Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vestax Typhoon DJ MIDI Controller review

The Vestax Typhoon is the newest Vestax all-in-one controller which allows DJ’s to create, manipulate, and mix audio files from their computer with one simple to use machine. I personally never had the pleasure of actually using a Vestax controller (i.e. the VCI series), but after viewing the unit on youtube, I had to check it out for myself! Vestax is marketing this unit as a super-affordable controller that is perfect for beginner DJ’s and people who just want to mix and play without all the extra gadgetry and money involved. (note: The Vestax Spin seems to be an identical unit that is only compatible with MAC while the Typhoon is compatible with Windows and MAC.)

First Impressions:
Right out of the box the Vestax Typhoon looks pretty stylish. Immediately jumping out at you is the all-metal faceplates of the individual jog/platter wheels. The rest of the entire unit is made of a hard polymer/plastic which was probably done to pass the savings onto the consumer. The bottom portion of the unit has a rough black texture to it, while the top face of the unit is a smooth plastic with a carbon-fiber look to it. All of the sliders and knobs are a metallic-red plastic material and all of the buttons (also a hard plastic) are white and illuminate when depressed so the user can see what options are selected at a glance. The layout of the Vestax Typhoon is exactly what you would expect from a 2-channel mixing device, with all of the controls on the left of the unit corresponding to unit A and the controls on the right corresponding to unit B.

In the Box:
Vestax Typhoon
User’s Manual
Driver Software
Traktor LE Software
USB Cable

The Setup of the Vestax Typhoon was EXTREMELY easy. Right out of the box, all I had to do was connect the Vestax Typhoon to my computer using the supplied USB cable and run the Driver and Traktor Software CD’s and I was ready to spin! The user interface is very simple. All a user has to do is import their audio files into the program and insert them onto the left or right deck which corresponds to the controller’s left or right deck.
Inputs: ¼” MIC (with volume control knob) and USB
Outputs: RCA and ¼” Headphone (with volume control knob)

Platters/Jog wheels: The direct user interface for audio manipulation lies with the platters. The platter sensitivity can be adjusted using the plastic knobs found on the back of the unit (Touch Sensor Level) which controls each platter individually. The sensitivity can be adjusted as far as having no touch sensitivity (meaning that nothing happens when you touch the platter), all the way up to full sensitivity (meaning a user must manually move the jog back and forth for anything to be played). For scratching and general mixing this must be set to the middle, so that when the platter is released, the audio file remains playing. The platters also illuminate red when in “play” and illuminate to blue when the platters are manipulated. The platters have a nice and steady feel to them and the metal surface is surprisingly “grippy”. With that being said, the delay in using the Traktor LE without timecoded manipulation makes the unit very hard to scratch with. Even pulling off simple scratches will take some practice if you want to be on-beat. After an hour I was able to time everything just right to pull of baby scratches. Other than that, I would say this unit is best suited for mixing. I was able to use the platter to mix and match BPM’s by riding the platter into the position I needed it to be. That worked very well for an all in one unit. The Tempo sliders (found in the upper corners of the unit) are used to speed up or slow down the audio file on the corresponding deck while the plus/minus sync buttons below allow a DJ the ability to micro-adjust the tempo for more accurate beat-matching. Below the platters are the usual Play/Cue/CUP buttons that controls the playback of the track currently assigned to the deck.

Faders: The Faders of the Vestax Typhoon are better than what I had initially anticipated. The Crossfader is a short-throw fader that doesn’t have a curve adjustment, but was set at a happy medium which allowed me to pull of some elementary scratching while also being a wide enough curve for a smooth mix. The Crossfader glides relatively smooth with very light resistance. The Line faders are longer in throw and have a bit more resistance than the Crossfader, making them ideal for those long mixes. All in all, the faders are good and never showed any signs of degradation, but they do feel inferior in quality compared to other Vestax products. If the unit was a proper turntablist machine, then these faders wouldn’t last the test of time, but since this machine isn’t made for scratching; they should hold up just fine.

EQ: Each deck/channel has its own on-board Three-Band EQ (LOW, MID, HI). The EQ’s are adjusted using the three (center-click) red-metallic plastic sliders and they provide a complete kill when adjusted to the extremes. Next to the EQ sliders is a gain slider to ensure accurate volumes of the source mixes.

Effects: The effects found on-board are Filter, Delay, and Loop. The Filter effect is done by pressing the FILTER button which then turns the platter into an X-axis/Y-axis controller for the filter/flanger type effect. The Delay function is done by pressing the FX1 or FX2 button (depending on which deck the effect will be played on) and assigning the effect in the Traktor program. I assume there are ways to assign other effects, but this is what was available by default. Each channel/deck has its own LOOP SET function which allows the DJ to set a loop point and use the plus and minus buttons below to cut or increase the loop length. These extra functions made the Vestax Typhoon a lot more enjoyable to use and they are a welcomed addition to the experience.

Other: Other buttons found on the unit allow the user to select which deck will be monitored through the headphones (one button per channel) and a one-touch SONG LIST button allows for navigating through the playlists in the Traktor program using the arrow button below.

Conclusion (Recommended For):
At the end of the day, the Vestax Typhoon is highly recommended for Beginner DJ’s and DJ’s on the go who want a compact DJ setup. It’s ideal for someone who wants to become a DJ but isn’t really sure as to the extent they would like to get involved. The setup process was extremely simple and the price is very affordable. However, due to its plastic construction the Typhoon may not be a good choice for mobile DJs who expect their equipment to take abuse while on the road. Turntablists and serious professionals may also want to look elsewhere as the device is clearly not scratch-friendly (with audio delays and less-than-stellar faders) and it’s void of some features and benefits that a full 3+ piece setup would provide. That being said, this would be a great introductory setup for beginner DJs on a budget who are more interested in mixing tracks rather than beat juggling or scratching.

-Very Affordable – ($299 MSRP)
-All-in-One USB Controller
-Great for Mixing/Beatmatching
-Perfect for Beginners and DJ’s on the go
-Super EASY Setup

-Construction feels cheap
-Delays make intermediate/serious scratching impossible
-No fader curve adjustments

Buy Vestax Typhoon USB DJ MIDI Controller on Amazon


  1. Are the three EQ adjusters similar to other dj sets' "treble, MID, and bass"?

  2. Where are the treble, MID, and bass adjusters? or are the EQ adjsuters the same?

  3. Can this and Traktor LE play songs that I have tranferred from URl to MP3 format?

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