The Kontrol S8 is now standards bearer for Native Instruments’ DJ line. It’s such big news, you might hear about it outside the world of DJ tech followers. You’ve likely seen it already – this may be the most-leaked, most-teased DJ product in history. But now that it’s fully revealed, the S8 is almost certain to fan the flames of an ongoing debate:

Just what is digital DJing, anyway?

First, we can at least work out what the S8 is. It’s an audio mixer with control surfaces on both sides. It’s hardware made specifically to sell software (or the other way around, if you like). As NI’s Maschine Studio has done for producers, it uses big, color screens on the hardware to keep your eyes on that controller rather than on your laptop. It has a hardware layout tailored to the functionality of Traktor – deck controls, browsing, Remix Decks. And it builds in an audio interface and 4-channel hardware audio mixer for connecting external gear – CDJs, turntables, synthesizers, whatever. You wouldn’t use the mixer without the computer, but at least it acknowledges you might get audio signal to and from the outside world.

There are two design decisions likely to generate discussion. Firstly, the S8 is big – really big. It’s 58.5 cm — that’s nearly two feet. (It joins various other popular controllers, notably Pioneer’s flagship DDJs, in the same territory.) The 5kg/11lb weight isn’t so bad, but the physical hulk means you need dedicated space in a DJ booth to play it, and transportation is a challenge. (EDM = America = trucks?) Secondly, it drops jog wheels and per-deck tempo controls in favor of touch strips and a master tempo control.

s8_touch

To people who aren’t armchair DJ controller critics, that last bit may not sound like the stuff of forum flame wars. Those folks, who I will dub in ethnographic terms as “normal people,” just read “Well, that’s a big heavy thing with lots of lights. And now something is something or other something else I’m bored.” Or, no, actually, they’re looking at pictures of cats, so never mind.

To the computer DJ, the new controllers are blasphemy for a simple reason: they cement the idea that you might not be manually beat-matching tracks. (Oh, the humanity!) To be fair, this isn’t just an idea espoused by random people on forums; some very famous DJs have said the same thing. The idea is, the essence of DJing, as received from the legacy of playing on two turntables, is manually adjusting the position of a record platter and its playback speed to match two tracks.

In the worst case version of this world view, automatic tempo sync is simply the work of Satan, the end of music, and the beginning of the end times. In the best case, it’s an automatic transmission in a car: sucking the fun out of driving, and not entirely effective.

There are some problems with this orthodoxy, however. Reducing turntablism to beat matching is more than a little simplistic. As early as the 70s, DJ technique, flourishing in places like the Bronx, had already expanded to breaks, remixes, beat juggling. By the 80s, it added drum machines and even more-involved turntable technique – backspins, punch phrases, stuff you actually can’t do on those hulking plastic controllers. Great turntablists play vinyl like a musical instrument, not just a mechanism for mixing tracks.

Perhaps, then, beat matching is fundamental, but it didn’t take long for pioneers to move on to new things – Kool Herc, Frankie Knuckles, Grandmaster Flash. Whether it succeeds or not, the Remix Decks in Traktor and other controllerist machinations have far more to do with DJ history than using a plastic disc to manually cue does.

And about those plastic discs. A controller simply isn’t a turntable. They’ve gotten better – not so long ago, a German manufacturer called Native Instruments was telling me how they had come up with something to do with magnets that made their Traktor controller better. (Ahem.) But they still aren’t as good as turntables: they lack the physical feedback and resistance that a full-sized turntable provides. Oh, and on a turntable, apart from digital control records, you can also play music encoded on vinyl discs, which you’ll conveniently find as a major means of distributing music online and in your local record store. There’s that.

And that brings us to the fundamental disconnect between the controversy over these large, multi-deck controllers and the real world of DJing.

Let’s not pull any punches. Right now, the single most popular DJ equipment used by pro DJs when walking into a club – the flagship of the digital DJ, if you will – is a USB stick.

Somehow, in the reality I live in (but apparently not large swaths of The Internets), clubs tend to have a mixer, a couple of CDJs, and a couple of turntables. Most people use the CDJs, because relying on them means your gig doesn’t go pear-shaped and a USB stick will get you going. Some people use vinyl. Some people plug into the mixer with their laptop, and either use the records for control vinyl (with Traktor or Serato, typically), or plug in their laptop and use a controller.

That last part is important, though. If you are using a laptop, you suddenly have extremely restricted space. The displays on the S8 look terrific, in that turning your head to the side to squint at your MacBook is a mood killer. But its girth is a problem. Even some very highly-paid DJs tend to a) need to work in small spaces in some clubs or b) like to bring their own mixer. And we’re talking men and women pulling in consistent five-figure fees.

There’s some role for the touring DJ with something like the S8 – but it makes some assumptions. That is, there is surely some intersection between the people who get gigs on big tables and people who don’t already own a mixer they want to use. It’s just that that crossover seems not huge.

Despite that, lots of these huge controllers are indeed selling, from Pioneer, Numark, and others. That raises the question of where they’re all going. Frankly, music manufacturers don’t really need to worry so much about that question, until someone calls their tech support line or returns the product to the store. (Hint: you don’t want either of those things to happen.) That’s not me being cynical: speaking as a part-time manufacturer, this is really what makes your job fun. You don’t know what people will do with what you make. It can be pleasantly surprising. If you did know, there would be no challenge. Like a combination between misguided time traveler and snake oil salesman, you’re literally selling tools for people to use in the future. (Native Instruments’ marketing slogan isn’t far off.)

And into that market comes the S8.

s8_top

s8_front

s8_back

On the size issue, even when the S8 first leaked, people were already predicting in comments a sort of Half S8 – they want the controller without the mixer in between. That seems more a smarter choice to me for NI than a jog wheel add-on predicted in comments by the editor of The Verge. (Let go! No more damned jog wheels! Jog wheels are awesome – in video editing! And… oddly, as a pitch wheel on the Roland SYSTEM-1, but that’s another story.)

If the S8 doesn’t easily fit into a club booth, it can still have some place – and not just collecting dust on the shelf of an orthodonist who had extra cash and decided he wanted to try DJing. (Though, Dr. Talbot, I will happily come give you a lesson, and I do routinely get comments on my teeth – thanks!)

This is a very, very capable single piece of hardware. Yes, it retails for US$1199 (1199€ with VAT), so if you already have a mixer, you probably aren’t buying one. On the other hand, if you are playing gigs where you can request some table space, or if you’re looking for a single piece of kit to outfit a new studio or home studio, it’s certainly worth a look – and will be worth a proper review.

It also coexists nicely with other gear, if your mixer and audio interface are wanting an upgrade. It’s got Cirrus Logic converters, high-spec audio performance, connections for line outputs and a mic and turntables and four stereo channels.

s8_freeze

s8_capture

And about that controller. Sorry, please, start the flame wars, but to the jog wheels, good riddance. In their place, you get extensive controls for everything Traktor does. Traktor’s problem has been that the deep power of its decks, loop and remix capabilities, and effects are often obscured by a complex desktop UI. Here, as with Maschine, you can “play” those options like an instrument. The touch-sensitive knobs give you control over everything from the browser to decks to effects. The big display shows your music collection on the hardware so you don’t have to feel like you’re looking at a spreadsheet on your computer.

And, most interestingly, you can use Freeze and live capture to sample audio from music. The pads aren’t velocity-sensitive – that’s where you know this is Traktor and not Maschine – but finally you get the kinds of easy loop/sample capabilities of Traktor on the iPad with real tactile controls.

And that’s where I think we have a hint as to what the S8 might be. It’s a remix machine. It’s, weirdly, DJ hardware that could appeal to producers who also DJ.

The optimistic side of me hopes the S8 finds some traction doing just that. For people billed playing live gigs, someone, somewhere could play an interesting set on it. (I think it’s unrealistic to expect that and turntables and CDJs, as seen in NI’s proposed use cases on their product site, but the controller aspect remains interesting.) And it could find some happy homes in studios.

Here’s DJ TechTools with their hands-on — deservedly, as proponents of this particular brand of controllerist-centric DJing.

I’ve had only a few minutes here and there with the hardware, but I was impressed. It looks beautiful; it feels expensive. Whether or not want to take it home, you can at least respect what it is. Now, personally, if NI could just give us this in a size closer to the Maschine mk2, or even Maschine Studio, I’d be interested … more interested, indeed, than I would ever say I’ve been in a DJ controller. It might even win over some producers who haven’t gotten very deep into Traktor as producers. In the meantime, it remains something big and luggable and pricey, and tied exclusively to Traktor software, and also powerful – a flagship, and sized to match.

But while the flame wars rage, the S8 also represents something else. The vision of DJing is finally breaking apart from faking turntables on hardware. And that, I think, can only be a good thing. The reality is, syncing two tracks may not be the most important thing DJs do any more. And maybe, looking at all DJs have been over the years, it never really was.

It’s just that anyone hoping to compete as a DJ product in clubs will have to go up against the juggernaut that is — wait for it —

Sticking a USB stick into a CDJ.

But, hey. Competition is always, always good.

s8angle

Traktor Kontrol S8

By the way, I think NI really nailed the production-centric workflow of the S8 in that launch film. If you liked the music, don’t miss this Bandcamp compilation – some terrific artists here who just happened to get into the NI promo, via a great Berlin-based collective called Through My Speakers.

http://throughmyspeakers.bandcamp.com

  • Mutis Mayfield

    A simple F1 mk2 class compliant will be enough for me. No need extra screens due to my ipad docked setup with traxus. I could even use it as a all in one (but not waveforms if I not use extra screen for the mac mini)
    In other hand I found new trigger finger pro more fun in the producer to dj approach due to its own hardware sequencer like serato flip feature but standalone (and it has velocity pads!)

    At last I found the new AMX/AFX more or less the same in workflow terms (8 pads, touchstrip, touchcontrols…) and AMX is what (maybe) should be a Z1 mk2.
    So I’m considering go once again for serato (in addition serato remote will give me the visual feedback and control of traxus) and for half of the price I could perform more or less without grids but lots of fun…

    New times for “live mixtapping” or “Beat Button Juggling” and, of course, Musicality performing with tools becoming expressive instruments.

    ps: I still have two stribes waiting to improve an arduino hacked cdx for be the last “turntable groovemachine hand manipulated sequencer synthetizer”. Next step Keyturntable. 😉

  • Mutis Mayfield

    A simple F1 mk2 class compliant will be enough for me. No need extra screens due to my ipad docked setup with traxus. I could even use it as a all in one (but not waveforms if I not use extra screen for the mac mini)
    In other hand I found new trigger finger pro more fun in the producer to dj approach due to its own hardware sequencer like serato flip feature but standalone (and it has velocity pads!)

