In case you’ve missed the news, the stupidly useful Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol D2 is now only £299. Having led off with that, I’m now going to tell you that the Kontrol D2 isn’t the best dj controller that you can buy. Then I’m going to try and explain why you should buy one.
What does the Traktor Kontrol D2 do?
What does the Kontrol D2 do? Pretty much nearly everything you want to be able to do when it comes to Traktor. The Kontrol D2 gives you hands-on, easy access to your library, your effects, remix decks, cue points, Stems tracks, BPM, track position, sync, pitch bend and more. Not bad for a start is that.
To complement all of that though, is that stunning high resolution screen. For me, it’s that screen that is the major reason to put a Kontrol D2 in your DJ rig. With that screen in front of you, you can pretty much keep your laptop closed for the whole performance. No one in the audience will think you’re just hitting play and checking your email and with the temptation to hide behind your computer removed, you’ll be more engaged with the crowd and a better performance is almost guaranteed.
The Kontrol D2 includes the impressive Traktor Pro 2 software, so you’ve just about got everything you need to have a superbly tactile digital DJ experience right out of the box. And there are a couple of other useful features the D2 can bring to the table. The D2 is also a USB hub, offering a further 2 USB ports; just the thing for some modern laptops that offer a meagre one or two ports onboard. The D2 also ships with a power supply splitter cable, so you can power the D2 and another NI controller for the one PSU; again, another really handy feature when it comes to the gig.
The best dj controller?
All of this sounds great, so is the Kontrol D2 the best DJ controller? Well, no, it probably isn’t. Remember earlier, when I said that the Kontrol D2 did “Pretty much nearly everything…”? Well, the thing it doesn’t do is give you hands-on control of the Traktor mixer, something of an important thing to have control of when you’re trying to mix, right?
With no control over track levels and the crossfader or EQ, you’re not going to have an enjoyable mixing experience to be honest; you’re also still going to need a soundcard. But here’s the important thing: I don’t think the D2 was ever designed to be the only controller in your set up…
The best and most useful combination of dj controllers?
Rather, I think the Kontrol D2 was supposed to be part of your digital dj rig, not all of it. And that’s certainly something that fits with the onboard USB hub and the power splitting cable…
Now, let’s pair the Kontrol D2 with the Kontrol Z1. The Traktor Kontrol Z1 is a great little controller that offers – you’ve probably guessed it – control over the Traktor mixer and a soundcard: a headphone out for your cue mix, and a pair of main outputs for the front of house. Exactly what the D2 was missing. Just like a positive result in a yeast 2-hybrid screen.
When you combine a D2 and a Z1, you really do have a great solution for getting to grips with your mixes, and all in a very portable format. If you don’t need the platters, this is the combination of controllers for you. If you do, take a look at the Kontrol S2 or S4; the S5 gives you the hi-res screens, or check out the mighty S8 if you want to enjoy the ultimate one controller experience!
Got any questions about Traktor or Native Instruments’ products in general? Get in touch and one of our instore NI experts can help you out!
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