With NI constantly working on sound libraries, Maschine expansions, and releasing updated versions of their flag-ship sound library Komplete, it’s only fitting that they have a controller keyboard that pairs with it. The Komplete Kontrol S-series fully integrates into Komplete and with the software version now up to 1.8, it offers many performance features. However what’s most significant is the development of their signature plug-in format called Native Kontrol Standard (NKS). This was established by NI to offer an entirely new quality of software/hardware integration.
NKS allows users to browse and load samples, instruments, and sounds by their intuitive tag based labelling system. This is very handy especially when you consider that Komplete 11 for example, has over 18,000 sounds and effects. Being able to quickly access the right sound for projects is important, so as to not hinder the creative process due to workflow constraints. NKS exists within browse functions for all Maschine 2 and Kontrol S-series keyboards.
Whilst this all really great, users will obviously be asking the question, “What about third-party plugs and instruments?” Well, NKS doesn’t discriminate as it has been designed open source, so other third-party software instrument and plug-in manufacturers can write the source code into their products so that they too will show in the Native browser on your screen, along with all the necessary tagging to access the right sound.
In addition, third party Instrument developers can use NI’s Native Map technology to map key parameters on any instrument to one of the eight knobs on every Kontrol S-series keyboards and Maschine hardware controllers.
The big winner here with the NKS integration is by far is workflow. One of the reasons NI products are so great for composition and music production is their pursuit to streamline users workflow, which ultimately can be a massive vibe killer when working in a session. Newer users, or people with less experience with music production may will find this particularly attractive. Speaking of workflow, users have access to some pretty powerful performance features for playing instruments in new ways. These include scale mode & chord mode, with the most significant one being the Light Guide, where coloured LED’s light up above keys on the keyboard which ties in with the keyboards scale feature. When it is engaged, LED lights up above particular keys illuminate to indicate which notes are in the selected scale. The keyboard will also highlight the root note, showing up brighter than the others.
It should come as no surprise to people who know me well that I’m a big Fan of all things Native Instruments. And the Kontrol S-series keyboards are no exception. My love affair began with Maschine and it’s intuitive way of sequencing and producing music.
So it’s clear to see that workflow is the biggest winner here. With the NKS integration system plus the S-series keyboards, you have an extremely efficient way to work through projects, and this is one of the reason why I love using these type of products.
For more information about Native Instruments products, contact your local authorised dealer.
– Leroy Amphlett