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If you’re just getting started with Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol S2 you probably need some assistance in setting everything up. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. This article will make everything clear, and if you read carefully, you could start mixing very soon.
More precisely, I’m here to explain to you how to connect speakers to your DJ controller, which in this case is the S2 MK3. Please bear in mind that the same principle goes for the Traktor S4 MK1, S2 MK1, and almost every other Native Instruments DJ controller.
Getting Started With Traktor Kontrol S2
Digital DJing can be very intimidating and you often feel like you have to be a technology geek to connect all the right wires and install the right drivers. While this is somewhat true, remember that DJs should stick together, and that’s why I’m here to facilitate this process.
Before we get to the part where I teach you to link your speakers and get them going on your S2 DJ controller, let’s remind ourselves quickly about what you need to do before that.
Obviously, having your S2 hardware is not enough if you’ll be mixing digitally. You also need to install DJ software that will allow the S2 to send audio signals to the speakers, so they could convert them and provide audio output.
The S2 is compatible with the Traktor Pro 2 DJ software which you can download for your Mac or PC. Once you run the installation, find Traktor on your laptop, open it, and start exploring.
Now we can move onto the other fun stuff.
This is probably the chapter you’re most interested in. Audio routing basically means transmitting sound signals from your input (DJ controller, mixer) to your output (speakers). So, first thing first, let’s start by learning what to do with the cables.
Ideally, you already have your Traktor Kontrol S2 MK3 in front of you, so you can read and work at the same time. If you take a look at the back of the controller, you’ll notice four outputs. Right? Two are RCA outs, and two are ¼”, and they have to be used in pairs.
What does that mean? It means that the first RCA out is for the left speaker signal, as well as the first ¼”. Respectively, the second RCA out and the second ¼” is for the second speaker signal.
For your stereo line to work properly, you must connect either both RCA outputs or both ¼” outs.
If you’re just starting out, you might be using PC speakers for the time. These usually have a 3.5 mm auxiliary input and should be paired using a dual RCA cable. It’s the ones that have two RCA outputs on one side and a 3.5 mm input on the other, like this.
But I guess that you’re most interested in finding out how to connect your S2 to studio monitor speakers or booth speakers. This is nothing complicated, it’s just cables and plugs, so stay tuned.
Various speakers have different types of connections, but most will offer them all. For example, if you have a powered speaker that has three types of inputs on the back, RCA, XLR, or ¼” TRS, you’re a happy DJ.
It’s really your choice which inputs and outputs you’ll use, I always decide based on which cables are the sturdiest or at my disposal. For example, you could also take a balanced XLR cable that has a ¼” TRS input at the other end.
Anyway, it’s still important to remember that you have to use two cables in order to have both speaker channels work properly. So, either go with two RCA outputs or two ¼” outputs, doesn’t matter, as long as you keep the pair together.
This way, you’ll be listening to crisp audio through the master out.
This is the simplest form of connection. If you have an external amplifier for some reason, whether because you need more power or your speakers are not loud enough, you won’t have trouble connecting them to your Traktor Kontrol S2, or S4 for that matter.
So, if you’re dealing with an amp or a HiFi stereo system, that should be a simple RCA to RCA connection, where the biggest challenge is to separate the red outputs and the white inputs.
Connecting your headphones to the Kontrol S2 is as simple as ABC. The headphone out is placed on the front of the unit, so it’s very easy to find. All you need to do is to plug in a ¼” jack into the headphone out.
If you don’t have one, you can buy an adapter for a little money. However, most headphones arrive with this adapter in the box.
Traktor Pro Audio Setup
Feeling better? The “worst” part is now over, so relax! You have your speakers plugged in, all of the cables are where they should be, and you will soon be able to work your S2 controller and actual sound will be coming out of your stereo system.
All that’s left now is to dive into your laptop and open your Traktor Pro DJ software, where you will enable all the settings allowing your laptop to “play music”, literally. First thing first, let’s clear up a few things regarding the Traktor Kontrol S2 and the way music is being played.