    At last I found the new AMX/AFX more or less the same in workflow terms (8 pads, touchstrip, touchcontrols…) and AMX is what (maybe) should be a Z1 mk2.
    So I’m considering go once again for serato (in addition serato remote will give me the visual feedback and control of traxus) and for half of the price I could perform more or less without grids but lots of fun…

    New times for “live mixtapping” or “Beat Button Juggling” and, of course, Musicality performing with tools becoming expressive instruments.

    ps: I still have two stribes waiting to improve an arduino hacked cdx for be the last “turntable groovemachine hand manipulated sequencer synthetizer”. Next step Keyturntable. 😉

  • Mutis Mayfield

    A simple F1 mk2 class compliant will be enough for me. No need extra screens due to my ipad docked setup with traxus. I could even use it as a all in one (but not waveforms if I not use extra screen for the mac mini)
    In other hand I found new trigger finger pro more fun in the producer to dj approach due to its own hardware sequencer like serato flip feature but standalone (and it has velocity pads!)

    At last I found the new AMX/AFX more or less the same in workflow terms (8 pads, touchstrip, touchcontrols…) and AMX is what (maybe) should be a Z1 mk2.
    So I’m considering go once again for serato (in addition serato remote will give me the visual feedback and control of traxus) and for half of the price I could perform more or less without grids but lots of fun…

    New times for “live mixtapping” or “Beat Button Juggling” and, of course, Musicality performing with tools becoming expressive instruments.

    ps: I still have two stribes waiting to improve an arduino hacked cdx for be the last “turntable groovemachine hand manipulated sequencer synthetizer”. Next step Keyturntable. 😉

  • dude

    where can i put my records in?

    • bro

      Three guesses.

    • Richard Cheese

      The slot can be located down the back of your pants.

  • dude

    where can i put my records in?

    • bro

      Three guesses.

    • Richard Cheese

      The slot can be located down the back of your pants.

  • dude

    where can i put my records in?

    • bro

      Three guesses.

    • Richard Cheese

      The slot can be located down the back of your pants.

  • Freeks

    It’s faster to work with platters. Without platters you need to spend (a lot of) time to prepare your tracks, by adding cue points and fix timing. With platters you can DL track and drop it to Traktor and off you go. Probably S8 has knob for finding cue points, but platters probably make it easier.

    S8 is a great product for ppl who love live remixing and such. Others already have S4 so no problem there. I would want to see iPad integration so iPad would work as traktor screen with S4.

    Size is a factor. Many dj booths are small. Some are really small. Just one touring trance dj said that he loves to play with Traktor S4, but the fact is that in many clubs it’s so much hassle to get it to fit to the booth with laptop that he rather plays with USB sticks. And he is pulling five figures. You have to get paid a lot more to be able to demand free space for your equipment. And even then it might cause trouble.

    I was at a party where Eat Static played live set. He uses 24ch analog mixer that is huge. They could not fit anything else to the booth so after the set there was (rather long) pause before they could get dj equipment re-fitted to the booth.

    S8 is not priced for hobbyists so wonder how well it will sell.

    • Freeks

      To add: I don’t think it will take many years when these controllers replace laptops. When it happens i will move from Ableton to Traktor to play my live sets.

      • Right, and that’s an interesting point of comparison: Traktor/S8 vs. Live. Apples to oranges, but … well, in an interesting way.

        • dv

          I see the S8 and a Live replacement for musicians (not DJs). I think it will be more useful for them.

      • synapticflow

        In my opinion, these type of controllers are going to need much larger screens or eye fatigue is going to be an issue. Also the screen should be able to tilt upward.

    • Well, the touch strips can help you cue. But that’s a good point — can you replace the platter with a cue point? Platters are annoying in that they take up space, but I do appreciate that they also let you use existing gestures.

      And yes, absolutely – the five-figure folks are using USB sticks, like I said. 🙂 I’ve been surprised how little anyone is talking about that. Usually you can make a case for more complex setups if you’re playing live, but …

      • synapticflow

        I use my platters for findings parts of the song and for changing pitch. I don’t do pre-prep like cue points and the like. I prefer to do everything on the fly. For those reasons, I would never want to be without them.

  • Freeks

    It’s faster to work with platters. Without platters you need to spend (a lot of) time to prepare your tracks, by adding cue points and fix timing. With platters you can DL track and drop it to Traktor and off you go. Probably S8 has knob for finding cue points, but platters probably make it easier.

    S8 is a great product for ppl who love live remixing and such. Others already have S4 so no problem there. I would want to see iPad integration so iPad would work as traktor screen with S4.

    Size is a factor. Many dj booths are small. Some are really small. Just one touring trance dj said that he loves to play with Traktor S4, but the fact is that in many clubs it’s so much hassle to get it to fit to the booth with laptop that he rather plays with USB sticks. And he is pulling five figures. You have to get paid a lot more to be able to demand free space for your equipment. And even then it might cause trouble.

    I was at a party where Eat Static played live set. He uses 24ch analog mixer that is huge. They could not fit anything else to the booth so after the set there was (rather long) pause before they could get dj equipment re-fitted to the booth.

    S8 is not priced for hobbyists so wonder how well it will sell.

