Serato + Hercules — the DJControl Jogvision

Hercules DJControl Jogvision Serato controller (3)

When a new Serato controller is announced, there’s usually some sort of fanfare commensurate with the marketing grunt of the company concerned. But I think that this is the first time that the launch of a Serato controller didn’t make a blip on the worxradar. So it’s pretty big news when Hercules finally gets its foot in the Serato door and get to make a Serato DJ Intro controller. The new DJControl Jogvision is a decidedly entry level piece, unique at this price for having an illuminated display in the jog wheels.

A lot of words from Hercules:

Hercules DJControl Jogvision Serato controller (2)

01/06/2015 – DJControl Jogvision: The first Hercules DJ controller featuring a display in its jog wheels

DJControl Jogvision: The first Hercules DJ controller featuring a display in its jog wheels

Hercules announces DJControl Jogvision, named a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoree!

Press Release – CES Las Vegas, January 6, 2015.
At CES 2015 in Las Vegas, Hercules – a leader in mobile DJ controllers – is thrilled to announce DJControl Jogvision: the 2-deck controller which is set to change the way that DJs perform using a computer. DJControl Jogvision is bundled with the Serato DJ Intro mixing software.

DJControl Jogvision is the first mobile DJ controller to feature a display in the center of each jog wheel, simultaneously indicating both the playback speed and position in the track at a glance. These displays allow DJs to spend less time looking at a computer screen, for enhanced focus, faster responsiveness and better track syncing – paying more attention to the music and their audience instead.

While a track is playing, the screen on each jog wheel displays 2 easy-to-read concentric rings:

  • the larger ring (on the outer edge of the screen) rotates like a motor-driven 33⅓ or 45 rpm turntable, with the rotation speed varying according to the pitch adjustment; and
  • the smaller ring (in the center) indicates the position within the track, represented by way of 16 segments: the number of illuminated segments shows the current position in the track – from 1 segment at the beginning, to 16 segments at the end.

When scratching, the screens guide the DJ by indicating the amount of angular displacement: in the display, the DJ sees the position that his or her hand can return to.

By allowing DJs to intuitively perform based on what they see right at their fingertips, and by offering precision and speed unmatched in this sector of mobile DJing, DJControl Jogvision has been named a 2015 CES Innovation Awards Honoree.

Displays built into the jog wheels, for less time spent staring at a computer screen

Computers have taken their place in the world of DJing in the same way as CD players and vinyl turntables. However, DJs often lament the fact that having to keep on looking at a computer screen is distracting – constantly turning their gaze to see what’s taking place on the computer, instead of checking out the crowd or focusing on their hands while mixing.

Up until now, DJs have been forced to watch a computer screen in order to see at what speed a track is playing, how much time remains before the end of the track, or – when scratching – to easily locate a scratch position.

The dual displays on the DJControl Jogvision’s jog wheels replace all of this information in the DJ’s eyes: the larger ring turns at the track’s playback speed, based on a speed of 33⅓ rpm, while the smaller ring indicates the position of the cursor in the track (1 illuminated segment = start of the track, 16 illuminated segments = end of the track, 8 illuminated segments = middle of the track). And while scratching, the larger ring shows the amount of angular displacement, allowing the DJ to easily locate scratch positions.

Position in the audio track Playback speed based on 33⅓ rpm

Audio design customized for mobile DJing

DJControl Jogvision includes a built-in audio interface with resolution of 24-bit/96 kHz, and features:

  • dual master outputs, allowing for the connection of speakers to play music for the audience, plus booth speakers (i.e. monitoring speakers for the DJ),
  • a headphone output for previewing tracks,
  • a microphone input for talking to the crowd,
  • a line input for connecting an external audio source.

In this way, DJControl Jogvision lets DJs enjoy high-quality sound everywhere: in the studio, at concerts, in clubs, while hosting an event or at parties with friends.

Creativity meets elegance

The 2 sets of 4 drum-style pads allow the DJ to trigger audio samples or jump from cue point to cue point, just by tapping on the pads. Variable-colored backlighting shows the DJ which command is assigned to a pad.

The Air Control function is a contactless sensor, which allows the DJ to control effects in real time simply by varying the distance between his or her hand and the sensor: it works just like magic, and lets DJs perform these gestures at a height at which they can be seen by the whole audience.

The first Hercules DJ controller bundled with Serato DJ Intro

DJControl Jogvision comes bundled with Serato DJ Intro: designed for music lovers, Serato DJ Intro allows for 2-deck digital music mixing on a PC or Mac, to which DJControl Jogvision is connected.

DJControl Jogvision will be available from April 2015, at a suggested retail price of £279.99.

Hercules DJControl Jogvision Serato controller (1)
Ooooh moody lighting. This shot is high res so a bit of curve tweaking in Photoshop will reveal more detail. Gotta love a controller with a “magic” button.

Hate me, but I like this

We’ve been saying for a while that controllers are getting a bit samey. I know that’s like calling out Staedtler for making boring pencils, but Hercules has tried to do something a little different with the DJControl Jogvision. Aside from truly awful name, this is a very tidy and interesting unit. The feature set of the beginner seems to grow each year, and the format that controllers takes seems to expand as well. But the Jogvision puts the focus on the jog wheels, which dominate the faceplate.

The pad functions have been nicely optimised to switch modes with a single button, but some things like gain knobs are conspicuous by their absence. That said, the target audience is more of a mind to just have and not be concerned with the finer points of gain staging. And I would say that fun is a key component of using this controller, especially with the air controls. You remember fun when DJing right?

Looking at other controls that are missing, I’m thinking that upgrading to the full Serato DJ would be a waste, but who cares? This looks like a hoot as it is, and guaranteed to offer a solid experience. I’m actually looking forward to having a bash on one.