The Latest Komplete Kontrol Software Update
Why you should get excited!
This latest release of the Komplete Kontrol software is likely to go down as somewhat of a milestone amongst users, just as the introduction of the ‘pre-hear’ feature and FX slots did a while back, let’s discover why!
A-series owners rejoice, and for those holding back their purchase, there is now no reason not to buy.
It’s been a while coming since the A-Series launched in October 2018, and the Komplete Kontrol team have been working immensely hard to deliver, but we now finally have speech access to this great range of lower priced keyboards, and what’s more, this version of the software will also be compatible with the forthcoming M32 mini keyboard, meaning it will be accessible immediately out of the box.
browsing is currently achieved by use of the four way encoder, rather than using the eight rotary knobs that MK1 and MK2 users are familiar with, and this is a feature that is hoped will be added in a future release.
This means that the full array of browsing categories normally found spread across the eight knobs, has had to be curtailed a little in order to preserve browsing, selecting, workflow speed and efficiency.
One very handy feature included in this release of Komplete Kontrol is the ‘fast scroll’ facility, this is particularly convenient wehn you want to quickly get to a preset for example beginning with ‘Y’ when you are situated at the beginning of the alphabet tree, simply holding down the shift button and rotating the large rotary dial will whizz you through the presets much faster. Just as an example I have a batch of 300+ Kontakt patches in my user section, typically it would have taken me 15 dial twists per 100 presets, with the shift button held down it only takes 4, so this is quite a time and repetitive strain injury alleviator, I believe the speed ratio is one rotary click per 21 presets.
By far the most exciting feature in the new version of Komplete Kontrolthat all KK users can immediately benefit from and enjoy regardless of keyboard model, is the inclusion of the new sample module.
Native Instruments have introduced the ability to hook up both Komplete Kontrol keyboards and Maschine devices to their cloud based Sounds.com sample subscription service and to facilitate this have introduced a sample playback module within Komplete Kontrol.
By adding the sample engine module within KK also means that you are able to scan in your own existing locally based sample collections from sources such as loop libraries and FX files and play and edit them on your KK keyboard, regardless of whether you are a Sounds.com customer or not.
As well as your own samples, products such as Native Instruments own expansion packs, and Battery Factory libraries that use samples will also now be detected, picked up, scanned and included in the factory side of your sample content browser. In short this now means that all those great sounds you hear in various Battery kits that you were previously unable to access or play chromatically from your keyboard, can now be filtered by type, auditioned, loaded, tweaked and used alongside your own user sample content within your music compositions.
Samples in either 16 bit WAV or AIFF format can be included, meaning everything from commercial sample libraries to user created audio file content can now readily be available to you directly from your Keyboard.
Be warned though, adding all this additional sample content can potentially mean a longer scan time every time you add new material, but the convenience of having all this extra content and creative potential at your fingertips is well worth the wait.
Quick Guide to the new KK Sample Module feature…
Let’s take a brisk walk through the new sample section of the Komplete Kontrol browser and try to make sense of it all.
The new sample functionality behaves very much like the existing browse and plug-in edit system, except you now have the option of choosing between instruments or samples which are categorised as either loops or one shots.
Adding sample content is done automatically when it comes to official factory content, in other words any Native Instrument expansion packs you add to your system get picked up and scanned in as a matter of course on the conventional instrument side, and any samples present are also added to the database of samples in the factory content.
Adding your own samples is the same as adding files to your user content, you can simply place them into your user content folder and Komplete Kontrol will detect and add them to it’s database.
I would however recommend a more methodical approach, as using and collecting samples can be a rather addictive habit, and if your user content folder happens to reside on your OS drive you may soon run short of space.
Instead it is well worth creating a dedicated samples folder, with a logical file structure within it, for faster navigation from the KK keyboard.
Unlike when you add non-NKS Kontakt files, adding new samples will actually retain your own organised folder/file structure on the Komplete Kontrol keyboard.
As an example you can create a folder called samples, within it you could have a folder inside called drum loops, Vocal Samples, Foley sounds etc, and within these have further sub folders for named libraries or collections, which once scanned in will all show up in a similar way in which vendor, product, bank, type and presets do on the instruments side of the factory browser.
Sound samples are played automatically as you scroll through them prior to loading, very much like the pre-hear function for instruments, which of course makes life much easier particularly if you have a large sample collection and just need to ‘tone match’ a sound before loading it.
When you load a sample from your source of choice, you will be placed in the sample plug-in edit mode, again very much in the same way as you would when loading a conventional instrument preset.