    • Freeks

      To add: I don’t think it will take many years when these controllers replace laptops. When it happens i will move from Ableton to Traktor to play my live sets.

      • Right, and that’s an interesting point of comparison: Traktor/S8 vs. Live. Apples to oranges, but … well, in an interesting way.

        • dv

          I see the S8 and a Live replacement for musicians (not DJs). I think it will be more useful for them.

      • synapticflow

        In my opinion, these type of controllers are going to need much larger screens or eye fatigue is going to be an issue. Also the screen should be able to tilt upward.

    • Well, the touch strips can help you cue. But that’s a good point — can you replace the platter with a cue point? Platters are annoying in that they take up space, but I do appreciate that they also let you use existing gestures.

      And yes, absolutely – the five-figure folks are using USB sticks, like I said. 🙂 I’ve been surprised how little anyone is talking about that. Usually you can make a case for more complex setups if you’re playing live, but …

      • synapticflow

        I use my platters for findings parts of the song and for changing pitch. I don’t do pre-prep like cue points and the like. I prefer to do everything on the fly. For those reasons, I would never want to be without them.

  • Freeks

    It’s faster to work with platters. Without platters you need to spend (a lot of) time to prepare your tracks, by adding cue points and fix timing. With platters you can DL track and drop it to Traktor and off you go. Probably S8 has knob for finding cue points, but platters probably make it easier.

    S8 is a great product for ppl who love live remixing and such. Others already have S4 so no problem there. I would want to see iPad integration so iPad would work as traktor screen with S4.

    Size is a factor. Many dj booths are small. Some are really small. Just one touring trance dj said that he loves to play with Traktor S4, but the fact is that in many clubs it’s so much hassle to get it to fit to the booth with laptop that he rather plays with USB sticks. And he is pulling five figures. You have to get paid a lot more to be able to demand free space for your equipment. And even then it might cause trouble.

    I was at a party where Eat Static played live set. He uses 24ch analog mixer that is huge. They could not fit anything else to the booth so after the set there was (rather long) pause before they could get dj equipment re-fitted to the booth.

    S8 is not priced for hobbyists so wonder how well it will sell.

    • Freeks

      To add: I don’t think it will take many years when these controllers replace laptops. When it happens i will move from Ableton to Traktor to play my live sets.

      • Right, and that’s an interesting point of comparison: Traktor/S8 vs. Live. Apples to oranges, but … well, in an interesting way.

        • dv

          I see the S8 and a Live replacement for musicians (not DJs). I think it will be more useful for them.

      • synapticflow

        In my opinion, these type of controllers are going to need much larger screens or eye fatigue is going to be an issue. Also the screen should be able to tilt upward.

    • Well, the touch strips can help you cue. But that’s a good point — can you replace the platter with a cue point? Platters are annoying in that they take up space, but I do appreciate that they also let you use existing gestures.

      And yes, absolutely – the five-figure folks are using USB sticks, like I said. 🙂 I’ve been surprised how little anyone is talking about that. Usually you can make a case for more complex setups if you’re playing live, but …

      • synapticflow

        I use my platters for findings parts of the song and for changing pitch. I don’t do pre-prep like cue points and the like. I prefer to do everything on the fly. For those reasons, I would never want to be without them.

  • Michael L

    ‘Normal people’ are thinking: touch strips plus pads equals Cat DJ videos!

  • Michael L

    ‘Normal people’ are thinking: touch strips plus pads equals Cat DJ videos!

  • Michael L

    ‘Normal people’ are thinking: touch strips plus pads equals Cat DJ videos!

  • Pennheiser

    “Right now, the single most popular DJ equipment used by pro DJs when walking into a club – the flagship of the digital DJ, if you will – is a USB stick.” Nah, i’m pretty sure this most popular award still goes to the good old headphone.

    • As a sound source? 😉

      Because then the headphone would be beaten by the PA, if you really want to get pedantic. (Or… electricity.)

      • Stu V

        I’ve been plugging my cans into the Mic in to announce last orders for about a million years – course your cans are a sound source 🙂

  • Pennheiser

    “Right now, the single most popular DJ equipment used by pro DJs when walking into a club – the flagship of the digital DJ, if you will – is a USB stick.” Nah, i’m pretty sure this most popular award still goes to the good old headphone.

    • As a sound source? 😉

      Because then the headphone would be beaten by the PA, if you really want to get pedantic. (Or… electricity.)

      • Stu V

        I’ve been plugging my cans into the Mic in to announce last orders for about a million years – course your cans are a sound source 🙂

  • Pennheiser

    “Right now, the single most popular DJ equipment used by pro DJs when walking into a club – the flagship of the digital DJ, if you will – is a USB stick.” Nah, i’m pretty sure this most popular award still goes to the good old headphone.

    • As a sound source? 😉

      Because then the headphone would be beaten by the PA, if you really want to get pedantic. (Or… electricity.)

      • Stu V

        I’ve been plugging my cans into the Mic in to announce last orders for about a million years – course your cans are a sound source 🙂

  • mercury

    Don’t forget that when DJing started, “musicians” of that time that played traditional instruments did not give much credence to people playing two records back to back. So this debate is not new.

    Although there have been many amazing turntablists, for the vast majority, DJing is all about proper music selection, first and foremost. I don’t think this will change any of that. If anything, I think this device actually requires the user to interact more than they would with just playing two records in a row. Beat-matching takes a little bit of effort but it was never extremely difficult.

