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CNET First Look
CNET First Look
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>> Hey, I'm Donald Bell, Senior Editor for digital audio and MP3 and today we're taking a First Look at the Vestax VCI-300. This is a bundle of DJ hardware and software that runs around a thousand dollars and transforms your laptop into a high-end portable DJ rig. The coolest part of the system is the hardware, which is made from rugged metal enclosure with rubbery enforced corners and illuminated controls. All the knobs and faders have good spacing and they're laid out pretty much like you would see them on an analog DJ mixer. On the back, you've got one of the better justifications for buying the VCI-300, a USB audio card that's capable of 24-bit audio and gives you 4 in and 4 out. You'll also get an audio through channel here, which is great in case your computer crashes and you need to quickly switch to a back-up CD. The front is pretty basic, you get a quarter-inch headphone output and a quarter-inch mic input and you get these little knob controls here for adjusting the cross fader and the channel fader course. On the sides you've got knobs for adjusting the stiffness of the two jog wheels which acts as virtual turntables. The real-time motorized like some of the newer systems were saying, but they do respond to touch. So you can set this up so that placing your hand on the jog wheel will stop music playback just like placing your hand on a record. Now the other part of the VCI-300 bundle is a software that runs on your computer. This is where you load up all your music and create a playlist and prepare your set. The software as in its full featured as some other programs that you've seen, but it does an awesome job in displaying your music collection and even color codes the wave form to show you which peaks are based from sounds and which ones are snare drums sounds. When you add up everything you're getting here, a full feature controller, a high-end audio card and a professional piece of DJ software, the price makes sense. Especially if you can appreciate the fact that this has all been engineered to work together in harmony. The downside though is that you can't use the control with other software and vice versa since the software won't load without the hardware attached and the hardware doesn't use standard media for all its controls. So you either committed to using the entire the system or you can look at a more modular solution. I'm Donald Bell and that was a look at the Vestax VCI-300.
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