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All-in-one DJ consoles usually come in two flavors: “plastic” and “plastic with tiny bits of metal to keep the plastic together.” Sure, plastic’s light, but a little heft helps when you’re adjusting faders and twisting knobs -- not to mention scratching. That’s why the Hercules DJ Console 4-MX makes a statement with the kind of build quality that’s usually seen only in pro components. It’s not just the metallic goodness we’re happy about, either -- the feel of the faders, buttons, and knobs all benefit from this upgrade in quality. While we wouldn’t recommend dropping it on the floor, it does feel like it could handle the fall better than most.
Of course, being built like a tank means nothing if the features don’t deliver. The multitude of physical buttons remove some of the interface issues digital DJ products often suffer from. The 4-MX allows you to assign tracks to decks and navigate through track lists and folders without having to reach up to your MacBook. You can mix entire sets and almost never have to touch your computer.
If the knobs and buttons don’t impress you, the in and out ports will. The 4-MX features two sets of RCA stereo outputs and four mono 1/4-inch outputs so you can output to a PA and to the monitors in the DJ booth. The inputs are more impressive because you can add turntables to the mix and select them as a source on the fly. Dual mic and headphone inputs let you plug in on the front or the top of the console.
Unfortunately, the developers of the companion software didn’t think beyond a 13-inch screen when it came to the interface design. The type looks horrid at full size on a 15-inch MacBook Pro, and it’s even worse on a 17-inch MacBook Pro. Bitmap type and graphics are the last thing you need to be staring at all night in a dark club (or living room). If the jagged graphics of the otherwise-nice software turn you off, the Console is also a MIDI controller, and you can map buttons can to utilize other software packages with MIDI support.
The bottom line. The Hercules DJ Console 4-MX is a great prosumer DJ rig. Too bad the software misses a beat in an otherwise-flawless mix.
DJ Console 4-MX
1.5GHZ G4 or higher, Mac OS 10.5 or later, USB port.
Metal! Smooth, solid-feeling faders. Ability to load and navigate tracks without reaching up to the computer.
Software’s graphics make our eyes bleed faster than an overplayed Lady Gaga video.