Death of the CD DJ with Traktor Kontrol S4 DJ System ??

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!


  1. #1 by mycar4u on October 17, 2010 - 3:13 pm

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  2. #2 by Dylan on December 7, 2010 - 4:45 am

    I appreciate your words about midi. I’ve had the same argument with people all the time thinking they’re better than me because they spend most of their time beatmatching. They don’t understand that it’s all about progress. The audience doesn’t know what a DJ is doing half the time as long as they’re doing something. Why not do other creative things besides trying to sync it up. Anyways, thanks for representing.

    • #3 by lostinmusik on December 7, 2010 - 2:57 pm

      Thanks Dylan, so much more to mixing music that syncing beats.

      Good to know there are others out there that are looking to push the boundaries rather than conform to the norm.

  3. #4 by mano on December 21, 2010 - 1:08 am

    i dont know about you guys 1st of all a good dj dosetn spend all his time beat matching but about 5-10 seconds. allthough i understand that s4 has its good tings. the sync dosent work on half of the stuff anyway , so you end up mixing half the stuff , you dont wanna be doing mistakes as beatmatching playing live. one concern is the soundqualty of s4, internal mixer just dosent sound as good as an real mixer. just try eq and you hear the difference in the warm maore natural sound of eq of an good mixer than the sharp internal eq of s4 . the output as well is an dissopintment no xlr….
    the build quality is poor as well.
    still it is an great product for creatvity .
    i guess s5 will come next year where this things will have been fixed and people who bought s4 ends buying that only a year later(milking out policy)
    another thing is the fact if the systemcrashes well without a real mixer everything stops till reboot…
    asfor scracthing until you get the timecode update its just not good enough. try spinnback on it and it wont work because of its cheap platter!!!
    i am actually planning to buy 1 and use as my other deck ,because of samples , loop record function on it, and that its allready setup to use with the s4 software which is a realy good software if used with an external soundcard.
    its just a shame seeing companys try to milk out their consumers before they come with the real goods(s5) while they could have done that now and became number 1 unit on everyones wish list.
    in stead some will buy mc6000 or ….(by the way i have used it with an external soundcard and managed to run time code with audio 8 while using the s4 unit for midi:))

    • #5 by lostinmusik on January 20, 2011 - 1:36 am

      Cheers for the response. Yeah, I agree it is shady of them to bring something out that is a little half-baked. But to be fair they’d probably run out of money if they developed it ’til it was bombproof.

      I thought they had a variety of EQ setting in the software? Surely there is one that sounds like your fav mixer? I really like using filters rather than EQ so I’m a big fan of sharp, rezzy cuts. But they’re not to everyone’s tastes.

      For me it is a bit too tiny and fiddly for my fingers when I’m jumping arounf the booth. I’m sticking to my APC40 and custom ableton FX units for now.

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  5. #7 by lostinmusik on September 24, 2010 - 8:30 am

    Cheers guys!

  1. Laptop vs CD DJing: Is beat-matching important? «
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