Recently a Traktor Tips subscriber asked what the difference was between the X1 and F1 and so I thought I would explain them both here.
I have been using the X1 for Traktor since its release date, I tested it against an Allen & Heath Xone 1D and the X1 came out on top. It has been my goto controller for Traktor from that point on.
The X1 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 your track collection, load tracks into decks, skim through tracks, play your 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 to nudge tracks using buttons if you chose not to ‘sync’ your tracks.
There is nothing technical that needs to happen once you have unboxed the X1, just plug and play. If however, you want to create different mappings for your X1, you can. You can create as many different mappings as you like for the controller depending on what uses you have for it or if you decided to pair it with other controllers. It truly is the only controller you need, until now!
With the release of Traktor 2.5.1 Native Instruments released a new controller to function with the new additions to the software. In previous versions of Traktor you could set your track decks to sample decks and use those decks to launch clips and samples. Native Instruments has now taken this a step further by turning the sample decks into ‘Remix Decks‘. Each remix deck has 4 slots for loops or samples, each slot has 16 cells. All four slots in each deck can play simultaneously but only one cell per slot can be played at once. As you begin to play a loop in a lower cell the cell above stops playing. It maybe a nice feature if Native Instruments later change this so more cells can be played together unleashing even more potential.
The F1 is currently the only controller that can utilise all 16 vertical slots in the remix deck, but NI do plan on making this accessible to more 3rd party controllers as time progresses. For a more indepth look at this, please check out an article by Peter Kirn over at CreateDigitalMusic.
Ideally 2 F1 controllers would be nice to control 2 remix decks with ease, however, you can switch from one deck to another using your F1. NI pitch the F1 as an add on controller, to be used in conjunction with other controllers. I could see it being an excellent partner to the X1 allowing you the freedom to control 2 track decks and 2 remix decks.
So which one do I need?
If you don’t own a controller yet for Traktor and you have simply been testing out the program features using a mouse and keyboard and you now feel the need for a controller, I would definitely recommend you go for the X1 first. It offers you way more control over the more necessary features of DJ’ing with Traktor. If however you already own a controller or in-fact you use scratch control and maybe keyboard shortcuts to load tracks and add effects, then you could certainly delve into the F1 for some added fun.
As I mention above, the F1 is an add-on controller, I do however see some potential for using 2 F1’s as your main method of control if you are using an external mixer and want to create a live DJ set using hundreds of loops that you have created in the production studio.
Do you have an F1, what has your experience been so far? How are you using your F1?