Guillemot just released a new update for Hercules controllers yesterday. I downloaded the update for my Hercules DJ Console MK4 and did the upgrade on my laptop PC. This update is the third update for 2016 apparently. This upgrade download was a bit strange. When you run it, it uninstalls the old version on your PC. Then the program stops. You have to run it again to start the installation. After that, tried it out and all was OK. So what you are you waiting for boys and gals…get updating!
Early this morning, I went to check out a friend of mine who had a gig for Halloween. When I went into the premises, I saw that was using the new Numark Mixtrack Pro 3. Awesome, I thought, as I was eyeing this new, slim controller from Numark that was Serato DJ compatible. But first of all, let us look at this controller closely
First of all, Numark has endowed this controller with 100mm pitch sliders that make it easy to perform even the finest pitch adjustments. I used to have pitch knobs on my Hercules DJ Console MK 4 and while they were quirky at first, I got used to them and now I wish I had knobs instead of sliders all the time because it was easy to fine-tune the pitch. My WeGo has pitch sliders but they are short. I have had to live with them but the long-throw sliders on this Numark are very welcome.
Next thing worth mentioning is that there are 16 multi-function backlit performance pads that can be utilised to add loops, launch samples, and control hot cues to your performance. Use the multi-function touch strip for dynamic FX control and track search operation. There are dedicated filter knobs for each channel, to give you just the exact amount of tonal control you need. So we are talking versatility here but there are other controllers in the same price range that will do the same as well admittedly.
I did mention that this Numark is thin…and looks pretty stealth. And the jogwheels…they look pretty responsive with a red halo around them. They are low-profile metal platters and they add to the controllers slim profile. Numark has stated that they are capacitive and dual-zone, giving you the ability to scratch or stop a track simply by touching the top of the platter, while at the same time allowing you to adjust the pitch by manipulating the platter from the side. Now that is awesome but my inexpensive WeGo does the same, and is no slouch.
So in a nutshell, let us look at the features of this controller:
- All-new 5-inch high resolution metal jog wheels
- Dedicated filter knobs for each channel
- Multi-function Touch Strip for dynamic FX control and Track Search
- 100mm pitch sliders for fine pitch adjustments
- Dedicated track browsing controls for your library
- 16 multi-function performance pads
- Integrated class compliant audio interface with ¼-inch and 1/8-inch headphone connections
- 1/4″ Microphone Input
- Includes Serato DJ Intro upgrade-ready for Serato DJ
- Includes Prime Loops remix tool kit
Most controllers, at least the lower-end ones, have mic inputs but I suspect this is for unbalanced mics with tip-sleeve connectors. This one is no exception. Outputs-wise, these come with two RCA outputs, standard on most controllers like these. Now this looks good but Decksaver has not made an covers for this controller…yet. I am seriously tossed on this and the DDJ-SB2 but I forgot to mention one thing in this review and that is my friend’s controller’s channel faders could NOT work and he was relying on his crossfader all night long. Oh well…worth a thought and I hope that everything works out well for him.
So far, for the past month or so, I have been using Serato DJ instead of VirtualDJ when I DJ. I have found it to be pretty good. I cannot say the same thing about it when I first started using it because it took some getting used to. It is a whole different ball-game from VirtualDJ. There are some things that are similar and some which are not and I have had to get used to it. One of them was getting used to organising my song library. It took some time to get used to Serato’s way
The second thing is the price, and adaptability. I chose Serato DJ because it only cost me about US$99. And with Serato DJ, any controller that is compatible with Serato DJ just works when I plug it into my computer’s USB port. VirtualDJ only has the severely-crippled “light” version that is shipped with controllers, for use with that controller alone. The “pro” version of VirtualDJ 8 costs about US$300 and only then it is able to work with different controllers that are plugged into your computer port
So after being a VirtualDJ user for some time, was it easy to move to Serato? For me, it was rather straightforward. There will be questions and there will be adaptations to a whole new bit of software but once you get it dialled, you will understand why people swear by Serato. I still use VirtualDJ with my old Hercules DJ Console MK4 controller though so I have not given up on it totally. But I still owe a debt of thanks to VirtualDJ. It was my first partner into the digital world of DJ’ing and it taught me lot. I dare say I would have been a lot less confident of myself handling Serato if it was not for VirtualDJ
Just the other day, about a week ago, I was DJ at an event with some other DJs where we were using Pioneer CDJs and a mixer, hooked up to a Rane SL4 interface box. The thing is, in order for us to use that system with our notebooks, we needed to use the Serato timecode discs. But there was an issue. One of the CDJs had apparently developed issues trying to read the discs and as a result, there were several drop-outs that night, much to our chagrin. After the function, we told ourselves…never again. We decided to go all-controller for the next function…and this is what we chose to use next time, the DDJ-SZ.
The DDJ-SZ is Pioneer’s flagship DJ controller. It is the first controller to closely match the CDJ-2000NXS set-up. The full-sized, illuminated jog wheels deliver a smooth, fast response for precision scratching. Plus you can check your playback position or point countdown with the On Jog Display. And it is not only that. The important part is that it contains two USB sound cards and ports. This means we can hook-up 2 computers at the same time and use the top-loaded A/B switch for DJ transitions. We had a HELL of a problem with that Rane SL4 interface box and Serato DJ
But I was thinking to myself…what if issues should happen? After all, this is an all-in-one which means that when something goes wrong, the whole controller needs to be sent for repair. I am always very concerned about faders because the faders in my old Hercules DJ Console MK4 are starting to show signs of wear. But no matter. Apparently, the robust Magvel Faders in the DDJ-SZ ensure smooth control over long-term use. Two metal shafts support the fader knobs, while the contact-free magnetic system is designed to endure millions of performances. So that is good news, fader-wise
So to be honest, I was looking for one of these for sale should I need one. Ever since I made my transition to Serato from VirtualDJ, things have been going great. There are heaps more this controller can give you like two MIC inputs and XLR outputs for full, balanced audio. It costs about $2500 new so I am looking for a second-hand set. I think it will be a good investment
This is the first update I did for my Hercules DJ controller for 2016. Sometimes, maybe about 4 times a year, Guillemot will schedule an update for the Windows driver of the Hercules controller. Yesterday’s download of about 46Mb was downloaded and installed. When I booted up after installing it, I had ASIO issues at first with my old Dell N5050. I double checked and once again, that stupid problem, or rather, issue from the past came up again. But before I found out it was my Dell’s soundcard issue, I was all for uninstalling this driver and rolling back to a previous one. But in the end, I got it working and it is a breeze. Always remember guys, update your drivers!
I do not understand this. Yet another PC driver update (for Hercules controllers) has been released. This is update 2015_HDJS_6 and looks like the 6th update this year. This year must go down in history with the most number of updates from Hercules. In any case guys and gals, if you do use Hercules DJ controllers and use your PC to DJ, you would be wise to update your drivers now.
I could not believe it when Guillemot Hercules notified me of yet another update to their Windows drivers for their controllers. This would be the third or fourth one this year. I hope they solved the hanging issues that I have been having with their controllers. The last update left me wanting because on two occasions, my software and controller hung…during a function no less. I was literally left high and dry, and not to mention irritated. Let us hope that this issue solves the problem.