Traktor fans rejoice: Native Instruments has just launched the long-awaited Traktor Pro 3 software along with the brand new Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 and Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 controllers. All are part of Native Instruments’ huge drop of new gear and software announcements today, and we’re dealing with all the Traktor-related ones in this piece.
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Traktor Pro 3
It’s been a long time coming, but Traktor Pro 3 has officially been released. It now sports a flatter interface for a more contemporary look, and it’s got a redesigned “Elastique 3” engine for better quality audio time-stretching.
A new Mixer FX feature lets you dial in filter and effect combos using just one knob, and for DJs using an external mixer you can now route audio to it without the sound being processed by Traktor’s internal mixer, which should mean a noticeable improvement in audio quality. Native Instruments says that a full list of new features will be made available on 25 September, so it’s likely that there will still be new tweaks added to the software.
Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3
The Kontrol S4 MK3 is a four-channel controller for Traktor that comes with motorised “Haptic Drive” jogwheels that have three modes of operation: Jog Mode, Turntable Mode, and Beatgrid Adjust Mode. The jogwheel vibrates when you scrub past a cue point, letting battle DJs “feel” the cue instead of having to look at it on the Traktor screen. The jogwheels are also surrounded by assignable LED rings that change colour.
What’s the big deal with motorised jogwheels?
Motorised jogwheels give the impression and feel of spinning on a turntable, which is one of the characteristics that vinyl and battle DJs love about spinning and scratching on a turntable. These types of jogs seem to be in vogue: just recently Denon DJ announced the SC5000M Prime which has motorised platters, and now Native Instruments has joined the fray while putting its own twist by adding haptic feedback.
Moving jogwheels are not new: they’ve been around since the 2000s with models like the Technics SLDZ-1200 and Denon DJ’s DNS3700. Controllers have also had motorised jogwheels in the past, most recently with the Numark NS7III.
Each deck also has a high-resolution display that shows the track’s waveform, tempo, musical key, time and loop length. On the performance pads front, there are now eight RGB-backlit pads that you can use to trigger and control either Hot Cues, Samples or Stems.
The Kontrol S4 MK3 can be used as a standalone mixer too, and it has four pairs of line inputs, two pairs of phono inputs, and two mic inputs. Each channel has three-band EQs, trim pots, line/phono input switches on channels A and B and line/mic input switches on channels C and D, and big effect knobs per channel. There are new Mixer FX controls here too, and you’re able to select from among four Mixer FX as well as toggle the Filter on or off.
Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3
Meanwhile, the Kontrol S2 MK3 is a two-channel device for Traktor Pro 3. It doesn’t have the Haptic Drive jogwheels, standalone mixer capability, onboard screens and extensive FX knobs, but it still packs a raft of new features into a smaller footprint including eight RGB-backlit pads per deck, Mixer FX controls and an updated jogwheel.
Traktor Pro 3 has been eagerly awaited by the NI faithful, and while the new skin and under-the-hood tweaks and new Mixer FX are cool, fans who were expecting a massive overhaul for Traktor Pro 3 will be left wanting. It is definitely a polish job, not a rewrite at this stage.
That said, Native Instruments has yet to release a full list of new features, and it says that it will do so on 25 September – so sit tight. It’s also important to note that for existing Traktor users, Traktor Pro 3 will be a paid update costing US$49, something that is sure to rile many.
On the hardware side, the Kontrol S4 MK3 looks to be a fine update to the popular Kontrol S4 series: the Haptic Drive jogwheels are clever (check out our First Look video for our thoughts on them) and the new performance pads, onboard high-res screens, and robust mixer inputs and outputs are welcome additions.
These features place the Kontrol S4 MK3 squarely into 2018 – the original Kontrol S4 was launched back in 2010, and for the new version, Native Instruments has consolidated a lot of the things Traktor DJs love (screens, jogwheels, pads) into one unit.
For beginners and those looking for a more portable solution, the Kontrol S2 MK3 is also a nice update, though it’s missing a lot of the big new features that the Kontrol S4 MK3 proudly bears – it is, indeed, a drop “down” like the original Kontrol S2, aiming squarely at the part of the market dominated by controllers such as the Pioneer DJ DDJ-SB3 and DDJ-400.
Check out the promo videos and photo galleries below:
Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 Promo Video
Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 Photo Gallery
Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 Promo Video
Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 Photo Gallery
• The Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 will retail for US$899 from 1 November 2018, the Kontrol S2 MK3 for US$299 from Fall 2018, and Traktor Pro 3 for US$99 or as a US$49 upgrade from 18 October 2018. Check out the Native Instruments site for more details.
What do you think of all the Traktor stuff that just dropped? Do you like Traktor Pro 3? What are your thoughts on the new controllers? Let us know below.