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Vestax PDX-2000mkII Review - By Gizmo - July 2004

"Once upon a time there was a company called Technics who ruled over all the DJ's in the land. Then along came a company by the name of Vestax. This outsider brought along their own form of DJ gear for people to play with and lo - a new king ruled over all the land. A bloody war ensued that hasn't stopped since. Others have tried to take over the crown and failed..."

Well we all know the story. It's been told and retold trillion times on the net and it's one that will never be won in a war of words.

What we have here is the successor to the first Vestax PDX-2000 that hit the streets several years ago. From those early beginnings, the 2000 mutated into the 2300 with the digital display and joystick and now it's become 4 distinct models - 2000mkII, 2000mkII Pro, and respective 2300 models as well. The model I've checked out is the entry base 2000 mkII. Essentially an updated 2000 with a few nice new touches - this is the model most people will buy. This review is more of a comparison with the old model as there's not much left to be said about the 2000 as a deck that hasn't been posted elsewhere before.

So - what's new?

First off - there's a new platter. We got a sneak peek of the shape of things to come on some images of the QFO. Basically, it's been lowered by 7mm to get it somewhere near the Technics standard. Fitting is much the same with 2 screws into the motor mechanism, but generally, the platter feels much more secure and solid than the old one. There have been issues with platter wobble on the old PDX but hopefully, they've been fixed with this new one. The edge design has been tweaked as well and is diamond cut for extra finger shredding.

As the image shows, the platters are not retro-fittable. While the new platter fits to the old deck, there's (quite logically) a 7mm gap. So there will be no kits available to add the new platter to the old deck. And just for the hell of it, you can't add old platters to new decks either.

One other extremely noticeable thing with these new platters is how damn slippy they are. The old platter had a coating that caused a reasonable amount of grip on the platter. In use, I was trying to make the vinyl grip a little more as it just freewheeled with Butter Rugs on. I'm not complaining at all - it's nice to have something too slippy than not.

Next up - the case has been redesigned to allow the PDX to be positioned closer to the mixer. The reality is that the lids hinge slots have been removed (did anyone ever use the lid anyway?) and angle phono leads are now supplied as standard.

As you can see, mixers can now be positioned right up against the deck. Not always a great idea but at least now you have the option to do so. Overall - and this could simply be a psychological effect of a factory fresh deck - the new case somehow seems sturdier. And residual noise from the new case seems better as well. Alongside my Numark TTX, less noise was heard through the speakers when giving the PDX a knock.

For the real gear geeks out there, here's how the insides of the cases compare. The old PDX is on the left. You can clearly see the lower motor mechanism on the right hand shot and revised rim design.

Another new addition is the tone arm base. All the new PDX decks have had a tonearm system upgrade of varying degrees - the base model gets an new height adjustment system. Gone is the spring - in the old version the spring forces the tonearm upwards with the screw holding it in place. In the new one, the spring has gone and a visual height adjustment indicator has been added. The base has also been redesigned to reduce vibration. IMHO, this new system is much better - the old spring loaded adjustment just didn't seem accurate or secure enough. So far as I can see, the rest of the tonearm on the mkII models remains the same. The Pro versions get a whole new Dynamic Balance tonearm that will be reviewed in detail soon.

The controls on the PDX remain largely unchanged. The pitch slider has however been tightened for better and more accurate control. And let's not forget the ±50 ultra pitch. This has been one of the major bonuses of the PDX over Technics.

The PDX also has a reverse play button, quartz lock plus speed adjustment for start and brake. I was impressed that when you stop the platter, it doesn't move a little like the TTX - on the PDX, stop means stop. I do feel that the adjustment knobs are too small and a little awkward but useable.

Other improvements a brighter platter light and an indicator light on the on/off button. The feet have allegedly been changed but I can't see where or how. Sometimes it's the little things that make the difference but the combination of all the major features changes and minor tweaks make the PDX a much better deck.

So how does it feel?

Having an old and new model side by side is the only way to test out the changes. In all honesty, they both perform flawlessly. The ASTS straight arms are a proven technology and despite my clumsiness, neither deck showed any real issues with either scratching or juggling. I wasn't really expecting anything else really. The PDX's have been around for long enough now to have proven themselves as a worthy competitor for any high end deck in the marketplace.

On this entry level model, the updates are not that extreme. The deck is essentially the same but has been tweaked in some areas that have either been a long term problem (platter) or that needed an update. So I'd reasonably expect that old and new would feel similar. I would say (and this again is probably because it's new) that the updated 2000 just felt... well... better. It's hard to pinpoint exactly why but I figure the minor tweaks across the board make for a better turntable experience.

Comparing the PDX to the other decks out there on the market is hard. Technics has the longevity card and a planet full of happy users but does fall behind in several areas such as straight arm, reverse play and ultra pitch. However, decks such as the Numark TTX and Stanton STR8-150 offer the same features plus more - such as key lock. But these decks aren't as widely used so their longevity isn't known. All I know for sure is that put a skilled open-minded tablist in front of anyone of these decks and they'd be hard pushed to pick between them. You have to try them for yourself to be totally sure.

To Summarise...

The original PDX was a great deck - indeed a rival if not replacement for the ubiquitous Technics 1210. The across the board feature tweak make the mkII an even better deck and even more worthy of consideration if you're currently toying with buying some new gear. The reality is it's really hard to pick between any of the top decks as the features are all similar, as are the prices. I would say that it's not really worth considering the mkII an upgrade purchase - there isn't enough new or improved to warrant moving your existing PDX's onto eBay just yet. Though once I get to try the Pro models - especially the top of the range 2300 Pro, I may well change my mind on that. Overall a very worthy successor to the original PDX-2000.

Rating - 9/10

Thanks to Vestax UK for supplying the equipment and continued support!

 


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