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The recent spike in sales of vinyl and turntables brings a warm glow to our hearts. We love our technology, but vinyl is just a beautiful format. Having said that, vinyl records aren’t perfect. They’re bulky, fragile, and easily scratched, and those milk crates filled with your block-rocking jams can get heavy. Fortunately, DJ software is a rock-solid alternative for amateurs and pros, and one of our favorites, djay (5 out of 5 stars, Jan/10), just got a sweet dedicated hardware controller, the Vestax Spin.
A great hardware DJ controller with solid construction and all the tweaks you need to jump start your DJ career--without back strain.
Because algoriddim (djay’s developer) and Vestax worked together to make the Spin the go-to controller for djay, you’re ready to bring the beats in djay as soon as you plug in the controller. The Spin controls nearly all of djay’s onscreen options in an all-in-one hardware package. Rather than unintuitively pressing keys on your MacBook and clicking away at onscreen turntables, this hardware controller aims to replicate the feel of rocking the wheels of steel. The “turntables” are two metal jog wheels with glowing lights underneath them. They’re touch-sensitive, and if you’ve ever bumped a turntable with your coat sleeve, you’ll realize how helpful it is that Spin only responds to your fingers. The mechanisms are smooth, and for every two turns of the physical jog wheel, the onscreen turntable spins once. Thanks to the software’s ability to attach virtual tape to tracks to mark cue points, we were able to quickly adjust our scratching and jogging without much issue, and the Spin offers a good deal of precision when skimming through tracks.
The sliders felt solid and traveled smoothly. The cross-fader stood up to our abuse as we slammed it back and forth while trying scratch Morrissey into an LCD Soundsystem track--trust us, you don’t want to hear the outtakes. There was no noticeable lag between the controls on the Spin and the djay application. Change a setting on the Spin, and you see immediate feedback in the application. Just as helpfully, most of the action buttons light up when activated, giving you a quick visual reference to what’s playing, what’s being looped, and what’s recording.
The Spin ships with a USB cable, two 1/4-inch to 1/8-inch audio adapters, and a microphone. It draws power from its USB connection to your Mac, so once you plug that in, you’re ready to go without needing another outlet. The front of the device provides inputs for a microphone and headphones, and while there’s a knob for headphone volume, unfortunately you can only control the master volume of the headphones, not the volume of individual tracks, like you can with some mixers. At least the master output is a pair of RCA jacks, which means you can hook the Spin right up to your home stereo or sound system.
The Spin’s construction feels light yet sturdy. Like most new hardware, it’s made of plastic, but it doesn’t feel cheap or flimsy. If it’s handled with the same care you would show to any other DJ gear, the Spin should be able to take whatever you can dish out. And at 3.2lbs, it’s a bit lighter than your crate of New Beat records from Belgium.