The Komplete Kontrol-S keyboards have been on the market for a while now, but excitingly Native Instruments has continued to build up a software-side system that supports the line and makes it even more powerful. With a new update to the Komplete Kontrol software, producers can use their own VST instruments and developers can build native versions of their instruments with a new format. Plus, there’s a new 88-key version of the keyboard!
One of the biggest issues with the Komplete Kontrol software has been a dependency on NI’s own instruments, but now the software allows VSTs to be used as well. There’s a Control Panel in the 1.5 update that allows custom parameter mappings to the keyboard hardware, meaning that you can set presets for a live performance with a VST instrument.
NKS = Native Kontrol Standard
This is the big news in this 1.5 update – Native Instruments is opening up their plug-in format to allow VST / Kontakt instrument developers to integrate their devices with both Komplete Kontrol and Maschine hardware/software. This isn’t just top-level integration either, it allows deep parameter mappings, access to the keyboards’ Light Guide (to display key switches and sample assignments), use of the Smart Play features like the arpeggiator, touch strips, scale mapping, and more.
It’s not just an empty room in the NKS world right now either – Native Instruments has already gotten a number of major instrument manufacturers to sign on, all of which have agreed to releasing an NKS version of their instruments for free to current owners – partners so far include Arturia, u-he, Output Audio, Heavyocity, Spitfire Audio and more.
Komplete Kontrol S88
Adding another keyboard to the Komplete Kontrol lineup, the new S88 brings a full set of 88 “fully weighted, hammer-action” keys to the table. It might be a simple-looking update to add a few more octaves, but Native Instruments’ notes on the keyboard note that the action and feel of the keys are even closer to a true piano experience thanks to “premium keybed from Fatar, featuring fully-weighted, hammer-action keys and superior aftertouch”. All of the controls that are present on other Kontrol S keyboards are included as well.
The Kontrol S88 is set to come out October 27th (the same day as the Komplete Kontrol 1.5 software update), and will sell for $999.