Controller Clinic #1: Novation Twitch vs Traktor Kontrol S4

Last updated 6 August, 2017

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The Novation Twitch comes with an overlay and mapping for Traktor, although there are mixed reports about the quality of the supplied mapping. Pic: Zzsounds
The Novation Twitch comes with an overlay and mapping for Traktor, although there are mixed reports about the quality of the supplied mapping. Pic: Zzsounds

Reader Kirill write: “I am moving now from the Vestax Typhoon to a new controller and I’m all excited about the Twitch because it has no jogs (I don’t scratch, never did, never will). It also seems to have lots of buttons and FX controls that seem great to replace an external pad controller. I am mainly playing electronic music and dubstep, and working live with another DJ who is using Ableton Live with an APC40 to control our drum triggers and play loops and other effects while I run the tracks and mash them. I am worried that I will outgrow the Twitch just as fast as I did with the Typhoon (squeezed every little bit that it had to offer!), and wondering if it won’t be better to get a Kontrol S4. Trouble is, it’s huge and when playing with several DJs during the same night you often just can’t find place on the table for your set-up. If I found myself struggling with the Typhoon then I can only imagine the nightmares I will have with the S4!”

“What’s your call on the Twitch? How good are the touchstrips? Do you miss anything while using it? Did you find it to be fun for home and small pubs and dance bars or can you see yourself doing large gigs with it? (like 1000+ people in the audience)?”

Digital DJ Tips says:

The Twitch is small, light and original. Twitch is great if you’re happy to beatgrid your music. For freestyling (ie manual beatmatching), jogs are still the best way of phase matching your music; I don’t scratch either but I do like to DJ with jogs when mixing non tempo-matched material. But if you really don’t need jogs, then Twitch has lots of innovative features that’ll keep you happy for a long time. It has a good enough sound card for any size of venue (some say it’s quiet, but it’s loud enough to feed into a club mixer and as long as you have decent DJ headphones it’s fine).

However, if you have a Typhoon then I presume you’re already using Traktor – switching software platforms is a big thing, and although the Twitch does with Traktor mappings and an overlay, it is first and foremost a Serato ITCH controller. Why don’t you consider going down the Kontrol X1 + sound card route? If you used the Kontrol X1 and a small sound card such as the Audio 2, you could plug in to two channels on the club’s house mixer, and use that for mixing, EQing etc, using the X1 for your loops, FX and hot cues. The X1 is absolutely tiny and can tuck next to the mixer or anywhere else you can find a small gap for it.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1
The beauty of the Kontrol X1 is that you can slip it in to every the most cramped DJ box far more easily than a controller. Pic: Key Music

You could also look at the Kontrol S2, but to be honest it’s still bigger than your Typhoon. Or alternatively take a look at the new Denon DJ MC3000; it’s around the same size as the Twitch and you’ll definitely never outgrow it, as it controls practically all of Traktor Pro 2’s features, including sample decks and loop recorder.

What would you advise for Kirill? Please feel free to add to my thoughts by posting your own in the comments below.