Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol F1
Recently, Native Instruments released their newest controller int he Traktor DJ line, the F1. It is the same size as it’s sister product he X1, but a completely different beast. In a nutshell, the F1 was designed to access and control the new remix decks in Traktor 2.5, which replace the sample deck from previous versions. It contains 16 “MPC” like LED lit pads capable of being any of 16 colors , 4 volume sliders and 4 highpass/lowpass filter knobs as well as various buttons to select and edit samples. If you really want to get right down to it, the remix decks are a way of adding a “lite” version of the Ableton clip experience into your Traktor sets. Although the concept is nothing groundbreaking and people have been using Ableton to DJ with clips and samples and Serato has an Ableton bridge, the fact it is integrated directly into Traktor is a slam dunk especially since Traktor has 4 available decks with can be any combination of either the “track” or “remix” variety.
For example, you could be running two track decks, and two remix decks controlled by either one or two F1’s (get two, way more fun). The possibilities are pretty endless for what you can do with Traktor 2.5 and the F1. You can utilize it as simply a sample player to add one shot vocals or drums/percussion over your tracks. You can capture loops from currently plying tracks into the F1 and remix tracks on the fly or make new transitions. Where it really gets fun is building remix decks that you can use to remix existing tracks or create totally new ones using sample libraries or clips you create yourself. Did I mention you can control the decks via Traktors scratch control with turntables, CDJs or the S4 jogwheels?
Check out this video of DJ Shiftee tearing it up on the F1:
What makes this such a powerful unit is the depth to which Native Instruments has integrated it into Traktor and the wealth of possibilities for your DJ sets or even as just a performance tool. I have created about 20 custom decks so far. Some of them are total track reconstruction sets and some are just sample and sound sets.
You can check out some of my and other peoples remix deck sets over at Remix Deck Sets, a great new site for user created sets.