First we had the news that the VCI-400 was getting standalone mixer mode, and then it was the look but don’t touch VCI-380. But I did get to handle at least one piece of Vestax news, and that was the rather cool VMIDI iOS interface.
To recap – VMIDI is an interface that allows a regular MIDI controller to be plugged into iOS devices and control CoreMIDI apps. Nice and simple. And Vestax had some set up running Animoog and NLog MIDI Synth, powered by a pair of Korg nanoKEYs. I may have used a PadOne myself.
I’ve become accustomed to Vestax pushing the boat out build-wise, and had expected the VMIDI to be hewn from a solid block of Tungsten steel or something equally over the top. But this is plastic. It does however feel good enough to be thrown around in your bag.
It’s simple and it works. But for me it signals a shift for digital DJs and legitimises iOS devices as viable DJ machines. Being able to hook any MIDI controller up to an iPad is a godsend. It won’t be a matter of waiting for companies like Numark to add a 30 pin plug to an existing product anymore. App makers will start to add core support for the plethora of MIDI controllers just like software vendors to now for Mac and PC.
But this isn’t a magical link that’ll make every controller work with every app. That’ll take a little time to iron out, but I hope that developers will be encouraged to start to write specific apps for specific controllers.
For me however, there is one obstacle that stops this from being perfect, and that’s the fact that VMIDI requires power. This does somewhat limit the whole portability of using an iOS device, but does at least mean that your rig can be that little bit smaller by not having to bring a laptop. We can only hope that in time, the iPad will have enough power to drive VMIDI, or that the next version can be battery or wall powered.