To me, the release of the excellent looking new Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ controller hammers another nail in the coffin of CDJing … While many are still caught in the past arguing the trivialities of how a DJ must be able to beat-match to be a DJ, or the sonic superiority of vinyl, the world keeps beating to the drum of technology.
The Traktor Kontrol S4 looks a top piece of kit to me, blending the look of CD decks and mixer with additional features afforded from laptop use. The loop recording feature looks great and having dedicated sample dex is a neat way organising your setup. It would interesting to see how they synch full accapellas though, as this is something I often find a pain when setting up tracks in Ableton Live for my sets.
I’ve often thought one of the big drawbacks to the use of laptops and all their features has been the need to essentially make you own set up, through integrating midi controllers that arent fully developed to your needs and the software. So in effect you only get the really dedicated and geeky using the software to their full potential, like Sasha with his Maven controller for example. However we’re now seeing controllers that are really making this level of manipulation available to joe bloggs and his bedroom dj mates. Ok it may water down the quality but it’s also likely to spur some real innovations and push people like us to further develop our sets to keep one step ahead. Below is a promo video for the controller:
The S4 system is Traktor Pro S4 software, 4 channel DJ mixer, a built-in 24 bit/96 kHz soundcard, an intuitive controller. Price is around £740 which in comparison to Pioneers new CDJ’s at about £2000 each – and throw in a £1000 DJM800 - this is a steal! I’m betting it’s on a lot of christmas lists.
The ease with which this looks to allow DJ’s to manipulate their tracks and layer loops should be great for getting some of the nay sayers to try a digital platform too. Though I’ve seen one video that shows some tacky looking case they claim can also be used as laptop stand in the booth… not sure which DJ booth’s they’ve been in but wouldn’t work in any I have!
Personally I think the medium is irrelevant after sound quality, its after all about making people dance, forgot the bullshit and have some fun. However, it’s human nature to aspire to ever new things and to get bored of the old, mixing one track into another is frankly old hat now, and while fun for a while, the crowd expects a little bit more these days.
The DJ has to stamp is personallity onto the night and make them feel what he is thinking, jus blending records is very difficult to do that. True my skills to layer an accapella over another record in time are zilch but does it matter, I’m an ideas guy, let a machine worry about that, I have the idea and i know where i want it to go let me focus on that part. The Traktor Kontrol looks like it will allow alot more people to do jus that, focus on their Zeitgeist and start to really speak with the crowd. Pioneer must be quaking in their boots!! I know they’ve launched a cut price model but come on guys, the gauntlet has been laid down now.
I’m off to Shambala festival this weekend but after that I’m going to be hot on the heels to try this out, I doubt I’ll be adopting it but I’m sure there are some tricks I can then apply in Ableton Live. If you looking to demo I can recommend my ace local store in Leed’s (and online seller) Production Rooms, these guy will help you get your grubby hands on one asap!