With a considerable price and functionality difference between Native Instruments’ flagship S4 and entry-level S2 DJ controllers, the newly announced S3 looks to be the perfect solution for those looking for something in-between.
Last September, Native Instruments revamped their Traktor product line releasing the S2 and S4 DJ controllers, along with a refreshed version of their flagship DJ software, Traktor Pro 3. The gear was received well by both new DJs and seasoned professionals, however, there seemed to be quite a gap between the S2 and the S4 models.
NI has directly responded to market demand today, with the new S3, a four-channel all-in-one controller for Traktor Pro 3. On the surface, the S3 is essentially a 4-channel version of the S2. It has the same Mixer FX section, 16 RGB pads for hot-cues and remix decks plus the same club-standard layout. It also features full integration with the new Traktor DJ 2 software for iPad via the dedicated iOS USB port on the back, which is a nice touch.
What’s new is the 4-deck layout, illuminated jog wheels rings, and longer pitch fader throws. Most importantly, on the back, NI has thrown in more flexible output options like XLR outs, 1/4inch booth output plus an RCA aux line input for connecting your phone or a CDJ.
NI’s S3 resides in a crowded market of DJ controller manufacturers who are constantly on the hustle to add new features to sell their products to users who, at the end of the day, are all doing the same thing; mixing tracks together. It’s refreshing to see a DJ controller maintain focus on what’s important, practicality and usability. NI has reserved most of its fancier bells and whistles, like the motorized jog wheels, Haptic technology and the LCD displays for its flagship controller, the S4.
However, the S3 will be an attractive solution for users of the S2 looking to upgrade their controller, or DJs needing that little bit extra. It’s got everything you could ever really need for DJing at home or in the club.
ETA – November 2019