Hercules Audio DJ Console - HotHardware

Hercules Audio DJ Console

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Hercules Audio - DJ Console
Portable DJ Mix Controller & Multi-Channel Audio

Jason R. Gibson
October 29th
, 2003

It has been a while since we at Hot Hardware have taken a look at a Hercules product. You may remember back in early December of 2002, we looked at the Digifire 7.1 Digital soundcard. Sporting some very impressive specifications and achieving a high level of performance, the Digifire was a very welcomed edition to their sound card product line. Recently, Hercules underwent some fairly major internal changes, that resulted in unfortunate downsizing of the company.  However, it seems that Guillemot, Hercules' proprietor, have turned their company around and reinvented themselves a bit, like so many high tech companies have this year.  

Initially you may wonder what H.H. is doing with a DJ Console. Well, it just so happens that this deck is more than meets the eye.  One should able to throw down some "mad beats" with this deck. However, once you are done with the wheels of steel, you can kick back with your favorite DVD/Game and enjoy the 24bit, 5.1 surround sound.  In turn, not only is the Console a tool that the aspiring DJ may benefit from, but it also happens to be an important differentiating product in the Hercules line of audio output devices. 

With this in mind, we proceeded to carefully inspect the whole of the product for workmanship and quality. Details that will be discussed in depth later aside, our initial impression of the overall build quality of the Console was that it was a sturdy unit, ready to hit the road with you and perform. Before we move on too much further we would like to note that this is a pre-production model we are working with. This typically means a few changes to final aesthetics and construction may be applied before the retail sales package run is produced.  As a result, the performance of this product may not be a 100% accurate demonstration of the final product, nevertheless it should be very close.

Specifications / Features Of The DJ Console
What's Under The Hood...
 

Technical Specifications

Data transfer
  • Full speed USB bus
Audio quality
  • 24-bit 102dB ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter) / 24-bit 106dBs DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter)
Audio/MIDI compatibility
  • Microsoft® DirectSound®, DirectX® 8.0 & derivatives, ASIO 2.0, DLS support, GM? (General MIDI)
  • DJ Console?s advanced communication protocol for 100% compatibility with DJ MP3/CD software
Game/Home theatre compatibility
  • Dolby® Digital compatible, 5.1 surround DVD-ready (DVD software not included)
  • Microsoft® DirectSound® 3D, SoundBlaster®
Front face
  • Dedicated amplified 1/4? jack Headphone output + front volume control
  • L+R RCA Line-level inputs
  • 1/4? jack Mic-In with front gain control and signal/clipping LED indicator to avoid saturation
  • Talkover button: reduces the music to a minimum so the DJ can talk to the crowd
Back face
  • 6 analog Line level outputs: 6 mono RCA or 3 stereo 1/8? jacks
    (also configurable as Front / Rear / Center / Subwoofer for home theatre)
  • Optical and coaxial S/PDIF digital input & output
  • DIN5 MIDI-In/MIDI-Out (MPU-401 compatible)
  • USB connector (USB 1.1 & USB 2.0 compatible) for PC connection
Top face
  • 28 phosphorescent soft buttons, 16 LEDs, 4 encoders (2 rotary, 2 optical), 6 potentiometers , 1 crossfader, 2 sliders and a soft-rubber X/Y ministick
Dimensions and PC connection
  • Dimensions of unit without cover: H:20 x W:23.5 x D:6.5 cm (H:7.9? x W:9.25? x D:2.5?)
  • 100% USB bus-powered: no external power supply needed
  • Long USB cable: 2m (78.74?) for less noise interference from computer fans
 

Package Contents

Minimum System Requirements

  • DJ CONSOLE unit
  • Detachable cover and non-slip footing
  • USB cable
  • Shoulder strap for easy transportation
  • Installation CD-ROM with full software bundle & 800 music samples
  • Printed installation guide
     
  • Desktop/laptop PC with Intel® Pentium II 400mHz (700mHz recommended) or higher or compatible
  • 64MB RAM (128MB recommended)
  • Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 & XP?
  • Available USB port (dedicated USB root hub for DJ console recommended)
  • Headphones or amplified speakers
  • CD or DVD-ROM drive (CDDA support recommended)
  • 16-bit, 800 x 600 video resolution or higher
  • Microphone, Internet connection + 100MB free hard disk space for some applications

 

Click Images for Full View

Front of Box

Back of Box

Contents

Console with Cover on

Console with cover off

Front of Console

Back of Console

Bottom of Console

 
 

The accessory package that comes with the DJ Console is nothing too extravagant.  In the pre-production carton Hercules presented us with, we found the DJ Console, User Manual, USB Cable, Shoulder Strap and one Software CD inside the box.  Upon inspection of the unit itself, we found all of the buttons and knobs are either made of, or coated in, a soft pliable rubber that give this unit a very tactile feel, to even the most beastly of hands (the HH crew is comprised of large gentlemen... big hands, feet and... hardware). Located on the top of the console the 2 "vinyl-style" jog wheels, for spinning and scratching, are very evident. Each of these wheels is textured with "finger grips" that aid in the overall control of the unit during rapid song searching, speed adjustment or scratching. Between the two job wheels is the cross-fader that is used to fade the volume between the two "half's" of the deck during mixing. Along each side of the unit there are 6 potentiometers and bass/medium/treble controls for fast adjustment of audio levels. Moving towards the center of the deck the 2 rotary encoders and 2 sliders for tweaking volume or speed of the music (pitch/master temp) during live mixing are found. Sticking out of the middle of the unit is the "mini-stick", which emulates a mouse or allows for "DJ FX" control (scratching) during the use of various software. The rest of the white buttons (all backlit with LED's), 28 in total, are used to play/pause songs, speed music up or down (pitch bend), add effects, cue points (song positions), loop parts of the track, skip backwards and forwards through tracks, rewind or fast forwards and a few other features that are software specific. Located on the bottom of the deck are five red rubber feet that stop the deck from sliding around during use. We should also note that once you remove the cover from the top of the deck, one can attach it to the underside of the unit to add a bit of extra height to the Console.

Click Images for Full View

The DJ Console is fairly customizable to the user?s preferences and to each specific software application that is implemented. Beyond that, the actual specs of the Console, noted above, are pretty self explanatory. So, let?s move on and see what this deck can do...

 

Setup, Installation and  Software

 
 
   

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