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

 

 
Installation
Plug it in and fire it up...

As with most USB products, installation couldn't be easier. When we installed the drive all we did was toss in the installation CD into our CD-ROM, selected "Drivers" and followed the on-screen instructions. One reboot later, we where up and running. One of the nice features of the DJ Console is that it can be used in conjunction with your current soundcard with causing conflict on your computer. When one connects the Console, it is automatically recognized as the main sound card.  Similarly, when the DJ Console is unplugged, your internal sound card will resume its original functions.

As a result, you can connect and disconnect the DJ Console at any point in time, even when the computer is turned on, thanks to the hot-swappable capabilities of USB.

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Rear Connections (note: large picture)

Front Connections (note: large picture)

The DJ Console features multiple connectors on both the front and back of the unit that will satisfy just about every feasible connection that the average user would come across. Referring to the image of the Rear Connections of the console above, moving left to right; we found an analog RCA, analog mini-jack, optical and coaxial digital inputs/outputs, MIDI input/output and lastly the USB connector. Moving on to the Front Connections image, again moving left to right; we found, an analog line input, volume control knob for the microphone, 1/4" mono microphone input, volume control for the headphones and lastly the 1/4" stereo headphone input.

Throughout our testing we where able to play with all of the ports with the exception of the MIDI input/output jacks. Those two plugs aside, we where very impressed with sound quality that was produced through each connection. However, there are two things we would have liked to have seen. First, we would have preferred to have seen all the connections gold plated for retention of signal strength, opposed to the select few that are. Also, the USB connection that was present on our model was far from stable. During testing, if the cable happened to be draped off to the side, much like cable on a keyboard is, the deck would not function properly (the deck would randomly speed up and slow down all the sound outputs while using the DJ function). We would like to note that this was not an issue while using the deck strictly as an external soundcard, so we do believe this was just a minor pre-production flaw that will hopefully be fixed on all of the final units.

Update: We just received confirmation for our PR contact at Hercules that Guillemot had found and corrected the glitch. Shipments of the product are  scheduled to leave early next week.

 

Software
The Extra Goodies...

 

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Continuing with Hercules tradition of software bundles, the DJ Console includes quiet the well-rounded suite. Covering almost every aspect of software that a DJ will need, various mp3/wma/cda mixing and construction software, users should not be disappointed with the options they have to choose from. The install screen above clearly shows the plethora of full programs the software bundle includes; DJ Console Drivers, Atomic Virtual DJ, GMixon New DJ, Ots DJ Demo, Ots CD Scratch, Arturia Strom DJ and finally a software version of the user manual. 

 

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Atomic Virtual DJ
 

GMixon New DJ 2003
 

Ots Cd Scratch

Arturia Storm DJ

Note: Below is a brief summary of the main aspects that each of pieces of software offers

 

Atomic Virtual DJ: Is a full fledged DJ mixing program which supports of multiple audio formats (mp3/wave/wma/cda/...) and is incorporated in a very user friendly GUI (Graphical User Interface) laid out just like two vinyl decks. Offering full support of Hercules's DJ Console, the ability to record your live mixes and some very swank sound FX's this program was the HH Crew's favourite program that was included in the software bundle.
GMixon New DJ 2003: Is another DJ mixing program which supports multiple audio formats (mp3/wave/cda) and is laid out like two digital mixing decks. However, we found this program to have a ridged feel that distracted us during mixing. It just seemed that the fluidity of this program was lacking somewhat. As noted above your are able to record your live mixes and the program also sports some nice sound FX's.
Ots CD Scratch:

You want to scratch a CD like a vinyl LP? Well this gem of a program will let you do just that. Offering full optimization of the DJ Console, one will be scratching up a storm in a matter of minutes. For the tacitly inept, one can also use the pre-programmed scratch patterns by a simple press of a button.

Arturia Storm DJ: Using Arturia Strom DJ, one can choose from multiple virtual instruments (analog synthesizers, drum machines, sample sequencers, scratch decks, etc.), drag and drop them onto the interface and you are ready to compose in real time. We crew did not venture into this software a great deal because we were more concerned with putting the deck through a series of rigorous testing procedures with various types of media. However, all in all, this is a great program, for those who wish to move beyond mixing, and wish to start laying down there own tracks.

 

 

Test System and Benchmarks

 
   

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