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Allen & Heath Xone:K1 – The K2, Without A Sound Card

August is off to a running start with new DJ products, and Allen & Heath have entered in their own new controller into the mix, the Xone:K1 ccontroller. From the looks of it, it is almost identical to the Xone:K2 (read our review here) that launched back in 2012 – but with one major difference – no integrated sound card.

Aside from that, everything else about the controller seems very much the same as the K2:

  • 6 endless rotary controls with push switches
  • 12 analog pots
  • 4 line faders
  • 30 backlit performance switches with three-colour illumination
  • powered over USB, can daisy-chain with X:LINK ethernet ports

Editor’s Update 8/11: Latching Layers (the ability to set different layers that are frozen or unfrozen on the controller) have apparently been removed on the K1. This is according to the below video of a Xone product specialist comparing the two controllers:

ADDING AND REMOVING FEATURES

This is the the second product that we’ve seen Allen & Heath launch that takes an already existing product and makes a new version with an incredibly minor feature change – the first being the Xone:23C, which added a USB soundcard to the not-even-released Xone:23 two-channel mixer. We’re wondering how much of this type of product versioning is driven by feedback from potential customers, and how much is a result of excess stock/parts that need to get moved.

BUT HOW MUCH LESS WILL IT COST?

The major reason to remove the soundcard from a controller like the Xone:K2 would be to make the controller more affordable – we’ve heard that the K2 will carry a price of around MSRP $260 – which will likely mean a much lower street price.

Learn more about the Xone:K1 on Allen & Heath’s product page here

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  • Chris

    i had checked out the sound card of zone k2 i had noticed that in the very low volume until to -10db it distorted the tails of sounds…. have someone else noticed this?

  • Giorgos Kanoupakis

    A&H do not mention anything about latching layers on their official K1 page. Are those removed to?

    • Exen

      Those are the same I’m pretty sure… I think the only thing being removed is the soundcard, to lower the price point for users who already have a soundcard (or a DB4/DB2).

      • Nope, no latching layers on the K1. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-1KiwkZ4I7I .. However, the feature is pretty useless anyways. It limits you to using one LED color per layer. You can achieve the same by manualle mapping a SHIFT button – preserving the possibility to output 3-colors – independent of your layer. It’s a little more work, I agree – but the K2 / K1 are not exactly built for plug&play use anyways.

        • Giorgos Kanoupakis

          The 3 color led feedback is for sure very useful but i liked the 3 layer of the x2 especially for programs without advanced modifier midi mappings (like ableton)

          • Ah, good point. Wasn’t even thinking of Live…

          • doclvly

            If this cost over $200 I just can’t see myself buying one.
            I love my k2 and the K1 is something I wish they made for a long time. However, you can get a used (like new/never used) K2 on ebay for $180-$250. So if this thing is $200, for about the same price or maybe $50 more you get a free case and a ton more mapping options if you eventually need them. I’ve used my other layers for studio functions like an editing page and a live page, sort of like photoshops workspaces so it’s not entirely useless.

            My thoughts on the K2:

            The software developers for the k2 did a good job with latching layers and could EASILY make it better with some firmware changes (additional latch layer options !!!!) but they just ignore any insight given on their own forums by users.
            Now the k2 truly stands up as a solid controller with smooth faders/knobs, but when this dude says “blank canvas” he really means it. The mapping of this thing is a bit tricky and the firmware/software side is an afterthought. If they implemented a GUI and feature system similar to the techtools line, it would be a far more useable and fluid controller worth the hefty price tag. Still, there is one weird thing about the K2 that I have a hard time looking over, the lack of a volume Knob for either the main volume or headphone volume. Now I understand you can map your main volume out but it just seems silly to not include one. I’m thinking about soldering two knobs on the front (mixer style) for main and cue volume.

            I’d also like to mention I have owned a K2 since release, so I’ve had a long time to play with it and since it was my 2nd controller and the 1st controller in the $300 range I ever owned, I clung to it pretty hard with no where else to go for a while.

          • Couldn’t agree more re the volume knobs.. Master output volume is reeeaallly missing with the K2.

  • m-o-i

    could you use 2 x K1 & a K2 together ?

    • Marco Hooghuis

      I don’t see why you couldn’t.

    • You can. And you can daisy-chain them using a standard ethernet cable (through their X:Link interface). That way you only block 1 USB port for multiple K1s/K2s.

  • Matthew Wegner

    If this had a crossfader it would be the perfect compact mixer control surface…

    (I route Traktor->Ableton and do software mixing with a single output).

  • mikefunk

    K1 with soundcard is 100 – 150 secondhand and there are plenty of therm online. A&H WTF? Seriously…

    • J C

      You mean the k2? And i would never sell my 299 dollar k2 for 100 150 bucks sorry 😛

      Plus stores never sell it at the msrp. This will most likely be a 150 dollar controller or something.

      • mikefunk

        Yep. K2 goes around for 150 Euro max. Sound-card is crap so if it’s the same I’ll be happy to replace it with new one as it will be lighter. K2 is heavy compared to X1. I hope new model is lighter. But no RGB!? WTF!? I was hoping for RGB the most. Or dedicated volume for headphones and better card. Since there is no card and no RGB why they making this at all? And price is similar. I never understand A&H. Second thing I don’t understand is 48Khz in XOne DB2. WTF again? Why there is no 92KHz? I am sure it’s done just by drivers and not hardware. I can hear the difference (with my trusty Audio 4 sound-card). One disappointment after another. New 23c mixer is still not Traktor certified (and never be) and super expensive. Sound-card is useless because of that to many users. It is actually better idea to buy 23 Xone without sound-card and Audio 6 Separately. Much more versatile solution and slight price difference. Seriously. Last thing – no A&H effect processor. Pioneer has new one and it’s great. They have fantastic effects in DB4 so why not making it stand alone effect system? I think A&H needs to pull out their head of their ass.

        Final thought. Buyers beware. There is absolutely NO support form A&H forums or emails or anything. Once you buy their stuff you on your own. There is no support whatsoever. All you will get form them is : Please, contact your supplier. That is all. It is really disappointing. No aftercare. Nothing. Be warned.

        • Vater Unser

          RGB is, to my knowledge, absolutely unfeasible with the MIDI protocol. At least it would make creating a mapping a much bigger pain in the ass than it already is. 4 LED colors would be okay. Too bad it only has 3 colors 🙁

        • A few things:
          – The K2 AI is actually on par with, say, and Audio 10. Check out the comparison run by Rainer over at traktorbible: http://www.traktorbible.com/a… What might throw people off is the comparably lower output of the K2, but don’t confuse volume with quality. I agree that I wish it would be louder, however it’s USB-only after all, without external power supply.
          – RGB, as Vater Unser said, is not doable using MIDI. Only NI can do this for traktor as they use their own protocol.
          – NI has stopped their “Traktor certified” program. So if you want timecode, you would indeed need to get an NI Audio soundcard. Many DJs are moving to 100% digital nowadays, removing the need for Traktor Scratch and therewith the certification.
          – I agree on the part that the K2 is heavier than an X1. But I must admit I really like the heft of the K2. It feels much sturdier and more rugged – the X1 feels like a toy next to it. If you really “get to work” on the controllers, the K2 will surely last longer and stay in place better than an X1.
          – A&H Support is not given through the forum any more. They announced that. You can log a ticket and they will reply. People like Greg and Jochen have been and continue to be very helpful to me.

          Also, you might want to watch your language and control your rage a little.

          • mikefunk

            Well. I am pissed off at A&H as they literally gave me ZERO support after spending 1500 on their Xone DB2 so yeah. All I got is, please contact your supplier. They have horrible support and they deserve all my comments.

            Regarding soundcard, it’s still 16bit so that is that. Average quality and quiet. Yes I said average quality because as long as sound quality is good is still 16bit which is now average achievement. I can hear the difference immediately.

            And I double my opinion about their new mixer 23C – overpriced and pointless.

  • Deksel

    Also, the soundcard is completely useless due to ridonkulously low output volume (makes my iPhone seem like Function One / Bullfrog).
    Would be awesome if I’d get some money back for that. As a controller though, it’s glorious. Might actually add a K1…

    • Exen

      If you are on a decent sound system and the mixer is being used properly (ie. not redlined to hell) then you can just raise the trim to compensate… I was able to play on a massive rig the other weekend no problem when my default soundcard kicked the bucket. I was actually really impressed with how clean it sounded.

      • Vater Unser

        The volume is not the only issue. The soundcard is, simply put, absolute china crap. Nice to have it for emergencies/convenience, but it’s nowhere near sounding good enough for a club system. (Not good enough for a club system means absolute trash)

        • Sorry @VaterUnser, I keep commenting to your posts – but I agree with @Exen. Quality seems absolutely fine for me in 99% of the occasions. Granted, I would not play a set at SPACE Ibiza with it 😉

          • mikefunk

            I don’t think A&H have social media people going around like you writing positive comments about company since they completely do not care about customer support. So why bother. Why just not admitting that this soundcard is a toy and can be used only as emergency solution. Yes it’s clean but is no punch. And it’s absolute minimum they could give. That is the point. This soundcard was trimmed to minimum in purpose. Everybody can see that. That Is why I don’t like A&H solutions. Like fake limiting Xone DB2 to 48KHz ONLY to look cheaper to justify DB4 little more. That is what really pissing me off. And other thin no longer supporting their own product. No more firmware, nothing, bye bye suckers basically!.

            And if you do not like my opinion and my rage maybe it’s time for A&H to step up their Social Media game which is now non existing. And if you like to find thousands more pissed off people like me I advice to go to their forum which they brilliantly abandoned.

            Basically I demand more as customer for such expensive products and If company simply hides head in the sand that’s really pisses me off.

          • I understand your frustration, and I completely agree that the sound card is lacking “punch”. I would also like to see more engagement from companies on things like forums and social media. A&H is no different to, let’s say Native Instruments there.
            Yet if the way you talk in this comment section is the same way you talk to the A&H support, I am not surprised you’re not getting anywhere.
            Once more, my experience with A&H is different. I got to know a couple of people there and they are extremely helpful. A&H also supports our local events and accelerated a friend’s DJ career.
            That said, I can understand your experience was different.. And I totally agree that they should have kept the forum going. Not a big fan of real customer engagement on Facebook, disqus etc.. as these places don’t really lend themselves to meaningful conversation (a forum does, imo).

          • mikefunk

            Man. I started politely. I tired everything. Now I just simply have no respect for their non existing customer support. That is all. I was stuck up with 1500 worth of product that had it’s issues and I had to resolve it myself by reading hour and hours on-line, all forums and all other pissed off people who were left in the dark.

            It’s strange relationship as I love their products, hate their lack of backing up their work.