I bought one of these units a month or so ago and thought that some of the issues raised here were being blown out of proportion. I took it out on the road the other night and wished I hadn't. Fortunately I had my old console and CDs in the car as a back up so I was able to change the unit out and interface it into the old system for mics before the party really got going. I have used it like this a few times on different amp systems.
I have been totally converted to the use of DJ software with its easy of use, playlists and the karaoke option all in the same unit. I prefer to have the outputs into a conventional mixer (not a sofware mixer) but this is a personal preference to have a backup CD player incase the PC/Software crashes I can get music back on in seconds not in 5-10 minutes. The VMS4 is absolutely ideal for this and a dream to work on - appart from the technical issues:
1. Mic Inputs - lack of headroom/gain between pre-amp and gain control-amp - even on good quality low output mics.
2. Main Output - lack of volume/power on balanced output for some amps
3. Main Output - lots of background dirty noise caused by cross contamination - need to turn the amps down and the mixer right up - not ideal
4. Lack of headphone volume - my Sony headphones were fine but my backup pair aren't loud enough when the volume is up in the height of a party
Given the number of significant problems on the current issue of the VSM4 it would seem the only logical solution to overcomming such significant design flaws. As a qualified electronics engineer I cannot see how AA are going to overcome some of the problems without changes to the main circuit board as it isn't going to be something that can be overcome by a few simple changes to the onboard firmware program. These issues need alterations to the actual harware and components.
From a selfish perspective I can see only a few solution at present - they all start off by selling the thing as it is and:
a. wait for a Mk2 with these issues removed,
b. try a number of competitors products as a direct replacement,
c. get a DJ controller to run virtual DJ or similar software and then use either a mixer with built in multi-channel usb sound card (citronic have a nice one but I personally don't like the tiny layout) or use a conventional mixer with a separate usb souncard off the laptop - prefered option but none offer the quality of build or all in one solution offered by the VMS4.
All I can say is that in hindsight I think AA should have withdrawn the item or stopped production before it got to this stage. This would have allowed them to re-disign the boards without these problems - at present their reputation is significantly damaged. I do appreciate that the time taking to sort this may be due to the fact that they don't want to worsent the situation and they want to test proposed solutions before issuing them - they should have fully road tested the unit before it went to market first time.
Either way it results in having to take a hit on the VSM4 as I can't see AA offering a swap service to existing customers to get a sorted MK2 and I need a solution now not in 3-6 months time. (Based on this forum history they knew about these issues within a couple of months of issuing and there has been very little movement in the last 3 months - except for mic transformers which could have beeen done in a couple of weeks).
I shall leave the issue of 'goods reasonably fit for purpose' as required by the Sale of Goods Act 1979 to someone with legal qualifications as this is not my area of expertise, but it is worth remembering that this item is meant as a professionals tool and not a bedroom toy.
All in all a bit of a let down as I had looked forward to this for quite a while and finally decided to go for it in time for Christmas party season. Just have to wait and see what else is out there.