Traktor Kontrol Z1 Mixer & Audio Interface Launched

Native Instruments today announced the Traktor Kontrol Z1, "the world's smallest professional mixer and audio interface", which works with Traktor 2 on PCs and Macs, as well as being the first Midi controller for the company's Traktor DJ app for iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, and iPod touch. Apple-approved (only a matter of time before we see a white special edition in Apple stores?), the two-channel mixer has the same form factor as the Kontrol X1 and Kontrol F1, and runs off external power, meaning it will charge your iDevice when plugged into it. At the same time it offers true stereo club-level dual outputs for full headphones cueing from Traktor DJ.

Traktor Kontrol Z1

Traktor Kontrol Z1 ships with Traktor LE, but it's with the company's $20 iPad or $5 iPhone app - Traktor DJ - that the Z1 is likely to make the bigger splash.

The Traktor Kontrol Z1 features a two-channel mixer, with dedicated filter/FX control for each channel plus three band EQ and gain, full headphone mix/cue control, VU meters, and 24-bit audio. It ships with a (black) 30-pin iOS lead, although you can use it with more modern iOS devices by using a 30-pin-to-Lightning adaptor, or by using your own Lightning cable. (Unlike some iOS Midi controllers, with the Kontrol Z1 the lead is not permanently attached to the unit.)

It's due in the shops on July 3, priced at US$199 / €199. Traktor LE is included, and buyers receive a $50 / €50 voucher on registration of Traktor LE; presumably, this can be used against an ugrade to Traktor Pro.

First thoughts

The Traktor Kontrol Z1 would make a natural partner for a Kontrol X1 and/or a Kontrol F1 to make a micro Traktor set-up to use with your laptop and Traktor Pro, but even on its own it will provide a portable solution for Traktor DJs who maybe use timecode in the DJ booth, but want something to practise on wherever, whenever. However, it's likely to make its biggest splash as an iOS Traktor DJ controller. With this launch, Native Instruments now has an integrated hardware / software solution for the iOS operating system, just like it offers for Windows and the Mac with Traktor Pro and the Kontrol S2 and Kontrol S4. Furthermore, now Traktor DJs can now use the same device whatever "flavour" of Traktor they're running, and on whichever computing platform.

Traktor Kontrol Z1

The Traktor Kontrol Z1 in use with Traktor DJ on an iPad.

Whether the whole concept will catch on for actual performance DJing is another question entirely, of course; an NI press shot show the Kontrol Z1 on a surface with an iPad flat beside it, and DJing in this manner is hardly the same as using full-sized gear, but for small set-ups (for instance, behind a bar), DJing on the go, and as a throw-in-the-bag alternative to an existing Traktor set-up, the new Kontrol Z1 - especially alongside the iOS app - ticks lots of boxes.

• Visit the Native Instruments website for more information.

What are your first thoughts on the Traktor Kontrol Z1? Does this push the Traktor DJ iOS app ahead of the pack? Will you be buying one, and if so, how do you intend on using it? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Get access to all our free DJ training!

Join over 150,000 Digital DJ Tips members to get exclusive free DJ training videos, articles & resources plus twice-weekly emails with the best of our tutorials, reviews and DJ news. It’s free, and you can unsubscribe at any time!


  1. Steven v says:

    Yep I knew it will come. They still have one more new toy coming out and if that will also work with traktor Dj man oh man they will rule the iOS Dj app

  2. Moralesx says:

    So.. if you have the Z1 and Traktor DJ for Ipad? What do you need an S4 and a Laptop for?

  3. DJ Fullhouse says:

    Can you connect cdjs to this and use it as a mixer?

