I’m 40 now, and have been into dance music since I was 13. It’s been a way of life for a long time, and even as a married father of two the love for the music is still strong. At the start of the UK COVID-19 lockdown, when I actually had some spare time (long story), I’d noticed I’d previously installed some DJ software on my laptop so thought I’d have a play.
Now this is all applicable to Windows and Mac, but I’m a long-time Linux user so had more of a limited choice when it came to software. Luckily, Mixxx is not only totally FREE, but available on all three platforms, and it’s superb.
Admittedly, I was a first-time user, but the learning curve wasn’t too hard given I had a basic idea of how music worked. Most EDM works in multiples of four beats, blah blah, this is not the place for more. After 15 minutes of playing, I came up with this:
which I found pretty entertaining for a first try.
It was time to buy a DJ controller. I hope the arrival of this may be seen as a turning point in my life, in retrospect.
I don’t recall the thought processes that came up with the Hercules Inpulse 200, but it seemed the right balance of price to performance, with a Mixxx mapping already in existence. Plug it in, fire up Mixxx, and it was all systems go. Automatically detected the hardware, and it just worked!
Within a week I was cobbling together tolerable mixes. The sync function was a big part of this, which purists may justifiably sneer at, but you have to ask why the DJ is there. Is it to play good tunes for the crowd (that join together reasonably well), or is it to wow other DJs?
As an avid dance music listener, I would regularly listen back to my mixes (great when cooking) and whilst I can spot some really dodgy moments, I think the truth is I’d be a passable pub DJ now, only 6 months later.
Onto the hardware itself. In all this time, the only cons I’ve come up with are that it doesn’t have enough buttons for those wanting to experiment, no direct mic input (bedroom d&B MC raises hand), and that it’s a hard-wired USB cable i.e. if it breaks you can’t replace it. It is seemingly a good quality braided cord, but I’m being a touch pedantic here for the sake of fairness.
-Jog wheels are a good size, and totally functional for both pitch and vinyl control. They are touch sensitive on top, so touching the top and side control different aspects of the music.
-Faders are smooth with very little resistance, weirdly so to someone new to it.
-Lack of individual low, medium and high EQ knobs is not a problem. One knob is used as a sweep filter, which actually works amazingly well. Turn left and it’s a low-pass filter taking out the highs, turn right and vice versa.
-Four hot cue buttons. Essential. You might find you want more, so just buy a Korg Nanopad2. Not having everything in one place can be a plus or a minus, depending on your set up. I’ve since used it separately for different purposes.
In terms of functionality, I think it’s great for the money. If you aren’t sure if DJing will be your thing, but don’t want something that will limit you, it’s a great choice in my opinion.
This does come with a licence for DJUCED (Hercules’ own software). I have no thoughts on that as I’ve never used it, so it may be amazing, or it may be terrible.
I’d recommend you at least try Mixxx though!