Full Review: Traktor Kontrol S8

Ever since Native Instruments released the Maschine Studio with large color displays, DJs have imagined a Traktor controller with full resolution displays. Last November DJs got their wish when Native Instruments released their first Traktor controller with fully integrated screens, the Traktor Kontrol S8. The controller has been out for a while, and our own Ryan Dejaegher has been putting it through the real world trials to see if it’s worth the investment.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S8

  • Price + Availability: $1199, Available in the DJTT store
  • The GoodBest build quality of any NI controller, screens let you focus on hardware
  • The BadCan’t be remapped, no pitch faders, no jogwheels may be deal breaker for some
  • The Bottom LineThe Traktor Kontrol S8 is the best all in one controller for Traktor

When looking at the Traktor Kontrol S8, it’s easy to see the influence from other Native Instruments controllers. The screens are very similar to screens found on the Maschine Studio, the touch strip pulled from the Kontrol X1 MK2, and the pads, short faders and knobs borrowed from the Kontrol F1. With all these controls rolled together, the Kontrol S8 becomes the only controller a Traktor DJ would ever need.

Hardware: Build Quality + Controls

Native Instruments has continued to improve the build quality of their hardware over the years and the Kontrol S8 is their most well built controller yet. The controller has a solid weight to it, the faders are very smooth, and the large pads/buttons throughout are a nice touch. One thing that DJs will be happy to see is a brushed metal finish for the entire top plate of the Kontrol S8. This is a welcome change from the glossy plates used on the Kontrol S2/S4/Z2, which looked nice before turning into a finger print magnet.

There are number of controls that are both new, yet familiar. The Kontrol S8 has 8 RGB pads per decks that control a number of functions: remix decks, hot cues, and loops/beat jumps. The pads are a nice size, larger then the Kontrol F1 pads but smaller then the full size Maschine pads. Overall the pads feel great, however they are “click style” just like the F1 pads. Having a click helps confirm that the pads have been triggered for things like the remix decks. For finger drumming it can take some getting used to, as many people do prefer the feel of a MPC style drum pad or even the Midi Fighter’s arcade buttons.

DJs that are familiar with the Kontrol X1 MK2 will recognize the touch strip. The functionality is very much the same, DJs can slide their finger across the strip to pitch bend the track, while holding shift lets DJs quickly scrub through the entire track. There are LEDs above the touch strips that indicate the phase of each track (orange in the middle when the track is in sync.) The LEDs also indicate the track position while the shift button is held. DJs can technically “scratch” while the track is paused, but for anyone that’s serious about scratching it’s best to connect a turntable.

The touch strip is missing some functionality from the Kontrol X1 MK2 such as touch loop rolls and touch fx control. Hopefully these are added in a future software update. In general, however, since each touch strip is dedicated to a single deck – we found they performed better than X1’s and were easy to use.

Touch sensitive knobs have started to appear on more controllers. Most of the functionality has been focused on touch EQ knobs that act as kills or touch FX knobs for quick FX triggers. On the Kontrol S8 they serve a different purpose that’s important to the usage of the screens. The touch sensitive knobs will cause the parameters to appear on the screen. Anytime DJs adjust the FX knobs or the encoders beneath the screen, they’ll notice the parameters will appear on the screen. This helps keep the screen clean and avoids cluttering it with parameters that aren’t actively in use.

Full Standalone 4 Channel Mixer

The Kontrol S8 has a 4 channel standalone mixer so DJs can connect up to 4 CDJs or turntables to switchable phono/line inputs on the back and mix without a laptop. The VU meters are nice and large. Another cool feature of the mixer is the filters now have a on/off switch, which makes it easy to do filter sweeps and then instantly kill the filter. The faders on the mixer are all very smooth and according to our sources at NI, were even custom built for this controller.

Each fader features a reverse slide position, so any liquids poured into the mixer will never cause problems with each faders’s performance. The crossfader has a nice loose feel which is great for rapid cuts,  and there’s an adjustable crossfader curve, which makes it suitable for scratching. A first for a Traktor controller is a removable/replaceable fader section. Should there be any issues with the faders or if DJs want to upgrade to an innofader this should make the installation easier.

Finally the Kontrol S8 has RCA and XLR master outputs, and a dedicated booth output, something that DJs have wanted ever since the Kontrol S4 MK1 was released.

