Native Instruments continue to forge ahead with their custom designed DJ gear perfectly matched to their ever evolving Traktor Pro DJ software. The Kontrol Z2 2+2 Channel Control Mixer – quite a mouthful – is their latest and greatest incarnation. Let’s have a look…
What is it?
It’s a DJ mixer. Okay that’s being a bit simplistic. It’s a DJ mixer with bells and whistles! Thankfully those bells and whistles are pretty formidable and seem to be part of NI’s master plan for world DJ domination. Okay I made that last bit up, but you have to admire Native Instruments for the huge development curve they’ve embarked on since the launch of Traktor Scratch, their first genuinely professional derivative of the DJ application originally created in the days when the name Laptop DJ never existed.
Since then they have produced great soundcards and excellent controllers in various configurations and now a mixer, a controller and an audio interface all in one. This is a professional piece of kit. Built out of ‘aircraft-grade’ aluminum it feels weighty and solid, includes rubberised rotaries, 3 mini Innofaders, channel and master LED, mini and normal headphone jacks, crossfader curve and reverse, XLR Master out, RCA booth-out with volume knob, dual phono/line RCA-ins, mic/aux RCA-in with tone control, 3-band EQ and gain knob. Okay, so those are the standard type features one expects to find on most pro 2-channel mixers.
But this ain’t no normal mixer buddy! Here’s the money shot. NI have coined the phrase 2 + 2 channel mixer for a reason; it’s to indicate that the Z2 operates sublimely both in the analog and digital realm. So, besides being a regular analog mixer, the Z2 is of course a fully digital controller mixer when plugged into Traktor 2.6 and this is where the real fun starts.
Before I get onto all the gnarly new controller features I should mention that all the regular mixer features – when in digital mode – control the Traktor mixer. Other than the obvious ones, the Z2 also has a library browser rotary, load deck A/B buttons and the snap/quantize buttons. Oh and – dare I mention it – Sync buttons.
But it’s with the brand new enhancements in Traktor 2.6 that the Z2 really shines.
As the name kind of suggests (macro – Computers. an instruction that represents a sequence of instructions in abbreviated form) the Macro FX is a string of effects in series with one simple knob. At 12 O’clock the rotary is off, but turn it left or right and it’ll activate an effect and as you turn it more it’ll segue into another effect and so on until the knob is fully rotated. As you turn it back, it’ll repeat the sequence in reverse. There is of course a Dry/Wet knob and a very handy pre/post fader button. It’s a great utility and certainly adds another dimension to one’s arsenal of DJ FX. Bonus!
Flux is an excellent new feature and something I’d actually thought about before [true story]. Control wise this section has the Loop rotary for activating a loop and setting its size, as well as a deck selection button and four cue point pads. Here’s the thing though; when you engage the flux button and use your loops or cue points, the minute you disengage, the track will continue playing from where it was before you hit that first loop or cue. This is so rad as it allows one to really mash up a section of a track but not lose the rest of it and thus continue where it left off. Double bonus!
USB Hub and Filter
Two more features that really impress is the fact the Z2 has a 2 port USB hub to plug your X1 & F1 into or to plug a pair of CDJs into which makes them immediate platter controllers in Traktor. [You can plug any USB complaint device in.]
Lastly the Filter button deserves a mention as this works both in analogue and digital mode. When controlling Traktor it uses the software filter in the software, but should you go analogue, it’s a proper hardware filter too. Triple bonus!
The Z2 seems a bit expensive for a 2-channel mixer but here’s the thing. Most of us only mix with 2 channels and if connectivity is your worry – don’t, because the console flips between analog and digital at the flick of a switch so both can be connected at the time. Plus the USB hub adds extra digital connectivity. It still may be a tough sell for R 12k but damn it’s nice.
Price: R 11,999.00
Supplier: Tuerk Music Technologies
Tel: (011) 792 8402
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