Most of the rest of the controls work as you’d imagine, the only other area of note being the external sources, which are switched through software – so you tell your software you want to use an external source on one or both channels, and the waveform disappears and you can now play your external source instead, allowing you to use effects, EQ etc as normal.
The Hercules DJ Console RMX2 isn’t a true standalone mixer, despite requiring mains power to work…
This is good because you can use your effects and so on (obviously you can’t start looping or adding cue points to external sources though). But it’s bad because it means the Hercules DJ Console RMX2 isn’t a true standalone mixer, despite requiring mains power to work (normally, this is so the unit can work without a laptop powering it). In this instance though, it’s no laptop and DJ software, no go.
The carry bag
It’s nice they’ve bundled a bag with it. The bag is perfect when the unit is in its polystyrene case, and has a zip compartment inside for small leads etc, but if you were to wear out or break the polystyrene, the unit rattles around a bit in the bag.
However if you wrap your DJ controller in a cloth or even a sweater before putting it inside, it’ll still stay nicely protected. And as the alternative is often to throw the controller under your arm or into an ill-fitting backpack (and as this bag is free), it gets the thumbs up from us.
Using it with DJUCED 40º
DJUCED was a new package in Hercules controllers a couple of releases ago, and while it’s not made by the company, it doesn’t appear with any other controllers. So far at least, then, it’s exclusive to Hercules. It is a full version, it’s free, and it’s the default installation – so it’s probably the first of the two provided programs that a user will try out. And it’s… OK.
It’s definitely improved from earlier versions, being better laid out and more attractive, although there’s still some wasted space around the discs.
It has some nice touches: A sampler that is also a rudimentary sequencer; a neat BPM line-up system involving little beat triangles and a colour codes strip to show your your tunes are aligned; and colour coding for genres plus a “compatibility” percentage to show you which songs supposedly mix well together and which don’t.
It’s definitely improved from earlier versions, being better laid out and more attractive
The way DJUCED handles the jogwheels is something I found weird. Jogwheels nowadays tend to have two modes, vinyl and, erm, not vinyl. In vinyl mode the wheels are used for nudging like with CDJs (ie they slow down or speed up the track just a little) except when they’re pushed, in which case they switch to “scratch” mode (ie they stop the music and respond to how fast or slowly you move them backwards and forwards).
So far, so standard. But here’s the thing: When you’re paused for cueing a tune, the wheel is in scratch mode permanently (again, usual stuff). But bizarrely, you still have to push it down to hear the tune! Of course, hearing the tune is essential when choosing a cue point, and so I found this a bit strange.
In “non vinyl” mode, when paused the jog becomes a really fast scrub, allowing you to move quickly through your tune. I would rather it just had the scratch functionality as most controllers do (minus the inaudible non-pushed-down “feature”), with fast scrub mapped somewhere else.
You can click the deck letter (A or B) to switch to sampler, sequencer or external source for each deck. The sequencer is a nice touch (although it comes loaded with a terrible rock drum kit), but the sampler is limited compared to most DJ software. I also found the sampler laggy. (iI fact, I got audio glitches quite a lot using this software, and that’s on a 2009 iMac with nothing else running, which should have been fine. Apparently it’s when the software is analysing your music, and an update due soon will improve this.)
In the library scrolling to choose a tune, I found a bug where for some reason the first track I played would appear multiple times in any list where it appeared once – I was playing from iTunes playlists so I’m not too sure why that occurred.
• UPDATE (Oct 30 2012): DJUCED has been updated which may cure some of the issues with it. Get it here.
Squeezing it all in
The effects, while showing a little bit of innovation (there’s a velocity-sensitive macro effect that wet/dries every effect at once depending how hard you press the pad) I found a little limiting. There’s no delay or reverb, for starters, but the limitations are due as much to the hardware as the software.
You see, to squeeze everything into such a small unit, the designers have had to make compromises. One of the big ones is using those four velocity pads and a single infinity encoder to work cues, loops, effects and samples. Now, to be fair there are some innovations here: The velocity pads make it possible to modulate the effects directly on the pads, thanks to an after-touch function: Shift and pad lets you set the level of the effect set on the pad (once you reach the appropriate level, you release the shift button to fix the level). But still think it would be easier to have extra knobs for this.
To squeeze everything into such a small unit, the designers have had to make compromises.
So these functions are all here, they all work, but if you want to DJ relying heavily on any of them, I am guessing you may get frustrated with the RMX2 and DJUCED 40º. However, to be fair most DJs, most of the time, aren’t using effects, and samples, and a lot of them never really bother with cues or even loops.
No, most of the time, DJs are playing tunes and mixing between them. And DJUCED, weird audio glitches notwithstanding, lets you do that that fine. Overall, this a good basic package, and it gets you going fast, and it’s free – just don’t expect the bells and whistles to be even close to pro DJ software.
Using it with Virtual DJ 7 LE
The version of Virtual DJ supplied is “LE”, which means cut down. As I said above, I had to test with Virtual DJ Pro as I couldn’t activate the supplied Virtual DJ LE due to no serial in the box; for sure this was a one-off due to my having a review model.
