As part of a massive product dump by Native Instruments today, they released a brand new version of the already legendary Traktor Pro S4 controller, the Traktor Pro Kontrol S4 MK3. Next to that, Native also announced Traktor Pro 3 (finally!), and the Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 controller.
It seems that Native Instruments is stepping back from the idea that DJ controllers should move away from jog wheels, as they famously did with the Kontrol S5 and the Kontrol S8.
The S4 MK3 is not a small upgrade as the MK2 version was from the original S4. Besides the motorized jog wheels, the jogs have haptic feedback, much like the force feedback in smartphones, so you can now “feel” when spinning through a cue point or saved loop.
The S4 MK3 also has small, but high-resolution screens on each deck, that not only show basic data from the loaded track such as loop size selected and key but also show a full waveform! The mixer has 4 customizable effect buttons, and work much like Pioneer DJ’s sound color effects. Finally, each deck has 8 performance pads.
I really dig the new look. It’s clean, and feels very German, much like Audi & Volkswagen. You can see the engineers thought very long and hard about the features this new version needed, but also about the features it didn’t. The result is a functional design that can be understood at a glance.
The layout is, unlike previous iterations, not mirrored. With the addition of the big CUE and PLAY/PAUSE buttons, the controller feels much more like two decks and a mixer than before, and that’s certainly a good thing.
The jogs use haptic feedback so you can feel cue points and saved loops. Also, you can activate a turntable mode and play with spinning jogs. The fact you can decide to turn that off is a big plus in my view.
I really can’t wait to experience this and see how it feel, but it’s a brilliant innovation. Feeling cue points is so much more intuitive than actually having to see them onscreen and will certainly help DJ’s to keep their focus on the crowd.
The Kontrol S4 MK3 has small, but high-resolution LCD screen under each jog wheel, that displays track name, BPM, key, time remaining, loop size and the full waveform. It’s limited, but in all fairness, what more do you need to DJ? You can’t browse your library with it, but apart from that, it does offer all you need to perform. Great addition.
The S4 MK3 gets a full 4 x 2 performance pad grid and this supports similar features as the S8 such as hot cues, Stems, Remix Decks… There are certainly more performance features under the shift button that we will get into in a further, more detailed review.
The mixer looks great and has large VU meters and very good looking faders and knobs. Also, there is now an effects section that works very much like Pioneer DJ’s sound color effects. You select one of the 4 available effects (which can be customized) and activate them with a per-channel knob. Can’t wait to play around with that.
Pricing and Availability
The Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S4 MK3 will cost USD 899 and will be released November 1.