After sitting through multiple gear workshops at the Winter Music Conference, we found that the industry has changed its overall attitude to DJing: It’s not what you use, it’s how you use it – unless, of course, you use iTunes for your set. This sentiment expressed during the Pioneer workshop indicates one more hurdle DJs have to overcome: Real DJs don’t use iTunes. Or, do they? The Vestax Spin2 DJ controller provides such functionality and then some.
Considered a certified Apple device, the Spin2 lets the DJ mix music from his iTunes with app djay, regardless of the medium used – iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, and Mac computer are all acceptable. As the controller is relatively lightweight, the Spin2 and any of the above devices make setting up and doing a DJ set practically anywhere possible. The transport issue is nearly nonexistent.
Working with Algoriddim, this controller is fairly easy to set up and use. With djay, the format is plug-and-play, allowing the DJ to mix nearly instantaneously from his iTunes library. Djay, in conjunction with iTunes, lets the DJ drag and drop tracks, quickly recognizes and matches tempos, and even records a mix. Once Spin2 is in the picture, the controller provides the DJ with all of these capabilities through mixer controls, EQ, crossfader, jog wheels, and intuitive effects. It works seamlessly with vjay as well.
While the software is quickly activated and functional, the controller and the Apple device attach through a 30-pin connector. Being a certified Apple product, the Spin2 not only attaches to a Mac computer, iPad, or similar device, it charges them and uses the iOS 6 system, including iCloud integration. Charging an Apple device is a significant improvement over the first Vestax Spin controller, which was one of the first to work with djay. Even though charging seems like a convenience, it’s far more – consider it the key to playing an endless DJ set.
Charging, of course, isn’t the only new feature the Spin2 offers. What’s different this time around is the inclusion of a hi/low pass filter, FX parameters, an adjust dial, three hot cue buttons and slip loop buttons, and, for efficient track search, a touch-sensitive strip. The six new buttons additionally double as sample pads once the “sampler” button is pressed.
On top of these features and convenience, the audio quality isn’t bad for cuing up tracks and mixing through headphone inputs. Users, too, will find the sound easier to control, compared to the original Spin.
Also touching on other industry topics we saw at WMC, there’s VJing, with competitions and workshops geared toward this, and in a sense, the Spin2 is up with the industry standards by offering this functionality. Also pulling from iTunes, the Spin2 features intuitive audio and video effects for creating simultaneous audio and video remixes, including loops, slices, scratches, and transitions, all of which can be recorded with the device. The Spin2, as well, lets the user record video performances.
Although you can say the Spin2 is a sufficient upgrade to its earlier model, it has a few drawbacks: one, there’s no microphone input, and two, smaller-screened devices, while an option, prove to be less efficient and more of a challenge to work with than their larger-screened counterparts. Specifically, for the iPod Touch and iPhone, only three, instead of six, loops are displayed, the FX triggers are pre-programmed, and the sampler isn’t accessible. Larger-screened devices (a computer or tablet, basically) offer the full package and are considerably easier to browse.
Even with the drawbacks, however, the Spin2 is a solid controller that doesn’t compromise sound and usability for convenience. As much as the device focuses on Apple, it, being a USB-class compliant MIDI controller, can operate with other DJ software. This functionality essentially puts it close, in terms of quality and what you can do, with the Numark iDJ Pro.