clearing up some confusion!

There is some quite understandable confusion surrounding exactly waht this whole Komplete Kontrol thing is all about, not least due in some part to Native Instruments product titles and branding.

We have Komplete Kontrol, Komplete, Komplete Ultimate, Kontakt and Komplete Select, and then there is the issue of accessibility to consider and how it all works with our existing music software, no wonder for the total newcomer it can seem quite daunting with a mountain of information to piece together it’s like some kind of hi-tech musical jigsaw, and all we really want to do is get on and make some music!


Firstly let’s address the software naming, bundles and suites etc.

Komplete and Komplete Ultimate (followed by a version number currently 11), is the name Native Instruments give to their software bundle suite, Komplete 11 offers a good selection of core programs, sample based libraries and audio fx plugins, Komplete Ultimate as the name suggests provides pretty much the whole of Native Instruments products suffice for some of their more expensive full orchestral sample libraries and independant products.

The primary programs which Native Instruments are renowned for are their industry standard sample library player Kontakt, the full version of which is included in both Komplete and Komplete Ultimate bundles. As well as this you will find products such as Absynth, FM8, Massive, Reaktor, several sample libraries such as pianos like The Gentleman, The Giant, Retro Synths, West Africa library to name but a few, this list is not exhaustive by a long shot so I would recommend checking out a product comparison chart on the Native Instruments website to discover exactly what you get for your money, either package represents a considerable saving over any of the products being bought separately.

If you want to use Komplete Kontrol’s accessibility features (and I assume that’s why you are here!), you will need to use one of their Komplete Kontrol hardware keyboards. There has been two versions of product, the original (which I will refer to as the Mark One) came in a 25, 49, 61 and 88 key version, the latter having weighted piano action keys, the other three models possessing semi weighted synth action keys.

In October 2017 Native Instruments released a Mark Two version of the keyboard with greater potential integration with DAW’s having dedicated tracking features alongside the existing standard transport features, the newer models are currently only available in a 49 and 61 key version.

all of the above keyboards ship with entitlement to download Komplete Select, this is a reduced ‘get you started’ version of the full Komplete bundles offering a full version of Massive (the soft synth) alongside several sample libraries which all work within the provided free Kontakt player. Note that Kontakt player will run any sample library that requires authorisation through Native Access (the software management that all Native Instruments software require), but will only run non-licensed kontakt libraries in a 15 minute demo mode. Komplete Select offers a reasonable cross section of sounds to wet your appetite and experience what the whole accessibility mode can offer you.

When either of the above software package suites are combined with a Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol keyboard in conjunction with their Komplete Kontrol software application, some particularly special magic occurs, the Komplete Kontrol software scans all of the products, libraries and presets and creates a database, which is then mapped to the physical hardware controls on the keyboards, and with text to speech accessibility turned on becomes navigable via the keyboard itself.

The Komplete Kontrol software itself can be thought of as an initially empty vessel, as it acts as a host to the software products found within the Komplete package, and remains essentially empty until you choose a product and preset sound to load, at which point the sound becomes playable from the keyboard, and it’s various sound components also become editable also via the keyboard.


The Komplete Kontrol software has two variants, the standalone application which can be opened outside of your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), this version is required when building the initial database or adding new products or presets and also performing certain utility based settings. Providing the audio hardware is correctly configured it can also be used to play all of your instruments outside of the DAW environment should you wish to do so.

the second and most common way of using Komplete Kontrol is within your DAW of choice on either MAC or Windows, it is Instantiated in the same way that any VST based instrument would be loaded, and then acts as the central hub for accessing all of your NKS (Native Kontrol Standard) products.

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