looks like a toy – and looks are really important, as most (vci-100 being the exception) midi controllers have yet to shake that "Fisher Price" vibe so that even those 1210-evangelists accept them in "their" lair they call DJ booth.

    another really important question:

    when will the black vci 100 be available for import from Japan again? me and a lot of my friends here in Rome want to buy an vci-100, but the black one is the only option for professional club use, as it corrects the few but nagging faults of the original (silver sucks in dark clubs, baraly any fader resistance, no rubberized or marked potentiometers, too much button resistance etc.).

    is vestax really letting us potential (and professional, as 3 of my DJ friends here in Rome want one!) customers down?

    mille grazie,


  • Phil Lewis

    Of all the controllers seen so far this year the only ones that grabbed my attention so far are the OTUS and the Vestax 600. The Otus because it looks hot and shows its designers are actually thinking outside the box while delivering what is in it and the 600 because it finally has the depth of control without jog wheels. I'll wait till it comes out to find out if its got the programability that the VCI-100 lacks.

    Thanks for the round up BTW, a lot of good info to consider…

  • will davis


    thanks for the coverage again. any word on when those of us who have the vci 100 can get colord face plates.


    thanks for taking the time to put together these reviews. the otus is the type of system that I am expecting more from. Sort of like the lemur/dextar deal. scribble scrabble lots of stuff. thanks agaiin.