Hercules is known in the DJ world as an entry level brand. Interestingly, you’ll notice that the company is now becoming more innovative and releases some very nice gear. Even the software has very nice, innovative features, which is not only for Mac and PC, but also for your smart phone or tablet. With the introduction of the Universal DJ, they have those elements combine in a very smart way. We gave the Universal DJ a good spin for you, to see if this is the ideal entry level controller for the aspiring DJ.
The Universal DJ is a nice little controller, which itself in it’s size and weight is easy to carry. Also feels a lot better than its predecessors and also seems to be more solidly built. What makes it quite ideal for mobile use is that you can connect it via USB. When you consider that it also supports Bluetooth, it will then work with your smartphone or tablet. You can even combine these two methods of connectivity at the same time. How cool is that!
The Universal DJ has a traditional layout, so it has the classic format of two decks with a mixer section in between. It’s easy to find the right buttons quickly, as they are where you would expect them to be. In the middle of the mixer, you can see the section which controls the software. There you can search through your tracks with the buttons and then load them onto the deck of your choice.
At the top, you will find another three buttons called: Scratch, Rec and Magic, which control the options of the included Djuced software, but what do those options do?
This is quite straightforward, just like on a Pioneer CDJ, you activate the vinyl mode for the jog wheels, so when you scratch by touching the surface of the jog wheel or even do a backspin. Please note, you’ll need to keep hold the jog wheel, otherwise the track will start to play normally again.
As you would expect, you can record your set to make a mix tape. For instance, to create a live set or a birthday party! How great is that? Share with your friends, so the night gets even cooler!
The feature helps you with mixes. This is certainly nice as beginner or if your timing with the track isn’t spot on for mixes. How do you use this? You use the cross fader by moving it to the side where the track is playing and press the magic button. Press play, and then click sync for the second track and move the cross fader to the other side. DJuced makes sure you get a good sounding transition. It automatically sets the EQ’s and adds a small effect, making the sound transition very naturally.
There’s a headphone jack output. On the back is where you’ll find the mix out, which you can connect to RCA or 3.5mm mini-jack. There’s also an aux in, which you can route via the software as well as a USB (powered) connection that lets you use it on your Mac or PC or as an adapter in collaboration with your tablet and/or smartphone. For this pairing with your smartphone, you have a physical button on the Universal DJ. Lastly, you’ll find there’s the mode button, with which you can switch between the three user options of this device: laptop, multi-screen or tablet.
The Universal DJ offers you three user capabilities. What exactly is the difference?
Let’s you make your use of the Djuced 4.0 software on your Mac or PC. You can use the device just like any other controller.
Here the unit gets interesting. This allows you to use the software on your computer, but in combination with your smartphone or tablet, so a very nice option. Just think of the effects with your iPhone or Android phone! For example, you could walk into the audience and control the software live with your friends. You can apply smart mixing from your smart phone or tablet.
As a replacement for your Mac or PC, you retain all the possibilities and you can control the software from your tablet with effects, loops and samples. This is a very nice option.
Effects and Loops
You can control these from both your smart device as well the controls on your hardware. The Universal DJ offers you FX which can be applied per deck. You have eight pads per channel to operate these.
What do you get do? Filter, echo, reverb and also a sample option. This is a very nice way to make your mixes even more personal. This option can be assigned to the first four pads, which you then can play together with the music itself.
Finally, you have the loop section, which automatically loops up to 1/32th resolution for a maximum of 8 bars.
The Universal DJ, sounds quite good for a controller in this price range. However, it has no balanced outputs, so it will fall short on a big party.
Combination option for computer & smartphone or tablet
No balanced output
Jog wheel lags a bit when the effects are enabled.
Hercules Universal DJ is a very nice entry level controller for both as beginners and the more advanced DJ, especially when you combine the functionality of smartphone and tablet use, you can get really creative!
The Hercules Universal DJ has a MSRP of 199 euro