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I am thinking about a DJ style MIDI controller for my OSX-based music production setup.

I was sold on the Xponent/Torq, but the new Traktor S4 looks very powerful as well, and especially the Traktor Pro 2 software looks more capable than Torq.

Are there any concrete reasons, other than price, to pick one over the other?

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4 Answers 4

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I'll consider you know the basics of DJing and how soft/hardware works in these cases so let's try to split this question:

Xponent VS Traktor S4

The main advantage of the XPONENT is that IT FREAKIN' BLINKS! It has an awesome club presence, just check any youtube video to get that. The main disadvantage is that it is a piece of crap! Excuse my french but there was a MASSIVE set of Xponents that had cheap ass electric board with cold solders and it would break easily. It seems to be fixed, but I discovered that M-Audio/Avid support is TERRIBLE! So terible that I'm not buying anything from them ever.

Main advantage of the S4: 2 stereo outputs AND a headphone output, while the xponent only has a single stereo out and a headphone output. Oh yeah, it also has a MIC INPUT that Xponent doesn't have. Mais disadvantage: The jog wheels are small. Really small. I mean, have you tried it? It makes me feel... I dunno, I fell like I'm using an old Behringer or something.

The number of buttons and knobs are almost the same !BUT! if you are into the whole custom scene, the Xponent has a little feature that makes it moar awesome. There's a 1-2 switch in the front that acts as a second controller.

So when you change the switch from 1 to 2 you can then REMAP everything on the controller.

Torq 2 vs Traktor Pro 2

I'm not even talking about Torq 1 since that's no longer supported. Let's talk about Torq 2 vs Traktor Pro 2, it has only a few differences:

Torq 2 has a special crossfade option that adds some effects, it's a cool concept: you can mix 2 songs using a filter, so as you move from one song to the other the filter opens/closes. Their website has a couple of videos on this.

The auto synch across 4 decks feels more right than Traktor, and it works better. This is relevant if you like to change drastically BPMs between songs.

AND torq2 has INCREDIBLE VST SUPPORT. EVEN if the VST crashes the whole software keeps running.

BUT

Traktor is 100% fully customizable. I mean, you can map buttons to change to the library function to select tracks without touching your laptop. If you're into DIY custom midi mapping, this is heaven.

Also, Traktor has multiple EQ choices, Torq2 only has one, so instead of having a Bass/Mid/Tremb eq you can use a Bass/MidBass/MidTremb/Tremb eq.

To be completely honest, I don't have a lot of experience with the S4, I own a Xponent with Torq 2 - (heck I even did some lectures on using Torq and exploring it's functions) - and I would NOT recommend using it. I had a whole lot of problems with support - Torq sometimes decides that it just won't work - the application does not open under any circumstance - and all the seven times this has happened, the only solution was to format my computer. I tried using a Windows XP SP3, Windows XP SP2, Windows 7 32 bits and windows 7 64 Bits. I had problems with all of them.

So, long story short: Avoid M-Audio/Avid for the moment, go for Native Instruments.

BTW: I had some experience with Traktor Pro (I used it for about 6 months), I personally don't like its controls and GUI interface, it fells wrong. But the audio quality, response and amount of customization is beyond awesome.

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I have been using the Xponent for a couple of years now, and I agree with most of what Johnny said above. Here are a couple of other issues:

  • Xponent is plastic and it just feels cheaply made. I have had many problems with the drivers for Xpoenent as well as with the sound card. The sound card is low quality.

  • The Kontrol is metal and feels more solid. It also has a 24/96 sound card which is much better than the Xponent sound card.

I finally became fed up with the Xponent and just ordered the Kontrol S4.

It should tell you something when people who have been using the Xponent for years are switching. Just my 2 cents.

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You could have the best of both worlds.

You can buy a new Xponent for about $199 right now and then get a Traktor Pro 2 license for $89 (Sometimes on sale for 50% off). Download an Xponent TSI file from the web or make your own mapping... I have an S4 and my DJ partner has an Xponent (that he just bought 10/2012). They are honestly very close in feel and almost the same in function and layout/mapping. We have no problem switching between the two when using traktor.

For the bedroom DJ, honestly, either one is fine. If you're going to take one to the club, the S4 is a bit nicer for the balanced outputs and better soundcard. The one thing the S4 is really lacking is a booth output while the Xponent has one. (usually you are running your S4 though the clubs mixer anyways to give you a booth out.)

With the $500(ish) price difference, you can see why my partner chose the Xponent for practice mixes.

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The following bits makes Torq 2.0 better in comparison to Traktor in my opinion:

Torq + Xponent has better sound quality (developed by the guys from Protools), you have a 18cell sampler, you can use VST effects as well, you can use rewire function as well.

Obviously Torq has all the essential functions that Traktor has as well.

I've been playing with it all around the world since it came out and been using the Xponent since 2007 - never had any problems myself..

Hope that helps

Patrick

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Does Torq/Xponent have the live looper capabilities that Trackor S4 has now? –  Jarrod Roberson Oct 11 '11 at 15:39

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