  4. Jason R says:

    The NI/Pioneer handbag fight going on the moment is great to watch (with the XDJ-R1 out sometime next in the next week or two). It does seem that Pioneer is having a good stab at squeezing Traktor back out of the 'Pro DJ Booth' (whatever that that really means), at least in terms of hardware. Pioneer seem accept that NI software has has got a foot in the door and now refuses to leave, hence the Advanced HID support for CDJ-900s & 2000s AND the USB usability of the DJM-900/2000NSXs. However... NI, by enabling that protocol, has actually shot themselves in the foot a bit cementing Pioneers hardware booth dominance and making the 'Booth adoption' of their own NI hardware less of a need for those Pro DJs wanting to have tight hardware integration with Traktor in the Booth! Such a weird contradictory relationship they have at present. On the one hand working with and supporting each other, and on the other hand clearly fighting each other for both the home 'consumer' market (the Pioneer XDJ-R1 is clearly an attempt to reinvigorate the argument for the home DJ to jettison the laptop and software from the performance aspect of DJing), and the 'Pro' market. Although deck controllers have made great inroads into a Pro Booth's setup in recent years, does anyone here believe we will ever eventually see an NI mixer in a large commercial club's booth finally breaking the Pioneer/Allen & Heath/Rane (and in mainland Europe the occasional NUO) axis....? :o)

  5. Jonathan says:

    This is awesome! Time to start saving for this. I just bought traktor dj and this
    device is just what I've been looking for :-)

  6. FreshNstuff says:

    So i don't really see the point here ? Why wouldn't you just buy an Traktor Audio 2 soundcard and plug it into a mixer ? This is of course a good little equiment for hotelroom sets and such but in the club you could save 100 $ and buy Audio 2 and plug that into the clubs mixer.

    • Jason R says:

      This is my big point with NI/Pioneer. Until big clubs start installing NI mixers in the DJ booth, Traktor is always going to be seen as the 'interloper from the bedroom', unless you're Richie Hawtin of course! 😀

      • I have to disagree with you. Traktor is by no means an "Interloper from the bedroom" and its proven by guys like Leibing and Hawtin among others. This item is not meant to be a club mixer, it's an iPad/iPhone application based mixer that you can also plug into a PC if you want. You cannot plug in sound cards to the iPad/iPhone (Not even the ADJ2) so this is the solution to get high quality sound out of them while also getting some physical controls. Too many people are claiming this is a failed attempt at a club mixer. Which is totally true, because it isn't one to begin with.

    • It would be cool if they could update the audio 2's firmware sou you could use it on ipad and phone, like they did for the audio 6 and 10.
      Its ridiculous to hook up the a6 or a10 to your ipad, the a2 would be perfect and logical.

      • I hook up my TA-6 sound card to Traktor DJ every Friday , I mix externally 2 channel, and it's amazing.
        This is a mix internal solution for iPad djing, which isn't for me.
        The day they updated that firmware for the TA-6 was a happy day for me. A software update to Traktor DJ made the routing of the cards output very flexible

  7. I stopped using Traktor DJ when I upgraded to a four channel mixer (was using it with a DJMT1 as decks three and four), but this really is cool enough to warrant me picking up; afterparties, house parties, mobility, it's all there.

    • Jason R says:

      Sold my CDJs and 4 channel mixer a couple years back as stopped playing out in even bars. Started using just Traktor with a controller for just the occassional house party, etc. But now getting back into the odd bar night, and hired venue party scene (with multiple DJs), and I realised I was actually a bit scared of CDJs and a mixer!!!!! :/ The second I realised this I resolved to ditch Traktor and get some CDJs and a mixer again. Fortunately this happened just as the XDJ-R1 was announced. 😀

      • I started with just a laptop, then went to an S2, and then started creating my own setup once I decided the all-in-one's weren't for me.

        I love the new tech that's being released, but I'm actually looking forward to getting a pair of CDJs to offset my digital setup; I don't know if I'll ever go back to completely digital once I get them.

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      I transgressed (or whatever the h*ll it is I did :-)) to 2x SC2900 and 1x X1600 in a BIG DJ coffin recently, coming from a MC6000. I found out I like my gear full size and traditonal-looking. Mind you, I can do all the digital (Traktor) stuff I could, but it also allows me to just play CDJ style with my iPad with Engine connected.

      This little apparatus is just what the doctor ordered for portability and ad-hoc events.

      So much easier than even the iDJ Pro I bought for the purpose of small, potrable, backup gear.


  8. DJ Ben Blayton says:

    Wow this is good hot!! I can see we have and are moving in a direction where less is more! I don't have any problem with it!!

    • Jason R says:

      This is only for bedroom/home use and house parties, which is fine of course!

      • Who said so?

