The build quality is everything we have come to expect from Vestax, silky smooth faders, rubberised dials providing plenty of grip with zero wobble, all housed in a reassuringly solid metal box with an anti-scratch paint job. Sound quality is top class, the isolator EQ hits all the right frequencies, and kills them dead on command. It only takes a few minutes of use to realise that this is a performance orientated mixer that makes DJing a pleasure.
No mixer is complete these days without a selection of DSP effects to add some extra excitement to a set. Thankfully Vestax have thought about this properly and not just bolted some on as an after thought.
Effects can be applied to either Crossfade A or B or the Master channel. The monitor section contains an interesting twist; the effects can be selected separately from the pgm (channels), giving the DJ the ability to cue-up a killer sound before dropping it into the mix.
The choice is pretty much what we would expect, tried and tested effects that work great in a mix. The sound quality is up there with the best of them, but what gives it the edge is the tight rhythmic synchronisation.
The big blue tap tempo BPM button combines with the beat divider buttons to get everything in perfect time with the music. This works like a charm, especially with the echo effect, which can be notoriously difficult to get tight.
The first parameter dial is used to fine tune the echo time and the second adjusts the dry/wet mix. The 'Hold' feature was a nice surprise; this keeps the echo repeating forever and acts in a similar way to a loop sampler.
Good digital filters are a rare breed, we weren't expecting the Vestax 280's to surpass those found on the Allan & Heath, but we were pleasantly surprised by their smoothness which translated well when tested at high volume.
Vestax have kept the amount of resonance to a safe level, a nice amount of whistling can be dialled up, but it definitely won't shred the ears off a dance floor.
Vestax have also thoughtfully added a second set of filters with LFO to automatically sweep through the frequencies. Combine these with the BPM sync and the beat dividers (which restart the LFO cycle when tapped) and the funk will flow.
Ins and outs are a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand it offers dual master outs, with Master One doubled on RCA and XLR for club rigs, leaving Master Two (on RCA) free for booth monitoring or recording purposes. Inputs are a bit tighter, there's no separate Mic channel, and the USB option shares one of the channels.
There's an option to fit the mixer with a propriety USB soundcard. This is one area where it falls short of its potential. This is because it can only stream one stereo track to and from the mixer. If it could stream another channel from computer to mixer, then it would be perfect for digital DJs who want to use a real mixer and crossfader with software such as Traktor or Cue.
Contact: vestax.com / 01525 850 085
16 digital effects
Three-band EQ isolator
USB soundcard option
Crossfader with curve adjust
Dual master outputs with independent level control
Geek speak –
10 inputs total, with two Phono, five line and two Mic channels,
3 band channel eq with isolator function for total kill
Pcv crossfader can be replaced with CF-RUS/CF-R or CF-PCV
Two position curve adjust for fade or scratch
Split/master cue headphone monitoring
Xlr master outputs on channel one
Rca master outputs on channel one and two
24-bit / 96khz dsp effects
16 effects including: flanger, filter, delay, Phaser, Reverb, Ring Modulator, Auto pan, pitch shifter,
Two rotary controls for adjusting the effects
Polished black finish
Dimensions 264 (w) x 105 (w) x 260 (d)
Premium sound, tasty EQ, and effects designed for tweaking
Inputs are a bit tight; no dedicated mic and only one stereo USB stream
Value for money: 4
Sound Quality: 5
Ease of use: 5
A mighty fine compact mixer that's just short of being a total killer.
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