Traktor Kontrol S4 Review (Part I)
Damn that Kontrol S4 made my day.
So I’ve always loved being a DJ. Everything about it, good and bad, because it is a labor of love. When I started in the 80′s you brought everything to your gig, turntables, mixer, numerous records in milk crates, speakers, amps, cables, etc. Things became streamlined in the 90′s because nightclubs and raves provided existing sound systems and standard DJ equipment in order for one to rock the party. Most times the amount of music I brought in 12 inch form was even slimmed down to account for the 1 to 2 hour set I played along side several other DJ’s during the party. This was the Gig Du Jour well in to the new millennium.
Enter the first DVS systems to include Final Scratch, Serato Scratch Live, and Traktor.
This allowed us to be even more streamlined when traveling to and from the gig completely eliminating the Record Crate as we know it and introducing the laptop into our arsenal. Even if I had to bring my tabletop (decks and mixer) it was still a 3 tripper from car to DJ booth. Why am I giving you the memory lane? Because I have officially, and in great confidence announced that I am now a 1 tripper from car to DJ booth. The Kontrol S4 allows me to cruise in to the party, high-fives unimpeded, set up on the quick and do more damage to my dance floor than ever before.
To clarify, my preference has always been using vinyl on turntables because of the feel of the vinyl and the mechanics of the turntables. After my turntables, mixer and records were stolen out of my car after a late night I was forced to make a decision. Stop being lazy and stupid. I made the switch in 2006 to both SL and Traktor Scratch because they translated remarkably and maintained the essence of the art form. The Kontrol S4 with Traktor Pro S4 allows for meticulous mixing and blending, advanced intricate scratching, superb next level effects and cuing, and recording and sample recording capabilities. In the past I have lugged out and set up 5 separate pieces of gear to do the same, moonwalking through crowds of b-boys, fly-girls, and glow stick ninjas happily to have an amazing performance and record my sets so that I may catalog and share the experience with my family and 4 fans. All of this is now possible with one trip, my Kontrol S4 in a sexy hard case, my lappie in the DJ bag, and my gangster lean. Check out our favorite features in the video and stay tuned for my quick demo using 4 decks, effects, and samples.
(P.S. some pics below from the video. you can get all hi-res by clicking on them.)
Hi, this is Scott Magno DJ MadFlip. I’m here with UniqueSquared.com to talk to you about the Native Instruments Kontrol S4. This is an amazing piece and we’re going to show you our top 3 features of why we’re so in love with it.
Alright, first feature is software. Now, this is going to come with Traktor Pro S4 which is exclusive to the controller, it’s also going to allow you to have a customizable layout. This means that I can choose different layouts for browsing, to listening to my music, or doing any kind of editing, two turntable setup, what have you.
I think I like the extended the most because that’s going to give me everything right at my fingertips, it also allows me to take out a lot of the things I don’t necessarily need to see.
I also like that you can calibrate the controller within the software itself. That means I can go into the software and make the jog wheels for scratching, or I can also adjust them so they modulate the effects. It also makes me fine tune them if they get a little bit out of whack. Also, I am able to adjust the crossfader and make it a little more sharp or wide.
If your turntables need a little bit of a tighter curve, you’re able to do that within the software and it really, really, translates well. What I love about the software is that it allows me to be a DJ, a remixer, a producer, and I can do it all on the fly within the performance.
So, the second feature is simply the ability to record. Traktor was one of the first softwares to allow you to record your mix, or your session directly into the software and save it in its own folder.
Now, that means I can record a mix, I can record a loop, I can record a vocal, save it, then edit it later on so I can use it for a performance, and burn a CD for distribution, or I can even upload it my blog, or my website, or what have you.
So, all you have to do is hit record right here, I can select the size of the loop and then hit play. Once you stop it it’s already stored into the folder. It’s truly the simplicity of this feature that makes it one of our favorites.
So, the third feature that we like the most about the Kontrol S4 is going to be the hardware itself. So, this controller has a really rugged metal construction, it can definitely withstand the most rigorous of performances.
It’s got premium faders, knobs, and buttons here. They’re all meant to be played like an instrument. You know, I can go in and out very slowly with the faders and definitely have this huge length to put my mix in there.
You also have dual LEDs which are crossfader enabled. I really, really, dig that about this. The portability of this controller is incredible. I have actually replaced two turntables, my mixer, and actually my controller, with just this one unit here.
Alright, so there’s three of our favorite features about the Native Instruments Kontrol S4. If you need to find out more please check us out on UniqueSquared.com. You can check us out on our blog, Twitter, and Facebook.
And we’ve only scratched the surface of what the Kontrol S4 is capable of, so please check us out and watch our live demonstration in part 2.