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        If this integrates tightly with the Traktor DJ app - and there is no reason to assume it won't - you could easily do a full blown pro-DJ set with it.

        Really, if you have your sh*t together collection wise (playlists, tags, grids, cues, etx.), what more do you need than this?

        Just cause it says Pioneer on it it is pro? I think Pro is the guy or gal behind the buttons that makes a party swing. And if he she can do it with this setup, more power to them!

        I look forward to the first DJ to just show up with this and blow the night away.


  9. Mr Assassin says:

    Consider the F1, X1, and Z1 setup shown in the vid. Does this remind anyone else of the unreleased Behringer CMD units?

  10. The title "Kontrol Z1 Mixer" confused me a bit...It IS an audio interface, it IS a "mixer controller" but its not a mixer - you cant connect two sources on it and mix, right?

    • Since there's only a USB input on the back it should be interesting to see what else, if anything, is compatible with this in terms of hardware and hacked solutions (USB hub, etc).

      • Yeah sure.....but its still not a mixer...Im buffled by NI's description in the product certainly is not a mixer.

      • Im sorry but Im not following the logic. Software mixer is the software being controlled - in this case, Traktor Pro and Traktor DJ. Granted, NI says "mixer....FOR...Traktor Pro, TraktorDJ...." which is pretty accurate usage wise but.....

        A mixer, last time I checked is a device capable of taking two independent audio streams and mixing it into one. I know it seems semantics, but anyway....Im jsut saying that by reading "mixer" I automatically assumed real, analogue audio inputs and I dont think I was wrong doing this assumption. I had to actually look to the product's hardware photos to understand!

      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        I'd say that is the "old skool" definition of mixer. In effect it does take two independent sound sources (deck A and B) and allows you to manipulate their sound qualities seperately. So that says mixer to me.

        I AM curious as to what name you would give it though. It's clearly not a controller as the term has been adapted these days.


      • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

        Well, if you think of a controller as an integrated unit combining two transport units and a mixer, when you take away the transport units, what have you got left? A mixer!



    • @ Chuck

      Audio interface - "mixer layout" controller...

      I still dont get why we are discussing the obvious here: was S4 called a mixer? Why is this one called then? Was there ever before a controller called mixer just because it happens that it can control a software mixer?

      Im not old-school - I just like correct definitions of products.

  11. It's a mixer in the sense it controlles the mixer section on Traktor so if you have an x1 and want an external mixer with built in sound card this is what this is for quite cool really train journeys could become a lot more fun

    • So its a controller with a mixer layout! 😉 Oh, and a soundcard too....but not a mixer!

      • dj dub c says:

        i see what u r saying.....i agree...but at the same time i think its actually ahead of itself, its brand new so just gotta see what other uses NI has for it......

      • The Z1 when connected to Traktor mixes internally. IE: the Z1 controls the software and all the mixing is done internally before leaving the software.

        Every pro soundcard comes with mixing software - MOTU, Apogee, UAD, RME. They all mix audio in the software domain.

        All-in-one DJ controllers are called so because they have the decks component and the mixer component in one unit.

        A mixer mixes audio - software or hardware it's still a mixer.

  12. I know the Z2 is a two channel mixer but I'm almost positive it controls 4 deck in traktor.

  13. Steven v says:

    We got one more new toy coming from NI. It the x1 mk2 be nice if that will work with traktor Dj

  14. I actually also felt deceived. I completely agree that this unit is everything but a mixer. I was really excited when I got the promo email, I opened it but could not find a photo of the back panel. I looked at the NI website and still could not find it, and then realized that the feature list didn't say anything about inputs. I think it's a great product that fills a hole that needed to be filled, great design and concept, but the promotion is misleading, besides, if they ever do make a small format mixer they will have to figure out what wordage to use (and I will be the first person to buy it). But yeah, this is a DJ controller without transport controls.

    • So true!! I think many people on this thread are suffering a case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. This is NOT a mixer!!! This is simply the mixer section of a controller WITHOUT deck control!!!! And yet there are people of over this thread insisting that at some point a big name DJ is going to how up with one of these and 'rock a huge club' ?????????? No he won't! The big name DJ will play of CDs, or Vinyl, or timecode vinyl, OR his laptop, but will ALWAYS plug into the clubs main installation mixer!! DJs DO NOT bring their own mixer to a club. This is a controller with a sound card pure and simple. DOES NOT accept external outputs... ergo IT IS NOT a mixer.

