Vestax VCI-400 USB/MIDI DJ Controller Review
The Vestax VCI-400 is a top-of-the-line Digital DJ Controller that is compatible with almost every DJ software thanks to its full MIDI capabilities and four full decks of digital audio control. The VCI-400 is built like a tank, can work as a stand-alone mixer (thanks to the new download over at the Vestax Website), has professional inputs and outputs, and comes with lots of other features that digital DJ’s need. Check out our full, in-depth HD-Video review to see how it stacks up against the competition.
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Official Pro Audio Retailer of DJBooth
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
The Vestax VCI-400 Professional USB Digital DJ Controller (with MIDI) has 4-decks/4-channels of mixing control and boasts a very heavy-duty build quality with a mostly-metal construction. The Vestax VCI-400 is an extremely versatile controller. This is an all-in-one DJ controller comes bundled with Virtual DJ LE to get DJ’s started right out of the box, but for this review, we ran our tests on the FULL Professional edition of Traktor 2, so that we are able to test all the functions of the unit properly. Everything lines up almost perfectly with the software layout and it makes sense to test this unit with Traktor 2 first and foremost.
The Vestax VCI-400 is very versatile as it is compatible with just about any MIDI software including Serato DJ Intro, Virtual DJ, Traktor 2, DJAY4, Deckadance, Mixvibes Cross, and Ultramixer Pro3 (all files available for download on the Vestax website). In order to get started, the user only needs to supply the computer and music files to DJ with. The Vestax VCI-400 is also an all-out MIDI controller which means that it can be customized with a mapping to each button, knob, jog wheel, and fader to be configured just the way the DJ needs.
DJ’s can also set up the VCI-400 to run two separate software suites at the same time. For example, the DJ can set Deck A and B to work on Traktor while the MIDI mapping allows for Decks C and D to work with Decadance (as long as your computer can handle running two DJ software suites at one time). It’s a great feature to have for the complicated DJ setups.
The Vestax VCI-400 has a really nice and sturdy (metal) High-resolution touch-sensitive jog wheel that never misses a beat, skips, or craps out. The Jog wheel is more than adequate enough for scratching and mixing purposes as everything feels one-to-one in operation. The faders feel a bit plastic-y but are still capable of pulling off most of your complicated and quick scratching techniques like transforms and crab scratches with a bit of practice (Users can upgrade to the Vestax CF-X2 Crossfader for Scratch Response...More on this later). The VCI-400 also has two very tidy Effects Bank sections located at the top of each deck. These effects sections include four knobs and buttons to engage and change the effect parameters you have selected in the software of your choice. The layout is extremely similar to what is found on the Traktor Pro 2 software and there are 32 effects to choose from if that’s the software you plan on choosing.
The Vestax VCI-400 also has a nice and intuitive section of pads (hard plastic) for Loops/Cue points/Sample Decks and it all works very nicely and is easy to use. All the pads are easily customizable to the function of your choice, meaning you can use them all for loops or all for cue points depending on mixing style. The Transport buttons on the bottom of each Deck is a row of 6 (soft rubber) pads that can hold up to 3 banks of mapping depending on the MODE you are engaged in. On top of all that goodness, Vestax has just announced that they will be releasing a software update for all VCI-400 users that will allow the unit to be used as a stand-alone mixer meaning that the user can plug in two sources (decks) into the RCA inputs around back and DJ without using software or a computer. There are also two Microphone inputs which have separate volume control knobs for DJ’s in performance scenarios.
There are a couple very minor gripes that I was able to find with the Vestax VCI-400, but they probably won’t affect the decision for users to purchase or not. The first gripe that I have with the unit is the lack of an additional Booth or second Master output. When you are playing out at a gig and you need close monitoring to get an accurate mix, it's always a good idea to have a set of monitors close-by with their volume control. It just makes for easier mixing.
The next gripe that I had was with the plastic-y fader. Vestax has been known to make excellent proprietary faders and I’m a bit disappointed that they couldn’t fit one of them into this unit from the factory. The Crossfader that is there is adequate enough to do most scratching, but it could have been better. For users (like me) who need a better crossfader can easily purchase the Vestax CF-X2 metal fader that is also found on the Vestax PMC-05PROIV. This would make everything so much better while it improves on cut-in distance and overall feel. There is an extra expense to get the CF-X2 crossfader but it's more than worth it if you need a great crossfader. The final gripe that I found (and found on all Controllers to date) is the lack of Line fader reverse or curve control for those who want to switch it up a bit.
Conclusion / Recommended For
In conclusion, the Vestax VCI-400 is one of the BEST (if not THE Best) all-in-one Digital MIDI 4-deck controllers on the market. It has heavy-duty metal construction, can work as a standalone mixer, can be used with almost any DJ software, has good jog wheels and faders, and has a lot of extra bells and whistles that Professional users are looking for.
