Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3: Simplified and Mobile-Friendly

Finally, a major update to the Kontrol S2 is here – a brand new MK3 design that matches the new Kontrol S4. This new model is really focused on being mobile friendly, with a lighter weight, smaller footprint, and even a tease of iOS-centered functionality. Keep reading to learn everything that’s announced.

Traktor Kontrol S2: 2018 Edition

  • Gear: Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3
  • Price: $299 / £239 / €299
  • Availability: Pre-orders now
  • Release Date: October 18th

A Focus On Portability

What’s the main story with this new S2 release? I actually suspect it isn’t immediately obvious from the photos and videos, but Native Instruments will likely be putting the Kontrol S2 MK3 in the running for the best portable controller on the market. Here’s why: not only is it USB-powered, smaller and lighter than the Kontrol S2 MK2, but also has a still-to-be-revealed functionality: iOS compatibility. Take a look at the back of the new S2 MK3:

Why put an IOS port on a brand new piece of hardware unless you’re gonna use it?

Traktor DJ has never had a controller designed specifically for it, but the simple fact that there’s an iOS labeled USB port on the back of the unit makes it a really safe bet that a major Traktor DJ update is coming soon – and that the Kontrol S2 MK3 will be the controller to use with it. (Traktor DJ was last updated in June 2017)

Most aspiring DJs already have a phone or iPad – so if NI can deliver a complete iOS DJ system with just this controller, they could easily bill this as one of the cheaper ways to get started DJing without a laptop. We don’t have any news of a Traktor DJ update yet, but there’s over a month before the in store date – let’s see what happens.

Kontrol S2 MK3 vs MK2

Kontrol S2 MK3 (left) vs Kontrol S2 MK2 (right)

The new Kontrol S2 MK3 doesn’t have the motorized jog or haptic features that the S4 MK3 does, but the joghweels are significantly larger than on the old S2, measuring 5.5″ in diameter. They can be used for classic jog wheel control, or switched into a beatgrid adjustment mode for quickly setting and correcting the beatgrid of tracks.

You’ll notice the aesthetics of the S2 are blockier, and more technical feeling – a fresh take on the Kontrol series design that makes them feel more professional. As with the S4, the deck layout has been switched from a mirrored one to a more industry standard duplicate one – meaning all of the controls for each deck are in the same place – notably, the pitch fader is always on the bottom right of the jogwheel.

I noted this on the S4 article, but it’s worth repeating: all the knobs and faders are now a very basic-feeling plastic. They might resist wear and tear a bit longer than the old NI knobs, but we’ve decided to include our own Chroma Caps with every preorder made in our store so that you’ve got the option of comfortable, high-quality rubber controls.

Mixer FX

The only other “big news” on the S2 is the Mixer FX – which I’ve also detailed in the S4 and Traktor Pro 3 articles. These are new FX that are built into the channel strip, and can be selected instead of the traditional filter. They’re very similar to Pioneer DJ’s Sound Color FX.

Kontrol S2 MK3's Mixer FX

On the S2, these FX are pre-assigned and not customizable – designed to sound good no matter what you do with them. NI has the beginner DJs in mind here – they want great sounding FX options without the option to screw up the mix with too many wild FX.

The Kontrol S2 MK3 will be in-stores on October 18th.

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