The PMC-05ProIV is the newest entry in Vestax's popular line of 2-channel scratch mixers. While keeping many of the favorite features found on previous models such as smooth faders and impressive sound, the PMC 05 Pro IV adds MIDI control buttons right on the face of the unit. These buttons allow DJs to control software programs such as Traktor Scratch and Serato.
Setup & First Impressions
Let me start by saying that for the past 8 years I have been a proud owner of a Black and Gold PMC-05Pro2 and I cant remember a single time it let me down. Although light on the bells and whistles found in many newer mixers, my ProII still works great, sounds great, and has sustained countless spills, drops and general abuse in its 8 years as my go-to mixer. It is my love for that mixer that made me so excited get my hands on the PMC-05ProIV, which offers a sleek new look, an innovative built-in MIDI control system, and a wealth of features previously only found on the other Vestax models such as the PMC-08Pro2.
Although I was hoping to receive a black unit (PMC-05ProIV BLK), I was a bit awestruck when I first laid eyes on the shining candy apple red ProIV. Hosnestly, pictures or videos do not do the unit justice as its paint job shines like a brand new luxury car. Equally impressive are the MIDI buttons which glow blue when the unit is powered on.
One of my favorite features of the PMC-05ProII was how its simple and non cluttered layout made it great for basic scratching and mixing. Although the ProIV has significantly more buttons, Vestax managed to keep the bottom of the unit extremely clean and uncluttered. Also, the ProIV is also similar to its predecessors in that the casing is made almost exclusively of metal. The mixer is heavy and feels like it can survive whatever you throw at it.
In The Box
- Vestax PMC 05 Pro IV mixer - 1 USB Cord - 1 Power Cord - Owners Manual
For the purpose of this review I am using an Acer 1410 computer, two Technics 1200 M3Ds, and Traktor Scratch Pro.
The IV comes with 3 outputs: Master - XLR, Booth – TRS, and Aux - RCA. I really like how each of these outputs has its own volume control on the mixer as it gives you more flexibility with the sound output. For example, In my setup I connected the Booth output to my monitors and the Aux to a recording device and was able to adjust the volume output for each in order to get perfect sound. There are also two sets of RCA connectors (Send/Receive) in order to connect an FX unit.
Inputs – The ProIV gives you a maximum of three inputs per channel. 2 of these inputs are permanently line inputs (for digital devices like a CD player) and 1 of the inputs can be either line or phono (for turntables). However, one of the most unique features of the ProIV is how it handles Digital Vinyl Systems (DVS) such as Traktor Scratch and Serato. The ProIV gives you an RCA input and output that connect to the DVS and then allows you to decide which input (line or phono) will “control” the DVS. This not only frees up a line input for you to use, it also allows DJs to swap out Traktor with Serato mid-set without having to disconnect your turntables, CDs players, etc. While DJs who DJ alone would not find the latter feature that useful, a club owner would find this feature to be extremely valuable since different DJs can swap in and out their their DVS devices without stopping the music.
The MIDI control is easily the most exciting feature of on the Vestax PMC-05ProIV. Setting it up with Traktor was relatively simple. Windows 7 recognized the mixer immediately and installed the appropriate driver. After that I opened up Traktor and loaded in the Preset configuration provided by Vestax HERE.
The ProIV comes with 6 MIDI buttons and 1 Scroll Wheel (which can also be pushed to click) for each channel. In the middle of the channels is a Shift button which allows each button to have an alternative function. When the shift button is pressed the buttons light up Red instead of Blue to indicate that shift mode is on. Along with the 2 scroll wheels, this gives you a total of 30 MIDI control notes that you can assign to functions in your software
I found the preset configuration file provided by Vestax at the link above to be a great setup for my needs:
- Scroll Wheel (Spin): Browses through tracks - Scroll Wheel (Push): Assigns the highlighted track to the corresponding deck - Buttons 1-3: Assigns a new cue point or jumps to the existing cue point if one is already set - Buttons 1-3 (Shift Mode): Deletes a set cue point so a new one can be set - Buttons 4-6: Set Loop In, Set Loop Out, Turn Loop On/Off - Buttons 4-6 (Shift Mode): Shorten Loop Size, Increase Loop Size, Set Loop to Size 4
If you dont like this setup you can customize it to your style. Personally the only change I made was making Button 6 (Shift Mode) open up the Traktor Fullscreen Track Browser.
Overall I am extremely impressed with the performance of the MIDI buttons on the ProIV. There was virtually no noticeable lag between the button press and the response of the software. The performance is similar to that of other MIDI controllers such as the Novation Dicers or the Traktor X1, but the ProIV's advantage is in the positioning of the buttons. Having them right on the mixer makes them extremely convenient because essentially all your controls are in one place. My only gripe with the ProIV's MIDI functionality is that pressing the shift button and pushing or twisting the knob does not change the MIDI control. Had Vestax made the knobs respond to the shift button it would have given DJs 6 more MIDI notes to use to control their software. I would have really liked to be able to use the knobs to control effects when in shift mode but I ended up still using my X1 for advanced controls.
The PMC-05ProIV includes a new Vestax CF-X2 Digital Fader that incorporates a “non-contact linear sensor system”. This means that DJs shouldn't have to worry about the Fader's performance degrading with heavy use. The cross fader is extremely smooth, and requires barely any effort to glide across the mixer. The line faders have slightly more tension but still have a professional, high quality feel.
Like the PMC-08Pro, the PMC-05ProIV allows you to customize the faders to meet your unique style. The cross fader can be reversed (Hamster Switch) and the curve can be adjusted from extremely sharp (for scratching) to a gradual fade. In addition there are two knobs that allow you to set the points at which the opposite channel will fade in and out. This is extremely useful for DJs who do intense scratching. Be careful with this setting, however, as if you set the fade too sharp both channels will end up playing regardless of where the fader is. Like the cross faders, each line fader can be reversed. You can also independently control the volume curve for each channel.
The ProIV has many of the features found on past versions of the PMC-05 series but adds some new tricks. Most importantly for scratch DJs, the Transformer switch has been reshaped and enlarged to make it easier to perform transformer scratches. There is also a knob that allows you to select what will play through the headphones. This allows you to listen to the Master Out, PGM 1 & 2, or even the return from the device you have hooked up to the effect Send/Receive. Lastly, The 3 Band Isolator is very powerful, although I would have loved to have kill switches for quickly turning off/on different frequencies.
Conclusion / Recommended For
The PMC-05 Pro Series has always been known for its sound quality and durability, but by adding MIDI controls Vestax has made the PMC-05ProIV a truly innovative and exciting product. At a price of $899, the ProIV is certainly not for everyone but if you have the money to spend then its a great choice for DJs looking to have a mixer that will last for years to come and are interested in MIDI control. When you factor in that a typical MIDI controller can cost $100-$200 or more, the price of the ProIV doesnt seem to steep. Lastly, The ProIVs ability to hot-swap DVS devices such as Traktor and Serato also makes it a great choice for clubs and bars where multiple DJs will be performing. Highly Recommended.
- MIDI controls right in the center of the mixer for easy access.
- Built like a brick, will last for years to come
- Cross fader and line faders have adjustable curves. Cross fader has adjustable cut in and cut out points.
- Dedicated line in/line out for DVS devices such as Serato & Traktor allows you to swap them in and out on the fly.
- Lacks EQ Kill switches
- High cost