      • King of Snake says:

        now here's a challenge..!
        we all plug into the house mixer, sure, but this and an ipad..i will kill the floor...

        oh, or give me 2 tape recorders...


  15. Robert Wulfman says:

    I think it's great that NI offers this modular approach along side their all-in-one systems.

  16. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    Practical example. Last year I was invited to visit the director of a charity organisation. I run all the audio/video/live sound/tech aspects of their events here. They were hosting a new event in her hometown, Chicago. She asked if I would be so kind, since I was there anyway, to help out with the sound. It ended up that I needed to use the small Yamaha PA that they borrowed from a bar owner and use it with my iPhone. Some too basic for words mixer with it.

    I would have LOVED to use my iPad with Traktor DJ and this little gizmo (which would have easily fit in my oversized bags for the trip or in my backpack). The only thing I would miss would be a simple mic input (no fader needed, a simple on/off button would do) for the odd quick announcement or something.

    So, this will probably make it to my spare setup kit, cause it would make an awesome backup kit too!

    Now all I need to figure out is a nice slimline flightcase (ABS preferably) to hold this little machine with a slightly tilted iPad next to it.


  17. As long as this thing is reasonably priced i think it's a great little piece of kit.And as for pioneer dominating booths mentioned by Jason,it depends on the type of DJ,i have yet to see a controllerist use pioneer,most of them run NI with midi fighters and other misc controllers.As for me personally if this this is under 150$ i am so getting it.

  18. And i do hope they realize they will have to lower the price to 150,at 200 bucks it's way too over priced.

  19. What this thing is is an allen & heath xone k2, made ready for use with the iPad.
    I use something like that modular setup shown: f1, k2 instead of the z1 and a contour instead of the x1

    My question: should we expext a z4? I'm waiting for that one (don't buy the 2+2 thing)

  20. Charles Edward says:

    Can you use to 2 kontrol z1 in tandem to create a 4 channel mixer?

  21. The hybrid "2+2" concept of the Kontrol Z2 was innovative, but it also helped NI erroding the term "mixer". As the comments of Softcore and DJ Broken Record show, people feel deceived now by NIs marketing department overclaiming the capabilities of the Z1. With the Z2, the terms were still ok, given the two modes of the unit (switchable by the Traktor button), even though it caused confusion, as seen in . Page 2 of that thread shows a statement cited from NI about why they use internal mixing mode e. g. for DVS, and to me that made sense. Now in the case of the Z1, it's a (MIDI/HID?) controller with a builtin soundcard offering a mixer section without transport controls. Fine, why not call it this way? Clear terms avoid confusion. Looks like they expect to sell more units by watering the criteria down. I honestly don't think that NI is in such a desperate situation to push them to this kind of marketing. They can do better. But then it's also us possible customers that need to use our brains, disect the claims, analyse what's there and make informed decisions. Good to see this happening here.

  22. Does anyone know if it is fully midi mapable? I would love to use this thing with a ableton setup alongside additional controllers. Especially since it has a built in interface.

  23. An NI Z4 is the ONLY way NI mixers will ever supplant Pioneer/A&H/Rane/Ecler/etc in the DJ booth. Until such time as NI produce a FOUR channel standalone mixer that also has Traktor connectivity the most they will ever have in big clubs/bars in terms of hardware is controllers, but never mixers (oh hold on, hasn't someone done this already? Oh yes, the DJM-900NXS). Also there is still one undeniable fact. NI gear is modular gear that each individual DJ brings with him/her. You never find NI gear as part of a club/large bar's installation. Pioneer/A&H/Rane/Ecler is exactly the opposite. DJs never (well almost) bring hardware with them by these manufacturers, but it is what they expect to find already installed!

    • Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

      Hummm, standalone mixer with traktor capabilities, hasn't someone done that already? Ah, yes, Denon with it's 2-channel X600 and it's X1600 and X1700 mixers.

