Kontrol F1 Hardware & Traktor Pro 2.5 Software Announced

The Traktor Kontrol F1

The Traktor Kontrol F1: We saw DJ Shiftee perform on this, showing off its possibilities for blending turntablism and controllerism.

Digital DJ Tips has seen the latest version of Traktor, Traktor Pro 2.5, as well as the hardware controller Native Instruments has built to work with it, the Traktor Kontrol F1. Native Instruments is calling it “Ableton in a DJ way”. The control surface (widely but incorrectly outed elsewhere as the Kontrol X2) is a Kontrol X1-shaped and is dominated by a four-by-four multi-backlit pad surface for launching sample clips, in a similar way to Ableton Live.

The software, meanwhile, expands on Traktor Pro 2′s sample decks to make them into fully blown remix decks. There are four sample blocks per deck, each of which can contain four samples, which crucially are colour coded to match the colours on the Kontrol K2′s clip launchpad. Each of these “remix decks” is treated by Traktor exactly the same as any other deck, meaning you can affect them globally with loops etc and also scratch and cue them just as if they were a single track.

Traktor Pro 2.5 thus brings an “Ableton Live Lite” concept right into Traktor, borrowing elements from the Serato Scratch Live / The Bridge project, but of course as it’s all in Traktor there’s no need to actually have any clip software such as Ableton.

“Traktor Remix” set to “radically change DJing”?

Native Instruments’ CEO Daniel Haver told the company’s 10th US office anniversary party at its LA offices that the update has been designed to “bring the power of clip-based DJ performance with software such as Ableton right into Traktor”, and predicted that what he was calling “Traktor Remix” will radically change the way DJs perform.

Following the launch, DJ Shiftee performed a short set with the software, which had only been finished a day early by Traktor’s dev team in time for the performance.

We’re guessing the F1 will retail at US$199, and you should expect to see it in stores Q2 2012.

Are you excited by this new leap for Traktor? Is having a workflow which is half DJ software, half clip-based remixing something you can see changing the way you DJ? Or are things moving too much towards production and away from the traditional skills of DJing for your liking? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Comments

  1. Im really excited to see where this goes. I’ve been experimenting with samples finally with my s4. Looks like I may be adding some new kit to my bag.

  2. I for one, am a producer and I think us producers have been making the funk for dj’s and dj’s hogged the lime light for too long. It is time for the dusty stinky producer to come out of the dungeon and perform on stage. I started doing this with traktor and 3 midi controlers. It was a bit difficult to prep small loops and samples week after week to be able to trigger them on a live situation using traktor’s sample decks in v2.0.1 (only one sample load allowed at a time)

    This might be a game changer for sure

    ps. no disrespect intended to puritan djs. I have admired the way you do things and as a producer i tried mimicking some of the raw live performance aspect that dj’s bring to some otherwise dull beat. I learned a lot from what dj’s do… now though, I think the stage is big enough for both i think

    Great article (first on the topic, way to go Phil!!!)

    D

    • “I think us producers have been making the funk for dj’s and dj’s hogged the lime light for too long. “… I disagree. Most people playing in festivals are people who produce their own tracks. In fact, it is increasingly hard to gain credibility as a DJ if you don’t produce anything. However, I know there are MORE THAN A FEW producers with very limited DJ skills who take the jobs, and that’s because of public recognition. I don’t condemn anything, it’s just the way it is.

      Skrillex, David Guetta, Benny Benassi… I’m sorry these are not DJ names. However they dominate the industry in terms of public recognition (and salaries!). I admire them all, and this is in no way dissing them, but to say dusty and stinky producers need to come out of their dungeons is bit of joke don’t you agree?

      Although I see you acknowledge the job of DJs (so you seem to know what you’re talking about), but I’m sorry what you said is just the opposite of what it is really.

      You’ll see, if you’ve got a decent following on the web, you’ll get jobs EASILY.

  3. I’m not sure if/how I’d actually use the ‘clips’ feature.

    Can someone give me a list of reasons why I’d use it over just standard track decks? I really don’t understand the whole concept.

    • If you are like me (and every other deejay I know) you probably wouldn’t. The 8 sample decks in Traktor are more than enough for 99% of DEEJAYS, most of which don’t even use the sample decks as it is.

    • I think it’s made to attract Ableton Live users more than giving tools to already Traktor users!

