Nailed it — I theorised about just why Native Instruments would drop the price of the Z2, and the new Traktor Kontrol Z1 is probably in part why. Following the existing “1” form factor, the all-new Kontrol Z1 offers real physical controls for Trakor DJ, as well as being a true mixer modular add-on for Traktor Pro.
As ever, the beautifully crafted words from NI HQ:
Native Instruments announces TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1
Native Instruments introduces the world’s most portable professional mixer and audio interface to natively connect to both TRAKTOR DJ and TRAKTOR PRO
Berlin, June 11, 2013 – Native Instruments today announced TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1, the world’s smallest professional mixer and audio interface, to natively connect to both the TRAKTOR DJ App for iPad and iPhone, and TRAKTOR PRO 2. When combined with the critically-acclaimed TRAKTOR DJ App, the Z1 adds headphone cue, and dedicated faders, filter and effects controls, and 3-band EQ for each channel. The integrated audio interface boosts audio output to club-ready levels – an important feature for iPad, iPad mini, iPhone and iPod touch setups – all without interfering with TRAKTOR DJ’s acclaimed touch interface. TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 also offers established TRAKTOR PRO 2 DJs a highly portable mixing interface when compact size and professional performance features are needed.
Following TRAKTOR DJ’s overwhelming popular success and warm critical reception, TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 now provides TRAKTOR DJ users with an all-in-one 2-channel mixer, controller, and 24-bit soundcard. Its dedicated faders, filter and effects controls, and 3-band EQ for each channel automatically map to the software, instantly giving DJs added tactile control over their iPad, iPad mini, iPhone and iPod touch setups. The Z1’s cue section delivers headphone pre-listening of the next track for fluid, professional mixing, while the built-in 24-bit soundcard provides club-ready sound without the need for additional hardware. This combined with the Z1’s compact footprint gives users the most portable TRAKTOR DJ setup available today. With iPad, iPad mini, iPhone and iPod touch turned on, TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 even keeps the device charged, assuring DJs hours of performance fun.
TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 is also the smallest professional mixer for TRAKTOR PRO 2 users to date – perfect for intimate after-party gigs or any situation that requires both compact size and professional performance features. Thanks to plug-and-play connectivity with TRAKTOR and the included TRAKTOR LE software, DJs can immediately start mixing on their Mac or PC system. When combined with TRAKTOR KONTROL X1 and F1 controllers, TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 becomes part of a powerful, professional DJ setup including full control of TRAKTOR’s Remix Decks and transport functionality.
TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 connects to iPad, iPad mini, iPhone or iPod touch with an included 30-pin connector. Using the Z1 with iPad 4th generation, iPad mini, iPhone 5 or iPod touch 5th generation requires an Apple Lightning to 30-pin Adapter, which must be purchased separately from Apple.
Pricing and availability
TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 is available at retailers worldwide and at the NI Online Shop for $199 / 199 € / 20800 ¥.
A $50 / 50€ e-voucher will also be sent to users upon registration of the included TRAKTOR LE software.
The TRAKTOR DJ App for iPad is available for $19.99 from the App Store on iPad or at www.AppStore.com. The TRAKTOR DJ App for iPhone is available for $4.99 from the App Store iPhone and iPod touch or at www.AppStore.com.
Further product information and press material
A video which shows TRAKTOR KONTROL Z1 in use with Traktor DJ for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, and TRAKTOR PRO 2 on a laptop, is available at: http://youtu.be/QXaD3KZ_2T0
Finally NI bring forth the missing link in their small format controller range. It’s not the first small format MIDI mixer of course — I could reel off a list of names like M-Audio, A&H, Faderfox etc, all of which worked just fine with Traktor and other MIDI DJ software. But I suspect that the Kontrol Z1 will be the first and possibly only controller to be allowed to work with Traktor DJ. I’m assuming this will work with any MIDI software though, making this likely to fly out the door of retailers everywhere, and see DJ Player and algoriddim djay update their apps to work with it in double quick time.
There’s little point in going through all the features at this point as they’re patently obvious. The Kontrol Z1 is clearly a basic mixer with shift functions to enable effects to be controlled on the EQ knobs. But one shot attracted my attention in the video:
This shows the full compliment of small format Kontrol devices being used with Traktor Pro on a laptop. Wouldn’t it be cool if you could do this with an iPad? I love the idea of iOS devices as a brain, but still prefer physical controls. Is this possible via a USB hub?
2 things worth noting:
If you have a newer iOS device endowed with the lovely Lightning port, you’re going to have to stump up for an adaptor, so be sure to factor in the additional cost.
It comes with Traktor LE, but you’ll get a $50/€50 voucher when you register to help you upgrade to the full version.
It is however interesting to note that while this would have been a no-brainer to release ages ago, it has been timed for after Traktor DJ’s release. No matter how far technology marches on, it’s impossible to get away from the simple fact that we DJs like to feel our controls. Moving a slider on screen is OK, but using a rotary control is a bit of a pain, thus the need by a great many people for the Z1. Traktor DJ’s market just climbed a rung on the professional ladder.
From workflow perspective, the Kontrol Z1 will give a more traditional feel when using Traktor DJ, and reduce the need to switch screens quite so much. It is a shame though that there’s not way to hook up an X1 as well to give hardware control to more features like looping and hot cues.
Many of you look to us to dust off the crystal ball and give glimpses of the future. I strongly feel that NI have only just begun to tap the potential of Traktor DJ, as well as the whole mobile platform. I suspect that beyond this, we’ll most likely see an S2 MK2 aimed specifically at taking full control of Traktor DJ. Makes perfect sense really, unless an S1 will arrive that will add the basics in a 2 deck controller format, leaving the S2 and S4 to be updated later down the line to cater for Traktor DJ and Traktor Pro’s more advanced features.
Whether DJs like it or not, DJing is going mainstream and is being pitched at consumers with increasing regularity. I hear rumours of large electrical chains wanting their own branded controllers to chuck out to Joe Public in the high street shops (remember them?), and the assorted app stores are littered with fully featured DJ apps of all qualities for piffling amounts of cash. Thus I sense that NI will be spreading their wings to encompass everyone who wants to be a DJ, from the Traktor DJ level with cheap controllers, but also continuing to service and develop Traktor Pro into crazy new areas.
Having seen the numbers about how many people have download DJ apps, NI would be mad not to get heavily involved in this market, especially being able to trade on its pro roots too. So while you may see continued activity at the lower end of the market right now, you’re still going to get your fix of bells and whistles in due course, and I suspect this year too.
This is however a smart move by NI on so many fronts. I’m looking forward to playing with it in due course.