Even if you're not into the club scene, you can probably picture it in your mind's eye: the prototypical DJ, headphones askew, swaying in the booth behind a laptop that's perched above a rack of mixers and decks.
Native Instruments is trying to kill that image — or part of it, at least. Its new flagship DJ controller, the Traktor Kontrol S8, is its first to feature built-in multifunction LCD displays. You still connect to a laptop running Traktor Scratch Pro, but the onboard LCDs take the place of many tasks that would normally necessitate burying your head in your laptop's display — things like track and FX selection.
Other features of the S8 are borrowed from Native Instruments' other controllers and hardware accessories, including touch-sensitive knobs, multicolor pads, and "LED-guided" control strips that can be reconfigured in real time. None of this comes cheap, although it's still pretty affordable as pro-level DJ equipment goes: the S8 will retail for $1,299 when it launches on October 30th.