Native Instruments Kontrol F1: Live Remixing Gets DJ Friendly


The desire to play around with music runs to the very core of DJing. People love to pick out songs, arrange them, mix them together, tear them apart and put them back together. In the past, DJs would dedicate their live performances to song selection and reading the crowd to create a mood, while reserving the desire to tear apart and rebuild songs for remixing in the studio. However, recent advances have made it possible for the more technically inclined DJ to create remixes live, and the new Native Instruments TRAKTOR KONTROL F1 aims to make the process of live remixing more DJ friendly than ever.

The KONTROL F1 is a hardware controller that connects to Mac and Windows computers through a USB 2.0 port. The key to its live remixing functionality is tied to the included TRAKTOR PRO 2.5 DJ software, which has a new feature called Remix Decks. The KONTROL F1 acts as a hardware interface for the Remix Decks, and it’s designed to integrate seamlessly alongside your mixer and turntables of choice. If you own TRAKTOR PRO 2, TRAKTOR SCRATCH PRO 2 or the TRAKTOR KONTROL S2 or S4, you can update to TRAKTOR PRO 2.5 for free to take advantage of the new Remix Decks and the KONTROL F1.

The hardware controller features four high-resolution potentiometers and four 45mm faders that make up the mixer section.The most striking feature of the KONTROL F1 is its 4 x 4 grid of multi-colored backlit pads, with a push encoder to switch through four pages of sixteen pads.This enables the user to fire off up to 64 loops, samples or tracks easily for each Remix Deck. The Remix Decks behave very similarly to regular track decks in Traktor, so it’s easy for users to start using and controlling them.

The pad matrix is broken down by four vertical columns of sample slots, each with four trigger pads. Each column has a dedicated filter knob at the top, and a fader that controls both volume and the gain of the selected sample. You can capture new samples into Traktor and trigger them all with controls on the KONTROL F1. There are dedicated backlit soft buttons for sample reverse, quantization, editing the length of a sample and more. The layout and design of the hardware and software is tightly knit, with ease-of-use and flexibility as the driving force behind the concept.

In addition to coming with TRAKTOR PRO 2.5, the KONTROL F1 also comes with 4GB of sounds to kick-start your live remixing sessions. The sounds come in Remix Sets (a combination of 64 loops and one-shot samples and their respective beat grids and BPMs—stored and loaded just like a regular track in the browser) that you can quickly load into TRAKTOR and start messing around with. Once you get the hang of it, it’s easy to load in your own samples, loops and tracks to begin creating the live remix set of your dreams.

Trigger Pads 16x backlit multi-color pads
Faders 4
Knobs 4
Push Encoder 1
Connectivity USB 2.0
Power Bus power via USB, 5V 500mA
System Requirements Windows 7: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon 64 X2/Mac OS X: 10.6 or 10.7, Intel Core 2 Duo
General Requirements 2GB RAM (4 GB recommended), monitor with 1024 x 768 resolution, USB 2.0, DVD drive, 1GB free space, Internet access
Dimensions  4.7 x 2 x 11.5" (120 x 52 x 294mm)
Weight 1.6 lb (730 g)