We gave you the heads up about the possibility of something new and Traktory coming from NI at the Winter Music Conference, and they didn’t disappoint. Uner posted a picture of his setup on his Facebook page, and we’ve just taken delivery of proper pictures from the show that gives a little more detail about the new Traktor Kontrol D2.
What is the Traktor Kontrol D2?
The best description I can provide is that it’s one third of a Kontrol S8, the right hand third to be more precise. As a unit, it’s an absolute no-brainer for NI to take a saw to the S8 and hack off the controller element. But it’s how you make this work with a mixer that is of most interest for me.
We got some official pictures of the evening, and of course skipped past the pictures of beautiful people having a good time, and zoomed in and enhanced forensically on the images of the gear. And a mixture of guesswork and arm-twisting allows me to deliver what I think we’re seeing here.
A big controller — the D2 is about 2″ wider and 3″ deeper than a conventional X1/F1 format, hence the D2 name.
Almost identical to one third of an S8 — The only noticeable difference is four A, B, C, and D buttons above the FX select one. Thus I see four deck control from one D2, but I expect that most users will but a pair.
USB chaining — the Kontrol D2 doesn’t have an audio interface. As an F1/X1 style controller, it doesn’t make a huge amount of sense to include one, because this just controls elements of Traktor but isn’t a mixer like say the Z1. As the above image shows, there’s a USB two port hub for chaining, USB connector, a power connector and an on/off switch.
Stacked Waveforms — there seems to be some differences in how the screen is used. I’m not 100% clear on if these are remix deck waveforms, but in theory if the Kontrol D2 can control four decks then it makes sense to have stacked waveforms for those decks too.
Feet — the Kontrol D2 can be angled. The image shows two, but there may well be four to bring it level with standard height gear.
Use them with an S8? — apparently yes. Full four deck control can be yours, for a price.
So it’s the controller element of an S8 that offers four deck control and has extra waveform options. It looks to be working with the current version of Traktor. Our guess is that Traktor is being rebuilt from the ground up to enable in-app purchases among other things and will be out later this year. Not too late though NI OK?
We don’t know the price, but one third of an S8 doesn’t seem unreasonable for this. I’m guessing in the £299-399 range.
What the Kontrol D2 really is
If you look at the setups in the videos, the Kontrol D2 is a controller aimed at being a CDJ alternative. Getting full controllers (especially at S8 size) shoehorned into a booth is quite a feat. But turning up with a small bag with a pair of D2s (brace yourselves – twin D2 bags are coming), and pushing CDJs to one side is a much easier task. And then you get to use an established club standard mixer with your Traktor controllers.
Digging deeper and reading between the lines, this release really does indicate that a modular Traktor jog wheel controller isn’t coming, and perhaps more disappointingly for many, the chances of a Z4 are getting slimmer every day. Why would NI try to take on Pioneer and Allen & Heath when there are so many installed? And what could a Z4 bring that isn’t already out there? All NI needs to do is stop being so closed, certify every USB mixer, and the Kontrol D2 will sell by the container load. I have no doubt that Pioneer will welcome them with open arms, as their policy seems to be to get everything working with their gear, and to make a Pioneer dominated club scene accessible to all.
Clearly this is a soft launch, because NI needs to be talked about positively again. And if my predictions pan out to be true, this is so much more than just another controller release. Bigger picture — the Kontrol D2 has the potential to be a club standard controller, provided NI opens up and certifies mixers.