    • Popo Bawa

      Beat matching is also completely over-rated. There are many more interesting rhythms to be found by avoiding the beat match.

      • Regend

        @Popo Bawa You sure about that?

        • Rob

          It’s far more difficult to make off-beat work than beat matched, however mixing off beat can create incredible build ups or break downs if it works.

  • mercury

    Don’t forget that when DJing started, “musicians” of that time that played traditional instruments did not give much credence to people playing two records back to back. So this debate is not new.

    Although there have been many amazing turntablists, for the vast majority, DJing is all about proper music selection, first and foremost. I don’t think this will change any of that. If anything, I think this device actually requires the user to interact more than they would with just playing two records in a row. Beat-matching takes a little bit of effort but it was never extremely difficult.

    • Popo Bawa

      Beat matching is also completely over-rated. There are many more interesting rhythms to be found by avoiding the beat match.

      • Regend

        @Popo Bawa You sure about that?

        • Rob

          It’s far more difficult to make off-beat work than beat matched, however mixing off beat can create incredible build ups or break downs if it works.

  • mercury

    Don’t forget that when DJing started, “musicians” of that time that played traditional instruments did not give much credence to people playing two records back to back. So this debate is not new.

    Although there have been many amazing turntablists, for the vast majority, DJing is all about proper music selection, first and foremost. I don’t think this will change any of that. If anything, I think this device actually requires the user to interact more than they would with just playing two records in a row. Beat-matching takes a little bit of effort but it was never extremely difficult.

    • Popo Bawa

      Beat matching is also completely over-rated. There are many more interesting rhythms to be found by avoiding the beat match.

      • Regend

        @Popo Bawa You sure about that?

        • Rob

          It’s far more difficult to make off-beat work than beat matched, however mixing off beat can create incredible build ups or break downs if it works.

  • Is

    Why only 48khz interface, isn’t that gonna increase latency, opposed to a 96khz interface?

    • No one sensible uses 96khz. Not even producers in expensive treated rooms with high-end monitors.

      • Is

        Not true at all, but whatever floats your boat….

    • regend

      44.1khz is just fine for most pro sound systems.

  • Is

    Why only 48khz interface, isn’t that gonna increase latency, opposed to a 96khz interface?

    • No one sensible uses 96khz. Not even producers in expensive treated rooms with high-end monitors.

      • Is

        Not true at all, but whatever floats your boat….

    • regend

      44.1khz is just fine for most pro sound systems.

  • Is

    Why only 48khz interface, isn’t that gonna increase latency, opposed to a 96khz interface?

    • No one sensible uses 96khz. Not even producers in expensive treated rooms with high-end monitors.

      • Is

        Not true at all, but whatever floats your boat….

    • regend

      44.1khz is just fine for most pro sound systems.

  • newnumbertwo

    Peter, do you know where the cue mix and cue level knobs have been relocated to? It appears they no longer exist, so I wonder how one adjusts those things.

    I’m also really hoping that they’ve fixed:

    A. headphone level output (the S4, mk1 anyway, was so quiet I had to add a headphone amp)

    B. the difference in volume levels when switching between track mode and live input mode. this made it a huge PITA when playing regular vinyl alongside the control vinyl

  • newnumbertwo

    I’m really hoping that they’ve fixed:

    A. headphone level output (the S4, mk1 anyway, was so quiet I had to add a headphone amp)

    B. the difference in volume levels when switching between track mode and live input mode. this made it a huge PITA when playing regular vinyl alongside the control vinyl

  • newnumbertwo

    I’m really hoping that they’ve fixed:

    A. headphone level output (the S4, mk1 anyway, was so quiet I had to add a headphone amp)

    B. the difference in volume levels when switching between track mode and live input mode. this made it a huge PITA when playing regular vinyl alongside the control vinyl

  • The dj video is amzing!
    When will we have clubs buying this kind of equipment??

    • regend

      Hopefully. Never. It would have to be locked down well because people would steal it. Every venue I have played at has had some type of DJ gear stolen that isn’t permanently installed.

  • The dj video is amzing!
    When will we have clubs buying this kind of equipment??

    • regend

      Hopefully. Never. It would have to be locked down well because people would steal it. Every venue I have played at has had some type of DJ gear stolen that isn’t permanently installed.

  • Yanakyl

    The dj video is amzing!
    When will we have clubs buying this kind of equipment??

    • regend

      Hopefully. Never. It would have to be locked down well because people would steal it. Every venue I have played at has had some type of DJ gear stolen that isn’t permanently installed.

  • Got rid of my S4 a while back and regretted it ever since. Seen the ad for this a few days back and was tempted anyway but tonight sealed the deal while driving in a car with one of my old mates who I learnt scratching, beat juggling and tonnes of other shit on 2 turntables from/with.
    He was blasting a mix he recorded on his iPhone app to me, first one he’d done in years, and my mate and his son and not one of us gave a fuck where it came from. Fuckin bangin!

    We all cried after when we found out about the lack of jog wheels tho.

  • Guest

    Got rid of my S4 a while back and regretted it ever since. Seen the ad for this a few days back and was tempted anyway but tonight sealed the deal while driving in a car with one of my old mates who I learnt scratching, beat juggling and tonnes of other shit on 2 turntables from/with.
    He was blasting a mix he recorded on his iPhone app to me, first one he’d done in years, and my mate and his son and not one of us gave a frig where it came from!

