Review: Hercules DJ Control AIR
Hercules is known for paying close attention to design and software integration with its DJ and Digital Music line. Crossfadr reviewed the DJ Console 4-Mx last year and was impressed with its build quality. Today we take a look at Hercules’ newest budget friendly, entry level DJ controller, the DJ Control AIR. It’s not complicated and has all the features you’ll need for someone looking to get started as a DJ.
The DJ Control AIR is a 2-deck DJ controller with 2-deck, pressure detection jog wheels, velocity sensitive pads and AIR (Adjustment by InfraRed) control. You basically use InfraRed sensor to control the effects parameters on the DJ Control AIR. It’s based on the distance between your hand and the sensor. Reminds me of using the Roland MC-505 Drum Machine. The jog wheels are pressure-detecting, so you’ll need to press on them for scratching. You can also use the job wheels to control pitch bend and browsing within tracks.
The DJ Control AIR also comes with an impressive 8 velocity detection pads, 4 per deck. We were extremely impressed with the ability to control sample decks using pads on an entry level DJ controller. You can control samples, loops and effects with these pads. It even has a built-in audio output and – although it’s just a 1/8 stereo mini-jack – it’s still a pleasant surprise for such an entry-level DJ control. It does have the standard 1/4 headphone jack for cueing your tracks.
Probably the most impressive part of the The DJ Control AIR is the DJ software it comes bundled with, DJUCED. It’s pretty stable and only works with the DJ Control AIR. It’s really a full featured DJ software. Download the latest version here, to get the extra effects and stability for Mac and Windows. Hercules may want to consider some extensive R&D to get this on the market as a standalone product.
Overall, the Hercules DJ Control AIR is extremely portable and is a great entry-level DJ controller, $169 USD. And bundled with DJUCED DJ Software, you are pretty much ready to take your first steps into the world of DJing.
Why is the controller called DJ Control AIR?
AIR stands for Adjustment by InfraRed: it is a contactless control.
- The DJ places his or her hand flat over the infrared beam.
- The controller calculates the distance between the sensor and the hand, and converts it into a gradual MIDI command.
- This MIDI command modulates a setting in the DJ software.
Does AIR control require specific light conditions?
No, Air control functions under any light conditions.
- The infrared light beam projected towards the hand is invisible.
- The sensor captures the infrared reflection on the hand, and uses the reflection to calculate the hand’s distance.
- The reflection is the same in both daylight and low light conditions, allowing AIR control to be used during the day, at night or in places with weak lighting.
- AIR control functions with all flesh tones. The only incompatibility is the use of black gloves (as the infrared sensor would not be able to detect the reflection).
8 pads 2 sets of 4 pads control loops, sampler and effects commands.
- The DJ taps on the pads with his or her fingertips to send commands such as looping, sampler or effects.
- The pads light up when touched.
- In addition to a binary On/Off command, each pad can transfer velocity information to modulate the command.
- For example: in sampler mode, the velocity can control the volume of a sample’s playback. The playback volume depends on how soft or how hard the DJ taps on the pad.
Pressure-detecting jog wheels
The jog wheels detect the pressure from the user’s hand. With scratch mode enabled, the jog wheels scratch when the hand’s weight is detected, and stop scratching when the hand’s weight is no longer detected. This allows the DJ to:
- stop playback by pressing on the jog wheel.
- restart playback by lifting up his or her hand.
- scratch by turning the jog wheel while pressing down, and stop scratching by lifting up his or her hand.
- bend the pitch (if playback is on) / browse within tracks (if playback is off) by turning the jog wheels using their outer ring, to avoid applying downward pressure.
- With scratch mode disabled, the jog wheels bend the pitch or browse within tracks when the jog wheels are turned, regardless of the pressure applied.
- 1/8″ (3.5 mm) stereo output for the mix
- 1/4″ (6.35 mm) stereo output for headphone previewing
DJUCED™ DJ software
- Intuitive, powerful software
- Mix 2 audio tracks on the fly
- Save your mix as an audio file
- Casing: 13.78 x 8.66 x 1.18 “
- 35 x 22 x 3 cm
- Jog wheels: 3.94 ” / 10 cm diameter
- Weight: 3.1 lbs / 1.4 kg
- USB cable: Attached
- Hercules DJ Control AIR
- Installation CD-ROM (PC/Mac) with PC/Mac DJ software
- Printed installation guide + online manual
- Computer with 1.5 GHz CPU or faster
- 1 GB RAM or more
- Powered USB port
- 100 MB available hard disk space
- CD/DVD-ROM drive
- Internet access
- Amplified stereo speakers and headphones
Operating System (32-bit / 64-bit)
Microsoft Windows® XP, Vista or Windows 7
Mac OS 10.5, 10.6 or 10.7 on Core Duo Mac