Shout Out (DJ Booth)
Overview: We’ve had the Traktor Kontrol Z1 mixing console interface in the DJbooth.net Lab for to test it out with the Traktor DJ App and the Traktor Pro and LE software. Check out the results in the full HD-Video and written review to see if this is the option for you. (The Traktor Kontrol Z1 is available now for $199 and comes bundled with Traktor LE for computer connectivity. The Traktor DJ App is now FREE from the App Store.)

Setup & First Impressions
The Traktor Kontrol Z1 is a compact and modular mixer for the full Traktor Pro 2 (or included LE) software and is also a perfect companion for DJ’s using the Traktor DJ App on any iOS device.

The Traktor Kontrol Z1 has a set of RCA main outputs around the back along with a USB connection to hook up to a computer or the iOS device via the supplied 30-Pin connector or USB cable. The front of the Z1 has the headphone output in the front for monitoring while mixing. The Traktor Kontrol Z1 Hardware is built very much like the Traktor Kontrol X1 and F1 in terms of size, construction, and overall build quality. The Traktor Kontrol Z1 shares the same dimensions as the X1/F1, so the new hard-case stand or soft-cases will fit perfectly.

The Traktor Kontrol Z1 chassis is made up of mostly plastic with the new magnetic/replaceable sheet of shiny poly-material on the face of the unit (similar to what is found on the Z2). Like the Traktor Kontrol X1/F1 the Z1 also is a fully MIDI-Mappable machine, meaning the DJ can switch this over to MIDI mode and program this unit to work with any DJ software out there.

The crossfader and linefaders feel the same as the faders found on the S2/S4, but not the same as the mini-innofaders in the Z2. No big deal there, as I don’t think many iOS style DJ’s will be scratching on this anytime soon. The crossfader is a bit looser than the linefaders, but they all work well for their purpose.

Above the faders are the filter/FX backlit buttons that engage the effect or Low Pass filter knob on each side. Above the filter knobs are the three-band EQ’s and gain knob for each channel. At the top center, there is a Main volume knob that controls the RCA outputs on the rear. In the dead-center of the Z1 is the CUE section that controls the volume and channels engaged by the headphones.

Features
Traktor Z1 with Traktor Pro 2/Traktor LE

The Traktor Z1 is now plug and play thanks to the newest Traktor Pro 2.6.2 update released late last month. The Z1 also comes bundled with the free Traktor LE version that will allow users to DJ with the Z1 right out of the box without making any additional purchases. You can upgrade from the LE version to the Pro edition for only $50 at a later date if you choose to do so. The Z1 is a perfectly capable Traktor mixing device which lines up perfectly with the Traktor mixer which is on-screen in the layout. Power is not necessary when using this via a computer’s USB port.

Traktor Z1 with Traktor DJ

The Traktor Z1 works extremely well with the Traktor DJ App. The Traktor DJ App is now Absolutely FREE in the App Store, so go ahead and download the program to see if its right for you. In order to set it up simply start the Traktor DJ App on the device and plug in the 30-pin connector. Plug in the headphones on the front and speakers via the RCA outputs on the rear. Instead of flipping back and forth between screens in order to crossfade, cue, and mix; the DJ can now focus on the playback elements (effects, hotcues, loops, waveform) on the touch-screen while focusing on the mixing elements (fading, volume, EQ) on the hardware. The Headphone Cue volumes were more than adequate and the RCA outputs were also equally powerful.
Conclusion / Recommended For
The Traktor Kontrol Z1 is a good modular addition to the Traktor family of DJ controllers and soundcards while also providing a much needed hardware controller for mixing with Traktor DJ. Many DJ’s using a computer these days only need a mixing console to control the mixing parameters such as EQ and fading while other controllers do all of the playback duties. The Z1 would then be a great companion for full Traktor Pro DJ’s who want to pair it with a Traktor F1 or the new X1 MK2 that is due out shortly. The Z1 really shines the most while on the Traktor DJ App which frees up precious touch screen space for effects and playback while the Z1 controls the mixing. The Z1 even charges the iOS device while in use. The Z1 also has good overall construction and the same Traktor sound quality we’re all familiar with.

On the downside, the Z1 only comes with the older-style 30-pin iOS connector, so anyone with a new device will have to purchase a separate lightening adapter to make this work. My final minor gripe is that the Z1 must always be connected to wall-socket power in order to work.

If you’ve been waiting for a modular mixer style controller for Traktor Pro/LE or if you’re starting to get serious with the Traktor DJ App, then the Z1 is more than likely your weapon of choice.

Pros & Cons
Pros
Good Modular Mixer for Traktor DJ Pro or LE Software
Perfect companion for Traktor DJ App
Powers the iOS Device while in Use
Good Overall Construction & Sound Quality

Cons
Only comes with older 30-Pin Style Connector for iOS devices
Requires Power Connection to work with iOS