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:

Scratch This: A DIY Project Repurposes DJ Controllers as Scratch Inputs; Recycling DJ Gear

Not a Turntable, Not a Knob: A New Inertial Sensor Music Controller, as Artists Explore

New Performance Controllers: Midi-Fighter Pro will Face Grid+Fader Rivals

Novation + Serato Touchstrip Twitch; Pics + Inside Details on the DJ ‘Controllerist’ Collaboration

Closest to the S4/S2:
Virtual DJ Controllers: New Hardware for Serato, Traktor from Pioneer, Numark”

Faderfox 4midiloop: True, Four-deck, Four-effect Traktor Control [lacks jog wheels, but you do get Faderfox’s unparalleled quality and more mixing and fx controls – ideal if you want to use your own decks or jogs, too]

And we should note, while it’s a mixer rather than a controller, our friend Minus was all over A&H’s DB4 DJ mixer:
Allen & Heath Xone:DB4 DJ Mixer: Hands-on Preview with Ambivalent (Minus)

All of this means it’s a very good time to be doing creative, performance-oriented (“controllerist”) DJ sets. And frankly, if there’s not enough room at the club where you’re a patron or a player or both, maybe it’s time to go find some space and stretch out those controllerist arms of yours.

On that note, let’s look at some pretty photos of the S2, since NI obliged. (Hint to manufacturers: if you’re jealous of this kind of coverage, just send us some good pictures and videos, already. All tech journalists are biased by product makers actually sending stuff that’s easy for us to post! Mmmm… pictures.)

Traktor Kontrol S2 Product Page

  • ALTZ

    What I feel is NI starts to be more profit-orientated rather than being passionated about music technology.

  • Humildemente

    That's because NI is a company and they ought to make money. Do you see anything wrong about that?

  • Yodhan

    I don't think that NI is at all focused on profit more than the musician. I have worked at a music retailer for over four years and many of my colleagues and I feel that NI has a pretty good grasp on what musicians and DJs want to see. I think the S2 is quite brilliant because it is made for people who only need 2 decks of control and won't use everything that the S4 can offer. I am more intrigued by the S2 than the S4.

    Plus, that Ean Golden video was awesome. I would listen to that remix any day.

  • He

    @Humil: Agree.  And I think they do a pretty good job… Design and functionality is always appealing imo

    I use external mixer so this is nothing for me. But I played once on my friends one and I have to say it has something, to have all in a box… Specially because of the moblitity of the whole setup (as long as there only play new generation djs of course)  And the loop recorder is very sexy, because internally, They should add 2 more FX on the S4 though, that would make it a monster…

  • Peter Kirn

    I should sometimes probably be more profit-orientated myself. Sometimes I get passionated, and then get debtified. I know I'm not alone.

  • He

    I should add, If you listen to people and their needs you make a lot of money 😉

    Peter: I know what you mean…
    But I wouldn't want to get paid a lot for my music, that would kill the whole proccess…

  • maiz

    No denon m6000? 

    Debtified indeed 😉 

  • mouzpusha

    Not quite ot: How cool is it that NI is obviously okay with Ean wearing a Midifighter T-shirt in that clip? Okay, I  guess comfortably upwards of 90% of the people who watch this video and are in any way in the market for a controller like the S2 know who Ean Golden is, but nevertheless I found that a nice touch. 

  • i'm still trying to figure out if he's using the platter to pitch up/down the bassline? or if it is just filtering or enabling an LFO to change the bass line audio file that as already been pre-pitched/played. really like the end result performance.

  • deb

    me, sometimes I get apoplepticated….
    sorry, sorry.

  • asdf

    isn't money kind of a good thing for a company to have? to, you know, research & develop new products?

  • Doesn't have to be a black-and-white argument. If a company values profit above all else, then there's usually a problem. And there are problems. 

  • jon doe

    dubstep depeche mode? what is going on in this world.

  • Ean Golden is a freak and I like his creative technique. Always refreshing to see a good DJ ripping it up!
    Even though I dont DJ at all I think the S2 is appealing for something I could have a play with…hmmm??

    …how far away is xmas?

  • Would love to see a nice controller without job wheels, but with dedicated controls for 4 audio decks AND 4 efx slots (ie, no A/B switching). Been using a UC33 for a while, but would love something more solid.

  • like the remix

    Have to say that I really liked the remix. I really have not liked much of ean's music that I've heard (to be honest have not really looked) but I thought he did a solid job on the remix