Note also that it’s Virtual DJ 7, not Virtual DJ 8 as originally announced – Version 8 of the software is still a way off. However, buyers of the RMX2 get a free upgrade to Virtual DJ 8 LE when it arrives.
The good news is that you can record your sets using the version of Virtual DJ LE that’s supplied (some LE versions don’t let you record). However, you won’t be able to alter the mappings (mappings are the instructions that tell the software how to react to controls on the hardware), the effects will be limited, and you won’t be able to use Virtual DJ’s excellent video capabilities.
The original DJ Console RMX came with Virtual DJ LE, and the company behind Virtual DJ is skilled at providing stable, effective mappings for DJ controllers that bundle its software. Personally, I’d rather DJ with Virtual DJ LE on this unit than with DJUCED. Maybe it’s just familiarity, but I don’t think that’s the whole story.
I experienced non of the lagginess, none of the audio glitches, and fewer of the little annoyances of DJUCED with Virtual DJ LE (that final point probably is to be fair simply due to familiarity).
Jogwheel control was good, and I found the mappings for the loops, effects, sampler and cue points to be more logical
Jogwheel control was good, and I found the mappings for the loops, effects, sampler and cue points to be more logical, albeit still limited in the same way these controls are for DJUCED, due to the small number of physical controls available.
In particular, the way effects work is poor (it just doesn’t suit the pad/knob/button layout, at all), so you’d probably want to look at this and do some remapping yourself to make it work best with the effects you use a lot – assuming you decide to upgrade to Virtual DJ Pro, of course.
Bottom line is you have a choice of software in the box, and while neither is perfect, choice is always good.
Using the DJ Console RMX2 with other software
Finally, as we’re talking software, it’s worth mentioning that as this is basically a Midi controller, you can map it to anything you like. Traktor, Algoriddim’s djay, MixVibes and so on. Indeed, there is already a Traktor 2 mapping; MixVibes is going to incorporate a RMX2 preset file in the next release of CrossDJ; and djay, Deckadance and Ultramixer will have native mappings soon.
Finally, the RMX2 is USB Midi and audio class compliant, and so accordingly to Hercules it is possible to use four-channel audio with iOS6 (two preview and two master), but we haven’t had the chance to check this.
Hercules has lots of fans, and has always done things its own way, and for many of those people, the DJ Console RMX2 is going to be a great controller.
It’s only two-deck, but it has successfully updated its workhorse predecessor where it matters, adding much better jogwheels, improved sound quality, better knobs and buttons, and a nice nod to controllerism in the shape of those velocity-sensitive pads.
For simple DJ sets, where effects, loops, cues and samples are kept to a reasonably small part of the performance, what’s provided is more than enough. What’s more, just like its predecessor, this controller is built excellently. The all-metal casing, the decent quality balanced outputs and the provided carry bag all point towards a unit that’s designed to be used by working DJs.
As far as the software goes, I suspect users upgrading from the RMX will already be running Virtual DJ and will just switch hardware (DJUCED wasn’t available or bundled when the original DJ Console RMX was released) so making that choice won’t be even a consideration for them. For others, you have the luxury of two packages to try out. Personally, I prefer Virtual DJ and would pay the extra for it.
If you’re wanting to practise full-on controllerism techniques, I think this won’t be the controller for you – even with the addition of those velocity sensitive pads. All that switching between loops, samples, effects and cue points would be too much hassle in the long run.
But if, on the other hand, you’re looking for well-built controller that will let you perform DJ sets across a variety of sources, getting on the microphone every now and then, and plugging into a variety of sound systems, direct to PA or through a house mixer or the like, the Hercules has enough pro features to do you proud.
Unlike many of the toy-like, plastic DJ controllers around today, this one is built to last.
I’d like to have seen some kind of emergency through for an iPod or equivalent just so you can easily switch in an analogue source should your laptop crash on you, so it’s worth considering how you’d do this if you’re planning on using this often in performance situations.
A big plus point, as with the original DJ Console RMX, is that it is compact enough to fit in a bag you can throw over your shoulder, a bag which the company has thoughtfully provided for you.
Overall, while the Hercules DJ Console RMX is not a revolution in digital DJing as its predecessor was, it’s definitely a solid upgrade, and unlike many of the toy-like, plastic DJ controllers around today (including, it must be said, some in Hercules’s own range), this one is built to last.
- Solid, proven build quality
- Good jog wheels
- Portable – even comes with own case
- Highly specified audio interface
We don’t like:
- Having cue, sampler, FX and loops grouped together makes using all of these fiddly
- DJUCED is only so-so; to get a full version of Virtual DJ required a paid upgrade
Ease of use:
What do you think?
Are you an owner of the original Hercules DJ Console RMX? Would you consider upgrading to this? What are your thoughts on those multi-function pads? Are you already a user of this, and if so, what are your impressions? Please share in the comments.
Want to escape the bedroom and play in public - fast?
Our 1000s-selling How To Digital DJ Fast video course shows you how.
Learn to DJ Free - email course plus bonus PDF book
Sign up for our weekly email course for beginners now...
Trouble choosing a controller? Visit the web's #1 guide!
DJ Controllers: The Ultimate Buyer’s Guide 2013.
Pages: 1 2
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.