Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 (5)

DJ Gear from Yesteryear — the Traktor Kontrol X1

Earlier on in this series, I showcased the Stanton SC system, a modular controller system so far ahead of its time that even if was released today would still be considered futuristic. But it’s that product that inspired Native Instruments to release the Traktor Kontrol X1, which went on to become a firm favourite with users of all software

The lead on both projects was Jim Mazur, a leading light at Stanton who then moved from LA to Berlin to pick up where he left off, albeit in a more restrained way. His hand steered NI to create the Traktor Kontrol series that users know, love, and still use today.

The DNA is clear in other controllers too. Allen & Heath’s K1 and K2 pay obvious homage to the Kontrol X1, and Behringer’s brilliant but underpromoted and underrated CMD series is an obvious evolution of the same modular concept as well.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol X1 (9)

The Kontrol X1 had a huge impact on the DJ scene, so much so that it spawned an emkay 2 (yes that in-joke again) and was the blueprint for the Kontrol F1 and Z1. It was that slice of MIDI control that you could put anywhere that could be mapped to any software, and make all those offputting checking-your-email looking moments a thing of the past. And such was the impact of the X1 on the Serato userbase, it was an officially supported accessory. Traktor hardware was plug and play in Serato software? If only it carried on that way.

So while we expect great lumps of gear to make the most difference, this small slab of controller goodness made itself well and truly known to the DJ scene, so much so that the X1 emkay 2, F1, and Z1 remain current in NI’s hardware offerings.


Do you have an X1? Original or emkay 2? What do you use it for?