Are you a DJ, or aspiring to be a DJ who does gig work? Then you might want to consider something like a Traktor Kontroler to make your work both better and more manageable. Controllers, in general, make you more flexible since you can take gigs that don’t have standard CDJ equipment.

Traktor makes some great DJ controllers that work in a variety of settings. Better yet, their best controllers are portable and come with some of the most popular DJ software out there.

What DJ Controllers Do

A DJ uses a computer to play his music at a club

Image CC0, by facundowin, via Pixabay

These days, you can be a decent DJ with just a laptop and controller. Controllers give DJs an external control for their software. Unlike mixers, which work with input devices, these stand entirely on their own and work directly with software. They allow you to control when your music starts and stops as well as controlling cues, playback, and pitch and tempo. A portable controller makes it easier for you to do your gig work.

By contrast, you have to carry CDs, USB sticks or memory cards if you’re using a CDJ. Veteran professional DJ Steve Canueto prefers DJ controllers to other equipment for this and several other reasons. One important reason is the convenience of not having to keep track of memory sticks or cards. Another is that they have features CDJs might not have. He also likes that he can preview his tracks before he plays them, and their built-in recording capabilities.

Traktor makes some of the most popular DJ software out there. It’s important to note that a Traktor Kontroler will only work with Traktor software; however, since both are so popular, then a Traktor Kontroler is an excellent investment for you. Of course, what you ultimately choose depends on your budget, the kinds of controls you need and what you’re doing. For DJs who need good software and controllers, though, consider what Traktor has to offer.

Why a Traktor Kontroler is Your Best Bet for a Quality Controller

Most DJs say that the contest is between Traktor and Serato DJ. The Wire Realm prefers Traktor Kontroler and says that the combination of Traktor software and a Traktor Kontroler “is one of the best investments you can make if you’re truly serious about your DJing.” Below are some of Traktor’s models.

Traktor Kontrol S2

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2 DJ Controller
  • Updated MK2 hardware with new duo-tone design and improved fader reliability
  • Plug-and-play support for hands-on control over TRAKTOR DJ for iPad and iPhone
  • Silicone-damped jog wheels with aluminum top plates for high-resolution cueing and scratching

The Wire Realm chose to discuss the Traktor Kontrol S2 MK2, which they say has a high-quality interface, good iPad and iPhone integration, a two-deck controller and rotary control and more. It also comes with the Traktor Pro 2 software, and their final opinion says that this is “one of the best DJ controllers and DJ software combinations ever.” Amazon has this model available for $399.00.

Traktor Kontrol S4

Pioneer DDJ-RB Portable 2-Channel Controller for Rekordbox DJ Bundle...
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac OS
  • Built-in sound card
  • Includes rekordbox dj software

This is a portable, all-in-one, four-deck controller that has all you need for DJing, including Traktor’s excellent software. According to Native Instruments’ website, it has a four-channel mixer section fitted with three-band EQs, filter knobs, and two FX sends. Its integrated audio interface even allows you to connect turntables, CD players, instruments, and MIDI gear.

Retailing for $599 on both Native Instruments’ website and Amazon, this is probably one of the best Traktor Kontroler products out there.

Traktor Kontrol S8

Pioneer DJ DJ Case (DJC-FLTSZ)
  • Custom-designed DDJ-SZ metal badge on case lid
  • Pioneer dj-branded/outside case lid and around the laptop glide tray
  • Cable storage and management underneath and behind the controller

This controller is considerably more expensive at $1199 on both Native Instruments and Amazon, but it essentially does it all. It has touch-sensitive faders and knobs, and LED-guided touch strips that enhance your displays making it easier for you to focus on what you’re doing. If you can afford this Traktor Kontroler, then this is the one you want.

The remix deck on the S8 allows you to create your own samples and loops. You can use the S8 to create your signature style and set yourself apart from other DJs.