    We all cried after when we found out about the lack of jog wheels tho.

  • Guest

    Got rid of my S4 a while back and regretted it ever since. Seen the ad for this a few days back and was tempted anyway but tonight sealed the deal while driving in a car with one of my old mates who I learnt scratching, beat juggling and tonnes of other shit on 2 turntables from/with.
    He was blasting a mix he recorded on his iPhone app to me, first one he’d done in years, and my mate and his son and not one of us gave a frig where it came from!

    We all cried after when we found out about the lack of jog wheels tho.

  • 0ref

    blah dee blah dee blah [touchstrip product midi A vs B] bargle bargle maybe yes no

  • 0ref

    blah dee blah dee blah [touchstrip product midi A vs B] bargle bargle maybe yes no

  • 0ref

    blah dee blah dee blah [touchstrip product midi A vs B] bargle bargle maybe yes no

  • Will

    I’ll never ever buy this thing (not a DJ) but I know a nice piece of gear when I see one. Hat tip to NI for bringing this thing to life and and a high-five for bringing it to market for less than I would have expected. Think I actually want to go to a big box music store just to play with the thing for a while. Looking forward to using some of this tech later in devices more my speed and at even cheaper prices. Thanks, NI! 🙂

    Like I said, I’m not a DJ but the browse/search seems like a pretty big omission. Easy enough to correct in an update I guess. Couple of soft keys to change the sorting and/or filtering and use the 8 pads to jump different parts of the alphabet perhaps. The touch strip could be used like the iOS contacts alpha jumper too.

  • Will

    I’ll never ever buy this thing (not a DJ) but I know a nice piece of gear when I see one. Hat tip to NI for bringing this thing to life and and a high-five for bringing it to market for less than I would have expected. Think I actually want to go to a big box music store just to play with the thing for a while. Looking forward to using some of this tech later in devices more my speed and at even cheaper prices. Thanks, NI! 🙂

    Like I said, I’m not a DJ but the browse/search seems like a pretty big omission. Easy enough to correct in an update I guess. Couple of soft keys to change the sorting and/or filtering and use the 8 pads to jump different parts of the alphabet perhaps. The touch strip could be used like the iOS contacts alpha jumper too.

  • Will

    I’ll never ever buy this thing (not a DJ) but I know a nice piece of gear when I see one. Hat tip to NI for bringing this thing to life and and a high-five for bringing it to market for less than I would have expected. Think I actually want to go to a big box music store just to play with the thing for a while. Looking forward to using some of this tech later in devices more my speed and at even cheaper prices. Thanks, NI! 🙂

    Like I said, I’m not a DJ but the browse/search seems like a pretty big omission. Easy enough to correct in an update I guess. Couple of soft keys to change the sorting and/or filtering and use the 8 pads to jump different parts of the alphabet perhaps. The touch strip could be used like the iOS contacts alpha jumper too.

  • nudephotomusic

    Here is a tool that more than any other previous tool gives you a dedicated performance-oriented hardware interface in front of something that is in effect a simplified version of Ableton (a fully featured synced loop sampler). You can run 4 sample decks and have 16 stereo tracks of audio in perfect sync, with multiple scenes and dedicated controls. In some ways, it beats the Push as a performance interface too – no paging or modes.

    So, what can I do with a 16 track loop sampler with filters, EQ, and effects – that also lets me seamlessly go from playing live mixes of my own stems & loops to fully mixed tracks, lets me sample and loop live, and has almost a one-control-per-function interface? And midi sync in and out too. 🙂

    • Benjamen Dorrell

      THIS ^^^

  • nudephotomusic

    Here is a tool that more than any other previous tool gives you a dedicated performance-oriented hardware interface in front of something that is in effect a simplified version of Ableton (a fully featured synced loop sampler). You can run 4 sample decks and have 16 stereo tracks of audio in perfect sync, with multiple scenes and dedicated controls. In some ways, it beats the Push as a performance interface too – no paging or modes.

    So, what can I do with a 16 track loop sampler with filters, EQ, and effects – that also lets me seamlessly go from playing live mixes of my own stems & loops to fully mixed tracks, lets me sample and loop live, and has almost a one-control-per-function interface? And midi sync in and out too. 🙂

    • Benjamen Dorrell

      THIS ^^^

  • nudephotomusic

    Here is a tool that more than any other previous tool gives you a dedicated performance-oriented hardware interface in front of something that is in effect a simplified version of Ableton (a fully featured synced loop sampler). You can run 4 sample decks and have 16 stereo tracks of audio in perfect sync, with multiple scenes and dedicated controls. In some ways, it beats the Push as a performance interface too – no paging or modes.

    So, what can I do with a 16 track loop sampler with filters, EQ, and effects – that also lets me seamlessly go from playing live mixes of my own stems & loops to fully mixed tracks, lets me sample and loop live, and has almost a one-control-per-function interface? And midi sync in and out too. 🙂

    • Benjamen Dorrell

      THIS ^^^

  • lokey

    interesting. nice to see a wealth of faders on this beast, and thats all ill say on the matter.

  • lokey

    interesting. nice to see a wealth of faders on this beast, and thats all ill say on the matter.

