by Peter Kirn
Walk into a club, and it seems far too often you’ll find a DJ operating Serato or Traktor with their laptop touchpad. At best, you might get a digital vinyl system that’s mostly spinning around and looking pretty. (Some people do amazing things with scratching; some love the feel of cueing on vinyl. Some don’t do much at all.) But at least digital DJs can’t say they don’t have options. Native Instruments’ Kontrol S2 is the latest entry, a two-deck version of their S4 we saw earlier. That hardware is impressive-looking, with unique electromagnetic technology that builds up greater resistance as you make bigger moves.
If that appealed to you, but you wanted a two-deck, two-channel mixer rather than four and four, the S2 should appeal. Native has also released a video with DJ and controllerist advocate Ean Golden showing off what it can do.
The S2 and S4 also sheds some bulk and weight – a marginal, not a radical amount, but enough to make a difference to those traveling. Compare the S4 to the S2 (S4 in parentheses):
Depth: 4.4cm (vs 5.2cm)
Height: 29.2cm (vs 32.2cm)
Width: 43.8cm (vs 50cm)
Weight: 2.7 kg (vs 3.4kg)
Of course, as I look at the amount of space Ean has on that table, it occurs to me that this remains the principle problem. We’ve seen some compact controllers, but they often don’t provide this kind of control. For cramped live situations, DJing can be tough. So that may mean either making tinier controllers or having DJs find a way to fight for more space and new performance venues.
What strikes me is that, in the time since the S4 came out, we’ve seen loads of other options – even one from Ean himself. And that’s a good thing: today’s Traktor user can choose from almost any imaginable hardware, and a few DIY options, for making a custom performance. I hope to see more DJs taking advantage of that. Some of our recent coverage: