Ralf Öchsner

Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 on Linux

This page describes how to make the Native Instruments Audio Kontrol 1 sound card work with Linux. I've only tested it on Ubuntu Linux (11.10 up to 14.04 Desktop) so far, but it should work as well on all other modern Linux distributions. Basically the sound card works just fine out of the box but there are some things that need a little bit of tuning to make all the features of the card work as expected (e.g. as on Windows).


Works fine with recent ALSA versions (tested on Ubuntu 11.10, 12.04, 12.10, 13.04, 13.10 and 14.04). However some applications, for example Mixxx (a great open source DJ software) can't handle the 24 bit and the 192kHz sampling rate. To make it work and be able to use all four channels of the sound card you need the following .asoundrc file.

In Mixxx you can select "channel12" for output 1 and 2 and "channel34" for output 3 and 4. Just remember to put the hardware switch for the headphones on the front of the device to the rigth channels.

# Makes the subdevices aka channel 1&2 and 3&4 available for alsa applications
pcm_slave.sl12 {
	pcm "hw:AudioKontrol1,0,0"
	format S24_3BE
	channels 2
	rate 192000

pcm.channel12 {
	type plug
	slave sl12	

pcm_slave.sl34 {
	pcm "hw:AudioKontrol1,0,1"
	format S24_3BE
	channels 2
	rate 192000

pcm.channel34 {
	type plug
	slave sl34

# create a virtual four-channel device with two sound devices:
# This is in fact two interleaved stereo streams in
# different memory locations, so JACK will complain that it
# cannot get mmap-based access. see below.
pcm.multi {
        type multi;
        slaves.a.pcm "hw:AudioKontrol1,0,0";
        slaves.a.channels 2;
        slaves.b.pcm "hw:AudioKontrol1,0,1";
       	slaves.b.channels 2;
        bindings.0.slave a;
        bindings.0.channel 0;
        bindings.1.slave a;
        bindings.1.channel 1;
        bindings.2.slave b;
        bindings.2.channel 0;
        bindings.3.slave b;
        bindings.3.channel 1;

# JACK will be unhappy if there is no mixer to talk to, so we set
# this to the usb card. 
ctl.multi {
        type hw;
        card AudioKontrol1;

# This creates a 4 channel interleaved pcm stream based on
# the multi device. JACK will work with this one.
pcm.ttable {
        type route;
        slave.pcm "multi";
        slave.channels 4;
        ttable.0.0 1;
        ttable.1.1 1;
        ttable.2.2 1;
        ttable.3.3 1;
# see above.
ctl.ttable {
        type hw;
        card AudioKontrol1;

Hardware controls (buttons, wheel and LEDs)


As MIDI device

The hardware buttons can be easily used as a MIDI device and therefore used to control Mixxx in a convenient and flexible way with the nicontrol tool I've written. The tool automatically deactivates the XInput device and maps all inputs to MIDI inputs in realtime while controling the LEDs to show which buttons were pressed (like the original Windows tool of Native Instruments does). You can download and find information how to use the program on the project website of nicontrol.


The hardware buttons and the wheel do output linux input events and therefore can be accessed through one of the /dev/input/event* files. The left button sends an 'a' key event, the middle button a 'b' key event and the right button a 'c' key event. The wheel seems to control the mouse (which can be very annoying) and can be accessed as a joystick through one of the /dev/input/js* files. To avoid sending annoying keyboard and mouse events the controls can be deactivated with:
xinput set-prop "Audio Kontrol 1" "Device Enabled" 0
and activated again with:
xinput set-prop "Audio Kontrol 1" "Device Enabled" 1


You can manually turn on and off all the LEDs of the device with amixer. You can see all the available controls that the device has with:
amixer -c AudioKontrol1 controls
Which should output something like:
numid=1,iface=HWDEP,name='LED left'
numid=2,iface=HWDEP,name='LED middle'
numid=3,iface=HWDEP,name='LED right'
numid=4,iface=HWDEP,name='LED ring'
You can then turn on for example the ring LED with:
amixer -c AudioKontrol1 cset numid=4 1
and turn it off with:
amixer -c AudioKontrol1 cset numid=4 0