Traktor Kontrol S8 DJ Controller Officially Revealed
The Traktor Kontrol S8 Next Generation DJ Controller has officially been announced and shipping will start on 30th October. A safe bet is that we can probably expect them in South Africa by the end of November.
Not quite the worst kept secret ever, Native Instruments did manage to keep the Traktor Kontrol S8 under wraps for a while although we managed a sneak peak three weeks back and the images and layout were pretty spot on.
The Traktor Kontrol S8 is NI’s new flagship controller and the obvious first thing everybody will notice is the lack of jogwheels, opting instead for a host of new features that the company feels is way more beneficial to the progress of digital DJing. It is a bold move since the whole debate – as stale as it gets – about vinyl vs. CDJ vs. laptop continues to rage on and if we have learnt anything from it, it’s that DJs resist change as much as anybody so it’ll be very interesting to see how this pans out for them.
Read my opinion piece – Why all Laptop DJs should learn to play on CDJ
The reality is that many professional DJs who now use a laptop and Traktor Pro do so with a Traktor Kontrol X1 which means they’ve said goodbye to platters some time back already. The difference with the Traktor Kontrol S8 though is that it is BIG and not nearly as portable as an X1, which, aside from its comprehensive functionality, is what makes the X1 so damn popular. So it’ll be interesting to see how many professional traveling DJs will really opt for this new not-so-portable device.
Aside from the jogwheels, the other thing that’ll be noticed and debated, no doubt, is the inclusion of two high-resolution, full-colour displays. The new trend, as evidenced by the announcement recently of the NV Controller, Numark’s new flagship device, is to have full screen displays on the actual units.
The logic here is to create the same experience as you’d get from a Mixer and 2 CDJ setup with the onscreen display so that you don’t have to stare at the laptop all the time which seems to be a huge issue (not sure why…)
The funny thing is is that even when DJing off a pair of CDJ900Nexus or CDJ2000 players, you get such awesome visual feedback on the screens now that every DJ stares at the waveform to monitor the breaks etc.
The Traktor Kontrol S8 is, no doubt, going to be a serious piece of tech and boasts all the expected pro features:
- Standalone mixer
- Four switchable phono/line inputs for hooking up turntables, CD players, and other line level gear
- Two microphone inputs included,
- XLR master outputs
- 1/4″ TRS booth output.
OnScreen Display Features
The touch-sensitive controls apparently interact with the built-in displays. In other words depending on what you’re touching, the screen will display data relevant to that. For example enhancements like touching the browser knob will cause the display to automatically change to a browse view, or when one uses a performance rotary, the corresponding performance panel displays above the waveform. When using a Remix Deck you get full visual feedback such as the loops and samples displayed full screen and beatgrids can be edited onscreen in Beatgrid View mode.
It’s all in the software
I think the screens, as cool as they might be, and they may be the obvious feature to talk about, only tell part of the story of what can be done with the new Traktor Kontrol S8.
I’m excited to see the real performance value that the new combination of touchstrips and Remix Deck/pad controls offer, combined with the new visual feedback. At the end of the day it’s all about performance and that’s where the Traktor Kontrol S8 will either succeed or not.
We’ll be waiting anxiously for a demo model to arrive to test drive so that we can bring you a final verdict.
The Traktor Kontrol S8 is expected to retail in South Africa for a price of over R 25K and whilst it offers a lot, it will certainly service a fairly nice market of DJs ‘cos that’s a lot of DJ fees before its paid for itself!