Native Instruments has just released the latest iteration of their popular 2-channel DJ controller – the Traktor X1 MK3. This versatile, modular controller is designed for Traktor Pro 3 software and is aimed at DJs who need pro-grade portable gear.
I recently went hands-on with the X1 MK3 to thoroughly test out the new features and see how it performs for creative Traktor DJs on the move, let’s check it out.
Overview and First Impressions
At first glance, the X1 MK3 retains the same ultra-portable footprint as the previous X1 MK2 edition, but is slightly bigger. However, Native Instruments has added significant upgrades under the hood to enhance the controller’s capabilities.
The unit feels very sturdy and road-ready thanks to its durable construction. It could withstand being tossed into a bag and transported to gigs regularly.
The redesigned buttons have a nice tactile center click, and the thoughtful spacing between controls makes everything easily accessible, even when performing in dark environments.
Upon first trying out the X1 MK3, I was impressed with the high-quality feel of the RGB backlit pads and redesigned control buttons. The knobs feel smooth and precise. Native Instruments stepped up the hardware quality from previous generations.
Top New Features
Here are some of the most notable and exciting new features included on the X1 MK3:
- 16 RGB Backlit Pads – Great for drumming in cues, loops, and rhythmic sequences
- 5 Informative OLED Screens – Provide visual feedback without glancing at your laptop
- Dedicated Mixer Mode – Transforms the X1 into a 2-channel mixer for easy blending
- Fully Customizable RGB Lighting – Tailor colors to your DJ style
These upgrades allow for greater creative control and visual feedback than previous X1 controllers. Adding a dedicated mixer mode and OLED displays makes a big difference in enhancing the workflow.
Deep Integration with Traktor Pro 3
Where the X1 MK3 shines is its deep and seamless integration with Traktor Pro 3 software. It unlocks intuitive control over Traktor’s features, including decks, extensive effects, advanced looping tools, one-shot samples, and other creative remix capabilities.
The tight integration makes all the advanced tools in Traktor Pro 3 feel right at your fingertips when performing with the X1 MK3.
Mixer Mode for Intuitive Blending
One of my favorite features of the X1 MK3 is the dedicated mixer mode button. With a simple tap, you can instantly transform the X1 MK3 into a capable 2-channel mixer with hands-on tactile control of channel EQs, gains, and the crossfader.
This allows you to craft seamless mixes, blend tracks, and finesse EQs intuitively without looking back and forth from your controller to the laptop screen. The informative OLED displays are beneficial when in mixer mode for effortlessly monitoring both channel levels at a glance.
The mixer mode combines a versatile pro-grade controller with a 2-channel digital mixer into one portable device. This is a game-changer, allowing me to run a complete DJ setup from one compact piece of gear.
Impressions and Verdict After Testing
After spending some time putting the X1 MK3 through its paces, I’m thoroughly impressed with this capable and well-designed controller. It takes the best aspects of the famous X1 controller line and adds logical upgrades that noticeably improve the workflow and creative potential.
The construction quality ensures it will hold up to extensive travel and performance. The deeper hardware integration with Traktor Pro 3 unlocks a new level of tactile control and customization capability.
For DJs who need pro-level portable gear to unlock the full potential of Traktor software, the X1 MK3 is hard to beat. If you regularly use Traktor and want enhanced hands-on control in a flexible form factor, the X1 MK3 deserves a spot in your gear bag.
This new controller will become a favorite for many Traktor DJs once they get their hands on it.