Numark 4Trak for Traktor

Numark has just dropped ANOTHER controller on the market in contention with the Vestax VCI-400 ($999) and NI’s Traktor S4. ($899)  Although I am not particularly crazy about the way Numark buttons feel, they have still managed to add a truck load of features on the face of it all on their new 4Trak ($999) model designed specifically for Traktor.  This model is a close cousin and successor to their previous NS-6 model, and manages to take it up a few notches with some new features.

THE PROS:

build quality – the unit is built like a tank with a sharp looking anodized metal finish
space – a ton of real estate seems pretty comfortable at gigs, but may have a price to pay with portability
45-degree top-mounted 12 effects buttons – on the top, these intricate efffects assigns help separate it from the rest of the pack as far as layout goes
2 channel stand alone mixer– pretty standard these days (NICE MOVE!)
XLR outputs – my choice as a professional standard for quality wiring
designated browsing area – AWESOME! Browsing is one of the most important comfort features when looking for the right tracks to throw in your set
“cruise” function – first I’ve ever seen; an auto pilot mode for DJing that actually mixes tracks for you in case you need to step away for a while (IMO:great for Paris Hilton)

THE CONS:

the price – ($999) Numark needs to lower the price in order to have an edge over the other 2 competitive models.  Price always makes a difference!
slightly too bulky for portability – It is bulky and heavy, and looks like it might be cumbersome to slide in and out of a backpack
no channel strip LEDs – BIG FAIL! Wake up Numark.  Channel strip LEDs are the single-most best and effective visual guide for DJs mixing 4 decks
too many buttons crowd up the jog wheels – I always love plenty of functions, but I like space around my jog wheels.  I should not have to worry about colliding into other buttons when making a spectacle of myself
too many button on the front side-face – the front underlay just looks a little too cluttered to me
loop function buttons too complicated – looping should not be too much of a thought process when it comes down to controllers; the evolution of DJ controllers allows for greater control over looping on the fly.  Numark is still stuck on their previous design that involves slightly more micro managing by the DJ to gain control over their looping

OVERALL

Numark looks like it has a winner with Traktor users-as long as the controller mappings are easy to set up and modify. (Good Luck!) Although it looks like a direct design assault on the earlier and overpriced Pioneer DDJ-T1 and S-1 models, they still manage to earn the respect of many DJs on the market by combining solid build quality for price, but I still think $999 is a bit too much from a company like Numark, and it may cause would-be buyers to opt for the Vestax VCI-400 for the same price.  Sorry, but if I was Numark, I would not try to enter the arena against Vestax, so I would choose my battles more wisely.  If you happen to have a budget of a thousand bucks for just a controller, CHOOSE WISELY… but it might not hurt to try this model out for what it delivers as far as features go.

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