    • I use the 8 decks constantly and am having to switch samples all the time so this will be awesome! Can’t wait for it and hope they have a new S4 mapping otherwise I guess I’ll add some gear lol

  4. awesome, will get this day one! i think of it as live arranging, I want to be able to do a Aaron LaCrate – Say Na or Boogie Pimps – Saltshaker cutup live. what would be a killer feature would be if i could drop a cue point, and then load 16 samples from 2 or 4 beats sequentially ahead (like the Twitch ‘slicer’ feature). Then I could really remix on the fly.

  5. launch date april 1st? really?

  6. José Reach says:

    I assume there is only 1 F1 controller per package? I see that both decks are set for the F1, and in the clip they used 2, but can I assume then that there will be only 1 per package and that there will be a change decks button/knob on the controller?

  7. DJ Smasherelly says:

    I like the look of this. While living in the states and working at Dubspot Shiftee put me on to Traktor and I’ve been rocking it ever since. The only time I thought about going back to Serato was when The Bridge was announced, but seeing that Not being able to scratch clips, etc kept me on the route of Traktor. I do like creating blends/mashups and having scratch control of the clips will be really cool.

    When I first heard about it, I was thinking, djing is heading towards a more production based workflow, but the Kontrol F1 with vinyl manipulation will work great for me.

    Nice work NI

  8. And this still comes under the broad category of “DJ” right.

    Can we get a video of Shiftee’s set with the F1 please

  9. since the F1 (previously with unknown name) first pics where out, i knew this was not for me. as a pure DJ, the way traktor is developing doesn’t bring pure DJ’s anything good. Anyway, as i’ve said before, i do understand the need to follow this path and quite logically, if the F1 was produced, a software upgrade with such features had to be coming up! Congrats to NI for inovating once again and clearly tightening the gap between producers and DJs. I think this will allow for awsome future tunes. as a pure DJ, this is also good news… i will sit back and continue enjoying my “wondering around and looking for good music” and hope that even more funky and out of the ordinary tunes start coming out during 2012 !

    Now please start producing modular controllers like behringer, only better… please please pleaaaase?

    • I agree with you on the behringer modular trend. and the price of them should make every other manufacturer feel a bit uneasy at least. Price drops anyone??

      Cheers :)

    • Thank you! I agree with everything here! Especially about the modular controllers, only better. :)

    • Completely agree. I have been very suprised/dissapointed by the lack of modular controller options that have been developed for the use of DJ’s that still require such things as jog wheels plus pitch faders that are actually longer than a couple of inches. I felt sure that we were going to get to see more of these especially from Numark and/or Pioneer. The majority of Drum & Bass and also Deep House DJ’s are still using CDJ’s, as they want to stick to that way of working. I cant see them being swayed by all in one controllers, or by sample pad style traktor controllers. For these people, modular controllers are going to be the way to bring them over.

      I was excited to see the behringer modular controller with jog/wheel and pitch fader, but I think they have missed a trick as the fader looks just too short. I know its ‘high res’ but still…

      It looks to me like still the only option is the denon dn sc2000

      • antiMACtax says:

        I owned the Denon SC2000 and was really impressed with the solid feel of the jog. The buttons are a bit squishy, not bad- and not good. Heavy little sucker too, which is nice (quality). 4 deck control using 2 Denon SC2000′s and Behringer’s MM-1 sounds like a great setup!

  10. This appears to be the NI answer to the Ableton bridge. I guess it is cool if you are into that sort of thing. The software looks interesting, from what I can see of it, but do we really need another controller? They are starting to take on the same characteristics of a car. Drive it off the lot, and it has already depreciated 10-20%. Is the trend really toward “clip” based djing? Do you really call that djing, or a live performance, or is there a difference? I wonder what the cost of the software upgrade will be? I hope NI didn’t remove the traditional decks for these “remix” decks.

    • Jam-Master Jake says:

      I wouldn’t worry about that XEL…they’re not going to move the software forward at the expense of alienating their more “traditional” customers. Things will change gradually as the software moves through future releases, giving ALL customers the chance to learn and adapt to the changes.

    • The software upgrade will be free – I asked them.

      • Phil,
        This is great news. Was there any mention about Traktor Scratch Pro 2? This seems to be only a Traktor Pro 2 upgrade.

  11. Jam-Master Jake says:

    Behringer doesn’t exactly have a “revered” name here in the States. They’re known for making budget hardware with questionable reliability. Some people have nothing but success with their Behringer products, others have nothing but trouble with them. Me personally, I’ve owned 5 Behringer products over the past 5 years and ALL FIVE of them died within 6 months of ownership (being used in a smoke/pet/liquid/kid-free studio). Needless to say, I don’t care how cool a Behringer product seems or is, I don’t lay down my cash on products with that name.

