The long anticipated upgrade for Traktor Kontrol S4 and S2 are finally here!!
“Yay“, I hear you say, “…tell me more, I wanna see ’em.”
Well to be brutally honest, I was kinda disappointed in the news.
As I clicked through to see the new controllers with my eyes wide and my breath held, I froze in anticipation. I starred at the images for a few seconds and then partially slumped back into my chair again.
Whilst the news of the updated Traktor Kontrol S4 and S2 is not all bad, it was kind of a let down after such high expectations from the Traktor community.
What’s New for Kontrol S4 and S2
Not much has changed. If you’ve recently bought an S4 or S2, whilst you might be slightly miffed that you missed out on the newest release (available September 30 2013) you needn’t be too upset. The physical layout of the controllers has not changed one bit. It seems that Native Instruments are using the same casing design as the originals.
Native Instruments have upgraded the following though:-
- Jog wheel Platters made of ‘aircraft grade’ aluminium instead of plastic. Nice touch, looks shiny!
- All transport buttons are now colourful with 8 of them receiving RGB backlight for visual feedback.
- Flux Mode button has been added in where the original offset buttons are. (Great Idea, but this can be added to the existing mapping)
- Remix Deck Controls can now be accessed from the controller. (Not completely sure how usable this is.)
- Plug and Play with the Traktor DJ iPad App. This gives nice combination of tactile control and a very mobile setup.
- The S2 has an additional knob that allows you to mix in a remix deck on a 3rd channel. As the S2 has 4 less buttons than the S4, I am sure some functionality of the remix decks will be missing, or at the very least the control of the Remix decks will be limited.
Sigh of relief for existing S4 and S2 owners
Seriously, there really seems very little point in upgrading your unit. Whilst the upgraded features listed above are ‘nice‘, they don’t really change it up enough in my opinion to justify forking out $799 for a new unit. If however you are one of those people that just MUST HAVE the newest gear, then it’s quite an affordable upgrade.
Are Native Instruments Aiming at the Hobby DJ?
It seems that NI are focusing on the hobby DJ rather than the serious professional with these two units. Having said that though, these two units can definitely hold their own in a professional environment.
I can see the continued use of S4 and S2 for party DJ’s, Wedding DJ’s and bedroom DJ’s. Being stuck somewhat in the old school though, I just don’t see a DJ being taken seriously rocking up to a club using one of these units. I feel that the true pro is likely to use separate units for their DJ sets. Maybe perhaps a combination of an external mixer with CDJ’s and perhaps an X1 or something similar to compliment the set up.
Although I seem to be criticising these new units, it is not because I think they are terrible, quite the opposite. They are amazing and a very affordable all-in-one option for the aspiring DJ. They are an exceptional controller when compared to other 3rd party controllers available on the market. For the most seamless integration of all your DJ’ing set up, I certainly recommend these units over third party manufacturers. I just feel that NI could have made a bigger leap from their original versions.
I was expecting more from NI with the new ‘S’ series controllers, perhaps a built-in screen display or the search strips, similar to the ones recently included on the Kontrol Z1.
Overall though, a beautiful piece of kit with all the necessary bells and whistles. The visual feedback will improve things for you when DJ’ing in the dark and the added functionality of connectivity with the iPad will be a welcoming addition for iPad owners. For Scratch DJ’s the responsiveness and jogwheel upgrade will be a nice change.
If you don’t already own an S4 or S2 and you have been thinking about getting an all in one DJ controller, this is the one for you.
Buy from Amazon $799
Check out how MAd Zach rocks the new units in this video below.
What do you think? Are you disappointed in the upgrade or quite happy – let us know in the comments below!