Controller Clinic #39: Traktor Kontrol S8 Vs Pioneer DDJ-SX2

DJ Vintage
Read time: 2 mins
Last updated 28 March, 2018

Our reader had his heart set on the Pioneer DDJ-SX2 and Serato… until he spotted the Traktor Kontrol S8. Which should he choose?

Digital DJ Tips member Sean Gretka writes: “I am currently using Serato DJ with an SL2 box and my Vestax turntables. I have decided to sell my old set up and upgrade to a Pioneer DDJ-SX2 so I can take advantage of more of Serato’s features, plus the touchpads on the SX2 look like fun!

“However, while browsing around I came across the Traktor S8… and wow, I was impressed! The unit just looks amazing and the reviews are awesome! It just looks like it will be a lot of fun to play with and the Remix Decks are extremely appealing. But, and it is a big but, there are no jogwheels or pitch faders… so how the hell are you supposed to beat match tracks you haven’t set the beatgrid up for? I mean I’m new to the controller world and have always had to beatmatch tracks before mixing them, but I have over 50,000 tracks on my laptop so to sit down and set up beatgrids for all of them is a bit daunting.

“I never used the sync feature on Serato as I found it unreliable so I preferred the reassurance of traditional beatmatching tracks instead of relying on the software. I want to know if anyone has used one and tried to beatmatch on it using the touchstrips and the tempo dial?

“I’m really torn between them as I am pushing towards it but not being able to beatmatch in an emergency when the grids aren’t right is putting me off and pushing me towards the DDJ-SX2 and sticking with Serato. I’ve looked at the Traktor Kontrol S4 but it looks pretty basic compared to the Pioneer DDJ-SX2 and if I’m going to spend all this money on a controller I want the best I can afford. Ideally I would get the S8 and then buy CDJs or an equivalent to use for the jogwheels etc… but I’m not that rich and the wife won’t let me get the finance on £3K of kit…”

Digital DJ Tips says:

Traktor with the S8 in particular is really good at one thing specifically: tight EDM tracks. Rock steady beats throughout the track. It gets the sync right most of the time. So, with all those FX and Remix Decks to play with, Native Instruments figures you have plenty to do without keeping your decks in sync. You let Traktor sync it all for you and keep yourself busy with all the live remixes, mashups and what have you. So, if you are purely in electronic dance music, Traktor might be for you.

Otherwise, Serato – which you already have and know – might be the best choice still. Using Serato with a controller will open a host of options that your DVS system didn’t offer you. Not sure how many extra features you’d be getting from a Traktor set-up vs a Serato one (especially with Flip now), and the Remix Decks are still rather specialised for most DJs.

However, if you want to go down the Traktor route, why not get the S8 and keep your turntables? You can use those for DVS control and beatmatch as you’ve always done, while having the Remix Decks to play with too.

Have you found yourself trying to decide between these Serato and Traktor, or between these two controllers in particular? What decision did you make, and why? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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