Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ System Announced

Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ controller.

Native Instruments's new Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ controller.

Native Instruments today announced the highly anticipated Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ system(US$899 / £754 / €869), a four-deck hardware/software combination that it calls "the future of professional DJing".

The controller - which is similar in appearance to the X1 and in layout to controllers such as the Allen & Heath Xone:XD, the American Audio VMS4, and the new Denon DN-MC6000, offers tight integration with the new Traktor Pro S4 software across four decks. Have a look at the first of two official Native Instruments YouTube videos we have for you:

Here are some of the standout features:

  • Real "plug and play" - no tweaking or mapping needed
  • A completely revamped version of Traktor, called Traktor Pro S4, that strips away duplication of controls that traditionally accompanies non-dedicated hardware/software DJ setups, and instead offers the same kind of intuitive hardware/software integration that Serato achieves with its ITCH + hardware offerings

    Traktor Pro S4 software

    Usability wise, the Traktor Pro S4 software looks the part, with just what you need there and everything else taken care of by the hardware.

  • Hi-res Midi for jogwheels and pitch faders etc, giving tight control
  • Two flexible sample decks plus a loop recorder, with coloured LEDs to indicate whether samples are loop/one-shot. all beat-synced. This is, in Native Instruments's words, like a "fifth deck" for samples, samples can be layered on the fly, and it even has an optional foot control. Mash-up central!
  • Chainable multiple effects - up to six
  • Multi-function jogs that can be used for scratching, nudging or library navigation, with a "brake" control
  • Phono/line inputs which are playing CD for record players through the unit - this makes it a true "hybrid" mixer
  • A custom-designed flightcase that fits the Kontrol S4 and a laptop, and converts into a laptop stand when opened (we've got a price for the case: US$189 / €169 EUR / £139
The new Traktor Pro S4 software i use.

The new Traktor Prp S4 software in use.

Why is this launch important?
This is the unit that a lot of Traktor fans have been waiting for. Anybody who likes the unsurpassed cueing, effects and loop functions of Traktor but who has been looking jealously at the kind of tight hardware / software integration offered by Serato ITCH and its dedicated controllers can now breathe a sigh of relief that Traktor is taking the DJ controller market seriously.

If you're the kind of DJ who still has decks and/or CDs but wants to seriously embrace digital, again this is a good choice for you because it allows you to plug through your current setup and use one mixer to integrate the lot.

What will it be like to use?
Like other similar controllers, there are an awful lot of controls there. The jogwheels interestingly are higher up the unit - part of Native Instruments's recognition that many Traktor DJs - with their beatgridded, loop-heavy DJing styles - are not as hung-up on old-skool mixing styles as users of other software, maybe?

Traktor Kontrol S4 back panel

The wide range of inputs and outputs includes the ability to plug record decks or CD players in.

The jogwheels are accessible from the edges, and maybe that will be fine, unless the unit is set up in a small space with other equipment either side of it, like CD players or record decks.

Certainly if you are used to using DVS or vinyl you'll probably struggle here. But it's not really aimed at you. ("External time-code control via turntables and CD decks will be enabled through a future software upgrade," say Native Instruments, but the fact that it's not there at launch shows it's not a priority.)

No, it's aimed at today's new breed of electronic DJ who like to throw everything in a flight bag but still put in a creative performance once set up at the other end.

It appears to be well made - just like the X1 - and it is my guess that it will be correspondingly fun to use. I'd love to have a feel of those jogwheels, but I suspect they're exceptional quality-wise.

The Traktor Kontrol S4 flightcase

The flightcase is designed to fit the unit perfectly as well as provide an integrated laptop carrying space and stand when set up.

Conclusion
It's certainly hotting up in the four-deck hybrid controller arena. If you're looking for a high-end DJ controller (this is priced at US$899 / £754 / €869), this should be on your shortlist.

With that tight hardware / software integration, it would seem to have scored a home run against the new Denon DN-MC6000 and the American Audio VMS4, although the latter is cheaper.

Its only direct competitor with this range of features is the Allen & Heath Xone:DX and Serato ITCH combination, but that has a price tag considerably higher that this.

The future of professional DJing? It's a bold claim. But the Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ System makes it well. They've just upped the bar: Maybe time to start saving and put a pre-order in. Demand is bound to be sky high.

Second video: the Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ System in action:

See it at: Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Thomann (UK & rest of Europe)

So - is it what you were expecting? Any surprises? Got any more details or thoughts that we haven't covered? Please let us know.

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Comments

  1. I can’t say im disappointed or blown away after the specs and videos have been put out. I think I will need to play around with this a bit before I would buy it. I like the idea of the sample/loop deck(s) but it would be cool if you could also use those decks for normal track channels as well. Kudos on bringin the news hommie….

  2. Phil Morse says:

    Yes, typo there! Been corrected now. I know what you mean, it ticks a lot of boxes.

  3. This will be the end of my beautiful nuo4 mixer. Loving it and can’t wait to get my hands on to it. Perfect integration for me with my (rarely used) turntables and digital mixing. By the way, don’t you mean the xone DX when you refer to the 4D?

    @Phat SwaZy, I think you have 4 channels as well. Otherwise, the buttons for deck c and d would be pointless ;-)

  4. LockedCat says:

    Are those confirmed release dates? any idea when preordering will begin?

  5. StrangeMatter says:

    @Phat SwaZy, I did some digging on the NI site and you have the option of switching four of the sample decks into a standard deck (C or D) if you wish. No idea if that means on-the-fly or not (I certainly know which would be more useful!).

    The thing that interests me most is wether or not NI has done something about the upcoming Serato/Ableton Bridge as I’m looking to get this with Kore2, Maschine and Komplete7 for a total live setup. If I could run Kore through deck D I’d be able to control Maschine AND Komplete7 as VSTs in Kore using the Maschine hardware with Kore’s hardware tweaking the sounds I’m using, leaving deck C to run my samples.
    If NI have prepared S4 for that kind of integration, latency issues should (hopefully!) be low enough to work with.

  6. donde puedo comprar este articulo

  7. Hi ya all,

    i just want the software, i have a great midicontroller, why oh why is it only released in combi with the midicontroller….that sucks big time

    loads of greetz Jeffrey bakker | Orquesm

  8. Phil Morse says:

    Good point, maybe they’ll release the software on its own once the controller comes along.

  9. Is there a booth output with control on the unit for club djs?

  10. Phil Morse says:

    No, I don’t think there is. You’d have to plug into the mixer and use their booth control.

  11. Alex Maloney says:

    Hi there,
    Am interested in buying one of the Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ systems relatively soon. Says it’s $899US. and want to know what is included in that. Does it come with a case etc or if not where can I purchase one and how much?…
    Please let me know back asap via email.

    Cheers,
    Alex

  12. Phil Morse says:

    It doesn’t come with the case, you’ll need to buy that separately. It’s about US$150 I think.

  13. Jon Cravenwood says:

    Would you say this is aimed at the professional or bedroom DJ? I’ve heard a lot of mixed opinions about the S4 which has put my decision to purchase it on hold as I’m hoping to DJ for a living.

  14. hi
    i bought the s4 was wondering how do i record live set or do i need two buy separate soft/hard ware

    • Hi Mick,
      you can record a set in Traktor without the need for additional software. In the top right of Traktor (you may need to set the display to extended or mixer mode) there is an icon that looks like an old cassette tape.

      If you click on it, the options for recording are in there. Traktor only records in .wav format, so it’s advisable to compress your set in Audacity (or other audio program, but Audacity is free) after you’re done recording.

      Good luck!

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