Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Review.

Over summer I've spent some time getting to know my Vestax VCI-400 EGE. Never able to practice as much as I'd like, while I waited patiently for my USPS package I wondered if it was worth the cost and effort of switching over from my sturdy, reliable Kontrol S4 to one of only a handful of LTD EDTN midi controllers in the country. To get the most out of my new toy I'd have to learn how to make my own midi mappings and commit to spending some more time behind the platters. 

The first thing you notice out of the box is: it's made out of metal. Which is fucking cool. It's metal all over, so it's heavy. You could prop a fire-door open with it. Everything on it feels well built. No play in the knobs, no wobble on the platters, it feels great under hand.

The second thing you notice is that none of the buttons have any labels on them. Well, they do... but in small, dark grey lettering on a matte black background. So effectively none of the buttons have any labels on them. Which is cool. Makes it look like you must really know what you're doing when you're playing. Which nowadays I almost do.

Unlike the S4, which plugs in and works from the get-go, the EGE needed a little bedding in. The default mapping, as endorsed by Ean Golden, didn't quite fit my style of DJing, which isn't especially controllerism-centric and I knew fairly early on that I would want my own, unique map. After staying up all night after work teaching myself the basics of midi coding, I set about making my own. It was dog-shit. Licking my wounds I decided to reverse engineer the FlashFlooder edit of the Ean Golden mapping and customise it to my needs. Much better, if still a little crashy. After a few more late nights fettling, I finally came up with a stable (and good) mapping; and I've been making tweaks and refinements to it ever since.

Through a combination of learning to midi-map and having a control surface at my fingertips that does exactly what I want, I'm getting a lot more in terms of enjoyment and performance out of my DJing.

I am very happy with my new toy. 5 stars.