Hey y'all,

I started DJing last month after finding my friend's American Audio Velocity mp3 CDJ system + subwoofers, etc. in storage (he is studying abroad in China until January). So I currently have 2 subwoofers, 2 mid/high combos (all are 400W Peaveys), with stands, multiple mixers, amps, and microphones all lying around the apartment gathering dust. Thus I decided that I could make some good money by starting to DJ. Having been a musician, choreographer, and dancer before I started, DJing came fairly naturally. I love it, and wish I had started earlier! I played my first public (meaning non-college) gig last Thursday at a St. Louis club. The set went well, and the other DJ complimented me on my mixing and track selection.

However, I find it rather restrictive to only be able to play from CD's. As a temporary fix, I have hooked up my computer to the auxiliary input on the mixer. But it is difficult to use certain mixing and sampling techniques without a controller. For example, looping one track out by cutting the loop in half every few counts, and playing the drop from another song at the end of the loop series is not possible, even with a mouse.

Additionally, since I have no soundcard apart from the one native to my laptop, I use the mixer's headphone output to listen to the output from the computer. This way, I can listen to the computer's track and mix it into something playing on a CDJ deck. However, if the computer is playing one track, I cannot listen to another track on the computer in the headphones; it goes straight to output.

Because of this, I tend to have my primary crate of tracks on CD's, and mix in a song from the computer if I get an idea mid-set, then mix back from the computer playing to a song on the CDJ system.

***And finally to the question; I would like to get a controller and run a digital setup, both because there are more mixing possibilities and because when my friend returns, we will both be playing gigs.

So, which controllers would you recommend? I would like something that
1). Will last me for a while (since this is an investment). Something that will not mind travelling on airplanes, and trains, as I am a student that lives far from home.
2). Will serve me as a DJ at clubs, house parties, *dance battles*, and weddings.
3). Doesn't carry a large stigma in the bboy community. I am a bboy (breakdancer), and have seen a number of DJ's come under fire in the hip hop community for having certain setups. This is not super-important.
4). smaller rather than larger, and lighter rather than heavier, as I plan on bringing it with me to Spain this summer, where I will be studying, and hopefully playing some gigs.
5). Good value, and in the $400 range, ideally. My friend, John Huang (DJ Keeno), who wrote an article for the DDJT here (http://www.digitaldjtips.com/2011/05...usic-stops-dj/), recommended the Vestax VCI-300 MK2, which is a little above my price range. I found one for $600 at proaudiostar.com. However, what is most important to me is value, and I would be happy to purchase in this range if the value is good and you think it meets my criteria well.
6). Comes with good software. I only have "light" versions currently (VirtualDJ7 Home). I tried Mixxx (both the beta and the official), and it made my mp3's sound terrible for some reason.
7). Has a soundcard included so I can choose to either have the left deck, right deck, or both outputting audio to the headphones regardless of what is outputting to the speakers.
8). Has some degree of ability to do scratching.

Also, what do you think of the VCI-300 MKII as an option

oof, that was an essay!