American Audio recently rolled out a new, updated version of its VMS4 mixer, the VMS4.1. It retains all the VMS4’s greatest features and functionality, but also offers some marked improvements on the old design, primarily focusing on the sound quality. I had never noticed many problems when playing with the old version, so I was really intrigued to see what they might change.

The first and most noticeable change in the VMS4 design is an all-new microphone audio circuit, and boy, does it help. The microphone was the one area where I always noticed the most distortion and clipping, so I was thrilled to see how much better things have gotten in the VMS4.1. The mixer’s output has also gotten significantly louder, which is awesome because it provides a much better signal-to-noise ratio after final amplification. The VMS4.1’s sound quality has received an overall upgrade due to the inclusion of American Audio’s new D-Core processing system, which I first encountered in the VMS2.

Other general improvements include a few, less noticeable items: the LEDs on the knobs are marginally brighter (which helps in brightly-lit situations) and the EQ has been redesigned with new internal hardware to play more nicely with Traktor.  Perhaps one of the more subtle but important updates is the addition of better shielding against cell phone interference. I find that a welcome improvement because, from time to time, I like to use my phone as an audio source, and having my phone in close proximity to my mixer can occasionally create some very unpleasant (not to mention unprofessional) noise.

American Audio VMS4.1 Rear Panel

Overall, the VMS4.1 provides some small but very useful upgrades to the already spectacular VMS4 design. While the VMS4 is a monster of a controller even without them, these improvements definitely help to make a top-notch controller even better.