Well the rumor mill has finally had its payday with Native Instruments’ simultaneous release of the “UPDATED” Traktor Kontrol S4 ($799) and Kontrol S2 ($499). Since both units deliver the same form and function with the difference being 2 channels on the S2, and 4 channels on the S4, the question remains as to to what features have been made cosmetically to push these 2 units to the forefront of the highly competitive DJ controller market.
What they added [improved]:
– aluminum jog wheels as opposed to the old plastic ones that feature an upgraded braking system
– integrated remix deck functions as found in the F1 controller, featuring color-coded RGB buttons that help you switch between different loop parameters
– a flux mode on/off button located above the pitch control slider that improves live loop performance effects
What they missed [slept on]:
– it is STILL not an integrated mixer outside of your laptop. We have waited so long for Native instruments to deliver the controller design of the S4 and the hardware capability of their Kontrol Z2 mixer. I guess we’ll have to wait for a Z4 mixer, but I doubt it will out perform the S4’s software to hardware integration
– no touch strip controls as found in their newly re-designed X1 controller. I do not know why they could not put this feature in for $800 It looks like a lot of fun to work with and a shame to omit.
– the vertical faders are still too short! After all these years! Longer faders allow for better mix transitions. Has anyone seen a studio mixing board! ! !
– Still… no XLR outs. A solid and secure transmission to any professional rig is crucial in big events.
I don’t know what type of beta testers are edging Native Instruments forward, but I found some key issues that strictly make these newer units nothing more than a mere hardware upgrade, but would you spend $800 or $500 for a mere upgrade after all these years as a Kontrol S4 or S2 owner? I would probably want to hold on to my money for now until I get a real run for my money as a proud Traktor user.
Although the new jog wheels look astounding, my old ones work fine, and for those new grey caps… you can get a colorful set of DJ Tech Tools Chroma Caps for about $15.
Sadly, I am not impressed…