Review: Traktor Kontrol F1

Do you DJ using Native Instruments' Traktor? Impressed by the 64 slot Remix Deck feature? Then check out this review of Kontrol F1 and find out if it'll be the perfect compliment for your rig.  

If you are a Traktor Pro user (or are thinking about becoming one) you should really get up to speed with the concept of 'Remix Decks'. With up to a mind blowing 64 slots a piece, each Remix Deck allows you to play back pretty much any audio you like. 

The only real conundrum is how you control this multi-talented playback system. If you want to get hands on, without taking up all your desk space, then the Kontrol F1 is probably your best option. Let's take a brief look at what you get for your money.

Remix Decks Remixed

So, accessing the Remix Decks is possible via the use of a computer keyboard, dedicated Traktor controller (such as the S2 or S4) or even a generic MIDI controller, but NI have decided that we need something much cooler to play with.

Traktor Pro 2.5's Remix Decks.

Traktor Pro 2.5's Remix Decks.

Remix Decks are an evolution of the much loved sample decks and now allow up to 64 slots to be activated per deck. Even though the default is four slots, the four sample polyphony offered combined with the potentially mind boggling amount of potential sounds calls for something purpose built. 

The Traktor Kontrol F1!

The Traktor Kontrol F1!

This is where the Traktor Kontrol F1 comes in and with it some specific color-based tweaks to the Traktor Pro software. Combine the two and we have a pretty impressive sample triggering system.

Disco Lightshow 

Although the design of the F1 is typically NI, the new color LEDs are enough to set it apart from its predecessors. The F1 actually houses 16 mini Maschine style pads in its lower section, each of which can display a dazzling array of colors.

Once you have moved past how impressive this looks you start to realize how useful the system actually is. Each of the slots in the Remix Decks can be colored in any fashion you like and this is accurately represented by the F1's pads. 

The multi-colored pads of the F1.

The multi-colored pads of the F1.

With a quick glance to the computer screen (and small amount of time invested into learning your own personal color scheme) you'll quickly be able to see what style of loop is loaded, even in a darkened club.

A Talented Performer

Combine the F1's compact size, impressive color scheme and playable pads and you have a great little DJ controller but it doesn't stop here. Each Remix deck has a level control and dedicated filter knob, adding up to four knobs and four faders. (My maths skills are top notch).

Solid build quality and a bevy of knobs and faders.

Solid build quality and a bevy of knobs and faders.

For such a low cost unit the whole thing feels very solid and the faders and knobs have a pleasing sturdiness to them. You should also find that the F1 fits nicely into just about any DJ setup, whether you are using traditional decks or other NI kit.

The F1 should fit nicely into just about any DJ set up.

The F1 should fit nicely into just about any DJ setup.

If you are non technical or just see yourself as a more traditional DJ then the F1 may not be for you but if you love tweaking and want to add some extra flare to your sets then it could be a perfect addition to your rig.

Simple USB buss powering is a big plus.

Simple USB buss powering is a big plus.

It's worth remembering that the F1 comes bundled with Traktor Pro 2.5 so if all this is new to you but you fancy getting your toes wet, you'll hit the ground running and be completely set up by purchasing the F1 alone.

Find out more about the Kontrol F1 here.

Mo has been a professional in the music industry for around 15 years. He has released material with the world's leading record labels and also produces music for TV and Film. Mo is also a prolific writer and is a regular contributor to magazines such as Music Tech, Future Music and EQ magazine. There isn't a piece of music software tha... Read More


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