NAMM: Hercules enters prosumer audio market

2 new products - Firewire audio interface, and neat DJ controller      06/02/04

Buying Choices
Although Hercules have been shipping these products for some time now (October last year) its the first time we've seen them in the flesh. Bruno Ormel (the director of Hercules responsible for their audio product range) was on the booth to talk through the features of these products. He was remarkable fresh and enthusiastic given we met him on Sunday the last day of the show.

The first product he showed was the Hercules 16/12 FW.

Nice and shiny

The 16/12 FW is their entry product into the Musician marketplace, broadening their range from consumer audio and video cards. This is a high end Firewire audio and MIDI interface (Audio: 16 in / 12 out, 24 bit, 96kHz MIDI: 32 channels in and out).

Looks tidy now - wait until you've got 28 cables dangling out of it.

The full specs follow:

  • Sturdy external FireWire audio interface mountable in a standard 1U / 19” rack unit.
  • Up to 16-In/12-Out simultaneous multitrack recording on PC and Mac OS X via FireWire (IEEE 1394) connectivity.
  • 24-bit 96KHz audio sampling with professional-quality converters.
  • 16 independent inputs including 12 analog In, 1 coaxial In (stereo) and 1 optical In (stereo).
  • 12 independent outputs including 8 analog Out, 1 coaxial Out (stereo) and 1 optical Out (stereo).
  • 2 mic/instrument pre-amplifiers with switchable 48-volt phantom power via Neutrik™ combo (XLR/TRS) connectors with direct input for guitars (Hi-Z).
  • 2 MIDI In and 2 MIDI Out via standard DIN jacks (32 channels In/32 channels Out).
  • Word Clock I/O synchronization via BNC connectors.
  • No latency with direct hardware monitoring.
  • Compatible with all the most popular audio software applications.
  • Full driver package for Mac OS X (Core audio) and Windows (ASIO2.0, GSIF, WAV, DirectSound).

    It's been bundled with a version of Appleton Live, a 900MB library of sounds and a good selection of demo packages.....

    Full Package:

  • Live Special Edition (Ableton): Live Special Edition is a powerful audio sequencer that can be played like an instrument. On your own or with other musicians or DJs, live on stage or mixing in the studio – all you need is Live and a Mac or PC (16 tracks - 400 MB of sounds).

    Demo software:

  • Sonar 2.2 for PC (Cakewalk) (30 days version)
  • Pyro 1.5 for PC (Cakewalk) (30 days version)
  • Project 5 for PC (Cakewalk) (30 days version)
  • Cubase SX 1.2 for PC (Steinberg) (limited functions)

    It's been available for a couple of months now and although I didn't get the chance to listen to the quality of the DACs on the floor of the show it feels like a well built quality unit. Its well priced so probably well worth an audition if you're looking for a new multi channel interface.

  • Hercules 16/12 FW Press release

    The next product is a really innovative USB controller - a very compact DJ interface for windows PCs.

    Now how cute is that?

    The DJ Console is a portable DJ controller and multichannel USB sound card for PC's and it comes with a DJ/music software suite written specifically for the product that allows the mixing of MP3s, WMAs and CDs.

    Familar interfaces and controls for DJ's

    The press release follows but I'd say it looked cute, was well built and offered something genuinely new.

    As a USB soundcard it has plenty of ins and outs

    Warning: Press Release...

    “Today’s digital technology is creating a new type of DJ,” explains Bruno Ormel, Sound Business Unit Director at Hercules. “A great selection of fun DJ software now allows users to mix MP3s just like a night club DJ or turntablist. Hercules’ goal was to bring the tactile aspect of vinyl DJing to the digital world, resulting in the development of this groundbreaking new MP3/WMA/CD interface. DJ Console gives DJs a great sense of control, providing the ultimate mixing experience with endless creative possibilities and opening up the field of DJing to a huge new audience. There’s never been such a powerful and complete DJ tool available with this ease of use.” DJ Console is perfect for digital DJs and music fans right across the board:

  • Aspiring or amateur home DJs can create their own real-time live music mixes and compilations with pro audio quality right on their desktop/laptop PC, perfecting their skills faster than with vinyl.
  • MP3/digital music fans can enjoy smooth background music with professional-quality sound. MP3s have never sounded this good!
  • Club DJs, FM/Internet radio DJs and DJs on a budget can now prepare their mixes faster and easier than ever before, going beyond the limitations of conventional turntables with additional features like looping, cueing, search functions and more. Users can access tens of thousands of their favorite digital tracks and find any title in seconds with no need to lug around hundreds of CDs or LPs. Fun, easy and ergonomic mixing/scratching dual tactile unit DJs can now instantly locate, play, mix, sample, loop, scratch and remix digital music – including MP3s, WMAs and CDs – with Hercules’ DJ Console and their desktop or laptop PC. Users will enjoy full hands-on control like a regular turntable with the smallest of learning curves, instead of using tedious keyboard shortcuts to control their major audio applications. DJ Console is also perfectly suited for use under low light conditions at parties thanks to at-a-glance LED mode indicators plus backlit and phosphorescent soft rubber keys. DJ Console features:
  • 2 vinyl-style jog wheels for spinning and scratching, with finger grips for rapid, accurate song searching or speed adjustment,
  • 1 crossfader for seamless mixing between the two decks,
  • 6 ergonomic potentiometers and bass/medium/treble controls for creative remixing on the fly,
  • 2 rotary encoders and 2 sliders for tweaking volume or changing the speed of music (pitch/master tempo) in real time,
  • 28 buttons to play/pause songs, speed music up or down for accurate mixing (pitch bend), add effects, cue points (song positions) and loops on the fly, skip through tracks backwards or forwards, rewind or fast forward and more,
  • A soft rubber ministick provides mouse emulation or allows for special DJ FX control. DJ Console comes with a complete, intuitive DJ/music software suite. Hercules’ advanced communication protocol guarantees 100% compatibility with the MP3 DJ software suite fine-tuned specifically for use with the DJ Console. External multichannel USB sound card Thanks to its high-end converters, DJ Console records audio from instruments, home stereos, CD/DVD players or other devices and plays back music with the highest audio quality. The comprehensive front and rear audio panels provide an incredible range of high-end connections including optical and coaxial digital In/Out and MIDI In/Out to easily connect most analog/digital consumer devices and audio/MIDI gear! Users can remix out to amplified speakers and enjoy up to 5.1-channel surround sound (up to 6 outputs). DJs will appreciate being able to play one track for their audience via the DJ Console’s speaker outputs, while listening to another track over the headphone output at the same time to prepare the following mix. To speak to the audience, DJs can use unit’s microphone input with gain control. A handy talkover button allows users to reduce the music volume so that they can be heard more easily, and an input clipping indicator avoids sound saturation. Stylish, 100% USB bus-powered, hot-plug & play portable unit Incredibly user friendly, DJ Console is easy to install and use: simply hot-plug the unit via its USB connector and go! DJ Console is 100% USB bus-powered, with no external power supply required. Featuring excellent compatibility, DJ Console works with any PC with a USB port. If the computer has another sound card, there is no need to uninstall it before using the DJ Console. Perfect for mobile use, DJ Console is robust, light and compact and can be used anywhere with a laptop computer. Its robust casing and sleek detachable cover provide maximum protection, while the removable shoulder strap allows for easy transportation.

    Comes with strap for easy transport

  • Hercules DJ Console page

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