Traktor Kontrol F1: Live looping and sampling on the fly

As Electronic music finally penetrates American mass culture 20 years after it reached European Shores – music hardware sales are rocketing with the advent of digital mixing.

Digital mixing isn’t anything knew as there are a plethora of programs and software solutions, which makes the laborious task of beat matching as simple as making a slice of toast.


The digital vs analog argument with run and run, with purists arguing the essence of turntablism has been lost via technology company’s constant pursuit of the perfect mix. Analogue purist will always insist if you take the human element out of DJing then what’s left is just a man, or woman, stood behind a laptop essentially checking their email.

Traktor over the last 5 years have built reputation as the go-to company for digital mixing. Their software allows almost anyone to learn to mix with little or no knowledge. You can always use the synch button and never have to worry about an impending car-crash mix or use the system like a virtual DJ setup where you need to do the basics like you would with a traditional vinyl/CD setup.

Their new Kontrol F1 midi controller looks to marry the old with the new, and from the face of it is the best compromise between digital advances and the skill of a good DJ.

The new system is aimed at one particular group of DJs: Scratchers. Most modern day mixing takes place where two tracks need to be seamlessly woven together to continue the groove of a DJ set. The other school of DJing is scratching and beat juggling, which is were the origin of mixing comes from, firmly anchored within the world of hip-hop and DMC champions.

The new system allows users to mix an endless amount of loops and samples live, via two time-encoded vinyl’s, and the new F1 midi launch controller – whilst the software allows you imprint any digital sound file upon the two blank vinyl’s. Instead of mixing two full tracks, the Kontrol F1 has been firmly aimed at DJs who uses loops and samples. It comes with 16 multi-color LED pads, where you launch clips in a perfectly intuitive, DJ-centric way, switching between up to 64 tracks, loops and one-shot samples on each Remix Dec.

From the controller you can control every function of the software and digital decks. You’ll be able to controlling sync, select your preferred quantize method, sample size, reverse and other functionality. The comprehensive global section also features a push encoder to switch through the four pages of the 16 pads and offers a ‘Capture’ button, which allows DJs to grab samples from running tracks of each track deck within the TRAKTOR software, both before and during the actual DJ performance.

Each regular track deck within TRAKTOR PRO 2.5 can be switched to a Remix Deck, offers dedicated transport, sync and tempo master controls. This allows DJs to control an entire Remix Deck via Native Scratch timecode control with vinyl or CDs, or using the jog wheels of the KONTROL S4 and KONTROL S2 hardware.

TRAKTOR KONTROL F1 will be available on May 30th for a suggested retail price of $279 / 249 EUR at authorized retailers and at the NI Online Shop It will ship with a full version of TRAKTOR PRO 2.5. All owners of TRAKTOR PRO 2, TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO, TRAKTOR KONTROL S2 and TRAKTOR KONTROL S4 will receive TRAKTOR PRO 2.5 as a free update from May 30th.