  • lokey

    interesting. nice to see a wealth of faders on this beast, and thats all ill say on the matter.

  • André et Michèle

    I know what will solve the platter problem: NI should come out with an X1 type controller w/ a single platter 😉

    • Mutis Mayfield

      Or even a maschine one… Build your groove around a platter concept.
      Dreaming is (still) free…

  • André et Michèle

    I know what will solve the platter problem: NI should come out with an X1 type controller w/ a single platter 😉

    • Mutis Mayfield

      Or even a maschine one… Build your groove around a platter concept.
      Dreaming is (still) free…

  • André et Michèle

    I know what will solve the platter problem: NI should come out with an X1 type controller w/ a single platter 😉

    • Mutis Mayfield

      Or even a maschine one… Build your groove around a platter concept.
      Dreaming is (still) free…

  • lumpy

    like all NI stuff, it’s “for” hobbyists at home. That is where they make all their money.
    However if we’re talking about what professional musicians its for… it’s for bottle service DJs.

    • Joshua

      I am sorry but… I have to say this is an ignorant or (lacking the knowledge of) response. I am a producer and a professional DJ. I own my own company and I solely DJ for a living. I own fruity loops XXL for producing tracks as well as use the Traktor S4 controller as my primary for many of the corporate gigs that I do which tally at over 150 events a year (no issues). Native Instruments I can truly say, is top notch. Please refrain from using bias feedback on topics that you know nothing about.

      • Milad

        i own S4 , maschine and komplete 9 from NI company and i should say these software and hardwares is making me disappointed , it is exactly Like FL studio , Fl studio is a kiddy scripted DAW in my opinion , if you want to make electronic you better Use ableton insteat of fl studio , do you know why becuz you will never be pro with these companies

        • Richard Cheese

          Your opinion is worthless.

  • lumpy

    like all NI stuff, it’s “for” hobbyists at home. That is where they make all their money.
    However if we’re talking about what professional musicians its for… it’s for bottle service DJs.

    • Joshua

      I am sorry but… I have to say this is an ignorant or (lacking the knowledge of) response. I am a producer and a professional DJ. I own my own company and I solely DJ for a living. I own fruity loops XXL for producing tracks as well as use the Traktor S4 controller as my primary for many of the corporate gigs that I do which tally at over 150 events a year (no issues). Native Instruments I can truly say, is top notch. Please refrain from using bias feedback on topics that you know nothing about.

      • Milad

        i own S4 , maschine and komplete 9 from NI company and i should say these software and hardwares is making me disappointed , it is exactly Like FL studio , Fl studio is a kiddy scripted DAW in my opinion , if you want to make electronic you better Use ableton insteat of fl studio , do you know why becuz you will never be pro with these companies

        • Richard Cheese

          Your opinion is worthless.

  • lumpy

    like all NI stuff, it’s “for” hobbyists at home. That is where they make all their money.
    However if we’re talking about what professional musicians its for… it’s for bottle service DJs.

    • Joshua

      I am sorry but… I have to say this is an ignorant or (lacking the knowledge of) response. I am a producer and a professional DJ. I own my own company and I solely DJ for a living. I own fruity loops XXL for producing tracks as well as use the Traktor S4 controller as my primary for many of the corporate gigs that I do which tally at over 150 events a year (no issues). Native Instruments I can truly say, is top notch. Please refrain from using bias feedback on topics that you know nothing about.

      • Milad

        i own S4 , maschine and komplete 9 from NI company and i should say these software and hardwares is making me disappointed , it is exactly Like FL studio , Fl studio is a kiddy scripted DAW in my opinion , if you want to make electronic you better Use ableton insteat of fl studio , do you know why becuz you will never be pro with these companies

        • Richard Cheese

          Your opinion is worthless.

  • drno

    lol. DJ’ing has gone to crap. Just something to give your smartphone a workout too when you go see these ego driven ‘stage remixers’ up there with the spotlight on them.

    Just play the music and let the original artists shine. Whend did that ‘get old’?

    • Aire Tam

      oh but people are still having fun

  • drno

    lol. DJ’ing has gone to crap. Just something to give your smartphone a workout too when you go see these ego driven ‘stage remixers’ up there with the spotlight on them.

    Just play the music and let the original artists shine. Whend did that ‘get old’?

    • Aire Tam

      oh but people are still having fun

  • drno

    lol. DJ’ing has gone to crap. Just something to give your smartphone a workout too when you go see these ego driven ‘stage remixers’ up there with the spotlight on them.

    Just play the music and let the original artists shine. Whend did that ‘get old’?

    • Aire Tam

      oh but people are still having fun

  • Randy Abraham

    Work-Flow!

  • Randy Abraham

    Work-Flow!

  • Randy Abraham

    Work-Flow!

  • manoob1

    the reviewer need to update the review with a important thing. the standalone mixer isn’t really one. one of the important part of having one is to be able to quickly change over to another source of music and why most of us want one. and one of the reason I bought it.
    until u find out that the mixer crashes together with traktor and than need to be restarted!!!!
    please add that to the review if you want a real review here of it as its a impotant part for many djs. personally I am a bit dissopointed with s8, still too many bugs in there an ni just to sow fixing them. a bug like when you are in browser mode the efx on that screen side will turn off!!!
    and putting away your screen just impossible if we cant search for a specific track on s8. the problem is that now I have 3 screens to look at and actually will end up looking more at screens. focusing on one screen is better than 3 of them!!!! s8 is good fun when it works. I just hope ni fixes the multicore bug in traktor soon, its been there for years and many people cant use multicore support on traktor because of it which makes more strains on a single core of the cpu that can lead to cpu overload.

