After testing the new Hercules Inpulse 500 controller, we can say that we are facing one of Hercules’ big bets for this summer, and, without a doubt, for the near future as far as initiation controllers are concerned.
A machine with which they clearly show their intentions to go one step further within the range of initiation controllers, to enter to compete directly with other manufacturers, but without neglecting the facet that has always distinguished Hercules, which is none other than that of addressing the amateur public, taking care of the details when presenting a product with numerous aids for getting started in the DJ world.
The first thing that catches our attention is the size of the product, larger than that of other controllers on the market in this range, as well as the construction in metallic materials, which gives the Inpulse 500 a feeling of durability, elegance and with minimalist details but well finished.
The aesthetics are still familiar, to resemble the current market standard, both in the positioning of pads, knobs and mixer, as well as especially in the jogs, which in addition to a careful image, give a very good response to the touch once We go into work, and their sensitivity is also adjustable through the native software of Hercules DJUCED
We find quite visible indicators 1 and 2 at the top of each deck that show us which of them is active at all times.
Another aesthetic detail that differentiates it from other controllers are the folding legs that we can use to find a greater height, something useful for certain cabins, to pass cables and above all, to avoid the contact of liquids in case they fall around of our team in full set.
Hercules also takes advantage of this function to include some LEDs in the lower part, which can be quite useful in the case of making night sets or in poorly lit booths, with dim lighting, but which can be used as reinforcement when viewing with better clarity what we are doing during our mix.
In terms of inputs and outputs, it is a controller that scores points thanks to the connections it integrates. It has a dedicated channel for both mic and line inputs, with independent eq and filter, and a new feature: the level indicator on the mic and auxiliary knob itself, which tells us when our saturated signal is entering.
At the use level, it is an intuitive, fast and responsive controller, with hardly any latency, which more than fulfills the function for which it was created.
It maintains Hercules own functions that help the DJ that starts up, such as the “Assistant” function or the “Energy” knob, which help us to choose from our playlist among the most suitable tracks for the moment in which we are in our session.
DJUCED’s Intelligent Music Assistant (IMA) suggests the most suitable next tracks to play from the music library and also from Beatport LINK and Beatsource LINK, while ENERGY does so based on track energy, showing the classification of each track in a more or less intense color in the large knob that the Hercules 500 has, which greatly reinforces the help at a visual level.
If we activate the Assistant in Serato Dj Lite, we can run Autoplay, so we can leave the software running automatically when we are not in the booth.
A prominent function is undoubtedly the BEATMATCH GUIDE, which activates the “Beat Align” indicators located just below the jog, and which will help us correct the pitch of the track we are mixing and to know at what moment the two tracks they are perfectly synchronized.
A function that we can activate or deactivate to suit the user, easy, and quite exact if our themes are well quantized.
The FXS integrated in this controller, and that work integrally under the DJUCED software, give us a lot of play. A filter controlled by the filter knobs of each of the channels, to which we can assign 4 more different fxes, make the experience much more fun. Against, not being able to combine the filter effect independently of these 4 FX.
In the functions that control the Pads, in addition to the automatic LOOPS, which we can also control through the dedicated knob, the SAMPLES and the HOT CUES, we find the SLICE function, which, used properly, increases the creative possibilities of our set. If we work under other software, such as Serato, the functionality of the pads will vary.
It should be noted the drawback that when we connect our controller with Serato Lite, some functions are not available, such as Slip mode, which gives us so much versatility in Djuced, or the activation of Quantize, and we also find a problem that It is not exclusive to this controller, but rather it is something characteristic of the power supply itself through USB of this type of products that do not usually incorporate power supply through the electrical network, and that makes the keypads not have a very powerful backlight.
If we have to highlight something to improve, it is the touch and hardness of any of the faders, which give the feeling of being perhaps too loose and we do not know if it will be an inconvenience or future problem after continued use of the controller, but in general, the rest of the faders, pads, and knobs look strong and well-built and manageable, approaching the quality of some premium controllers.
In short, the Hercules Inpulse 500 is a minimalist, powerful, intuitive controller that continues to influence Hercules’ policy of helping new DJs, entering into direct competition with the rest of controllers in this range and even many higher-end ones. All-in-all this is a great DJ controller for DJs of all skill levels.