Music Gear News
Native Instruments Haptic Feedback | Pushing the Boundaries from Inside the Booth
Inspired by popular demand from the world's top DJs, Native Instruments has introduced haptic feedback to the Traktor Kontrol S4. Find out how the Haptic Drive motorised jog wheels can revolutionise the interaction between you and your music.
By Joshua Flynn | Published 19/09/2019
DJing with a controller is a great way to get yourself into the mix, dropping the tunes that get the crowds moving. However, one crucial feature is usually missing from this otherwise fantastic setup: tactile feedback.
Unlike when DJing with a turntable setup, using a controller can remove the sensation of being truly in control of your jog wheels. This often brings the need to look at your laptop more often than you’d like – perhaps missing those all-important cues from the audience. That's why Native Instruments has designed the Traktor S4's jog wheels with 'haptic feedback'.
What is Haptic Feedback?
It's likely you've experienced haptic feedback before! When you use a smartphone, you may find that the keyboard responds with a small jolt of energy that emanates from the screen. That’s haptic feedback, and in this case, it’s being used to simply let you know you've pressed a key.
Haptic feedback is a kinetic response to a physical input, giving you a deeper feeling of touch when interacting with hardware. Native Instruments has taken this idea and put it into its new jog wheels.
Native Instruments’ Haptic Technology is unique in that it uses tiny motors across the jog wheel to make it feel physically active. The jog wheels actively respond to how you use them. One of the central reasons for including haptic technology in a DJ controller is that it allows you to set cue points and locate them by feeling alone, removing the need to look at your laptop. This provides you with a far more natural experience – an experience that is, until now, lacking in the world of DJ controllers
While at its core, this technology provides you with an active response to your physical input, it can be used for so much more than that. For example, NI’s Haptic Drive can give your jog wheels a sense of turntable-like torque to help you get closer to the mix when beat matching. It can also recognise techniques such as backspins – NI has designed its Haptic Drive to instantly drop resistance so that the decks respond like vinyl on a slipmat. And unlike traditional methods, if you find that the parameters are too sharp or not fast enough, it can all be edited with Traktor software.
Years of research and development
To achieve this innovation, NI has invested huge amounts of time and thought into making the technology work as effortlessly as it should. The use of haptics in jog wheels has been at the forefront of NI's founder Stefan Schmitt for some time, and the company has been working on many prototypes over the years. Now, with NI's Hardware Developer David Spieth's ground-breaking work in haptic applications – this dream is now a reality and is ready to rock booths the world over.
For three years, Spieth and his team have been prototyping, researching and engineering the use of haptics in musical applications. The technology has finally met with real-world musical needs, and NI has found the perfect use of Haptic Drive inside the jog wheel itself.
“I built a whole, fully functional prototype where you could have haptic feedback,” says Speith. “And this was where the turntable mode was born”. NI believes that the kinetic and mechanical intuition of this technology will allow you to perform at your very best. This revolution has been a long time coming, and now it's finally here.
To find out more about the fantastic Traktor S4 controller as well as see some of our fantastic bundles, follow the links below.
Find out more | Native Instruments Traktor S4 MK3
Find out more | Native Instruments Traktor S4 MK3 with AIAIAI Headphones
Find out more | Native Instruments Traktor S4 MK3 DJ Bundle
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