A couple months ago I happened to catch a ridiculous set by Felix Da Housecat at one of Bang On NYC‘s legendary parties. As a budding DJ and self proclaimed tech geek I wanted to know what he was using to mix with and was pleasantly surprised to find that Felix has taken up Traktor. So when Native Instruments reached out to offer me a chance to check out some of their gear, you bet I said yes!
The new and updated Traktor Kontrol X1 was the first unit I got to test out and, damn, this thing is cool. With new features that include touch-sensitive browse and loop encoders, 7-segment displays and LEDs for visual feedback, and an innovative multi-purpose touch strip for tons of tactile control, this tiny little box is packed full of details that allowed me to control every aspect of my set in any way imaginable. The design and use of space was very well thought out and made it easy for me to use, even as someone relatively new to DJing. Plus the unit itself is really light and travels well. My favorite features were the touch screen browse encoders that made it super simple to cue up tracks and the easy access “Flux” button that enabled loop effects. The only con I found was that it was a bit wonky with outdated versions of Traktor and I had to update before I could use it properly. Overall, I really enjoyed the freedom and creativity the X1 brought to my sets and would definitely recommend it as a powerful alternative to CDJs.
Similar in size as the X1, the Kontrol Z1 is another powerful unit that I loved because of the versatility with which it can be used and the fun, easy plug and play options it has with the Traktor iOS app! It features a two-channel mixing setup, dedicated Filter/FX knob, 3-band EQ, and volume fader with LED level metering for each channel and a crossfader that looks and feels just like those on the S4 and S2. This is pretty much everything you need to know:
Basically Traktor took all the features of the the iOS app and condensed it down to this lovely little controller that allows you to control the app in a more tactile manner. But BONUS it can also be used a million other ways too. Check a few options below, but know this is now my favorite Traktor controller and I pretty much use it always. The only con I had with this unit is that I use an Android phone (yes I am one of those people) and Traktor hasn’t quite nailed down Traktor DJ for Android yet. But it’s cool I stole my roommates iPad and used that instead!
Overall, I highly recommend both of these units, and have enjoyed adding new and diverse elements to my mixing ability, using them in various different ways and having my own interface to use when I DJ out. Plus, I still can’t get over how light and easy they are to carry around!