In October 2010, turntable manufacturer Panasonic announced they were ceasing production of their flagship turntable, the Technics 1210. It had been the DJs weapon of choice for decades. Purists were aghast, voicing their concerns rather ironically on digital discussion forums. After the reminiscing was over, they wiped away their tears and turned their focus to ‘the evils’ of digital DJing, shouting (IN CAPS), “It’s cheating”.
It was fair to say, they were bitter.
It’s the same kind of bitterness (and disbelief) I can only imagine was written all over the face of the last swordsman when he met the first gunslinger. With six barrels of lead blasting into his chest, he fell over and croaked, “That’s Cheating”.
Native Instruments (NI) are the world’s leading manufacturer of pro audio software and hardware for DJs and producers. The market is flooded with laptop/controller systems. Many suffer from poor audio quality or just don’t work the way you’d expect them to.
It made perfect sense that NI released their own DJ controller which was completely integrated with flagship ‘TRAKTOR DJ PRO’ software, hence S4 was born.
Modern DJs rejoiced. However there was one complaint, it was too big for many DJ booths. NI went back to the drawing board to release the ‘baby’ version, the S2. Interesting they kept many features of the S4 and ported the controller with a full version of Traktor DJ PRO.
The S2 has everything a modern DJ can dream of and at an attractive price which brings pro gear to the home market retailing at £389. What do you get for the money? Everything you need to start and everything you’d need if you decided to go PRO.
Build quality is solid, made from toughened black plastic and branded with the company logos, it looks serious. The kind of seriousness when confronted by a black panther eyeing his kill...
And the panther’s teeth?... rubberised buttons and knobs, easy to execute with all the surgical precision of a professional killer, perfect for tearing up any dance floor. Everything feels professional - the faders are smooth and the jog wheels work like CDJs - top for scratching and rim for pitch bend.
I love gear you can use immediately and this is a plus point for the S2, everything works out the box - it’s easy to use and understand. Two channels, two jog wheels, two effects banks, two sample banks (of four clips) and two sets of transport controls (cue, play/pause, etc). The usual stuff you’d find on a mixer is there for smooth mix control - bass/mid/treble rotary knobs ensure smooth blends.
There is ‘cheat-mode’, otherwise known as ‘sync’, but I’d advise beat mixing old school, as you have to spend time fixing the tracks in your collection in order to make it work.
The S2 is perfect for beginners and professionals alike. If you invest in the S2 you won’t be moaning two years down the line. A full version of Traktor Pro is great value, you get the full effects pack and joining NI brings you integration with other NI products... the new F1 Remix unit being every DJs object of lust at the moment.
Whether you’ve had previous experience or not, you can do it with this unit. Of course you’ll need a lot of practice to be a pro but I took a person with no previous skills, albeit a good taste in music, and after 30 minutes they were mixing seamlessly for 40 minutes straight.
You may read this in disbelief, perhaps the same kind of disbelief which was written all over the gunslinger’s face when he met the mushroom cloud? He disappeared and became stuff of legend, I’m sure the S2 will be too.
Traktor Bible, for understanding Digital DJing inside and out
Headphones: Studio monitor quality, with deep base and understated style: aiaiai.dk
Full spec’s and technical information: www.native-instruments.com/#/products/dj/traktor-kontrol-s2
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