New Features: Freeze mode + New Remix Deck Controls

The Kontrol S8 was released alongside a new Traktor update which included a few new features to compliment the new controller. The first major feature is “Freeze mode”, which has existed in Traktor DJ (iOS) for sometime but now shows up in full glory on hardware. For those unfamiliar with the feature, freeze mode lets DJs quickly chop sections of their track into 8 temporary slices/cue points on the fly.

The freeze mode is probably the S8’s one stand out “must-have” feature. No other NI controller features a fully integrated freeze mode with all 8 slices and the screen to show you what slice is playing.  These two together made it surprisingly easy, and fun, to slice up songs and do multi-part juggles on the fly.  Eventually, freeze will probably replace all cue-point juggling entirely, since it can be applied to any part of the song.

The latest Traktor update also includes 2 new controls for the remix deck slots, and the S8 is uniquely designed to leverage them: FX send and pitch adjustment. FX send allows DJss to control the dry/wet signal of FX per remix slot, allowing for more subtle FX application that is very appropriate for electronic music parts. Pitch adjustment is also fun with electronic parts such as hi-hats and rides, enabling the classic 909 pitch down ride effect found in most throw back house tracks today.

The Screens

Let’s just get this out of the way, the screens on the Kontrol S8 are gorgeous and it’s the best thing about this controller. Native Instruments has almost taken away any need to refer to your computer’s screen for information. There is a huge list of what the screens can display including: track collection, scrolling/zoomable waveforms, FX parameters, remix deck cells, remix deck controls, loop size and so much more.

While the remix decks are a cool concept, one of the challenges with them is trying to remember what is loaded into each remix cell. The only thing DJs have been able to do is try to color code their cells or keep referring to their computer. The Kontrol S8 screens solve both these problems. When DJs switch to a remix deck on the S8, the screens will display a 4 x 2 grid of the remix cells with the title/names/wave for each remix cell. In practice it makes you feel like the S8 is a real remix machine, and not just a remote control.

For track decks, DJs get the essential track deck information displayed on the screen including scrolling waveform, full track stripe, artist, title, BPM, and key. At this time DJs don’t have the ability to change the deck details or where details are displayed on the screen.  The graphics on the display are large and clear so they’re easy to see. DJs also have the option of viewing a small waveform for Deck C/D under the Deck A/B waveforms, very handy for DJs that like to mix 4 decks.

The last major benefit of the screens is being able to view the track collection. The screens give you full access to the entire track collection: playlists, remix sets, and any other folder trees. When scrolling through the track collection, DJs will be able to see artist, title, BPM, and key. To speed up the search, DJs can also sort the library by artist, BPM, import date, and others. One thing that could be improved is the scroll speed while going through the library. With a big collection or playlist it can take a long time to scroll through all the tracks.

What’s Missing?

When looking at the Kontrol S8 it’s obvious that a couple very common controls are missing. The most noticeable are jog wheels, but these were probably a required sacrifice in order to make room for the screens and remix deck faders. A fair trade off perhaps, scratching for true remixing. In actual DJ use, the touch strip is a fine substitute for jog wheels, the only thing it can’t do is scratch. For DJs that want full surface scratch control, the Kontrol S8 ships with Traktor Scratch Pro 2 allowing turntables with Traktor timecode vinyl to connect into the S8.

The second thing DJs will notice is there are no pitch/tempo faders on the Kontrol S8. Instead the tempo can be changed for each deck using the large screen encoder on each side. There is also a tempo knob in the centre of the Kontrol S8. This controls Traktor’s master clock. The idea here would be for all decks to sync to the Traktor master clock, then use the tempo knob to adjust the master clock as needed. With this kind of setup Native Instruments is really pushing sync and negating the need to manually beat match at all. It makes sense since the Kontrol S8 is really focused around 4 deck mixing or 2 deck + 2 remix deck mixing. It wouldn’t be very practical to manually beat match each remix cell that a DJ drops in.

Finally at the time of this review, the Kontrol S8 cannot be remapped. This is disappointing for DJs that want to customize their controllers and workflow. The word we heard is that the screen integration made it impossible to support custom workflows or special mappings, however a single mappable “section” (likely the remix deck faders and encoders) might come in the future.

The Best Traktor Controller Out There?

For DJs looking for a high quality Traktor controller with control over almost all of Traktor’s functions, this is definitely for you. For DJs that want to stop staring at the laptop and focus on their gear, the screens on the S8 will definitely let you do that. However the controller isn’t for everyone and many will be turned off by the price, weight/size or possibly it’s focused intention.

There are DJs that still want jog wheels, and who have no need for the remix deck control due to more traditional DJ sets involving mixing a wide range of tempos. For them – the S8 might be feature overkill. The largest obstacle many face is considering this controller is price.

While the Kontrol S8 is expensive, a DJ would need to have a Kontrol S4 and 2 Kontrol F1’s to have close to the same functionality. For roughly the same price,  DJs can get the Kontrol S8 with superior build quality, built in screens, and a Traktor Scratch Pro 2 license – which does makes it a good value if you want to go all-in on the Traktor universe.

The Kontrol S8 is available in the DJTT Store

and includes a free one hour tutorial from Ean Golden!

4 channel controller4 channel mixerall in one controllerNative InstrumentsReviewtraktor kontrol s8traktor scratch pro 2
Comments (95)
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  • Carl Cox Playing Live with Traktor Kontrol S8 | DJ TechTools

    […] Kontrol S8’s to major gigs. Sure the 2 screens, 12 faders, and endless buttons make it the ultimate dedicated Traktor controller – but it’s size and weight are hardly carry on friendly.  Well, I was wrong, at least […]

  • Dean

    A damn shame that NI still has no solution to bridging maschine & traktor more easily .. I wonder when this will ever happen?

  • Johnny Sifuentes

    I did a gig with my S2 just a couple of weeks ago and I had an issue with my jog wheels. I play DnB so the booth is traditionally bass heavy. I found that the jog wheel was drifting due to the vibration of the entire booth. We had a 2hr set so making sure the tracks would not drift was challenging. I have my eyes on the S8 and I don’t mind doing away with the jog wheel so long as I have a means to push and pull the track as needed. The touch strip looks appealing to me. And for you folks that really need the means to scratch, just hook up some tables to go from there. I am sold and plan on making this purchase in a few months.

  • synapticflow

    This is out of my interest and price range. I’m still a platter guy.

    I am a bit surprised that no remapping is possible.

    The unit does look beautiful and I see the appeal of losing the laptop. Maybe in six years I can afford it, but for now I’m quite happy with what I have. It’s always been enough.

    • Tony Mitchell

      You still need the laptop.

  • Quenepas

    Awesome controller but I would wait for the inevitable MK2. NI seems to be a lot like Apple in this regard, hype something to oblivion and beta test with early adopters. NI MK2 versions provide better build, more features, and fix annoyances and add the critically acclaimed features. I bet the MK2 will have pitch faders.

    • Chaser720

      If you don’t mind waiting a couple of years…

      And an MK2 model will some metal pieces, iOS functionality and a remapped button or two. And maybe something stupid like 3D screens.

      • Quenepas

        Waiting a few years? I dont mind at all. Actually even better so they can have as much feedback as they can, include great upgrades and better the weakest parts of the unit so we can have a true MK2 and not a 1.5. In the meantime I’ll be perfectly fine with my good ol’ S4 MK1, 2 TT and Maschine MK2.

        • CUSP

          I’m not certain we’ll see many improved versions of the same controllers going forward as we’re at a point where new features are being added faster and faster. Will every company learn from experience? Absolutely, but it’s hard to justify making minor changes in controllers over re-imagining/ vastly improving their existing controllers for the same price.

          • Quenepas

            Well, as with any company selling products they will always add new stuff to ensure further sales and keep stockholders happy. These features are planned before hand and placed in the pipeline along improvements from user experience. The S8 is revolutionary, the MK2 version will be evolutionary. Maschine MK2 and S4 MK2 are examples. Is just business as usual.

    • deejae snafu

      i still prefer the original x1 over the new one…

  • KsKGio

    Guys, bad idea to buy the S8 if you are a beginner ?

    • Chris

      The main drawback I can see is that with an S8 you’d never learn how to beatmatch the traditional way, but maybe that doesn’t matter.

      • Luca Toderini

        totally agree

      • Quenepas

        I think for beginners this could be a bit overwhelming and a big investment if you are just trying to figure out if DJing is right for you. Any specific music genre? Have you tried djing before (like a friends house)?

    • deejae snafu

      no , this control would be great for any user IMHO..especially once they start rolling out some updates..and if you combine with CDJ or turntables.. you would still be able to learn manual beatmatching.

  • Oddie O'Phyle

    Shouldn’t someone address the elephant in the room? A nice piece of hardware is a great thing, but it only makes for a shiny paperweight if the software is lacking. Lack of multicore support and stability issues that seem to plague 2.7.X have just about made me switch my software to a new vendor. 2 more months of waiting for NI to straighten out till I switch to Mixvibe and run their software on ALL my NI gear. Seems like a bit of a shame considering I bought into Machine and K9U for the ease in which to create stems and import to the remix decks.

    • Luca Toderini

      I have Traktor 2.7.3 Scratch Pro running on Mac. Kontrol S4, 2 CDJ with timecode CD plus 1 F 1. I´m using remix deck, loops and effects at the same time . No problem at all

    • Luca Toderini

      I have Traktor 2.7.3 Scratch Pro running on Mac. Kontrol S4, 2 CDJ with timecode CD plus 1 F 1. I´m using remix deck, loops and effects at the same time . No problem at all

      • Oddie O'Phyle

        I’m running an ASUS N750JK with a 128 SSD and a 1Tb internal storage drive (7200rpm) on Windows 8.1. After using 2.7, 2.7.1, and 2.7.2 I’m not that confident in running 2.7.3 at this time. Doing weekly radio shows and gigs, I don’t have the time to trouble shoot software that has been supposedly tested and released to the public. If NI wants to give proper support to those of us that want a laptop that can be upgraded more than just putting a new mSATA drive, I’ll happily continue using Traktor, but as I’ve stated this is contingent on a multi-core supported audio engine. What is the point of have an eight core i7 if Traktor is only going to utilize a single core?

        • Luca Toderini

          Sorry mate, but Windows is not the best platform to running this type software in a pro. environment. No one big name on the scene is working Windows in live gigs. The above is a big warning

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            Really? My highschool buddies Deadbeat and J. Hunsberger both run off a win platform. Scotty was one of the first people I saw running a dual touch screen laptop. With the gobs of L3 cache and the fact that my laptop has 16Gb of RAM, a buffered OS shouldn’ t have fatal crashes. It ran without a hickup for 2.5 and 2.6 as well as windows ran ableton for me without problems from Live 4-7. A software fix should not be a macbook or say that the software is not supported by windows.

          • Luca Toderini

            Big names I’m saying

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            I guess part owners of Cynosure records and Mutek regulars aren’t big enough for you.

          • Luca Toderini

            ok, is not my intention starting a fight here. Windows for me, will never be a reliable platform for live music performance.

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            That’s your choice and you are welcome it.

            Honestly, I understand that with OSX, core audio is closer to the hardware layer in the HAL. This is why OSX has a lower latency than windows. Windows has a binary translation layer that runs through ASIO before it “goes out”, where Core Audio is a raw audio feed.

            Music and audio is the reason why I became a Net. Eng., with a bit of “under the hood” work Windows 7 and 8.1 are quickly catching up in speed and stability. Not to mention my laptop having 1 mSATA, 2xSATAIII, 2xUSB2.0, 2XUSB3.0 and the ability to swap flaky RAM modules out without soldering or losing my laptop for 2 weeks dues to repairs.

            As I’ve said my issues have only been with 2.7.X. A fix for this new engine should not be “buy a macbook” when it is the software for NI’s new top of the line all-in-one controller (advertised as running on mac and windows). How many people do you know that buy a controller first, then buy the laptop for it?

          • Luca Toderini

            Yes you are right, if NI or any other company sell SW for Windows, this must be run smoothly on that SO. By the way excellent your technical explanation about the difference between OSX and Windows

          • Oddie O'Phyle

            Don’t get me wrong… I <3 NI, I own an X1, 2xF1, an Audio 10, Z2 and recently got rid of my S4. Multi-core support for the audio engine would clean it up (less of a bottle neck if multiple cores can pick up the slack) . The last single core mobile processor in production was in 2008, you'd figure 7 years later they may cater to more than legacy hardware. Considering they are on record as saying that software minimum requirements will continue to grow as laptops become more powerful.

            It all comes down to this… please release updated software that allows us to keep a groove going without having to pray to the audio deities and sacrifice sound quality to appease them.

            Beat well and groove on 😉

          • Luca Toderini

            Yeah bro, keep the party going 🙂

          • deejae snafu

            just want to chime in here and say as a newer mac owner, i have had just as many stability , if not more, issues than with windows 7 and traktor+ableton, than i have so far with mac.

          • Luca Toderini

            If you’re talking about Yosemite, you’re right. I haven’t updated my OS X due the compatibility issues

          • deejae snafu

            yet if you have a stability issue the first thing they make you do is update OS and DaW etc..

  • Dirty Secretz

    I bought the S8 as soon as I saw the unit in the flesh, it was the controller I was waiting for. I’d been using the Novation Twitch for years as a Traktor controller and it worked brilliantly. I’ve never really cared for jog wheels, they’ve just been a way of cueing up for me and they always take up so much room on a controller. What limited me with the Twitch was it’s two channels and poor performing sound card so the S8 seemed like the evolutionary leap.

    Using the remix decks is something you have to commit yourself to though, it’s not natural from a traditional DJ standpoint but if you’re a producer too, you get it. It’s the best balance between producing live & DJing. The loop capturing to remix deck is brilliant, miles easier than the F1. I sometimes wish there were more than 8 pads as most of my remix sets are set up for the F1’s 16 pad layout but for those occasions the F1 works great alongside it.

    It’s massive & heavy, no getting around that and making your way to the DJ booth through a crowd isn’t easy. It’s also a no-go for hand luggage, you’re gonna need to buy an extra seat to fly with the unit (haven’t found an airline yet which is an exception to that). Generally if I’m playing an 1/1.5hr set then I’ll most probably use CDJs as it’s just not worth the hassle, however for longer sets I wouldn’t want to DJ on anything else. If you can find room in the booth the setup is a breeze and minimal cabling compared to a sound card + F1 + X1 + whatever setup.

    But the screen’s aren’t BS, I have played entire 2/3 hour sets only glancing at my laptop 2 or 3 times (often just to use the search). It makes a real difference to have everything right there in front of you. I have a few minor gripes with the software but I’m sure fixes will come down the line (the browser preview & quick scrolling were very welcome in the last update!). Overall a great bit of kit though, NI sold it to me when they demoed it so if you get the chance I’d definitely recommend seeing it in the flesh.

    • CUSP

      I totally agree with everything you’re saying. I solved my Twitch output problems with an external (sub) mixer that both amplifies and limits the mixer signal. If you didn’t already sell your Twitch, it’s a great tool for portable power.

    • deejae snafu

      i really like mine… but im also severely bummed at not being able to tweak the default mapping… the only downfall to me

    • Shawnyd

      I am in the same boat! I’ve been using my Twitch for years and couldn’t imagine parting with it. But after seeing this I am motivated to pick one up. Does anyone know if this unit will fit in the control S4 Flight case?

    • DS4

      Totally agree, Going from my F1 to a friends S8 felt a little off putting. Really should of had the full 16 pads.

  • Your Guest is as Good As Mine

    Um, until N.I. fix the software (and by that I mean make it useful for non-EDM music and updates that actually work and improve things) this is just an expensive brick in my opinion.

  • Anthony Gomulka

    Is it just me, or does anyone feel like they couldn’t survive without jog wheels?

    • Quenepas

      Is just you.

  • Fayek Helmi

    Is there any way to get the full tutorial without buying the s8 because i want to learn it’s ins and outs before i can chuck 1200$!

  • Gio Alex (Tekit Izi)

    I guess I have to fully read the review (browse through it quickly since I’m at work) because I don’t understand the no pitch faders part. Like why?

    • Chris

      I’d guess that their market research told them that most all-in-one controller users never touch the pitch faders because they use sync. It goes hand in hand with dropping jog wheels. It’s an admirably bold step to take with their flagship controller, and I think you can make a good argument that digital DJing needs to divorce itself of these vestigial remnants of older hardware. It isn’t what I enjoy personally, but it makes a lot of sense.

      • CUSP

        Don’t forget that you can nudge with the touch strips (so you can still manually beatmatch if you want). I looked at the response of these touch controls and they’re almost 8 times more accurate and at least 8 times more reactive than the Twitch touch strips. You should have zero problem scratching with the touch strips, and dynamically setting loop size and duration whenever you want.

        This is basically the Twitch 2… only you can’t use Serato DJ with it, so no overlay.

        • deejae snafu

          ya but manual beatmatching is for old people.

          • CUSP

            And people who want to line up two tunes that don’t auto-align.

          • deejae snafu

            yah i was jk

          • CUSP

            I figured as much. It’s still true that most people choose to manual beat match to: show off, mix from one controller to another, and to align tunes that just have a hard time syncing now. Why do something “the hard way”, when “the easy way” will suffice most of the time?

        • Tony Mitchell

          Zero problems scratching with the touch strip? When I see someone doing tears, scribbles, and orbits with the touch strips then I will be a believer. Not to mention scratching is done on a horizontal plane, while the touch strips in the S8 are vertical. The S8 wasn’t designed with scratch DJ’s in mind.

          • Dj Envee

            who said you scratch with the touch strips ?? lol

          • Tony Mitchell

            CUSP did, he said; “You should have zero problem scratching with the touch strips”. Post right above mine. Sounds crazy right?

      • Tony Mitchell

        “digital DJing needs to divorce itself of these vestigial remnants of older hardware.” ?


        Good thing you are not a musician. We would have gotten rid of Saxaphones, guitars, Etc… a long time ago. Who needs that old stuff? But seriously, Jog Wheels and moving platters is what started Djaying. Just because turntablism isn’t the form of Djaying that you’re into, doesn’t mean that the form should no longer be in existence (or represented in the controller world). It’s NI’s loss. There are tons of other controllers with Jog wheels from other makes. Don’t expect everyone else to be like NI. And the last time I checked, NI is reaching out to it’s customers trying to figure out where they messed up. If NI want’s to abandon a certain segment of DJays dont expect them to be the number one choice for all Djays. A scratch DJ would never get an S8 as a standalone solo controller.

        • Chris

          I didn’t explain myself well enough. Ditching jog wheels and pitch faders isn’t what I’m into, as I’m predominantly a vinyl guy, but I was saying that you can make a good argument for it within NI’s ‘future of DJing’ narrative where digital DJing increasingly incorporates aspects of live performance. At some point down that path, jog wheels really are a pointless vestige, but they’ll live on on CDJs and turntables.

          I’m delighted to see turntables and vinyl having a bit of a renaissance, but at the same time I think if you’re going to embrace digital DJing you might as well go all the way with tempo-synced loops, effects and other live elements rather than simply mixing two tracks together in a tediously efficient way. In NI’s vision of DJing, jog wheels and tempo faders are increasingly irrelevant, but they aren’t going anywhere on turntables and CDJs.

    • CUSP

      It’s not that it doesn’t have any pitch/tempo faders, it’s that the faders are now assigned to the multi-knob for the decks. It’s now treated as “a tool among many” instead of “a dedicated control.” This makes sense because a lot of people don’t need to adjust pitch due to sync beat-lock. You’ll see more Pitch/Tempo knobs instead of sliders as controllers have more features crammed into small spaces.

  • Fermin

    The controller seems nice, but I have yet to see a performance that makes (extensive) use of the remix decks (and is not 3 minutes long like the promo videos).
    I use more loops and effects more than a gazillion of samples, so it’s a lot of real estate in the controller just to trigger some claps and hit hats here and there.

    I’d preferred two rows of pads per side and/or dedicated FX for each channel. Or perhaps remix deck on the right side of the controller and an X1 equivalent on the left side.

  • Christopher Allen

    I never understood why they or Numark put all of their best mixer R&D into their controllers and never make a standalone option, save for the Z2. A 2 channel Numark mixer with touch sensitive knobs and a touch strip would be sex. Secondly, the freeze effect can support up to 16 chops. IDK why they would make a feature controller for the function that doesn’t meet the max requirements.

  • R. Hawtin

    Am I the only one who thinks the headphone output is useless? We don’t need it. I’ve been DJ’ing with Traktor for 4/6 years as a DJ and haven’t monitored or cued my tracks in years since I spend a week a month preparing my tracks. I don’t want to piss anyone off here, but I get paid twice as much as the vinyl & CDJ guys because people know I rock up and can do more gigs than those who so-called paid their dues and keep it real. Thank you NI for advancing DJ’ing to the point where I can say you’ve helped me cut corners and don’t need to do much more than feel it with the crowd.

    • James Brian Thomaston

      obvious troll couldn’t be more obvious.

      • Gio Alex (Tekit Izi)

        Would be funny it was actually Richie Hawtin though.

      • Guest

        Whoever that is, he is probably truly serious about himself. That’s the sad part.

    • Oddie O'Phyle

      Being in the moment, keeping a groove going and making the room bounce has always been “keeping it real” for me. As for paying dues, Orange loops and my buddy, hunsberger inspired me to run Live loops from ableton 5 to 8, when I realized the vinyl was limiting me. Traktor 2.5 gave me what I missed from vvinyl and what I wanted from ableton. I love how much it has cut down on prep time and how it allows you to improvise, creating new rhythms from captured loops. A shout out from an old Transendance friend from k-dub!

    • Stephen Koller

      …This ad paid for by Native Instruments.

      • Gio Alex (Tekit Izi)


    • jprime

      Sounds like you’re new to DJing. Welcome to the site R. Hawtin!

    • Grevans

      Are you supposed to be Richie? I’d be salty too, they totally ripped some design points from the CNTRL:R on this one.

  • kebabtoy

    I think the waveform on the display is not good enough. The waveform should be like in traktor where there is much more details

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      Hey kebabtoy, what kind of details are you referring to? I’m hoping we’ll the option to change the waveform color (color spectrum view).

      • kebabtoy

        I mean the small waveform showing the entire track. That waveform is very often not so detailed as in the Traktor software. It’s not a big deal, but sometimes it’s great to have more details when there is a track you’re not so familiar with. And it would be nice if we could change waveform color. I prefer spectrum.

        And another thing I miss is to see Mixed In Key in the display.

        Other than that I’m in love with this controller. Perfect for me 🙂

  • Darrin

    sorry – you didn’t forget to mention the stand alone mixer feature all together – but your last paragraph didn’t mention it when noting the cost and why it may be worth the price tag

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      Hey Darrin, that’s a good point, the standalone mixer aspect definitely adds to the value and makes it superior to the Kontrol S4 in that aspect.

      • deejae snafu

        meh i dont understand the “selling point” of the stand alone mixer… who in their right mind is going to use this huge control as a stand alone mixer? nobody ever.. thats who.

        • alex

          i have used it as a stand alone mixer when I was playing a gig and other djs after me where using it to plug cdjs or other controllers in since there was no other mixer available at that gig.

          • deejae snafu

            yah it WILL work, but i dont consider it a selling point, or an added value.

  • Darrin

    forgot to mention it is a 4 channel mixer as well. so even with a S4 and two F1’s – you still wouldn’t have a stand alone mixer. that is a major feature that makes this controller more tempting. but its just too big – I don’t think I would take it out for mobile gigs. If I had turntables still, it might be a nice controller mixer for at home – but thats a hefty price for a controller thats just for home.

    • CUSP

      I think this is intended to be a permanent venue installation, but since they didn’t include USB drive slots (and stand alone mode for those USB drives), it’ll probably not be as well liked as say Pioneer mixers. None-the-less, this is probably going to be my next DJ controller.

      • Busking queend

        You guys are all crazy, as nice looking as this is it caters to such a small part of the dj universe

        so much of its real estate is dedicated to remix decks… WhoTF actually uses these at gigs other than some tech house/minimal gig where the DJ puts a ‘backing’ kick on the whole night

        Seems absolutely mental that NI chose to gamble their market share away on this.

        Big ‘4 deck’ DJs will continue to use 2 X1s and a DJM900.

        Scratch DJs will continue to use Serato or Z2

        • LucidSFX

          Agree! I bought F1 and quickly replace it with MASCHINE Studio. I use F1 for Fx (Huge shout out to tekken!!!! Thanks man!) one thing I haven’t heard is the quality of the mixer itself. There is a reason why zi am modular. I can have flexibility on my set as a whole (DB4/UFX comboC , K2, MASCHINE Studio, F1) ,more expensive but zi find that NI can’t be masters of everything.Great products sure but zi hate their FX quality , Filters, and EQ’s. Better left for dedicated hardware 🙂 Plus I can rout audio to Live for my hybrid DJ/PA set.

    • knoflikos

      yes, it is true

  • CUSP

    Wow, it really looks like Native Instruments liked the Novation Twitch so much they co-opted it and made all the improvements users were asking for (and some more that users didn’t know they wanted).

    I’d really like to explore Freeze mode more before debating whether or not it’s been replaced or evolved into something new.

