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Hands-on with Vestax Spin

CNET's Donald Bell gives the Vestax Spin DJ controller a test drive and shows off the results in a photo gallery.

Photo of hand placed on Vestax Spin DJ controller.
The Vestax Spin gets spun. Donald Bell/CNET

There's never been a better time to get into DJing. Gone are the days when DJs had to break their backs hauling turntables, record crates, and heavy analog mixes. Today, just combine a laptop, a USB DJ control surface, and a hard drive full of MP3s, and get ready to set the roof ablaze.

That said, professional DJ control surfaces aren't exactly cheap. Two of my personal favorites, the Vestax VCI-300 and the Numark NS7, hover around the $1,000 mark.

For those looking to dip their feet into digital DJing, but not quite $1,000 deep, the Vestax Spin ($249) offers a ton of bang for the buck. A stripped-down version of the Vestax VCI-300, the Spin delivers on the DJ dream of two (virtual) turntables and a microphone, powered by Algoriddim's Mac-only DJay software.

Beyond the requisite smattering of knobs and faders, the heart of the Vestax Spin are the twin, weighted platters used to control song playback. The top of each platter includes a metal surface that acts as a capacitive touch control to stop and manipulate audio playback with uncanny responsiveness. Having used the more expensive VCI-300, I can tell you these are the exact same platters. However, the Spin does not include the individual tension adjustment knobs.

Existing VCI-300 users shouldn't cry themselves to sleep over paying four times as much for their version, since there are some considerable drawbacks to the Spin compared to its higher-priced cousin. For starters, the outputs are RCA only, you can't insert multiple cue points, you can't route in external audio sources (beyond the mic), and the overall construction is far less rugged. Most importantly, the Spin is permanently married to the bundled DJay software--which is a fine program, but lacks PC support and doesn't include the outstanding waveform display of Serato Itch.

Pro DJ gripes aside, the Vestax Spin represents one of the better values in the amateur DJ market. It is currently sold exclusively through the Apple store.

For a closer look at the Vestax Spin, check out our Crave photo gallery.