If you’re looking for something to sit alongside your mixer, the Kontrol X1 MK2 is still the best Traktor controller, especially now that the touch strip makes manual beat matching really nice and intuitive.
Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 Review – Introduction
The Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 has been designed by Native Instruments purposefully for use with Traktor. All its controls are pre-mapped to the necessary functions within the software allowing you to navigate through your track collection, load tracks into decks, skip through tracks, set and delete cue points and loops. It also allows you to add effects onto each deck and control the parameters of each effect, change the effects and nudge tracks using buttons if you chose not to ‘sync’ your tracks. Taken on its own, this deck control is quite useful. When combined with flux mode, it can be used for some creative real-time track manipulation, with everything falling back into place once you release your finger. From another perspective, deck control on the touch strip (in combination with the tempo-adjustment feature of the loop encoders) gives you a very natural way to manually beatmatch tracks, especially if you have a turntable background.
Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 Review – The Touch Strip
The touch strip is the most significant update to the Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 and with it DJs can actually control the tempo or pitch of the track that is currently playing. The touch strip is split into two equal parts. The left part of the touch strip will control the left side deck and the right part of the touch strip controls the right side deck. The full touch strip, however, can also be used to control only one deck if the user touches the middle of the strip and drags to one side. The full real estate of the touch strip will now be used to manipulate the opposite side deck. In order to control both decks again, the user simply drags the finger from that side back to the middle of the touch strip. What makes the touch strip next-level, though, is that it can do more than just deck control. It can be assigned on the fly to two other features in Traktor, loops and FX. You do this by holding a finger in the touch strip and pressing the loop encoder or one of the FX buttons, respectively. In both cases, control is temporary. When the strip is assigned to control looping for a deck, the loop is only active when you’re holding your finger on the touch strip (loop length is controlled by the position of your finger). As a result, looping with the touch strip is more useful for performances than for mixing purposes). Its trigger-style functionality makes more sense for effects, where the selected effect is turned on and off based on contact with the touch strip.
Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 Review – Layout
The Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 is built very much like the other modular Traktor controllers such as the Kontrol Z1 mixer and the F1 remix controller in terms of size, construction, and overall build quality. The Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 shares the same dimensions as the Z1/F1, so the new hard-case stand or soft-cases will fit perfectly. The Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 chassis is made up of mostly plastic with a brushed aluminum face on the top. The middle section that contains the new touch-strip, loop controls and browse functions has a shiny poly-material so that the digital readout of the loop length can be read.
The middle section of the X1 MK2 contains the file navigation controls, FX activation buttons, auto-loop controls, and the new touch-strip. At the top of this middle section are the FX-A and FX-B buttons that activate the two FX banks on that particular deck. Below the FX bank activation buttons there is a centralized Browse knob which is an endless encoder knob that allows the user to scroll and select folders and tracks. The Browse knob is also a touch-sensitive encoder, so that as soon as your finger makes contact with the knob, MIDI information is sent to the Traktor Software. By default, as soon as you touch the Browse knob, the view of the software turns into the “browser view” which shows much more of the song library and minimizes the track decks. This feature can be turned on and off inside the Traktor Preferences menu.
Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 Review – Our Opinion
In our Traktor Kontrol X1 MK2 Review we think that NI made an excellent modular DJ controller that works perfectly with the Traktor Pro software to control advanced MIDI functions such as effects, loops, playback, hotcues, and so much more. Whatever you use it for, you’ll definitely be spending less time staring at your laptop and more where you should be… at the controls.