Traktor Pro 3 is out and with it comes some new controllers and a new lease of life for some older ones. DJ controllers – they’re taking over, it’s official! The world of DJing is modernizing, it’s turning more digital, more techy. Analogue will never die but still, the future is bright with lots of flashy buttons, jog wheels and backlights.
The DJ controller has risen to popularity sharply. They’re small, portable and compact which is a far cry from the massive coffin cases required for lifting full CDJ or turntable setups. You can check in a controller on a plane, store it on a train, chuck it in the boot, in a bag, wherever you go, it can go with you.
DJ controllers are also flexible, working with external inputs, FX units and of course, your laptop. Your laptop is the powerhouse of the setup. It is a DJ controller, after all. It controls DJ tasks – it doesn’t power them – that’s your laptop’s job.
Regardless, DJ controllers are complex bits of kit and they pack tons of features which make DJing more creative, more exciting and more straightforward.
Traktor Controllers From Native Instruments
|Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3
|Full Version of TRAKTOR PRO 3
|Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3
|Full Version of TRAKTOR PRO 3
|Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2
|TRAKTOR PRO 2 with Remix Decks
|Traktor Kontrol S4 MK2
|TRAKTOR PRO 2 with Remix Decks
Traktor’s developers at Native Instruments in Germany have been hard at work making Traktor Pro 3. Reports are positive and now, it’s probably finally time for Traktor to introduce a new era. Prior to Traktor Pro 3’s release, NI had taken 3rd spot behind Serato and RekordBox but the tides may turn yet again in an industry which is packed full of twists and turns.
Can we expect more Traktor setups now? Definitely. Traktor always fitted an awkward space between other DJ softwares but it’s a crowd pleaser. It’s different, in a good way. Traktor gives more if you delve into it deeper and if you’re a producer who is familiar with STEMs and Native Instruments workflow in general, you’re in a top position to get the most out of Traktor Pro 3.
- Traktor always comes with Native Instruments Traktor DJ controllers. Older controllers (MK2) come with Traktor Pro 2. This can be upgraded to Traktor Pro 3 for just $49 – that’s very reasonable! Traktor Pro 3 will come with all MK3 controllers.
- One of Traktor’s flagship features is its Remix Deck feature. These allow you to break down samples into 64 cells which can be controller with Traktor controllers. This enables some awesome live instrumentation of your produced tracks, samples and loops. You can also use stock loops and samples or those available from Traktor’s website to add a new level to your performance.
- Traktor’s interface and visual style is unmistakable. Colorful and striking, it’s a pleasure to use and Traktor 3.0 has only built upon this legacy.
For beginners or those freshly entering the world of DJing, Traktor delivers. It’s sleek, fresh and feels awesome to use. Coupled with Traktor controllers, it really is a joy to DJ with.
You don’t need to be a NI freak to lover Traktor, it suits everyone and it’s sure to rise to the fore once more.
So, without further ado, let’s overview the best hardware for Traktor right now.
The Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 is Native Instruments’ newest flagship controller. Unlike Pioneer, Native Instruments’ price ceiling is a lot lower and even though this controller still isn’t cheap, it’s much cheaper than top Pioneer controllers.
This is a 4-channel controller running on the newest Traktor Pro 3, which is included. The layout is perfect for a 4 channel controller, it’s immediately obvious that this controller would be easy to use for more complex 4 deck mixes. Each deck as a deck selector and there’s 4 sets of EQs and faders. FX are also easily displayed for each channel and deck.
To top it all off, this controller comes with an awesome LCD screen which shows you important track info. It’s small but detailed and its a real game changer at this price point.
This controller has received an aesthetic facelift, you can certainly say it looks the part, probably one of the best look controllers ever made. Its components are precision-engineered and they’re obviously well thought out. Overall, its beautiful with color buttons and haptic feedback jogwheels, it’s simply divine!
