The Vestax Corporation of Japan began in 1977 as a designer and manufacturer of electronic guitars. In the 1980s Vestax introduced a series of cassette based multitracks to challenge established products from Fostex, Yamaha and Tascam's portastudios. Today, as music making continues to evolve in this high-tech age, Vestax are more commonly known for innovative sound developments such as signal processors, DJ Mixers, professional turntables and Compact Disc players.
By concentrating their efforts into the needs of nightclubs and Disc jockeys, their mixers have become favourites of international DJs such as Carl Cox, DJ QBert and Cut Chemist. Mixers such as the various iterations of the PMC-05pro have become staples of the Hip Hop DJ community, and they also have manufactured signature models for DJ's such as Carl Cox and DJ Qbert.
During the late 1990s Vestax launched a new flagship range of professional DJ turntables. The PDX models had higher specifications than the two market leading products from Technics and were priced in direct competition with the Technics SL1210/SL1200.
However the industry standard Technics SL1210/SL1200 models remained the favourite of DJs worldwide, mostly due to the almost 20 year head start they have had to become established. There have also been some build quality issues reported throughout 2008 and 2009.
This pattern of events has been replicated by other DJ equipment manufacturers such as Numark, Gemini and Stanton. It is worth noting though that while many of these turntables have either a higher specification or lower cost, in sheer numbers sold they are still dwarfed by the various versions of the SL-1200.
Today Vestax has reduced its range of turntables, the PDX-2000mk2/2300mk2 for mainstream DJ use, and the PDX-2000mk2pro/PDX-2300pro with a new tonearm suspension system for increased skip resistance. In conjunction with DJ Qbert they have also released the QFO and QFO LE models, which are turntables with built-in mixers, and a portable turntable/mixer that is capable of battery power. It is also worth noting that Vestax is the first manufacturer to release a vinyl cutting machine.
One of Vestax's main innovations with their turntable was the introduction of the straight tone arm, which supposedly gave greater tracking force; useful for complex DJing maneuvers such as scratching or beat juggling. This has been adopted by virtually all other turntable manufacturers, with the exception of Technics. Some maintain however that the straight arm increases wear upon the record. This is based on the premise that the original 's' shaped tonearm is so designed as to naturally gravitate toward the center of the record. The straight arm will not do this, and so will theoretically drag more as the record rotates, wearing down the grooves. Vestax however have consistently denied this. Turntables have been made for many years with straight tone arms and other varying designs. The crucial aspect of the record player is cartridge and stylus alignment which relates to how records are made (cut) Baerwald ca. 1941 showed that the tracking error of a pivoted stylus could be minimized if the stylus is aligned such that it is parallel to the groove at two points along its curved path. As long as the stylus is set correctly there will be minimal undesired wear on a standard record for any style or shape of tonearm.
In 2006, Vestax moved into the burgeoning digital DJ market and released the VCI 100, an all-in-one DJ controller used to control digital DJ software. Its design of jog wheels and a mixer in a single compact frame sparked a revolution in digital DJ hardware, quickly becoming the blueprint for most DJ controllers and helping to re-establish Vestax as a major player in the DJ market. The company has subsequently solidified this position by launching a highly respected range of DJ controllers from low-end consumer models to more highly specced pro versions such as the VCI-380 and VCI-400.
In mid-October of 2014, established DJ website "DJ-Techtools" reported a speculative piece investigating reports from the Japanese news source, "Teikoku News Online" that Vestax is ceasing operations. This seems to be supported by evidence that retailers in the US have closed shop, and a seeming lack of representation or new products being revealed at trade shows.