    Behringer’s concept of modular controllers is clever, but unless they really start selling A TON of them, I don’t see the other Controller manufacturers too threatened by them.

    As far as the F1/Traktor Pro 2.5 goes, I like it. Will I use it initially? Probably not…I learn more and more as I improve my DJ craft, but I’m still kind of an old school “let the record play and mix it well with others” DJ. However, as I’m fascinated with remixing/mashups, I can see myself gradually going this route over time as I learn more and more about it.

    Now let’s see what Numark does with their MPCDJ product next year!

    Thanks, Phil…this is an awesome scoop!

  12. “Ableton in a DJ way” is overrating.
    Cool effort from the NI guys but unless you give me a way to set up send-return channels and VST support……no way you can call it “Ableton”….With all due respect, there’s much more than just clip-triggering….

    • so true!

    • He said Ableton Live if it was actually designed for DJ’s. And he was right describing this that way.

      You’re talking about something else. He’s not saying it could replace Live for everyone. Only that Live is not designed for DJ’s, no matter what they may say, and this is taking that idea (Ableton Live) and putting a DJ-friendly spin on it.

      • Ok but all Im trying to say here is that not ALL Ableton-using DJs (producers who DJ) use Ableton for the sample slots-clips. Frankly, if I could set up custom channel chains of vst FX in traktor I would drop Ableton for DJing and start using Traktor instead. I repeat, the notion that Ableton Live has been made a choice only for its clips-triggering, is not accurate! There are other features in it that may be what make it a choice for users like me! ;) On that scope, Traktor is still a million miles away from “Ableton the DJ way”. Personally it would be closer if it had at least VST FX support and channel routing more than now that it has sample slots.

        Of course, this is my personal views on the matter, your mileage may vary, as they say! ;)

  13. Huh, has the video been removed??

    And I hope the upgrade price won’t be too steep, as this is only a “minor” upgrade…

    • I heard somewhere that the software upgrade will come with the F1 (much like the S4 came with updated software).
      As it’s a 2.5 update rather than a 3.0, I’d guess that the software update won’t be too pricey if it’s not free.

  14. How much “clip” prep will I still have to do. Will the software do any of this for me? Because that would make a big difference in how attractive that is to me.

  15. I’m sceptical about this…There is a difference between a dj and a producer on stage…If Ableton or similar software so needed for DJ-ing…why isn’t everyone already doing so? Why does everyone still use a simple deckplayer? To me it’s just a new way to sell new stuff.
    I really hope they don’t lose their new customers, if things evolve too complex.

    • I doubt it, even with them adding more features which in turn makes things a bit more complicated; you can still always revert back to the simple 2 or 4 deck player set up

  16. Didn’t traktor 2.5 come out back in 2004 or 2005?

  17. I think it’s cool and I think it’s a smart move on NI’s part to make sure Traktor is in that portion of the market.

    Personally, I really don’t use even the existing sample-deck capability on my Kontrol S4 as much as I thought I would. I’m glad to know that capability is there, for when I decide to change my play style to use it, but I’m still in a primarily “mix from song-A to song-B mode, occasionally snag a loop or two” mode.

    NI was smart to make the interface of Traktor morphable to be able to “hide” functions that aren’t needed so as not to clutter things.

    Barring any hug changes in what I do, I would not see myself buying this new unit, at least not for quite a while. But again, I’m glad to know it’s out there and would be an easy thing to add.

  18. Jam-Master Jake says:

    Is Kontrol F1 strictly for triggering samples, or does it combine the functionality of the X1 with the new sample triggers? In other words, are users going to be combining the X1 and F1 controllers, or do they just need the F1 now?

  19. Video Posted Here: http://youtu.be/wrhRMZDHp-8

  20. Hmm. Ok, this makes two question spring to mind to me about incorporating clips into my set:

    1) where are these clips coming from? Sadly I don’t have the time, knowledge or equipment/software to make them. The clips you can buy seem universally whack and over used. Am I meant to take them from the tunes I play? Can’t really see the point in that; I doubt my ability to arrange them is at all superior to the original intention of the producer. I mean i use loops etc to aid smooth mixes, but I play the tunes I play because I like them how they are, pretty much.