Traktor Kontrol S5

Rane SEVENTY TWO 72-2 Channel DJ Mixer with Touch Screen W/Free Pop...
  • Solid steel construction-built like a tank for non-stop, heavy-duty use (3) New MAG THREE contactless tension-adjustable...

This one is between the S4 and the S8 regarding features and price. At $799 on Native Instruments and Amazon, it’s built to feel familiar pretty much as soon as you put your hands on it. It’s nice and compact, but still has the high-resolution displays and touch-sensitive controls of the S8. Native Instruments says you can “slice, rearrange, and beatjump in perfect time with Hotcue, Flux or Freeze modes using the 16 color-coded pads.”

The S5 also has remix decks so that you can create your signature sound and stand apart from the rest of the pack. It costs $799.

Traktor Kontrol F1, X1 and Z1

Small Traktor DJ controllers F1, X1 and Z1

Image F1, X1, Z1, via Amazon

These are small DJ controllers that are good for decks, loops, and cues. They don’t have the same features that the more sophisticated controllers above have, so their total functionality is limited. That doesn’t mean that they can’t still be perfect for you and your DJing, though. If you’re looking for something that’s high-quality, but small, simple, and affordable, these little models might work. They go for $199 apiece.

Traktor Kontrol Z2

GEMINI, 2 A-B Box, RCA (MXR-01)
  • Simplified and easy: built like a tank, This 2-channel DJ mixer gives DJs the next level control They demand at an...
  • Loaded with features: rugged all-metal chassis, 1/4” microphone input with dedicated volume control and EQ, multiple...
  • Flawless performance: This mixer boasts 3-band rotary EQ on each channel, allowing you to customize sound by artfully...

Native Instruments bills the Traktor Kontrol Z2 as “the world’s first 2 + 2 control mixer.” In other words, it has two standalone channels and two mix channels, putting “an advanced DJ controller in the body of a professional mixer.” It’s a combination of the best CDJ with the best Traktor Kontroler on the market. Like the S4 and the S8, this controller will send your DJing to dizzying new heights.

Additional features and functions

As an added bonus, each Traktor Kontroler above is Stems-ready. Stems involves breaking down your music, so it’s easier to remix. You can break down your music into drums, vocals, bass, and melody and mix it up in brand-new ways with your Traktor Kontroler. Every controller in the S-series also comes with Traktor Pro 2; you don’t have to buy their software separately.

Why You Need a Good DJ Controller

A DJ mixes music from a booth at a club.

Image CC BY-SA 2.0, by Scott Sandars, via Wikimedia Commons

So why do you even need a good DJ controller? Canueto believes that you can be a more creative DJ with a controller than you can with anything else. Some gigs require creativity, and it’s easier to get that with a controller and a laptop. In fact, he sometimes “feels handcuffed in certain areas” with CDJ/DJM setups.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t bother to learn to use CDJ equipment. You’ll be a better DJ overall if you learn to use as much gear as possible. You’ll also increase your prospects for gigs since some will require you to use a booth that has no room for controllers. But a good controller, like a Traktor Kontroler, will likewise increase your prospects for good gigs.

Furthermore, the larger, more sophisticated controllers help you develop your style. Nobody wants a “generic” DJ at their event. They want a DJ who has their own unique style to help create a memorable experience. You can use a Traktor Kontroler to put together a signature style that differentiates you from everyone else.

Ultimately, a Traktor Kontroler Is Ideal for Any DJ

Trust us; if you’re any DJ at all, you need a Traktor Kontroler in your life. While there are some CDJ DJs who tend to look down on this tech, vinyl DJs were looking down on them not so long ago. This is especially true if you want to use Traktor’s software. Controllers let you mix music using your software instead of mixers and input devices. You can take them virtually anywhere and plug them into your laptop to create the perfect DJ experience. That’s even true for events that don’t have DJ booths and standard CDJ/DJM equipment.

Whether you’re a beginner or a veteran DJ, there’s very likely a Traktor Kontroler that’s perfect for you.

Featured image: CC0 via Pxhere

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