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Vestax Pad-One review

Andrew Unsworth
6 Oct 2012
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
99
inc VAT

an incredibly tough and versatile MIDI controller

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Specifications

The Vestax Pad-One is a USB-powered MIDI controller that lets you control DJing and music production software with 12 velocity and pressure-sensitive pads, an X/Y pad and a collection of buttons and dials. You can use it to play drum sounds in your digital audio workstation, trigger hot-cues in your DJing software or whatever else you decide to do with it.

Vestax Pad-One

The Pad-One is incredibly versatile and you can edit each pad so that it emits a specific MIDI control signal or note, and it has four separate banks of controls, giving you up to 48 different MIDI controls. If you want to assign a bass drum sound to the first pad, for example, and your software won’t let you do that because it demands a specific MIDI signal, you can edit the pad’s MIDI signal using the Pad-One hardware so that it emits that specific note. You really can customise the Pad-One’s hardware to organise your controls exactly the way you want them.

Unlike many compact MIDI controllers, the Pad-One has a solid aluminium casing and is extremely tough. The pads are constructed from durable silicon and the pots and other controls are also well built. The Pad-One is designed to be used, abused and taken to gigs, so you can be sure it’ll survive the rigours of your home studio for many years.

Vestax Pad-One

Although the Pad-One has a power connector for an external power supply, it doesn’t actually come with one; it must be bought separately. For most people, that’ll be no great hardship because the Pad-One is USB-powered, although you might encounter problems if you connect it to a non-powered USB hub. If the hub can’t deliver enough power to the Pad-One it won’t work. If you plug the Pad-One in to your computer directly, and most users will, you’ll be fine.

The Pad-One also has a MIDI output that lets you control older MIDI equipment. You need to use a 6-pin to 5-pin DIN MIDI convertor cable, but that comes with the unit, so you can incorporate it in to older setups straight away.

DRUMMER GETS WICKED
Each drum pad is Large enough to hit easily and has a lot of resistance, but they’re soft enough to cushion your stabs and not fatigue your fingers when playing for extended periods. You can just hit the pads as you wish, but the Pad-One also has a number other features that let you get creative without having to change software settings constantly.

One example is the Pad-One’s Hold and Roll features which repeat a pad’s note every beat. Simply engage the Hold and Roll buttons and press a pad to have its note repeated. You must set the tempo using the tap button. This isn’t an exact way of setting a specific BPM, but it’s a good way to generate a groove quickly and it makes the experience more natural and human. The Hold and Roll features make it easy to tap in regular instruments, such as bass drums, hats and tambourines. All pads are illuminated green by default and turn orange when you hit them or when they’re selected in Roll mode. This means you can easily see which pad is repeating.

Vestax Pad-One

The Roll feature can also be used in conjunction with the Pad-One’s X/Y pad to create some funky drum-rolls. The X-axis controls the speed of the drum-roll, with the far-left of the pad triggering a one-beat drum roll, so you play a drum sound on each beat. Swipe your finger to the X/Y pad’s far right and you get machine-gun-quick drum-rolls. The Y-axis controls volume. If you touch the bottom of the pad you can hardly hear the drum roll, but swiping your finger to the top increases it.

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