The new Hercules DJ Console RMX 2 is the newest two-deck/two-channel digital DJ controller offered by Hercules DJ Division that comes bundled with your choice of either Virtual DJ LE or the new DJuiced DJ software. The Hercules RMX 2 looks very similar to the popular Hercules 4MX DJ controller that we reviewed last year. The RMX 2 now adds the new velocity performance pads for each deck and it can also be used as a true standalone mixer when connected to a computer. Check out my HD-Video and written reviews after the jump.
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
The new Hercules DJ Console RMX 2 is the newest two-deck/two-channel digital DJ controller offered by Hercules DJ Division that comes bundled with your choice of either Virtual DJ LE or the new DJuiced DJ software. The Hercules RMX 2 looks very similar to the popular Hercules 4MX DJ controller that we reviewed last year. The RMX 2 is basically the updated model of the 4MX which actually removes some of its shortcomings and offers some intuitive controls for DJ’s of many styles. The Hercules RMX 2 has a very compact but solid metal build quality throughout. The Hercules RMX 2 is sturdy all around and it really feels like it’s built to last. I really like the overall compact size of the Hercules RMX 2 which puts it right in the same size-class of a Traktor Kontrol S2, Stanton DJC.4, or a Vestax VCI-380 controller. It’s actually a bit smaller than all of those making it easy to throw it in a laptop or backpack to take it with you on the go.
All of the knobs on the unit have metal-posts underneath meaning you won’t get any unnecessary breaks from accidental damage. Mostly all of the buttons on the RMX 2 illuminate a very bright blue color to let the user know what is active at a glance. The RMX 2 comes with a power supply and it must be used in order to run the unit. I think this is a good thing because all of the lights are very bright and the volumes of the headphone and other outputs are adequate enough for live performance situations. The Hercules RMX 2 is a fully MIDI-mappable DJ controller that can work with almost any DJ software out on the market today. For this review, we only tested the unit with the supplied Virtual DJ LE and DJuiced software packages that come with the controller, as this is what most users will end up doing when they purchase the unit. There were no available mappings for Traktor or Serato anywhere to be found on the Hercules website, so if someone wants to use the RMX 2 with another DJ software, then the mapping will have to be done manually.
The setup of the Controller is relatively simple with the user only having to use the supplied CD to install the ASIO Driver (on Windows machines) and the Virtual DJ LE or DJuiced Software for the controller while plugging in the USB connection to the computer. You must also connect the supplied power supply around the back, plug in your speakers through the supplied RCA or balanced XLR Master Outputs and you’re ready to play your digital audio files through the the software and the RMX 2. There is a Booth RCA output on the back as well. Also around the back there are two RCA inputs that can be selected as either LINE level or PHONO level with an included Ground Post for vinyl decks. The Hercules RMX 2 can act as a standalone mixer straight out of the box. You will need a computer connection through software to DJ with the RMX 2 if you want to use it in strict mixer mode and you can also do a combination of virtual mixing and external deck mixing by simply pressing the source button and changing the software setting on the input of the particular channel. After using both Virtual DJ LE and the DJuiced software, I feel that VDJ had the overall best setup and the most features with the RMX 2. Virtual DJ LE can also be upgraded to VDJ Pro for $300, but you won’t ever have to pay for VDJ again as all upgrades will be free for life. When the Virtual DJ Pro upgrade is achieved, the end user will enjoy a more enhanced experience with More effects, Video DJ capabilities, and more features than ever before.
The Hercules RMX 2 has lots of features and functions that most DJ’s need and want for mixing and beatmatching. All of the knobs (EQ’s, Effects, etc.) have a good feel to them and are long for easy manipulation. The three-band EQ knobs work great and the Full Kill button next to each knob was very fun to use. In the middle of the entire unit, there are four directional arrows and a Load A and Load B button for file navigation and for loading new tracks onto the decks. The crossfader is easily user-replaceable and feels to be the same unit that they used on the Hercules 4MX last year. The jog wheels also feel like they are borrowed from the same unit as well. The Crossfader feels like it is of average quality but really good for mixing and fading. The crossfader is loose but it has a rather long cut-in distance so scratch DJ’s won’t really be able to pull off all the complex scratching they’re used to... The crossfader curve can be set to either Mix-Mode or Scratch-Mode within the setup options in the Virtual DJ LE software. The Crossfader actually worked much better in standalone mixer mode with a smaller cut-in distance and a more-accurate feel when used independently of the software. The Line faders have much more resistance to them and they are good enough for nice and accurate mixing. The VU Line Level Meters to the side of each fader are nice and bright and they show the individual deck volume at a glance.
