Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S5: In sync with Stems
Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S5 marks the latest in Native Instruments range of DJ controllers, with this model offering an update on the earlier S4 controller.
The S5 marks a welcome addition to the Kontrol range, featuring Native Instruments’ emblematic combination of innovative features and an exciting aesthetic.
Let’s take a look at the S5 and whether it exceeds the S4.
Say goodbye to the laptop
The main draw of the Kontrol S5 has to be its two high-resolution screens. This means that you no longer need to stare at your laptop and be distracted from the creations on your controller.
Instead, your feedback is right there in front of you, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your creations.
The screens are great for a quick reference point to your work as they provide easy access to the FX, as Traktor FX can sometimes be tricky to view on a laptop. You also get full, bright visuals of remix decks and Stem decks, which again allows more immersion while also making them easier to fit into a set.
As well as being visually stunning due to its high-resolution (borrowed from the S8), the screens offer convenience and ease of use. In short, the screen allows you to play a set all night, without once looking at your laptop.
Simple and Clear Interface
The Kontrol S5 enjoys a clear and simple interface, which makes it easy to unpack and start playing immediately.
The S8 was somewhat of a complicated design; perhaps it was inevitable considering its vast array of features and settings. This made it ideal as a stationary model for experienced players, but not so much as portable design or an accessible model for newcomers.
The surface of the S5 is less cluttered and much easier to navigate which allows you to get playing straight away rather than having to familiarise yourself with a complicated layout.
The S5 is slightly heavier than the S4, but it is still reasonable to carry around so you can take it out on tour with ease.
The S5 comes enabled with Stems-ready technology, which really enhances the effectiveness of the model. The Kontrol S5 is designed to allow full control of Stems.
For a quick overview, a Stem file is an open, multi-channel audio file. It contains a track split into four essential musical elements of your choice, for example, bass, melody, drums and vocals. Each element is available independently which allows you to mix in a number of unprecedented ways.
You can take full creative control of the model, for example, you can create off-the-cuff edits, a capellas, mash-ups and more. You can also add detail to your creations such as reverb.
Great for beat-matching
In a departure from the S4, the S5 utilises touch strips rather than jog wheels. Rather than spinning the wheel, instead, you swipe left or right on the strips to bend the pitch.
The interface offers buttons for shift, sync, cue and play. Some people will prefer jog wheels, it is true, but the touch strips do bring a level of accessible suited for newcomers.
The model is great for beat-matching, maybe not so much scratching.
Overall, the S5 does not offer a massive upgrade on the S4 but it introduces a few neat features that will make it an attractive option for newcomers.
The screen really adds to the user experience, along with the clear and simple interface.
The S5 could be seen as a more portable, accessible upgrade on the S4- making it a very welcome addition to the Kontrol family.