I received my VCM 600 a week ago or so.
Build quality is really good. The faders and the knobs feel solid.
The buttons quality though is not as good as the buttons quality of a monome. I think if you use'em very often, they may suffer (but we'll see). The buttons are made of plastic whereas the buttons of a monome are made of silicon which feels better IMO. But they are usable !
A disappointment for me as a dj are the 3 EQ knobs per track. I would have expected them to have a physical snap in at 0dB (middle position) like you find it on many dj mixers. So you wouldn't have to have a look at the knobs or the screen everytime to know if you are at 0dB again. Although all knobs have a physically feelable marker indicating the current value. Due to this marker you can "feel" the approximate (0dB) position.
But even if the EQ knobs had the physical snap in at their middle position the other problem would be that the VCM knobs middle position doesn't represent the (MIDI CC) value of Lives EQ 0dB position. Thus on the VCM 600 you would have to be able to define an EQ knob curve or something like that. (Maybe achievable through a Bomes script as well !?)
Now I worked around it in the following way: In Lives MIDI mapping I created manual assignments for each tracks EQ knobs. Then for each of this assignments I defined a max value of 0dB. By doing that I'm not able to push frequencies above 0dB anymore but to lower them only. But in the end for me it doesn't really matter I think .. at least when it's about digital DJing and leveling. I don't use a Compressor (or Limiter plugin) on each track. I play all my songs at -0,2dB to 0dB. If you'd then apply an additional EQ frequency push it would result in an ugly digital distortion .. which I'm trying to avoid of course. (OK, same is for applying other effects like Filter. How do you guys handle this circumstance ? I know that Tarekith is giving some usefull tips on leveling -> http://www.tarekith.com/assets/Leveling.html
A lot of knobs sit very close to each other. This may result in handling problems if you have big finger(tip)s like me
But if you're fine with the XONE 92 knob layout/positions then you're fine with the VCM 600 as well. I'd say you get used to it.
The crossfader feels good physically but the response behavior in Live is really bad (at least in my individual setup here using a pretty lame laptop, 1,6GHz single Core). I don't know if this is due to my setup or to the old MIDI protocol.
Sometimes I like to scratch in some stuff (that comes from real vinyl or from MsPinky plugin) which wasn't a problem using my former analog mixer (XONE 92) but right now with the VCM 600 it is
(which was to expect of course) My only hope is that things get better on a faster system. But IMO the only way of getting a better response would be to use the OSC protocol (but the VCM 600 is hardcoded to put out MIDI commands only).
Session View navigation and clip launching for DJing is acceptable IMO. Via the scene up/down rotary encoder/push button in conjunction with the Clip, Track and Play Buttons per channel you are fine without using a mouse.
For other purposes you might want to have a clip launch matrix. (For that I'm using my monome with the application 'pages' -> http://docs.monome.org/doku.php?id=app:pages
I agree with cdebari, even more buttons per Channel would have been nice. You can't have enough buttons per channel
But as I only use 6 Tracks at the same time I'm using the "Track Bank" feature (Bank1: Tracks 1-6, Bank2: Tracks 7-12) to use the buttons of bank 2 for the Tracks 1-6 of Bank1 as well. For functions you don't use that often (e.g. like Crossfade assign).
For DJing IMO I think I'm better off using a VCM 600 (and optional a monome) instead of a APC40. Not at least due to the EQs per Channel only but due to the many knobs and buttons per channel in general.
If you have further questions please let me know !
Ah, maybe one thing yet. I used "Bome's Midi Translator" to customize and extend the functionaly of individual button presses. One example:
On a Track I have a BeatRepeat effect. Now I want the BeatRepeat to apply only as long as I'm pressing a button (gate mode), e.g. the HiCut button. But Live devices 'On' Buttons per default are working in toggle mode only (and aren't configurable). That means a button press (NoteOn) truns a device on and another button press (NoteOn) turns the device off again. A button release (NoteOff) is ignored by Live devices 'On' button. So i created regarding Bome's translation rules that send another NoteOn MIDI command when receiving a NoteOff command. Thus now I'm able to activate a device by pressing a button and immediately deactivating it again by releasing the button (gate mode).
The syncing of the button LED status is working as well (The button is lit as long as I'm pushing it).