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The Hercules DJControl Jogvision gives a very solid first impression. It has a brushed plastic encasing, a good amount of ins & outs, giant jog wheels, and overall a quality feeling to it.
The feature that catches all attention are of course those jog wheels. It’s pretty clear from the design that Hercules tried to fit the biggest possible size of jogs within the smallest form factor, and that has positive and negative effects. On the positive side, it means you get pro grade jogs on a sub $ 300 controller, on the negative side there is little real estate left for other features so compromises have been made.
Features & functionalities
The DJControl Jogvision is the first Serato DJ ready controller from Hercules and that is a big thing. It makes the controller an option for serious amateur/mobile DJs that already use Serato and want a compact but fully featured solution, as their main controller or backup unit.
Setting it up is a breeze. Just plug it in and Serato DJ will recognize it automatically, no further configuration needed. This is if you own a Serato DJ license, which will set you back USD 129.
The jogs are, certainly for this category, amazing. The weight and size feel really pro, and they contain visual cues that will really help DJs to refrain from staring at the computer screen all the time. They have two led rings. the outer ring indicates the rotation and the inner led ring indicates the progress in the track. Next to the jogs, there are LEDs placed that light up in green, orange and red to indicate how close you are to the end of a track.
There is a button that activates vinyl mode for both decks at the same time, which is adequate, but having separate vinyl buttons per deck would have been the better approach here.
The pitch fader is fairly short, but if you are not too demanding it will work fine enough, just don’t expect to be able to play around too much with track tempos & such. There is a key lock button available that doubles as the slip button for Serato DJ.
No surprises here, except for the layout: in the design, you see the impact of the big jog wheels and the small form factor. On one side there are 4 pads for various purposes. Pads 1 & 2 activate cues, pads 3 & 4 activate samples. Next to that, there are the shift, sync, cue and play buttons. All buttons are illuminated by a led that indicates activation, so it shouldn’t be a problem to manage the state of the button in a dark environment.
Right in the middle of the mixer section Hercules added a beats meter that shows if the tracks are in sync. Again very good visual feedback that will allow DJs to stay focused on the audience without the need to look at the laptop screen.
Below this you have an array of buttons: one to set the decks in vinyl mode so you can scratch on them, another to activate the microphone, and two to navigate your tracks. All in all a bit messy as you could easily get confused when hitting them in a hurry as they are small and close to each other. Very good points however for the navigation encoder knob, big and solid.
On the EQ side, not having per channel gain and filter controls is a bit of a miss these days, and actually a critical point of decision to go or not to go for this controller if you are a working DJ.
Finally, on the very top of the mixer section, we find the Air Fx controls. Which is actually pretty cool. It allows you to control, for example, a high/low pass filter with gestures, and this is more fun than you can imagine. Check out the video to see how it works!
Effects and looping section
This is honestly my least favorite part of this controller. I won’t go into too many details here, for more you will have to watch the video review below, but my main problem is that 1 row of buttons controls two functions that are kept well separate on most controllers: the loop functions and the fx controls.
So it takes a bit of getting used to, and it doesn’t make creative mixing techniques, such as combining loops with fx, easier. I understand that compromises had to be made here because of the available space, but it would have been much more logical to map the loop functionality to the 4 pads per deck as usually done on Serato DJ controllers and implement the FX section as a standalone module.
The pitch fader is comfortable to use, but it doesn’t have a full resolution so beat matching will not be as a smooth as on controllers that have full-size pitch faders.
Output & Input Options
The DJControl Jogvision has a RCA master & booth out, and a 1/8″ stereo out. Input wise, it has a and 1/4″ stereo aux and a 1/8″ microphone input. Finally, it has both 1/8″ and 1/4″ headphone inputs. The controller requires a dedicated power supply to work.
The DJ Control Jogvision is a solid move from Hercules into more serious DJ terrain. Two things stand out: The jogs and the native support for Serato DJ. Although the design and usability have their issues, ultimately this is the first try into new territory and for sure Hercules will fix these issues in upcoming versions of the controller.
I know from good sources that Hercules will release more controllers aimed at this market segment so it will be interesting to see what is coming. In the meantime, the DJ Control Jogvision is for me a very solid offering from Hercules, especially as it sells at under USD 300.