Traktor Kontrol Z1 — Unboxing and first impressions

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z1 DJ controller iOS iPad iPhone Unboxing (8)

NI’s Traktor Kontrol Z1 “DJ mixing interface” (that’s what the box says) is finally making it out into the wild. And by the wild I mean the worxlab. And when new and highly desirable shiny comes into my world, the first thing I think is UNBOX. So I asked the DJWORX masses via the usual social media channels if said unboxing was needed, and back came a resounding yes. So here it is, as well as a large dollop of first impressions as well.

Before I start, I got a few requests for an unboxing video. Sorry people, but that’s not my bag at all. I can’t watch them myself, and certainly can’t imagine a format for such a thing that I’d be happy filming, or that is interesting. A few pictures is a much better way to get to what you really want to see in my book.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z1 DJ controller iOS iPad iPhone (3)
The Traktor Kontrol Z1 sandwiched between the X1 and F1. Shiny, not brushed steely.

Given what I’ve done with the Z1 today, the final review isn’t likely to be much longer than this quick piece. It’s an incredibly simple device that like Cuprinol, does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s another small format device that looks and feels much the same as its Kontrol X1 and Kontrol F1 siblings. The big visual difference is that the faceplate is now shiny clear plastic to match its bigger Z2 stable mate, but thankfully has the markings underneath the faceplate. Personally I prefer the brushed metal of the F1 and X1, but this seems to be NI’s new finger print magnet ID for the future. If ever there was a product to trigger OCD cleaning frenzies, it’s the Z1.

Feel wise, it’s just like the others in the range. Making a casual mixer based observation, the crossfader is smoother than the line faders, which is a good thing. To clarify for those that care, the crossfader is fixed to the motherboard, so no Pro X Fade or Innofader transplants for the Kontrol Z1 I’m afraid.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z1 DJ controller iOS iPad iPhone (9)

In use, they’re complete plug and  play. Last night’s release of Traktor Pro 2.6.2 recognises the Kontrol Z1 right away and has it working perfectly. I’ll try it paired up with a Z2 when I review it fully to see how it interacts though. And it’s the same with Traktor DJ on iOS. The setup is slightly awkward because there’s no natural way for the Z1 to sit with the iPad, or at least not one that I’m used to just yet. One thing with iOS — the Z1 needs power which thankfully is supplied. There’s a certain irony in having to take an extra power supply in a real small setup I guess.

Native Instruments Traktor Kontrol Z1 DJ controller iOS iPad iPhone (6)

So in a nutshell, it’s like the other Kontrol modules, is shinier, and is proper plug and play with Traktor and Traktor DJ. I’ll offload the unit to one of the team to go into a little more detail, but essentially is does exactly what you think it does, exactly as you think it should. The Kontrol Z1 is a no-nonsense frills-free mixer controller, and that’s all you need to know. For now.