Over To You: How Can I Best Use My Kontrol F1?


The Traktor Kontrol F1 may fit in nicely physically into your set-up, but how do you fit it in creatively?

Here's a question which like yesterday's, has been asked to me on several occasions (here's another one) since the Traktor Kontrol F1 was launched. "I like my F1 and I have a lot of Remix Sets that I've created using the sample CDs from music magazines plus the NI free downloads. My problem is I cannot figure out how to really use it in a live setting. The only useful thing I do is trigger scratch sound effects or other one shot sounds either during a song or at the transition."

"Also, for me all the samples clutter up in one folder and it's a mess. I'm super-compulsive about hard drive organisation and don't like all the samples tossed into one folder. So at the moment it's: Great idea. Great device. But practical use? I'm not figuring out and it's frustrating. Any advice?"

Digital DJ Tips says:

Firstly, apologies to the reader who asked this question for losing his name - that's twice in two weeks I've done that. I'm clearly working too hard! 😉

OK. Often new technology take a while to "bed in" and find its feet. We're feeling the same thing now about Mixed In Key's Flow software, and indeed I'm working on an article exploring the new things that particular product brings to the table creatively for DJs that aren't maybe apparent on first play with it. As far as the Kontrol F1 goes, I made a video a while back talking through some potential use cases for it, which has actually proved very popular - so if you have an F1 and feel a bit lost as to how to use it, it seems you're not alone! Here it is:



There's also an article from as few months back on DJ Tech Tools that explores ways of using the Remix Decks that may whet your appetite - you can find it here. But I'd like to throw this one over to the readers, as I'm sure there are many F1 owners who've found ways of using the device out there, and who'd be happy to share some tips.

So, over to you: Have you bought a Kontrol F1? How do you use it? How do you keep your samples organised? Please share in the comments.

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  1. I use my F1 mainly for accapellas and as warmup device.

    Sometimes it is a handy tool to get the crowd going by simply standing on the booth making a live mashup 😉

  2. Hey Phil, that was me. Thanks for posting the question.

  3. I capture a lot of samples from classic dance tracks that I like to drop in over the house tracks that I play. It gives me the ability to personalize some of the tracks that I play and when done right can bring in some great energy to a set when people recognize the sample over a new track. I added an F1 to my setup about 4 months ago and love it. Before I was finding it challenging to access my samples through my Denon MC3000. It worked ok for one shot samples but not so great for looping samples. The F1 opens up the full potential of the remix decks which gives amazing control over playing and managing samples. All of my samples end up in one folder in Traktor but I organize them by building and saving remix sets. Even within a remix set I organize them by page (ie. one-shots, loops, samples for a particular mash up, etc). The bottom line is that you can use the F1 in whatever way works for you, so let your creativity flow and see where it takes you.

  4. I'd be most interested in the last use you mentioned, but it seems like the Maschine controller I have can do pretty much the same thing so there really doesn't seem to be a point to this, especially because Maschine software perfectly integrates with Traktor Software.

  5. Brendan Wrixon says:

    I only ever seem to use the remix sets in like basement with a few friends sessions when screwing around. The samples are easy to overdo and end up sounding muddy. I was considering cashing it in until I realized it was also the ultimate DVS cue point controller just by turning it into MIDI mode

  6. Casey Sullivan says:

    I use maschine to make beats and samples and drag and drop into remix deck. I love my f1 and plan on getting a second one.

  7. DJ Echorbreaker says:

    I use the F1 as an effects machine. It has really good instagrat sesettings you can find on Dj tech tools website. Look in the midi mappings. Download the tekken mapping. You will be amazed how much it can be used in your live set!

  8. Cliff whitney says:

    Kontrol F1... I own 2.... Since the day I got them I experimented a lot with different ideas.... So here is a small list of what I have done so far....
    A)Native remix decks/Native deck control....
    B)MIDIFIGHTER/FX selector(midi mode)
    C)Ableton Live clip launcher(Deadmau5 midi mode)
    D)Reason Kong Drum controller(midi mode)

    I've never used them as hotcues with my DVS as i use my Kontrol S4's 8 cues per deck but I might just try that one in the future.....

  9. This is one of the best ideas to use the Kontrol F1 for me. Too many people won't use the Maschine (hardware & software) linked to Traktor. (Fewer cables, fewer hardware, fewer process on the computer, more free memory, CPU...use only one software instead of 2....)

    Or even this one:

    Both are Remix Decks adapted into a Step Sequencer Deck, so, in my point of view Native Instruments should create a new type of Deck, a Deck called "Step Sequencer Deck" as I told in NI forum. You can look it here:



  10. Seeing as I mostly play techno, the F1 is great for adding looped shots for depth when a track is too minimal.

  11. For me its all about accapellas. I also have a few bass line or dum loops that i use when the break of a track is to sound too "empty" and the energy drop is too low.

  12. Saw this today and it is Dubfire talking about how he likes using the F1 to layer drum loops over the top of tracks that need more energy. http://www.maofree.com/t6496-dubfire-how-i-play-interview

    I use mine for everything and have grown to love it and value it's uses. Maschine is to complicated to use live imo with all the routing requirements and what not. The F1 provides a simple way to launch loops, accapella's, etc simply and quickly. Love it

  13. I'm using a Z2 and the bit i miss from the S4 is the loop recorder. I use a page of the F1 as an extended loop recorder bank. Capturing bits of the mix lets you play round with multiple layers using filtering/fx, it also allows you reference bits from earlier in the mix. I also capture intro's from tunes, but don't play the whole thing again on the fly. A 16 pad loop recorder bank.

  14. al@mersom.com says:

    I like the idea of having some 'standby' samples to bring some variation to a track!

    I've only ever used mine for playing remix sets so far, combined with some modest effects I like creating an on-the-fly tune out of them.

    Here's an example where I jammed for nearly half an hour with just two remix sets from Pan Pot and Florian Meindl:


  15. Actually I don't really use my F1 in a live set with the remix decks. I use it just to control my cue points. It's really useful, because like that, you have 8 points and not only 4 like on many controllers. and for a one shot the sample pads of the s2 for example are enough :)

  16. prithwirajp@gmail.com says:

    Hi Phil, in your video above, you mentioned that you're planning to use the F1 to trigger "in-key" samples over your regular track. I think that's a great idea, even I have my music categorized by key and genre. Currently I use the F1 only during warm ups for doing some live mash ups and later use it to trigger effects in MIDI mode. If you could make a video to demonstrate your "in-key sample" technique, I'd be ever so greatful. I think the F1 has a lot of potential and would love to explore itore

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