I posted this preamble in a previous thread, but I think it probably makes sense to preface this post with the same info. So, first, a little background about me. I purchased the S4 the day it was released and used that for many, many gigs until the day the S4 mk2 was released after which I subsequently used that unit until the day the S8 was released. So, let's just say I'm not what you might call "new" to this whole Traktor thing. I've had a chance to play with the S8 at home and at my club a bit but prior to today, I haven't had an opportunity to do any serious work with it. Today I finally had the opportunity to play a four hour gig with it and I have several initial impressions of the unit. Here they are: A number of people have asked me about the S8. What I've generally reported is that it seems clear to me that NI's goal with the S8 was to make a controller that essentially allows you to DJ without really ever needing your laptop (it's pretty explicit in some of the promo videos, so I don't think I'm reaching here) which I think they see as a way to further legitimize the controller as a professional alternative to the CDJ. The S8 isn't really about breaking new ground in terms of what you can do with Traktor (at this point at least) since the feature set of the S8 is pretty roughly the equivalent of an S4 plus an F1 (which is what I was running before). After using the S8, even for a short period of time, it is clear to me that they have succeed with respect to "eyes off the laptop" goal. After the first 30 minutes of playing with the S8 and without even thinking about it, I realized that I'd really never looked at my laptop. With the S4, the controller was always a companion to the laptop, the S8 really is THE entire package with the exception of searching for tracks. By and large it's very comfortable and natural to scroll through playlists on the S8 and there are some features (like selecting the sort criteria) that is even easier than doing it on a laptop. The down side is that since there is a HUGE amount of functionality built into the controller, some things aren't quite as readily accessible as they were on the S4 and I've made some suggestions below which I hope will be helpful in addressing that in some small ways. This is probably the one area where the jury is still out for me (and may well be for some time). Building muscle memory for things that are buried beneath two or three button pushes and knob turns takes time and there are a fair number of things that require such efforts. Whether this is something that will prove to be overwhelming or not remains to be seen for me. It's entirely possible that there are just too many functions crammed into too few controls, or maybe not. One thing that I've always been extremely pleased by is the apparent level of thought that went into the S4 and the S4mkII. There have been some points in NI's history where I would not have believed that they would have been capable of making such a solid controller (I really was more or less shocked with the debut of the S4) but they've proven that they can build really excellent hardware. And, the S8 is no different. Yes, there are handful of little things that I think are questionable design decisions, but those are vastly outweighed (at least as far as I can tell at this point) by excellent new additions. For example, the FX buttons are finally normal sized buttons which weren't apparently designed for a two year old's fingers. The true hardware mixer nature of this beast is also huge, for me at least. And that's certainly not the extent of it. As I said before, I haven't used the S8 for what I would consider any time at all (a few times at home and one four hour gig that didn't require a whole lot of actual DJing) so I'm sure my opinions will change in some regards, but so far I am, at least in theory, pretty happy with the S8. I also have a few minor requests based on my experience thus far which I hope will make me (and others) even happier: First and foremost, there's this: http://www.native-instruments.com/forum/threads/s8-huge-processor-load-spikes-audio-dropouts.229357/ however it looks like there may be a solution for this. Unfortunately, at this point only testing will tell. Not thrilled about resetting all of my settings, but if that's what I have to do to make Traktor stable, then it's what I will do. Master tempo knob resolution. Let me preface this by saying that I fully realize that the S8 is very much designed to be a controller for electronic music. Traktor itself has pretty much always leaned heavily towards that paradigm and I have no problem with that (quite the opposite, in fact) However, my personal mixing style doesn't always see me setting things at 128 BPM and leaving it there. As such, I've noticed a few things. The first is that the resolution of the master tempo knob is too fine for my taste. Does anyone really need to adjust the BPM in increments of .01 BPM? I can't imagine that. I really feel that the default behavior of the knob should be swapped and (i.e. the level that is currently seen when pressing shift and turning the knob and the shift behavior should be the fine adjustment). I hope others agree with me on this or that this could be changed in a mapping. Tempo offset on the S8 displays. Again, given the paradigm in which this controller exists, I understand that this might not be useful to a lot of people, but I would very much have the ability to see the current tempo offset (e.g. - 8% from the original BPM) on the S8 itself. Master tempo reset. I really feel like this one has just been overlooked. The master tempo knob is clearly a push knob however pushing it does nothing. It seems to me that it should reset the current master track to 0% tempo offset. I use this feature A LOT and it's very cumbersome to go into a menu and hold the back button to have to reset the tempo of a song. Again, I hope that this could be addressed to be the default behavior of the controller or, at the very least, in a mapping (although preferably the earlier since right now pressing the knob does nothing) Loop Move with knob. One of my very favorite features of the S4 was the ability to hold down shift and move the selected loop by one beat. This doesn't exist on the S8 and I sure wish it did. I don't think this would need to replace any current behavior so it would be nice to see this come back as the default behavior. Toggle between single/group effects. Don't get me wrong, I like the onscreen display for selecting effects, but I do find it somewhat slow to switch between single and group effects. I generally load up different effects in the group and single banks and then switch between them very often. Going into a menu, turning a knob, pushing a button, etc. is just too slow, so I propose the following solution. What if pressing Shift + FX Select toggled between single and group FX? Again, there is no function currently assigned to that combination, so I would love it if that could be the default behavior or again, if this could at least be configured in a custom mapping. Waveform colors on the S8. I know others have requested this elsewhere, but I'd love to have the waveform colors on the S8 mirror the colors on the computer display. It's a nice display, I can't believe this isn't in the works. Display configuration button, WTF?. This isn't a big issue or anything but it's a bit of a head scratcher to me. We've really got TWO buttons dedicated to entering the menu to change the color balance/brightness of the display. Couldn't these be put to better use and this function be buried in a menu somewhere? I just can't imagine ever using this in a live environment enough to necessitate TWO buttons to access this setting. I can, however think of about 100 other settings that I'd much rather access from that button... Track Played Indicator. Maybe my memory is just worse than most but I'd love to be able to see which tracks I've played on the S8 So there it is! All in all, I'd have to say NI continues to do an excellent job on the controller front with the S8!