      • Jason R says:

        Chuck, you are spot on! In fact more or less all of the big three or four installation mixer manufacturers have done a take on this EXCEPT NI. TBH, while this is a lovely and fun bit of portable kit, it IS just a midi controller at the end of the day. I am actually surprised that NI have taken this step (I'm tempted to backwards) side wards after the release of the pretty bloody great Z2 (apart from a few issues with the face plate cosmetics not being up to scratch... pun intended), and not continue from the Z2 to a Z4 which is what the world will REALLY sit up and take notice off, and finally make the big installation boys tale them seriously/see them as genuine competition for 'booth' domination. I think it's impossible that a Z4 isn't in the works and think that should have been the next Mixer release after the Z2 to keep that momentum going of NI being ever increasingly taken more seriously as a serious hardware manufacturer. This is not to take away from the X1, the F1, this Z1, the AUDIO soundcards, but at the end of the day this is all peripheral gear, addons if you will. I'll be truly excited to the inevitable Z4. A mixer built to be the foundation and primary piece of kit in a pro installation around which everything else (1210s, timecode, CDJs, multiple laptops, Maschines) is built. THAT is going to be a press release to change my underwear over. 😀

  24. Chuck "DJ Vintage" van Eekelen says:

    It's very interesting to see that when a big name like Mike Monday is featured in an article about DJs making great producers (and let's face it, most big names out there now make their money producing, not spinning in the traditional sense), it draws a whopping 5 comments. When NI introduces yet another piece of the modular puzzle, this place explodes.



  25. For everyoneconfusedabout wether this a mixer or a controller, the answer is both! It is no different than that of an analog mixer or a digital mixer/controller for your daw software. The only difference here is you can't hook up analog devices.

    As a controller it controls the line, cross faders and eq etc. of traitors onscreen mixer while allowing the sound coming from traktor to be manipulated separately. I believe
    what most of you are confused about is actually controlling the deck (pitch, pitch bend, start/stop, cue etc.) and this s where an x1 or even a Denon dn-sc2000 come in handy.

    Hopefully this explains all. The Z-1 is a mixer and only a mixer!!!

    • IMHO a technical device that accepts multiple sources as input and mixes them together according to certain controlling parameters qualifies for the term "mixer". OTOH a "controller" is a device that controlls these parameters.

      NI calls it "mixing controller" on their page, which I think is appropriate. Given the expected price tag, which e.g. would be considerably lower that an Ecler Nuo 2.0, I can only assume that this devices controlls Traktors internal mixer. This would be in line with their quoted statement here: . This way they can apply Traktors software effects also post fader. If the basic facts for this analysis are right, technically it would be a traktor audio 2 soundcard (one channel for master out, the other for headphones, see setup example 1 here: ) combined with a control section for the internal mixer. I think it's a simple and good idea.

  26. StoneCut says:

    This is the perfect bit of kit for me. I WANT to do everything just with an iPad but was missing some more tactile feedback. This mixer is the perfect solution. The only thing I don't like is the price. It's at least 75 Euros too expensive ...

  27. I always read the comments on this site but this is the first time I've felt the need to actually say something. I understand that maybe NI worded the description wrong but anyone looking at the product would be foolish not to look at the specs or the example if how it should be set up. It is quite clear as to the capabilities of the controller. Also why do people question the use of such a device? It's clearly aimed at people who don't need the pseudo decks on an S2 or S4, and there are many professional DJ's (i'm not a professional dj by the way) who use those to, as they say 'rock a club' and they all have the same soundcards. Please guys lets not argue the silly points about a mixer/controller and just look to see if it fits in with your setup or if it could replace anything you don't really need if it does, well good, but not every piece of equipment brought out is made for you. Sorry to go on with such a long winded reply but I just had to add my 2 (or 20) cents.

  28. sammsousa says:

    not that i really want to this it, but this plus the x1 mk2 will bring the ipad to the clubs

  29. Dan Mendes says:

    To me, the beauty of this beast is portability. In the beginning there was Jack...errr, I mean there was the VCI-100 + Audio 2 (or take your pic) audio card. I see, at least here in Brazil, a LOT of DJs who are moving away from using external mixers (who are rented most of the time, and God knows how well those work) to keep control of the quality of their performance.

