Traktor Kontrol Z2: Turntablism with DJ Craze
The new Traktor Kontrol Z2 DJ mixer/controller from Native Instruments offers Traktor DJs an elegant and simplified centerpiece for performance. Whether using Traktor Scratch Pro vinyl, CDJ2000s or remix sets with NI’s F1 controller, the Z2 offers great functionality and feel.
Native Instruments are releasing their first hardware DJ mixer next week, the Traktor Kontrol Z2. The Z2 is the latest in NI’s Traktor Kontrol hardware series, building on years of research and development. With a high-quality built-in audio interface, sturdy construction and some intelligent design decisions made with software integration in mind, the Z2 offers some interesting new directions and possibilities for digital DJs.
2+2: Traktor Mixer or Standalone Mixer
The Z2 mixer features two main audio channels that allow it to operate just like a standard DJ mixer when it’s not connected to a computer. All of the central mix controls, including the built-in high-pass/low-pass filters, are fully functional without any USB connection and sound fantastic. However, it is the Traktor integration that makes the Z2 stand out. When starting the latest newly-updated version of Traktor (2.6), the mixer is automatically recognized, requiring no setup windows or wizards. All of the Z2 controls are intuitively mapped to Traktor’s internal mixer, with a few added features. The outer sections of the Z2 are designed for additional control of Traktor’s C and D decks (this is where the “+2” comes in) or for jumping to cue points using the four hot cue buttons on either side of the mixer. These buttons are cleverly programmed to set and trigger cue points or to be used with the remix decks, adding new performance possibilities with Traktor’s new “Flux Mode” feature.
Flux Mode and Macro FX
Flux Mode is a new setting in Traktor that keeps track of song position while using cue points or looping. As NI describe it themselves, “Flux Mode tracks the time while you’re juggling cue points or looping and lets you drop back in at exactly the right moment.” This means Traktor is keeping track of where the song would be playing, so when you release your cue points or loops, the song will jump to the place where it would have been had you not manipulated the playback. This makes Flux Mode especially effective for buildups and breakdowns, especially if used in conjunction with the newly added “Macro FX” feature which are new combinations of effects intuitively assigned to one knob, for dramatic easily-executed performance moves.
The build quality on the Z2 is solid, and the knobs, dials and faders are reminiscent of NI’s recent S4 and X1 controllers. One control that really stands out is the crossfader, a crucial centerpiece of any DJ mixer. The Innofaders™ hardware component that Native Instruments chose to use for the Z2’s crossfader is extremely smooth and accurate, demonstrated in many of Dubspot instructor DJ Shiftee’s recent YouTube videos. The great feel of the crossfader is augmented by the reverse switch and steep curve knob on the bottom panel of the Z2, which turntablists will love.
No More Cable Mess
The Z2 simplifies the audio cabling required for controlling Traktor with timecode vinyl. Now, turntables connect directly to the phono inputs on the Z2, just like any other DJ mixer, and the mixer connects to the computer via a USB 2 connection. This eliminates the need for proprietary Traktor Scratch cables and the multitude of connections required for that setup. The Z2 goes another step in uncluttering the DJ workspace by including a 2-port powered USB hub, so you can save USB ports on your laptop while still connecting your Maschine, Traktor Kontrol X1 or F1, or even two Pioneer CDJ2000 decks.
The market for DJ mixers is huge and there are a few popular mixers that are very hard to top. The Z2 suggests that Native Instruments considered the standard of the competition and offered a mixer that truly measures up. While diehard fans of other mixers may be difficult to sway, the Z2 is a solid, great-sounding DJ mixer for any Traktor user. Combined with Traktor’s new functionality it offers a new level of performance for professionals and bedroom DJs alike.
The definition of DJing has changed dramatically in the last decade. Laptops, controllers, and software have emerged alongside more traditional turntables and CDJs, smashing the barrier to entry. In today’s digital age, anyone can become a DJ. To reflect this renaissance, Dubspot has created the Digital DJing with Traktor program. In both our physical and online schools, students will learn how to DJ entirely with Traktor’s cutting-edge technology. An emphasis will be placed on the concepts of DJing rather than simply learning how to use the software.
- Digital DJing w/ Traktor Pro 2 Level 1: Introduction to DJing
- Digital DJing w/ Traktor Pro 2 Level 2: Phrase Mixing
- Digital DJing w/ Traktor Pro 2 Level 3: Beyond The Beatmatch
Starting with a historical overview, students will learn the fundamental concepts of the DJ via Traktor’s intuitive interface. They will then begin to delve into the vast array of new possibilities offered by this groundbreaking software, presenting their work along the way. Students will leave with finished DJ mixes, a thorough exploration of DJing with Traktor, and a skill set and knowledge base perfect for further development.
Immerse yourself in the complete art of DJing from beatmatching to stage presence. Whether you’re a beginner in search of the fundamentals or a seasoned pro looking to take your talent to the next level, our curriculum is designed to accommodate all skill levels and styles of music. This comprehensive DJ program covers everything from basic mixing to advanced digital DJing. Learn more about our DJ courses and programs.
- DJ Level 1: Rookie Sessions | Essentials I
- DJ Level 2: Phrase Mixing | Essentials II
- DJ Level 3: Beyond The Blend | Intermediate Skills
- DJ Level 4: Preparation | DJ Psychology
- DJ Level 5: Classroom to the Club | Advanced Techniques I
- DJ Level 6: Club to the World | Advanced Techniques II
“I love the class, and the content! Shiftee and Endo are very funny, and very clear, so the material is easy and fun to follow! I wish my college teachers were more like these two!” – Leandro Martinez, Chicago IL