  • manoob1

    the reviewer need to update the review with a important thing. the standalone mixer isn’t really one. one of the important part of having one is to be able to quickly change over to another source of music and why most of us want one. and one of the reason I bought it.
    until u find out that the mixer crashes together with traktor and than need to be restarted!!!!
    please add that to the review if you want a real review here of it as its a impotant part for many djs. personally I am a bit dissopointed with s8, still too many bugs in there an ni just to sow fixing them. a bug like when you are in browser mode the efx on that screen side will turn off!!!
    and putting away your screen just impossible if we cant search for a specific track on s8. the problem is that now I have 3 screens to look at and actually will end up looking more at screens. focusing on one screen is better than 3 of them!!!! s8 is good fun when it works. I just hope ni fixes the multicore bug in traktor soon, its been there for years and many people cant use multicore support on traktor because of it which makes more strains on a single core of the cpu that can lead to cpu overload.

  • manoob1

    the reviewer need to update the review with a important thing. the standalone mixer isn’t really one. one of the important part of having one is to be able to quickly change over to another source of music and why most of us want one. and one of the reason I bought it.
    until u find out that the mixer crashes together with traktor and than need to be restarted!!!!
    please add that to the review if you want a real review here of it as its a impotant part for many djs. personally I am a bit dissopointed with s8, still too many bugs in there an ni just to sow fixing them. a bug like when you are in browser mode the efx on that screen side will turn off!!!
    and putting away your screen just impossible if we cant search for a specific track on s8. the problem is that now I have 3 screens to look at and actually will end up looking more at screens. focusing on one screen is better than 3 of them!!!! s8 is good fun when it works. I just hope ni fixes the multicore bug in traktor soon, its been there for years and many people cant use multicore support on traktor because of it which makes more strains on a single core of the cpu that can lead to cpu overload.

  • It looks like this guy is having a lot of fun! I usually play with an APC40 mkI with stems and i definitly see an improvement on the “live” side playing with this. You can have hybrid DJsets/live, plus with the inputs you can even plug an instrument, use the FX… All in one box! Not a big fan of the NI stuff usually but this looks really tempting, though quite expensive for now. Maybe in a few years 🙂

  • It looks like this guy is having a lot of fun! I usually play with an APC40 mkI with stems and i definitly see an improvement on the “live” side playing with this. You can have hybrid DJsets/live, plus with the inputs you can even plug an instrument, use the FX… All in one box! Not a big fan of the NI stuff usually but this looks really tempting, though quite expensive for now. Maybe in a few years 🙂

  • It looks like this guy is having a lot of fun! I usually play with an APC40 mkI with stems and i definitly see an improvement on the “live” side playing with this. You can have hybrid DJsets/live, plus with the inputs you can even plug an instrument, use the FX… All in one box! Not a big fan of the NI stuff usually but this looks really tempting, though quite expensive for now. Maybe in a few years 🙂

  • ClassOneCanines

    HEY NOW. I am an orthodontist who also has a DJ hobby. Regardless of the media/hardware used, a DJ still needs to be able to manually adjust tempo/phrasing….usually it can be accomplished by software but things do happen (a track was re-analyzed and the user set beat grid lost, or tracks that vary tempo slightly) we also know our key analysis software isn’t foolproof…so we use our ears. The software/hardware expands our tool boxes and creative potential.
    This controller doesn’t really do anything more than if I were using an S4 and computer. This is the first time ill say “no thanks” to the latest hardware offering. I don’t like the displays on this controller ….period. there’s no way I’d be able to shut the lid of the laptop. Does controller is trying to do too much…..and guess what? Computer still needed.

  • ClassOneCanines

    HEY NOW. I am an orthodontist who also has a DJ hobby. Regardless of the media/hardware used, a DJ still needs to be able to manually adjust tempo/phrasing….usually it can be accomplished by software but things do happen (a track was re-analyzed and the user set beat grid lost, or tracks that vary tempo slightly) we also know our key analysis software isn’t foolproof…so we use our ears. The software/hardware expands our tool boxes and creative potential.
    This controller doesn’t really do anything more than if I were using an S4 and computer. This is the first time ill say “no thanks” to the latest hardware offering. I don’t like the displays on this controller ….period. there’s no way I’d be able to shut the lid of the laptop. Does controller is trying to do too much…..and guess what? Computer still needed.

  • ClassOneCanines

    HEY NOW. I am an orthodontist who also has a DJ hobby. Regardless of the media/hardware used, a DJ still needs to be able to manually adjust tempo/phrasing….usually it can be accomplished by software but things do happen (a track was re-analyzed and the user set beat grid lost, or tracks that vary tempo slightly) we also know our key analysis software isn’t foolproof…so we use our ears. The software/hardware expands our tool boxes and creative potential.
    This controller doesn’t really do anything more than if I were using an S4 and computer. This is the first time ill say “no thanks” to the latest hardware offering. I don’t like the displays on this controller ….period. there’s no way I’d be able to shut the lid of the laptop. Does controller is trying to do too much…..and guess what? Computer still needed.