As digital DJing – also called controllerism – becomes more legitimate and less scoffed at or stigmatized, such professionals need quality equipment. A controller, mixer, or combination device should not just play digital files and allow for basic manipulation; instead, the equipment must take this technology to the next level. After all, if MP3s and other digital files are gradually surpassing other media of music, shouldn’t DJ equipment reflect this? The Vestax VCI-380 does, and its features, functionality, and sound exceed those of similar devices, such as the Novation Twitch.

As a two-channel DJ controller with an integrated mixer designed with Serato ITCH in mind, the Vestax VCI-380 lets the DJ mix, scratch, cue, implement effects, sample, trigger loops, or slice. While taking manipulation of digital tracks to the next level, the Vestax VCI-380 is equipped with the brand’s legendary jog wheels. The Vestax VCI-380 goes a step further, offering high-level structure and larger platters for better stability and smoother transitions. The jog wheels, embedded with an LED needlepoint, have excellent responsiveness and playback monitoring and accurately transmit MIDI signals. The wheels’ torque can be adjusted to the DJ’s preference, and touching their sides easily bends pitches.

The standalone mixer offers superior adaptability. Two hybrid channels assist with mixing auxiliary devices, including CD players, turntables, and MP3 players, with sounds from Serato ITCH. Both channels have RCA phono/line inputs, making connection combinations practically limitless. Mixes with input source can be adjusted with Trim and EQ, FX knobs on both channels act as Hi-Pass filters, and the crossfader and input faders curve and can adjust to need.

More innovative, though, are the 2×8 banks of FSR trigger pads, each equipped with Performance Modes, such as slicer, roll, sampler, loop, hot cue, and Pad FX. This feature easily allows the DJ to implement cue points, samples, loops, or beats, or the Pad FX. Although mixers, controllers, and the jog wheel make accessing and transitioning between tracks far simpler and straightforward, the Pad FX function for the Vestax VCI-380 expands creativity possibilities. Want to set yourself apart from other DJs – digital or otherwise? Throw out this feature into your set. The DJ, holding each pad, can alter the FX standards and activate Performance Mode functions. Through this feature comes variety and innovation and, essentially, defiance of the whole “just presses play” falsehood that clouds digital DJing.

But, what about the sound? Digital file quality is the significant peril of controllerism, and the Vestax VCI-380 effectively monitors and steers sound away from mediocrity. Based on the 24 bit/48 kHz technology of the VCI-400, the Vestax VCI-380 has Bit-perfect audio powered by a professional-quality asynchronous USB streaming system. This highly-advanced technology not only delivers excellent sound quality but greatly reduces latency and offers superior clarity quality outputs. The result is steadiness and consistency, regardless of whether the track is from an analog or digital source.

Serato ITCH comes bundled with the device, and Windows 7 or Mac OS 10.6 or 10.7 is required for operation.