Here is a walkthrough of the pages and sample controls you will have available to play with, again, accessed and stepped through in the now familiar way, using the page buttons and rotary knobs.
To get to the available samples on either a MK1 or MK2 keyboard, in browse mode first press and hold down the shift button, and then press the page left or right button, where upon the browse mode can be switched from instruments to either loops or one shots
On the new A-Series keyboards, currently, in browse mode clicking the encoder to the far left will put you into column one, where you can rotate and press between either instruments or the two sample category types.
Then in any keyboard model use the relevant method of browsing to filter and load a sample of your choice.
Sample Edit Mode
Page 1 – Voice Settings/Engine
Knob 1 – Polyphony, rotate to select from Legato, 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 as the number of voices
Knob 2 – Not Allocated
Knob 3 – Glide
Knob 4 – Pitch Bend
Knob 5 – Engine Mode, rotate to select from classic samplers Standard, MP60, S1200, S1200L, S1200LM, S1200HM, S1200H,
Knob 6 to 8 – Not Allocated
Page Two – Pitch/Envelope
Knob 1 – Tune
Knob 2- Start, rotate to trim the sample offset or start time
Knob 3 – Reverse
Knob 4 – Type, One Shot, AHD, ADSR (note the options selected here affect the availibility of subsequent Knobs on this page)
Knob 5 – Attack (both AHD and ADSR)
Knob 6 – When AHD is selected this is Hold, When ADSR is chosen this is Decay
Knob 7 – When AHD is selected this is Decay, When ADSR is chosen this is Sustain
Knob 8 – When AHD is selected this is unallocated, When ADSR is chosen this is Release
Page Three – FX/Filter
Knob 1 – Compression
Knob 2 – Drive
Knob 3 – Sample Rate
Knob 4 – Bitrate
Knob 5 – Filter, off, LP2, BP2, HP2, EQ,
Knob 6 – Depending on the filter selected this can be cut-off or Frequency
Knob 7 – Again depending on the filter type this can be Resonance or Width
Knob 8 – Gain only when E.Q. is selected, otherwise unallocated
Page Four – Modulation
Knob 1 – Attack
Knob 2 – Decay
Knob 3 – Sustain
Knob 4 – Release
Knob 5 – Destination Pitch
Knob 6 – Cut-Off
Knob 7 – Drive
Knob 8 – Pan
Page Five – LFO
Knob 1 – Type, Sine, Triangle, Rectangle, SAW, Random
Knob 2 – Speed
Knob 3 – Phase
Knob 4 – Sync, Free, Re-Trigger, Lock,
Knob 5 – Destination Pitch
Knob 6 – Cut-off
Knob 7 – Drive
Knob 8 – Pan
Page Six – Velocity/Modwheel
Knob 1 – Velocity destination Start
Knob 2 – Decay
Knob 3 – Cut-off
Knob 4 – Volume
Knob 5 – Modwheel destination start
Knob 6 – Cut-off
Knob 7 – LFO Depth
Knob 8 – Pan
As you can see, these features can potentially open up a whole new world of creative possibilities for our use of the Komplete Kontrol keyboard, making it a further step forward to it being a fully intergrated one stop solution for a music and audio workstation.
The ability to load and tweak our own sample content is a substantial step forward in terms of workflow, meeaning we no longer need to load an external sample edit/playback plug-in like SFZ for certain tasks, giving us more flexibility and options in shaping and manipulating sounds and audio.
It may also perhaps go some way to address the much desired ability to use NKS FX on an audio track, for example you could potentially freeze a completed vocal or guitar track, export it out as a compatible wav file and load it back into KK as a sample and then add NKS FX on subsequent slots, but this is only a theory of mine, which I am yet to experiment with.
I think you will agree this is a very welcome and exciting addition to the world of Komplete Kontrol, and the team deserve a big thanks in recognition of the technical achievement that went into it. Proof if any were needed that Komplete Kontrol is still capable of the surprise element of pulling substantial new tricks out of it’s musical hat – for the music in you!
(c) Chris Ankin
February 22nd, 2019
Andre Louis has produced an excellent overview video covering many of the aspects of the above article, this can be found at the following link:
The author accepts no responsibility for subsequent purchase decisions made as a result of reading this article,or Any inaccuracies found within this review. All opinions or product functions stated are based soly on information perceived as a blind user whilst using the product in combination with information gathered from official factual sources on the web or product manual.
About the Author
Chris Ankin has worked previously as a freelance review contributor with articles published in Sound On Sound, Home & Studio Recording and ST Format Magazines.