The four velocity-sensitive performance pads found above each jog wheel are fantastic! The pads have nice feedback and they feel very tactile in orientation and they make you want to perform with them. These velocity pads are used for the main playback and extra functions that DJ’s use during sets. The different modes that the pads can be in are LOOP, Effect, Sample, and Cue. There is a small MODE button right next to the pads that allow the user to cycle through the different modes. When in Loop Mode, the first two pads are Loop In and Loop Out, while the last two pads are used to grow or shrink the loop count. When in Effect mode, the four pads will turn into four effects of your choice. Simply press the pad to start the effect and press it again to turn it off. There is also a parameter knob to control the wet/dry of the effect that is currently applied. You are allowed to apply multiple pad effects at one time. When in Sample Mode, the four pads turn into Sample pads that allow the DJ to trigger samples on the fly. When in Cue Mode, the four pads are now hotcue triggers that can be set by pressing the button when the track is at the correct position and deleting them by holding the shift key and pressing the corresponding pad. The pads are advertised as Velocity-Sensitive meaning they can tell just how hard you press them. When using the pads for effects, loops, and cue points in Virtual DJ LE, I could not find an instance where the velocity of my movement actually changed the output. Perhaps this is for Virtual DJ Pro upgrade users?
The Cue Volume and Cue/Mix controls for headphone monitoring are found on the top-right of the RMX-2 along with the “top-facing” quarter-inch headphone output. There is also another quarter-inch output on the front of the unit as well. There’s also a quarter-inch Microphone input on the top left of the unit which also has a volume control knob and an on/off button to turn the mic to talk-over mode.
The Jog wheels on the Hercules RMX 2 are pretty good overall and seem to be the exact same jogs found on the Hercules MX4. Overall, the jog wheels feel a bit wobbly but they felt good enough for normal playback and cueing. The top is touch-sensitive plastic surface with a softer rubberized plastic feel to the sides for nudging and slowing down the music for beatmatching. The Jog wheel performance for scratching isn’t quite one-to-one in operation, meaning you will get some minor delays when performing rigorous back and forth style movements and scratching. The Jog wheels can be in either Scratch Mode or Mixing mode depending on the style of play that is favored. You can toggle between the two modes by pressing the Scratch button in the middle of the unit. Remember that both jog wheels will inherent the setting, so make sure you want both jog wheels in the same configuration all the time. The Tempo sliders work nicely for beatmatching and they have a good amount of tension to them and a center-click so you know when you are at absolute zero.
Conclusion / Recommended For
In Conclusion, The Hercules RMX 2 is a tight compact controller with heavy-duty build quality and lots of easy-to-use features right out of the box. The Hercules RMX 2 can function as a legit standalone mixer but requires a computer connection to work. The RMX 2 comes bundled with your choice of either Virtual DJ LE or DJuiced to get you started right out of the box. The Hercules RMX 2 comes with a nice carry case which has room to spare for other DJ goodies. The four-performance pads per deck for Loops, Effects, Samples, and HotCues work really well and provide a much-needed improvement over the Hercules 4MX design from a year ago. On the downside, the Jog wheels and crossfader are not a perfect “one-to-one” mapping meaning you will have real troubles pulling off any complex or quick moving scratching while in Virtual DJ LE. The RMX 2 also does not come with a full Pro version of any DJ software which means the user may want to upgrade in order to unlock the full potential of the controller and software package.
Overall, the Hercules RMX 2 is a welcomed update to last year’s 4MX, with the addition of the performance pads and the ability to function as a standalone mixer (when connected to a computer) make this a very worthy upgrade. The RMX 2 controller has lots of good features that DJ’s will appreciate and the build quality is really on-point. We are going to recommend the Hercules RMX 2 DJ controller to any new or beginner DJ’s who wants a long-lasting unit with everything you need to DJ right in the box. I’m also going to recommend this controller to any intermediate-level DJ’s who wants a well-built and compact controller with a standalone mixer function to add CD or vinyl decks to the mix when they’re ready. The RMX 2 is a very competitively featured DJ controller with a very competitive ($300) price-tag to match.
- Very Compact and Heavy-Duty Build Quality (Metal Chassis)
- Can Function as Standalone Mixer When Connected to a Computer
- Comes bundled w/Virtual DJ LE or DJuiced DJ software & Is Fully MIDI-Mappable
- Comes With a Carry-Bag
- Excellent (4) Velocity Sensitive Pads Per Deck for Sample, Cue, Effects & Loops
- Does Not come with a Full Version of DJ Software
- Jog Wheels & Faders is not Perfect one-to-one Mapping for Scratching
- Quarter-inch Only Headphone Outputs