We’ve all been there when starting a new track, looking for the right sounds to use can take forever and by the time you’ve found something you like, the vibe is gone, and your creative energy has been reduced to zero. You know what you need— a tool that will play all your sounds, browse audition and consolidate them, all in one place! With the thousands of sounds, samples and effects that come bundled with the Native Instruments Komplete arsenal, having a plugin that allows you to browse your collection seamlessly is key to your happiness. That’s why the Komplete Kontrol software is essential as it lets you search and audition everything within your Komplete library. It features an effective tag-based browser system, makes finding sounds a dream as you can hunt down presets via individual plug-in instruments or refine the search via categories based on pre-set sound characteristics. Additionally, you can browse for third-party software instruments. There are a few creative tricks up its sleeve, so let’s take a closer look.
Komplete Kontrol software was designed to integrate seamlessly with all Native Instruments keyboards making it easy to browse and control your sounds in Komplete. However, it’s not necessary to own NI hardware as it works perfectly fine with any third-party controller.
Don’t forget you if don’t own a version of Komplete, you can try Komplete Start for free that comes bundled with 7GB of sounds and samples from NI’s Komplete library as well as Komplete Kontrol software — hell yeah!
Find your sounds
Once Komplete is installed, Komplete Kontrol software can be run in a standalone mode or opened as a plugin within your DAW. In the video below I have it loaded as an instance on a MIDI track in Ableton Live, which is handy as I can have multiple instances opened for as many sounds as I need. Each pre-set will audition when scrolling through the list and when the right one is found it can be loaded so that it becomes playable with a MIDI keyboard.
TIP: Hover your mouse over the star icon next to the preset name to add this to your favourites list making it faster to find patches you’ll use again and again
Chords/Scales and Arpeggios
For producers whose music theory is limited, or perhaps your keyboard skills are nothing special (there’s no shame here I have zero keyboard skills!), the Komplete Kontrol software lets you play many different chord types using just a single key. It also will quantise all the notes of a particular scale to all the white notes on your keyboard allowing a perfect scale to be performed via your MIDI controller. This is a feature that is inherited from their S-Series Komplete Kontrol Keyboards, so it’s cool that Komplete Kontrol software has adopted this feature for use with any keyboard.
Loops and Samples
Komplete Kontrol software isn’t just for finding instrument presets, it also works perfectly as a sample player. This works especially well if you have installed Native Instrument Expansion packs and are looking for a loop to use in your track. Navigate to the ‘Loop’ icon in Komplete Kontrol, select the library of loops you wish to browse, then begin auditioning. Once a loop has been selected, it can be loaded within Komplete Kontrol software and triggered from a MIDI keyboard. If you own loops and one-shot sample libraries like Sounds.com or Splice you can easily import them through the user window.
Don’t Forget Effects
Adding effects plugins to your synth patches is possible with Komplete Kontrol which is another reason it’s such a powerful tool for keeping your sounds in one place. Once you’ve loaded an instrument patch, navigate to the effects icon that will show you the plug-in signal chain where effects can be loaded. Komplete Kontrol will automatically display any third party effects plug-ins available, it is not exclusive to Native Instruments effects.
MIDI Mapping Control
Once everything is sounding nice, it’s always fun to have a MIDI controller mapped to the parameters in Komplete Kontrol so you can have full control over the sound. Any MIDI controller with pots or sliders will do here, but if you happen to have a Native Instruments MIDI keyboard like the M32 or an S-Series keyboard, those controls will automatically be mapped to all parameters of your sound.
Now just quickly, something that needs a little more detail is Native Instruments cataloguing protocol – Native Kontrol Standard or NKS. NKS is what makes it possible to search view and audition instruments from 3rd party manufacturers like Arturia or Spit Fire Audio for instance. It’s a brilliant feature as it integrates these instruments perfectly into the Komplete Kontrol environment meaning that not only is it simple to locate all of your sounds but all of their parameters will be auto-mapped to any Native Instruments keyboard, or any other midi keyboard that you have laying around. It’s this feature that is really at the core of why Komplete Kontrol is a powerful tool for using in your music projects.