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HolidayBuyer's Guide

Vestax VCI-300

Vestax VCI-300

Vestax VCI-300

Vestax VCI-300

Vestax VCI-300

Serato Itch

Serato Itch

Serato Itch

Serato Itch

Serato Itch

The Vestax VCI-300 is a hardware and software bundle that transforms your laptop into a professional, portable DJ rig. Easily the coolest feature on the Vestax VCI-300 is the pair of 5-inch jog wheels made from clear acrylic and sandwiched under a textured-metal plate.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
All the faders and knobs on the VCI-300 are as full-sized and professional-feeling as any analog mixer we've tested, with spacing and positioning that most DJs will find familiar. The buttons are also backlit using multiple colors to distinguish between each function.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Weighing around 11 pounds, the VCI-300 is sturdy enough to withstand the abuse of a working DJ, and about 100 times lighter than your old record crates. The control interface uses a solid-metal chassis covered in an attractive, glossy, black plastic, and measures 1.5 inch tall, 16 inches wide, and 11 inches deep.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
Vestax built in jog-wheel tension-adjustment knobs on the sides of the VCI-300, which let you dial in the perfect amount of resistance for your DJ style.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The back of the Vestax VCI-300 includes a USB socket, a jack for an optional power adapter (the controller is intended to run off USB power), and adjustment knobs for the jog-wheel touch sensor. More importantly, the back of the Vestax VCI-300 offers a pair of stereo master-audio outputs (RCA and 1/4 inch) and a single AUX input (RCA) with a gain knob and an emergency thru switch (sic) that allows you to switch over to a backup audio source in case your computer crashes.
Caption by / Photo by Corinne Schulze/CBS Interactive
The Serato Itch software that comes bundled with the Vestax VCI-300 is a competent, yet slightly stripped-down version of the popular Serato Scratch Live.
Caption by / Photo by CBS Interactive
Our favorite feature of the Serato Itch is the audio waveform view, which is colorized to distinguish high-frequency sounds (snare drums) from low-frequency sounds (bass drums), making it easier to visually align two beats to fall in sync.
Caption by / Photo by CBS Interactive
There aren't a ton of settings to tweak in Itch, but DJs will appreciate the ability to adjust the realism of the brake speed, and switch the crossfader into reverse.
Caption by / Photo by CBS Interactive
You can also tweak Itch's settings so that the waveform window is placed vertically on the left or right side. Some DJs prefer matching beats like this if their brains have an easier time tracking movement up and down rather than left to right. There's something nice about seeing each track's waveform race away from you like freeway traffic.
Caption by / Photo by CBS Interactive
Each deck includes song information such as artist, title, duration, and tempo. If tempo information isn't available, you can enter it in manually or tap the tempo using your mouse.
Caption by / Photo by CBS Interactive
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