Thursday, 16 June 2011

NI Traktor Kontrol S4, Integrated DJ Hardware

On August 16th 2010, Native Instruments announced its highly anticipated Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ system, a four-deck hardware/software combination that it calls “the future of professional DJing”.

Native Instruments Trakto Kontrol S4

The controller – which is similar in appearance to the X1 and in layout to controllers such as the Allen & Heath Xone:XD, the American Audio VMS4, and the new Denon DN-MC6000, offers tight integration with the new Traktor Pro S4 software across four decks.

The bundle will cost you, at US$999/EUR899/£749, but that includes the hardware controller and audio interface plus software. A hard road case will be available for US$189.

Traktor Kontrol S4 Hardware
Kontrol S4 Hardware

The S4 unit is designed to match the Traktor interface as much as possible with 4 full channels in the mixer and 2 decks that are switchable from A/C and B/D. All relevant functions including looping, cueing, effects control and track browsing are immediately accessible on the Kontrol S4 hardware, with multi-colour backlighting, LED status displays and comprehensive level metering designed to let you focus on performance rather than on the computer screen.
The dual touch-sensitive jog wheels on the KONTROL S4 hardware offer precise and responsive deck control, due to a new electromagnetic technology, complemented through Native Instruments’ high resolution NHL protocol that provides superior performance over conventional MIDI. The integrated low-latency 24 bit/96kHz audio interface is based on the AUDIO 4 DJ. You will also find a special “Ean Golden” feature that turns the jog wheels into FX controllers, modeled after our VCI-100SE’s “Fader FX Mode”.
External time-code control via turntables and CD decks will be enabled through a future software upgrade. To accommodate touring DJs, a professional flight case that doubles as an adjustable performance stand will also be available as an accessory for TRAKTOR KONTROL S4.
Traktor Kontrol S4 Features: Real “plug and play” – no tweaking or mapping needed
  • Two flexible sample decks plus a loop recorder, with colored LEDs to indicate whether samples are loop/one-shot all beat-synced. This is, in Native Instruments’s words, like a “fifth deck” for samples, samples can be layered on the fly, and it even has an optional foot control. Mash-up central!
  • Chainable multiple effects – up to six
  • Multi-function jogs that can be used for scratching, nudging or library navigation, with a “brake” control
  • Integrated 4-deck TRAKTOR controller and software.
  • 4-channel mixer with ergonomic layout, 2 high-res jog wheels.
  • 2 analogue inputs with phono and mic preamps for hooking up turntables, CD players or external audio gear. CDJ & Vinyl control support feature will be supported in a future version of the S4 software.
  • 2 customizable FX units with 28 performance effects for adding your own trademark sound.
  • Powerful MP3 management with iTunes® integration and iPod® compatibility.
  • Built-in 24 bit/96 kHz soundcard features pristine, award-winning audio quality based on the Audio 4 DJ.
  • All components designed by the same team – precision German engineering.
  • Includes 40 original loops and 10 full tracks from the world-famous Loopmasters Studio.
  • Multicolor backlighting and LED
  • The S4 does require a power supply but can run on an emergency USB power mode with reduced LED brightness and lower headphone volume.
  • The controller may be used with other software through MIDI.
Traktor Kontrol S4 Software
Kontrol S4 Software

A completely revamped version of Traktor, called Traktor Pro S4 that strips away duplication of controls that traditionally accompanies non-dedicated hardware/software DJ setups. Instead it offers the same kind of intuitive hardware/software integration that Serato achieves with its ITCH hardware. Besides a simplified master section and color make-over, the software is basically Traktor Pro with a few notable changes:
Two flexible Sample Decks can add up to eight simultaneous one-shot samples or beat-synced loops to the mix, opening up creative remixing and mash-up possibilities that go far beyond conventional DJing techniques.
The unique Loop Recorder also allows DJs to capture and overdub audio loops from the live mix, cue signal or an external input on the fly, and drop them back into the mix at any time.
Tracktor Kontrol S4 Logo
In the video demo, DMC World Champ DJ Shiftee gives the Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ system a workout highlighting the new Sample Decks and Loop Recorder in four mini-routines:
  • Live looping and editing, cue point juggling and jog wheel scratching on the Tetris melody, using dubstep Loopmaster loops.
  • Using one-shots like speech samples and horn-stabs in the S4 Sample Decks to build a set.
  • Triggering synced loops, grabbing them on-the-fly from Diplo’s remix of “Flashing Lights” and using the Sample Decks as an additional deck in Traktor.
  • Using live audio playback from the S4 Loop Recorder like a live mix of sequencer automation.
According to Native Instruments, “Traktor Kontrol S4 represents a new level of software and hardware integration that makes DJing more versatile, more intuitive and more fun.”

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