Native Instruments was one of the companies that perfected the art of combining music production with the precise interaction of hardware and software.
Their latest offering the Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S-Series is one of their finest yet.
While you might be satisfied with Maschine and Traktor Kontrol doing some serious sampling, they aren’t keyboards
The Komplete Kontrol S is.
Read more about: Fantastic Midi Keyboard Controllers
A Perfect Design
Like most Native Instruments hardware, expect your stuff to be full of surprises that you could use for any kind of audio situation. The surprise here is this keyboard is more than just a MIDI keyboard controller.
While Native Instruments already had something called Kore (image left), it’s not the same with the Kontrol S series. They may share similarities but nope, not at all.
The Kontrol S is a very black keyboard. But a sturdy black keyboard similar to the built of Maschine, which feels solid and sleek.
The glossiness just adds to its sexiness and brushed metal surfaces make it look mean and want to do some tough business.
However, it has more in store for you.
When power is turned on, the colors light up across the surface of the Kontrol S. The knobs are touch sensitive and are made quite sturdy.
Each of the knobs have a sharp monochrome display that shows the mapped parameters with values indicated by their horizontal slider graphic.
Pitch and Mod wheels do not exist, but they have touch strips with LED position indicators.
While many of you might not like this bit, it’s actually pretty useful for modern players who jump around in different pitches immediately without the “springy” sound when you want to get to that point quickly.
The keybed is semi-weighted and feels sturdy. It doesn’t have much mechanical noise. So it’s a yes for me!
Then comes the lovely, lovely part. When you connect it to your computer, the LED lights above the keyboard turns blue.
After downloading drivers for your respective DAW (I use Cockos Reaper or Presonus Studio One), you get to use the Komplete Kontrol software.
Again, you could just use it as a MIDI controller but you’ll be missing some of the good parts.
Using Komplete, you bring up the Native Map to see the Clear View Screens. Step through the various instruments that automatically assign the eight most important parameters of the instruments such as filter cutoff and resonance to the knobs and you get a feel of intuitiveness.
The lights are everything. The Light Guide, which is something I’ve honestly never seen done in any other keyboard, is useful when working with Komplete. The LEDs help you focus on your playing rather than stare at your keyboard and know which samples should you play next.
It might sound like a small deal, but when you think about it, for live performances and those passionate performances, you could just unleash everything with the velocity-sensitive keybed without staring at your screen.
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S focuses primarily on the hardware experience. They really want the users to feel they’re playing a real keyboard and have the feel for it instead of looking up at the screen anticipating the right time to play and change a sample.
Kudos to you, NI, you’ve done lots of work for many of us today!