The S4 MK3 has 8 sample or effects pads on each deck for control of samples in remix decks. To top everything of, this controller has a high quality output for sending audio direct to even the biggest club systems.
Overall, Traktor has outdone the famous S4 MK2 controller with this model which is improved and updated in a meaningful way beyond pure aesthetics and design.
- Reasonably priced for a real pro setup
- Designed for control of 4 internal decks. Can connect two turnables or CDJs too
- Brand new Traktor 3 included
- Amazing build quality
At less than half the price of the S4 MK3 comes the S2 MK3, Traktor’s smaller new controller. It’s a quality controller for its budget price tag and it cuts no corners in the build quality department. Sleek and stylish with tons of strength and solidity, this little controller certainly packs some top quality components.
This is a two channel controller and it doesn’t allow for connection of external decks. It’s minimalistic and though it can fit in a backpack, it’s laid out spaciously and effectively without being too cramped.
Like the S4 MK3, this controller has 16 buttons for triggering Remix Deck samples and loops, which is an awesome Traktor-only feature. The pads are well designed and they’re easy to operate with a lightish touch. The S4 MK3 also has Mix FX wheels, which allows you to control global FX from within the centre of the controller across the faders – perfect for making your drops more dramatic.
The build quality of these new Traktor controllers really is fabulous. The Kontrol S2 MK3 has well-built controls, an excellent looking faceplate, awesome all-new jogwheels and solid, pro feeling faders. It’s not a budget controller but it is certainly reasonably priced.
Topping it all off is its club-ready output – it’s fully ready to roll!
- Comes with Traktor 3
- Awesome pro build quality
- Portable and compact
- None unless you need more features
The Kontrol S4 MK2 was Native Instrument’s flagship controller for a long time. It’s been usurped by the MK3 but that means it’s cheaper and it still packs features on a level with most other pro controllers. The S4 MK2 will be easily mapped to Traktor 3 and upgrades are available at a discount price.
The S4 MK2 like the MK3 has 4 channels. You can control 2 decks and it has two inputs for connecting turntables with live input (to play vinyl, etc) or with a DVS system. This is an awesome feature in its own right and given the price drop in the S4 MK2, it promises to be one of the cheapest controllers with this feature.
It obviously looks great, still modern even if not quite up to the super spec of the S4 MK3. RGB colored buttons, quality jogwheels and sample buttons for triggering remix decks complete this controller’s full featureset.
- A quality controller for a cheap price
- 4 channels
- Traktor 3 is easily mapped
- No dedicated sample pads!
The S2 MK2 controller has been replaced by the aforementioned MK3 but that certainly doesn’t rend it redundant or useless. In fact, the S2 MK2 isn’t so different, and it’ll obviously work with Traktor 3. Traktor 2 owners can upgrade for a discount price so if you own the MK2 or are planning on getting hold of one then don’t be worried about having to use old software.
The MK2 sports an awesome build quality, just like its latest brother. It’s very similar in essence, two channels, durable material and colorful controls. It lacks the sample pads and the jogwheels are smaller but the whole controller itself is smaller.
The MK2 is more compact and portable than the MK3, and that should give it some mileage now its newer brother has hit the market.
- Smaller, cheaper and with comparable build quality to the MK3
- Can map to Traktor 3
- High-quality output
- Is missing some features that the MK3 brings to the table
There’ll be many across the DJ world who are very pleased that the future of the industry isn’t all Pioneer and Serato dominated. Traktor is now looking to continue pitching in this 3-way battle of the DJ controllers.
The MK3 controllers here represent a boost in build quality, features and obvious software in the form of Traktor Pro 3. They’re lovely to behold and use, they simply feel like a worth of technological art.
Native Instruments do bring that touch of class to their controllers. Sure, Pioneers are bulletproof and they’re built on a legacy of pro audio equipment. Serato controllers are numerous and quick to react to industry needs. Traktor haven’t been quite so on the ball but they’ve come through here with a great piece of software and some awesome controllers to go with it. Game on!
You may also like: