The Traktor Kontrol Digital DJ Controllers have been excellent and they match up to their Traktor software perfectly. Native Instruments hopes to live up to those standards with the release of their new two-channel/two-deck MIDI controller called the Traktor Kontrol S2 which is now available for $600 at retail. Come on in and watch the full HD-Video review to see if this is a DJ Controller you should purchase with that extra Holiday cash.
Review Video & Demo
Setup & First Impressions
The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 Digital DJ Controller is the two-deck or two-channel version of the super-popular Traktor Kontrol S4 (four-deck controller) that was released earlier in the year. The Traktor Kontrol S2 is a more affordable option that still manages to keep the core DJ functions that most DJ’s needs.
This is an all-in-one DJ controller which comes bundled with the FULL Professional edition of Traktor 2, so the user has everything they need to start DJ-ing right out of the box. The user only needs to supply the computer and music files to DJ with. The Traktor Kontrol S2 is an all-out MIDI controller which means that unlike the S4, the S2 can be customized with a mapping to each button, knob, and fader to be configured just the way the DJ wants. DJ’s can also switch back and forth from MIDI mode to standard mode on the fly by pressing both SHIFT keys simultaneously. It’s a great feature to have for the complicated setups.
Even though the Traktor Kontrol S2 only looks like it has two decks of control, there is actually a third hidden channel in the form of a Sample Volume control knob and two buttons that activate the two additional sample decks that are layered under each normal deck. Each of the decks are capable of holding 4 sample banks each. The Traktor Kontrol S2 has the same jog wheels and faders that were used in the S4, so the quality in that department is great. The Jog Wheels have very high resolution and never slipped or skipped while the Alpha faders feel plastic-y but are still capable of pulling off most of your complicated and quick scratching techniques. Since the Traktor Kontrol S2 comes with the full version of Traktor Pro 2, there is a very wide range of effects (32 in all) with two effect banks which can handle a total of 6 simultaneous effects. The Traktor Kontrol S2 also has a fully capable Cue, Sample, and Loop section. The Cue and Sample buttons are shared while the Loop section is the same from the “bigger brother” S4.
All is not perfect in the land of the Traktor Kontrol S4. For starters, I am very disappointed to find that there are absolutely no additional throughputs or inputs aside from the headphone and microphone ports. That means there is no way to play music from another source through the S2 in case of a computer breakdown or other malfunction. Just as with the Traktor Kontrol S4, the S2 is also almost totally plastic in construction, and I think there could be a minor benefit by adding a bit more durability to the unit. My final minor gripe is that there is no way to control the curve or reverse of the line faders. That’s mostly a turntablist trait and I doubt most turntablists would use this as their premier scratch toy in the first place.
Conclusion / Recommended For
In conclusion, the Traktor Kontrol S2 is an excellent all-in-one 2-deck controller with an extra 2 sample decks and everything necessary to start DJ-ing right out of the box including the professional DJ software. The S2 is a true MIDI controller giving it lots of versatility and even allowing it to be used in conjunction with a “bigger” setup that may already be in place. It is a very capable and compact unit that we will recommend to any professional DJ who wants a compact travel setup, or a very capable MIDI controller to complement their existing DJ setup. We also recommend this unit to bedroom or beginner DJ’s since the controls are simple and the two channel setup is less overwhelming than the other four channel systems that are out there on the market. The Traktor Kontrol S2 comes in at around $600 retail and when considering the price of Traktor Pro 2, it’s a pretty good deal overall.
- All-In-One Unit With Traktor 2 Pro
- Fully Map-able Midi Controller
- Good Alpha Fader suitable for Scratching & Mixing
- 2 Full Decks + 2 Sample Decks (4-slots each)
- Excellent Jog Wheels in a compact Design
- Extensive Effects Section
- Easy-to-use Sample/Cue/Loop Functions
- Lack of Any Throughput Connections
- Non-Metal Construction (which actually saves on weight but may not be as strong)
- Lack of Linefader curve control & reverse function