    2) Perhaps more importantly: How does this benefit my radio show audience or club crowd? I mean if they can see what I was doing they might be impressed, but most of the time they can’t. They don’t really care as long as they’ve got something to listen/dance to.

    Now if I was a producer I’d be very excited, and those two questions would answer themselves. But sadly I’m not. As a DJ I barely have enough time to stay on top of new releases. So yeah, this is an exciting development for producer/DJs and controlerists, but not so much me I guess.

    • Two good points. 1) It can come from the tracks you’re currently playing for an instant “remix” 2) If you can’t think of a use for it (and I suspect many DJs wouldn’t be able to) you’re right, it ain’t for you.

  21. StrangeMatter says:

    Very intrigued now, but NI should take a look at Behringer’s modular offerings and give us the 4 channel mixer controller I’ve wanted to see them do since the X1. And easier compatability with Maschine wouldn’t go amiss. The clup launching is cool, but full live production would be awesome.

  22. It would be great if they finish the Traktor Scratch Pro 2 version.
    It still have lot of bugs, in samples inclusive. Please, finish before start new features and new versions. There are a lot of features that the Traktor users asked and you didn’t attend it.
    I.E.: Sort playlist by midi command, control all DN-X1600 leds, fix the decks names in sample (DECK I, DECK J, DECK…,etc, fix the rotary controls from DN-X1600, etc.

  23. It has no use for me playing live and the style that I play (progressive trance). Ultimately it just looks like a flashy, bells & whistles way to fire off samples and clips that you can do anyway with the current version of Traktor & any half decent controller..so how much will this really add to ones performance ? Maybe it might be different for guys DJing dub or breaks …would be interested to hear more of their views.

    • well being able to trigger 16 samples on 2 different decks (32) you could make a trance songs with only loops. But I would realy need to try it in real life to so how or if I’ll add it to my DJ style. I cloud export my songs as loops of 4 bars separated in drums bass pads and leads and be creative while playing them back live.

  24. Hey Phil, is Traktor 2.5 being released at the same time as the F1. i.e. April or earlier? And do you know if it is a free upgrade?

    Cheers

  25. I specially like the binding that this will have between Maschine and Traktor. I’m pretty sure that you can code those new “remix decks” quite easily into Maschine MIDI. You can also use the “audio drag” feature to make clips inside Maschine and then simply move them into traktor. This will be the “Maschine looper” that everyone is asking for. I’m quite sure also that Native will release those loop players as plugins to maschine, or at least hope so.

    One should also ask if those color coded pads are gonna be included in Maschine 2.0? Native has been very persistant in it’s attempts to make the line between DJ and a producer disappear, this will not wipe the line completely out but will make it a whole lot harder to define in the future.

  26. This looks pretty sweet, maybe I’ll actually use the sample decks for once. Hopefully they’ll improve the mapping editor as well so it won’t take forever to map my controllers to the new functions.

  27. DJ ForcedHand says:

    This isn’t going to radically change DJing, the changes coming from being a producer and a DJ at the same time have been here for a while and to some extent, already included in other mixers. What I see being different is that finally, we’ve got more button choices than Green, Amber and Red.

    This is not going to be Ableton Live for DJs (it’s just going to be an improvement on the X1), however since every media file ever produced (including all your records, CDs and MP3s) are nothing but samples (when finally rendered), why not treat all samples the same? This F1 doesn’t appear to be anything other than an LED color-coded trigger box and Traktor 2.5 seems to be focusing on catching up to the rest of the industry; Virtual DJs unlimited decks, Torq’s background integration with Pro Tools and Serato’s partnership with Ableton, “the Bridge” (currently only available with Scratch Live but soon in Itch) in this arena. Why isn’t Native Instruments making the bold move to include their Music-Making line of Hardware and Software into Traktor Pro, why not tap into the D.A.W. from Maschine?

    I’d be more impressed by Native Instruments if I could make the environment area (G.U.I.) more user-definable not only the structure of the layout, but the color themes, more swing-away buttons, better computer-to-computer synching, but most importantly improving the whole experience with the Controller Manager… and I *actually like using* the samples in version 2.x of Traktor.

  28. They really need to FIX their software issues first before adding more bells n whistles that will, of course, introduce more issues.

  29. The hardware looks legit but hopefully the software is stable and bug free. I have a feeling the reason why the last few Traktor updates were terrible was because NI were putting all their resources in to this update

  30. Traktor F1 Fan says:

    TLooks AWESOME! thanks for the write up. Does anyone know if you can use it to control Ableton as well?

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