    The paranoia over not having a tempo fader seems to be unfounded, as the tempo control is now grouped with other deck controls, and instead of taking away control, the S8 adds a master tempo fader as well. It sounds like the critics were presumptuous, and fearful over something that isn’t true.

    In regards to “lack of customization”, I can’t imagine it will be long until users can customize which fields they want displayed… beats to marker counter is pretty useful, but NI makes specific template oriented, controller mappings for NI gear, although the complexity of the video displays will complicate things a lot.

    • deejae snafu

      yah i dont see freeze ever replacing cue points, since freeze limits you to one section of the song while cues allow u too jump anywhere, all the same its a great feature.

      the huge disappointment to me is the lack of mappability (i just made up a word according to spell check) and the lack of user control over the screens. Im hoping for a update which allows the screens to follow whatever you set in the deck headers from preferences, and at least some off the main page open to user tweakings. I know a lot of people would prefer to have the traktor UI switch to browse mode while youre browsing and to extended or mixer mode after you load a track. i know after looking around that there are many users complaining of a missing feature that causes them to look more instead of less, at the screen of their laptop. opening up some mapping real estate is really the only way to make everyone happy with a control like this. it has so much potential, but 90 percent of that potential is wasted without user customization.

    • Ryan Dejaegher

      Hey CUSP, I agree I don’t think freeze mode will replace cue points. I see cue points being useful for jumping to certain elements of a track while freeze mode is better for happy accidents, trigger it at anytime and see if you can come up with something cool across 8 or 16 slices. This is far more ideal then needing to constantly set/delete the 8 hot cues.

      I think it’d be cool if they implemented Freeze cues similar to the way you can store a hot cue as a loop. You could set a freeze cue point, then when the track reaches that cue point it would automatically place the deck into freeze mode.

      • CUSP

        Yes, I think the next wave of Digital DJing is semi- or user triggered automation. We’re starting to see programs play with these options right now, but no one has fully embraced macro commands, scripting or automatic toggling of menus once a command has been issued.

        I’ve stated my desire to see auto-loop x times at a cue point, and other user-defined, auto triggered commands previously, and I think we’ll see that int the coming years. I know this will be a niche market as most users will only use A to B mixing, but for those willing to saddle the dragon, it will be one heck of an adventure.

        • Chaser720

          Everything said in this mini thread off CUSP’s first comment is spot on. Why don’t you guys go get jobs at NI and fix all this stuff already? ha

          • CUSP

            If they’re hiring, I’m applying.

          • deejae snafu

            thats funny since i sent in a technical support request a year ago…also never got a reply.

          • CUSP

            I’m not getting replies either. It seems NI wants to hire people to work on problems they want to fix, but won’t make a position for the problems that their users want them to fix… although, they have responded positively, recently to the “how did we do in 2014” thread.

          • Chaser720

            Yep. They’ve had a spot up there for an iOS developer since the first time I looked. ha

            Apparently haven’t found one yet… cough Traktor DJ metadata cough…

    • Christopher Allen

      Freeze mode is a great replacement for the beat grid effect. With some strategy it can make for some cool effects. Will it ever replace cues, no. It is much more of a burden to use, takes more to setup, and even when used to its potential is missing basic features from a cue.

      4 cue points, 8 with a midi shift enabled device, is more than adequate for a song. i usually have around 3 – 5 depending on how many transitions are in a song. so there is really no need for 16. secondly, very few devices are midi mapped for freeze mode, so there’s the time spent setting that up in traktor. i’ve done it for my axion 25 and 49. third, as far as I know you cannot specify the exact location of a chop. you select the width of the effect, and it places the chop start points based on the songs beat grid. so, if you want things to be exactly where you want, you also have to set up a beat grid.

      finally, it takes too many buttons to make it still an inferior option. there is a button mapped to engage the effect, a button to select the width of the effect. once you do that you select how many chops for the effect. then you have to have 16 buttons to engage each of the chops. this is a 19 button mapping for a feature that takes a maximum of 8 using cues. and that 19 is only for one channel. if you want 2 channels, you add one more button as a shift for the second channel. if you want to utilize freeze mode for both channels at once, then its 38 buttons. what controller do you know has 38 buttons to spare after mapping all other dj controls? either keyboard with 49 keys or more or a huge beat pad device.