    Most used Timecode CDs + Traktor. The majority have moved to a Kontrol S4. I have an S4 myself, upgraded from a VCI-100 + Audio 2 DJ. I had tried initially the X1, but without jogs for pitch bend (and no patience to correct beatgrids for my songs) I left it by the side.

    The Z1+X1 (and soon X1Mk2) is an even more lightweight solution than the VCI-100 + Audio 2 DJ were. I have a mixing controller that gives me control of the audio quality I put out to the club/bar/event mixer, and in a lighter package than the S2/S4.

    I don't see any point in keeping the S2 alive if you're not doing controllerism/performances with those jogs.

    Beautiful and cheaper than Audio 6 + X1.

    One question: how it the setup supposed to work with 1 X1 + 1 F1? The X1 would control one of the decks, and the F1 the other? Clearly you can't have 3 decks on this thing.

    Come to think of it, they could release an F1-like 4-channel Z1 :)

    Great conversation, folks.

  30. I pre-ordered. I love the modular approach. I use at Z2 and two F1's.

    Modular means I can take my F1's and an Audio2 or my TA6 to any venue and plugin to any mixer.

    The Z1 gives me ultra portability and integrates into the same system I can use at any club. I love that flexibility.

    I spent ages mapping my F1's to comprehensively control Track decks with full RGB color, so I could use them with any DJ mixer.

    So whether I am dj'ing on the couch, at a bar, or club I have a range of interfaces that gives me full control. No other DJ solution comes close. Well done NI.

  31. djrizki says:

    err yeah I'm officially confused ...

    Since most local dj's here (about 10000000 of em) bring their mac into the club, the alternate option to be able to bring your ipad into the club its what interested me ...

    So can you like take this Z1 + your ipad, to a club, and plug this Z1 into in-house mixer ? and just rock the crowd ?

  32. DJ Unthinkable says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Native Instruments completely stole IK Multimedia's iRig Mix design? The only difference is they are charging 100$+ more?!? Look at this and tell me I'm wrong... and yes it sells for less in Best Buy, Future Shop, Proaudiostar, ect. What do you guys think?

    • The iRig Mix is totally different. It lacks a sound card, cannot charge an iDevice, and is not a midi controller. What it does have going for it is that it is a mini mixer that can take any audio input.

  33. Lance Miller says:

    Speaking of portability, check this out:

    To paraphrase, the newest update of Traktor DJ now allows users to monitor in stereo from the iPad headphone jack, while outputting the master through a 2-channel USB sound card hooked up via the Camera Adapter.

    No more need for a bulky, self-powered 4-channel audio interface. The poster says he has tested sucessfully with a Griffin iMic.

    Now I just wish the app had pitch faders. imagine taking just my iPad to a B2B practice session at a vinyl DJ friend's house!

    • Lance Miller says:

      Makes the Z1 sounds like a pretty expensive option unless you just can't live without hardware controls for TDJ. And if that's the case, don't you just want a laptop and DJ controller anyway? My MC2000 didn't cost much more than this Z1.

  34. Stumilner says:

    Someone please help me out bought this a few days ago been trying to use with traktor scratch pro 2.6 but no idea how to connect to my laptop. My audio interface is a guitar rig session I/O and monitors are krk rokit 5's what cables do I need & what settings do I change in traktor for the z1 to work as it should.

    Thanks guys.

  35. I'm new to traktor - am I right in thinking that if I have a laptop already, I could buy a z1, an x1 mk 2, and use those to mix 2 channels, and use the touchstrip on the x1 to pitch bend?

    I sold my cdjs and want to get started with traktor, and would rather keep tge familiarity of beat matching manually. would that setup work for me?

  36. I got the audio 6 and i was wondering if i should buy it as a mixer for scratching
    i mean it have a good fader for scratching >?

  37. So, i have a traktor kontrol S4 right now, and in another two-three weeks i'm gonna play on my first gig in a club. Do i need another soundcard like traktor scratch audio duo/4/8/10 to support my audio from the kontrol S4? Or the soundcard from my S4 is already support for the club audio surroundings.

    Please guys, i really need your help, this is the first time i play on a club, and i wanna make it perfect.


Have Your Say