Surely you’ve heard that a sound card is crucial for sound inputs and outputs to be exchanged, finally resulting in the audio output. A sound card also determines the sound quality of the output. Sometimes people will talk about an audio interface, which is the same thing, but it’s external.
The thing I wanted to say is that you should make sure to understand that both your laptop and the Traktor Kontrol S2 have built-in sound cards. You can choose which one you want to process the sound.
I advise that you go with the S2 sound card and without getting into details, let’s just say that the sound quality will be 10 times better if you use the one from the S2.
The next thing you have to do is to open the software on your laptop, go to Preferences and make sure to adjust your Audio Setup configuration and Output Routing.
Let’s start off with the Audio Setup where under the audio device you’ll select the sound card you want to be used. When you click on it, there will be a drop-down menu offering you to either select built-in or your other source, which in this case will be the Traktor Kontrol S2 or S4 if that’s what you’re using.
In the next tab down, you have the Output Routing where you will configure the output channels. The first option when you open this tab will be to choose the mixing mode where you’ll want to choose Internal.
This means that you will assign the Traktor software to take over the mixing. So, you will be mixing inside Traktor and not be using some external hardware for that purpose. Go to Preferences – Output Routing – Mixing Mode – Internal.
This might confuse you a bit because you may assume that it’s the mixer that will be mixing. I know, my intuition also tells me to select external, but no, stick to internal.
Assign Output Channels
Next up is a very important part where you will assign the output channels to your speakers. But first, you’ll go to Output Monitor, right under Mixing Mode, and set Monitor Left for L, and Monitor Right for R.
This segment is for the headphones that you’ll plug into the S2 or S4.
Finally, you’ll find the Output Master beneath it. You go through the same process as with the headphones, under L, select Master Left, and under R, select Master R. For PC users, it’s gonna say Speakers L and Speakers R.
This will assign the right channels for the master output. Next to both options, you’ll notice a Mono box that you could highlight. This will make it possible for the software to combine both channels, left and right into one master out.
However, I advise against this because it will make it impossible for a single audio signal to be separated into one channel. Usually, you have some instruments such as drums or guitars playing in the left channel or the right one, and that adds up to the overall quality of sound.
You should now be ready to get going and start mixing using your S2 or S4 controllers. I’m sure that if you stick to everything that has been written, you’ll have no trouble at all setting up the preferences and connecting your DJ controller to your speakers.
Native Instruments S2 DJ controller is a piece of DJ gear that I doubt will ever run out of fashion. It’s super intuitive, it offers great features and effects, and it has very flexible connectivity with third-party devices.
My task for today was to explain to you how to connect your controller to your speakers. Since I wrote a pretty detailed guide for that above in this article, let’s use this segment to narrow it down a bit and thus have a clearer image of what you should do.
First of all, you need your S2 controller in front of you, a laptop with installed Traktor DJ software, as well the speakers, obviously.
You then start with the physical work, i.e. rolling up your sleeves and plugging all the jacks in the respective outputs and inputs. Depending on whether you’re connecting a desktop or powered speakers, or an external amp, different connectors will be used.
Sometimes, it can be two RCA cables, sometimes XLR to ¼” jack, but the most important thing is to always have a pair of cables, so you can assign both speakers an audio signal.
Once you’ve connected all the cables, it’s time to go to your Traktor Pro and set all the preferences so it knows to which channel it should send the signals. If you don’t remember the setup well, scroll up to see what exactly you need to “click” on.
Finally, may I just add that you should never be embarrassed to ask for help from someone who’s more experienced. The internet is full of threads that explain many DJ topics. Don’t be afraid to visit a forum as well, you’ll be surprised how much you can learn from there.
How Do I Use Traktor With Audio Interface?
To use an audio interface with your Traktor controller, you have to connect the Native Instruments audio interface to your laptop. Then launch Traktor Pro, and under preferences, go to audio setup and choose the unit as an output channel.
You can find more information here.
What Software Is Compatible With Traktor S2?
The Traktor S2 controller is compatible with Mac and Windows, while the Native Instruments Traktor Pro software is the best choice regarding compatibility. Others could be used as well, such as Virtual DJ, for example.