REVIEW: Numark 4Trak Traktor DJ Controller



Link: Numark – Price: $999/€979/£799

Introduction

Numark 4Trak DJ Controller Review

When Numark aim for the pro end of the DJ controller market, they tend to come out with big, sturdy devices that more closely resemble gear from the pre-laptop era of DJing. The Numark 4Trak is no different, and along with its imposing size it has a host of extra features – from standalone audio mixing to in-the-box Traktor licence and pretty flawless Traktor mapping (the ‘trak’ part of the title is supposed to give that away), which, on paper at least, seem to make it a massive bargain. Is it, or is it just a massive paperweight?

Build

Numark 4Trak DJ Controller Review

It’s always nice to use gear that doesn’t pull any punches and feels like it’s got genuine professional use in mind, and the 4Trak fits the bill perfectly. It’s incredibly tough, and the controls all feel like they’ve been designed with durability as a major focus. The buttons all have the same clicky feel, which helps to build muscle memory confidence across the controller, and the standout feature – those big platters – are light and smooth. It’s a bit of a shame that there’s no tension adjust possible on the platters, as that’s a feature I’ve really enjoyed on other controllers to help me tweak the best vinyl-like compromise for my taste, but they seem to get the balance between free rotation and enough tension to make them feel solid pretty right.

Numark 4Trak Traktor DJ Controller

The knobs are standard Numark, smooth and fairly, but not excessively, loose. Faders are nice and light, with fairly standard curve control, and the crossfader is Numark’s Pro crossfader design which feels like butter and has great cut-lag and a tight curve. My only issue is just how loud the clicks on the crossfader are as the stem hits the edges – they do get annoying – but I’d prefer it to a cheaper, sloppier but quieter fader.

A fairly strong feeling of deja vu strikes when looking at the 4Trak. Save for the obvious change in anodising colour, the 4Trak is physically identical to the NS6, Numark’s four channel Itch controller. I prefer the black of the NS6, but considering NI’s own controllers are black it’s understandable that Numark would want to make the 4Trak stand out. The choice of lighting colour is aligned to the bare metal look, with an attractive golden hue emanating from the primary controls and, in a sensible move, blue and green are used as differentiators for the decks depending on the decks (A/C, B/D) that they’re controlling at the time.

Numark 4Trak Traktor DJ Controller

There is one feature that makes the 4Trak stand out from the NS6, though, and it’s the integration of 12 extra knobs and buttons that sit at the head of the unit at a slight angle, and the requisite mounting plates to match. Connecting the units together is a fairly simple process, and once the extra plate is on it feels sturdy enough to fool you into thinking that you’re fiddling with a single unit (an illusion that’s broken if you grab the add-on to lift the 4Trak, whereupon it will slip out – but Numark aren’t exactly recommending you use it as a suspension device). Admittedly, it’s a bit of a pain that Traktor recognises the two devices as separate, requiring an assignment for each, but once it’s done it’s done.

Feel wise the knobs and buttons are exactly the same as the mothership, too; once it’s all hooked up it really does feel like an all in one.

So Numark have saved on R&D by using the tooling for existing kit, but making a clever little addition: let’s look at how this affects the ergonomics, and what’s going on under the bonnet to make this all warrant a Traktor specific market push…

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  • https://www.google.com/profiles/104160601020181186311 Daniel Lawson

    I recently became a traktor convert and love the fact i have brougt my turntable setup up to date. I to would prefer the scratch certification but we can’t have it all and there arent many of us left now! However it is good to see manufacturers making controllers with a diverse range of controls ergonomically at the fingertips. I did love the look of the NS6 and was not so keen on the look of this 4trak all in one at first, however it has grown on me.

  • Asynchronous
  • ace

    Would you say that the jog response is on par with NS6 & Itch?

    • http://www.djworx.com Mark Settle

      I’d say so yes.

  • https://www.google.com/profiles/116089573951887279634 Dj Vertigo

    My biggest gripe with Traktor and controllers is the fx not being post fade. So if you activate an echo effect and scratch, will it be post fade? Nice review by the way!

    • http://www.djworx.com Mark Settle

      Rather annoyingly, they’re still pre-fader, in stark contrast to the NS6′s post fader.

  • na_non

    Chris Cartledge…Nice review…thank you

  • Charles R.

    Great article. I’m really contemplating this to replace my s4 because I’m not pleased with the s4′s durability and build but I have a specific question.
    With the s4 I really enjoy the auto loops and your ability to move them about through the song. Are there comparable controls on the 4trak? I see that there are dedicated loops buttons but can’t quite tell what they are comprised of. The main thing I’m looking for is the ability to set a loop and then move it forward and backwards in the track.

    • DJQA

      Yes. By default, the move left/right buttons in the loop section are switchable between Move Loop and Beatjump modes using the Beatjump button. The default amount for the move is loop size. This works fine, although I have mine remapped to automatically switch modes so that when a loop is active, the buttons move the loop, and otherwise beatjump. If you prefer a rotary control for this, you could map the spare encoders to the same function.

  • direkt

    thanks for the review… being in a unique position, I have a 4TRAK, NS6 and V7 (and previously has an NS7). I was very excited about the 4TRAK coming out, as I used to use Scratch Duo before making the complete transformation to controllers – and was a big fan of Traktor… got to say though, that whilst the FX on Traktor are far superior to those of Serato Itch (apart from being pre-fade), I’m kind of leaning more towards the NS6 these days. I just liked the integration between hardware and software… seemed like Itch and NS6 has more of a “KISS” philosophy. Still, they’re both awesome controllers.

  • https://www.google.com/profiles/116089573951887279634 Dj Vertigo

    The only thing (besides post fade fx) that I would like to see with the 4trak is the option to narrow the led ring. It could be accurate like the vci 380. I use a NS6 one night a week, and juggling is very difficult. Cheers!

  • MrZimac

    I an new to Numark’s equipment and the 4TRAK will be my first as I am looking of getting one, my question is it built to last? I have had a S4 that I have had to send back a few times as it has failed on me and have giving up with it, that is the main reason I am looking at this, I mix a lot of different styles and do tent to cut, scratch and FX/button mash a lot of the time, is the 4TRAK something that can be played hard and last for a number of years to come in a home set up and a few gigs hear and there,.. I am asking as I have had problems with the S4 and it is costing me money (Something I don’t have a lot of) and would like to have something that is going to last and still feel great years down the line.
    Thanks.

  • http://www.djworx.com Mark Settle

    The 4Trak is a tank – properly built to last. If you find that you’re one of those people who routinely goes through DJ gear, you might want to adjust your technique a little. While gear is built to be punished, there is a line. I still can’t understand how people break fader stems.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/DjMarcelloRC Dj-Marcello RC

    Simply THE BEST !!!

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  • Kris Clark

    I have been constantly checking reviews and this controller is by far one most decent I have seen in this price bracket, Numark is a durable make. I have had Mixtrack Pro for 3 years and its been great. I recently bought a VMS4.1 back in April 2013 and its failed on me terribly the faders already going and the eq’s, I cant handle any more. I am a Traktor addict, I cannot think of any better software for its user-friendliness and the wealth of FX especially the recent version with its new array of FX, this is why I think this controller is going to be perfect for me, time to go pro time to go 4Trak keep it Numark, I have had Numark Turntables, CD Decks, Mixer Controller.

    I Don’t think this will be a disappointment, more of a investment :D