The Vestax VCI-400 is one of the most capable and versatile controllers to date that we will recommend to any Professional DJ who wants a Professional-Level DJ/MIDI controller to complement their existing DJ setup or to bring their setup on the road with high quality standards in mind. We also recommend this unit to Bedroom or Studio DJ’s that want nothing but the best for their DJ setup. The $1000 price tag is fair, but remember that you’ll also want to shell out a bit more money to get Traktor Pro 2 or an equivalent professional Software to take full advantage of all the features within.
Pros & Cons
- Solid All-Metal Heavy-Duty Construction throughout
- All-In-One 4-deck/4-channel unit
- Works as a Standalone Mixer (new software update this month)
- Fully Map-able Midi Controller (Works with all DJ software)
- Good Faders and Jog Wheels for Scratching and Mixing
- Extensive 2-Bank Effects Sections
- Easy-to-use Sample/Cue/Loop Functions
- 2 Microphone inputs w/ Separate Volume control
- No Booth Output
- Crossfader could be a bit Tighter (Purchase Vestax CF-X2 Crossfader for Major Improvements)
- No Line Fader Curve/Reverse functions
Features & Specs
Ergonomic 4 channel layout
Transport buttons with maximum 3 banks of mapping
Instant Deck select
Highly responsive stress free soft touch buttons
Optimized control knob layout
Milled large aluminum filter knobs
Premium full-bit sound quality generated by a low latency high resolution 24bit/48kHz soundcard
Dual core digital processor
Bundled with Virtual DJ LE
Software overlays included for default midi assigns
The symmetrical intuitive control surface consists of iconic Vestax features such as the high-resolution JOG wheels with torque & sensitivity control. The option to adjust each parameter enables DJs to tailor the functionality of the JOG wheels to the most suitable for their style. The large aluminum Filter knobs are also a distinctive Vestax feature that has been inherited from previous Vestax quality hardware. The highly responsive multi-mode transport section triggers layers of controls instantly, which is perfect for finger drummers and controllerists. All buttons are backlit with high-intensity LEDs, and along with the built-in LED Meter input faders, the VCI-400 provides excellent visual support for DJs in any environment.
CLEAR DYNAMIC SOUND
The sound quality of a DJ controller is determined by its D/A conversion capability. There were no compromises when Vestax designed the integrated audio interface, which uses a studio-grade asynchronous USB streaming system to provide low-latency, bit-perfect audio at 24-bit / 48 kHz resolution. This advanced audio system combines a dual-core digital processor with carefully selected analog components, to deliver a clear and powerful sound. On the road or in the studio, the VCI-400 simply sounds awesome.
EXCELLENT SOFTWARE COMPATIBILITY
The VCI-400 is bundled with Virtual DJ LE 4 Decks together with overlays of each software for immediate DJ experience out of the box. A blank overlay for DJs who seek to customize MIDI assigns and create their own layout is also included. MIDI maps for a variety of software including TRAKTOR PRO 2, MixVibes, TORQ 2, Deckadance are available from the VCI-400 download page and the Vestax support page.
Serato DJ Intro, Virtual DJ LE 4 Decks, Traktor Pro2, Blank (For user customization)
CUSTOMIZE YOUR CONTROLS
The biggest advantage of using a MIDI controller to DJ is regardless its compact size, having all necessary controls in one unit and being able to transport/ play all your songs from a laptop. But the VCI-400 brings you another advantage that is often overlooked: the great ability to customize how the controller works with software. The customize capability of the VCI-400 is nothing like any other and provides options that will spark your imagination. The Vestax VCI-400 works with any DJ software that has a MIDI learn function. Having more than 200 assignable parameters (knobs, faders and buttons), you will have plenty of room to fit in all necessary controls of the software you use. The wide and highly versatile control surfaces will map just to your style, and the multi-mode transport button enables great finger drum skills. Whatever your style is, whatever control function it is that you want to assign, the VCI-400 will have the best options for you.
Virtual DJ LE 4decks / Pro
Serato dj intro
Mic input (XLR/PHONE combo jack) x 2
Line input (RCA Stereo) x 2
Master Output? XLR x 2?PHONE x 2
Headphone output x 1?6.3mm)
Crossfader curve control x 1
USB 2.0port (BUS power not supported?
POWER?DC 7.5V / 1000mA (Power adaptor included)
POWER CONSUMPTION?4W (AC100V - 230V)
DIMENSIONS?457(W)×328(D)×61(H)mm (Including knobs)
Purchase the Vestax VCI-400 USB/MIDI DJ Controller
American Musical Supply is the
Official Pro Audio Retailer of DJBooth