Review: Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2

Looking to the future is something Native Instruments Traktor series of DJ controllers (and software) have been doing for a number of years. Find out if the Kontrol S4 MK2 brings the future closer.  

As a faithful user of Native Instruments' Kontrol S4, I was excited to try out the new Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2. The S4 is one of the best controllers on the market for Traktor; the original was an intelligent controller made for creative DJs. The updated MK2 has been optimized for use with Traktor's ground-breaking software additions, which will allow DJs to realize the software's potential by controlling it with the S4 MK2.

Updated for Traktor 

In recent years, Traktor has had cutting edge additions like Remix Decks, Flux Mode and the Traktor DJ iOS app. The new S4 MK2 addresses these updates and makes controls for them accessible on the faceplate. The S4 MK2's compatibility with the Traktor DJ iOS app makes it a great choice for DJs who want to be on the cutting edge of technology, or mobile DJs who don't want to bring a laptop to their gigs. 

Faceplate Features

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The S4 MK2 has had a makeover and its entire appearance is slicker. The S4 MK2 features a black faceplate that is darker than the MK1 and new darker knobs that match the knobs on the Kontrol X1 MK2. The text on the MK2 has been darkened and is now easier to see. 

The S4 MK2 features aircraft-grade aluminum jog wheels, which are heavier than the original jog wheels. These jog wheels feel more solid than the original plastic wheels, making this controller more attractive to serious disc jocks and turntablists alike.

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One of the most notable new features are the backlit RGB buttons, which make cue points and  functions like Sync, Cue and Play easier to see in both clubs and natural light. While these aren't a necessity, the RGB buttons do make important functions stand out a lot better.

Flux Mode

Flux mode is a new mode in Traktor that allows DJs to loop or add effects to a selected deck without affecting the position of the playhead. (In many other DJ software programs, this function is called Slip Mode). Flux has been given its own dedicated button on the S4 MK2, located beside the Reset button. Although this may not be a mode many Traktor DJs currently use, it certainly has creative potential and should be explored.

Rear View

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On the back of the S4 MK2, there's a new set of 1/4” outputs that can be used for an additional Master Out, or a Booth Output. (Use the switch located to the side of this output to select your preference). There's a dedicated level control for the booth volume which is useful in any situation where you're using a booth monitor. To adjust the booth volume independently, set the Main/Booth switch to Booth.

Ready for the Future

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The S4 MK2 is designed to work with the Traktor DJ app on iOS devices and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and iPad mini. This is perhaps one of the best new features of the S4 MK2; controlling the app with the S4 MK2 is quite easy and fun. One of the real advantages of using the Traktor DJ app is the fact that you can use it on your portable Apple device and don't have to have a laptop connected in order to DJ. This makes for a digital DJ setup that's portable and futuristic. If you begin using the S4 MK2 with the Traktor DJ app now, you'll be ahead of the masses who'll use this advanced technology in the years to come.

The Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2 is a great controller that puts Traktor's exciting new features under your fingertips. The cosmetic upgrades are welcome additions, but I think it's the controller's compatibility with the futuristic Traktor updates that really make the MK2 a worthwhile investment. I'd recommend the S4 MK2 to DJs who are dedicated Traktor users, or are curious about the software. It's a solid, good looking controller that gives you the ability to wield all of Traktor's power.


Pros: Aluminum jog wheels. Compatible with the Traktor DJ App. Backlit RGB Buttons

Cons: I personally wish there was less text on the controller and the S4 MK2 had adapted the minimalist design of the X1 MK2.

Price: $799

Web: http://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/traktor/dj-controllers/traktor-kontrol-s4/

Sara Simms captivates the world as an innovative musician, DJ, turntablist and electronic music producer. She's a multi-instrumentalist who's known for her love of music technology. Sara makes her mark in the music community by crafting diverse sets with styles ranging from pulsating techno to house. She balances technical skills wi... Read More

Discussion

Nicola Peluchetti
Maybe it should be noted that the units have big issues on iPad and iOs 7 and no fix is still available for this. I bought my s2-mk2 just to use it with my iPad and it never worked.

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