Native Instruments pads out its Komplete 14 suite with some welcome new toys

Native Instruments’ flagship music production line, Komplete has a little bit of everything. That has always been part of his appeal. It’s pricey, but you get monster synths, a top-notch drum sampler, a virtual guitar rig, and Kontakt – which is also a sampler, but calling it that seems incredibly stripped-down. Native Instruments is still one of the biggest names in the music software world, but it’s an increasingly crowded and competitive market. And a lot of that is moving towards a subscription model (even Native Instruments). As such, the company is adding some new software this year in the hopes that customers will come back for at least one more big purchase.

Komplete 14 is the first version to be released since Native Instruments (NI) joined Soundwide, a collection of brands including Izotope and Plugin Alliance. As such, Ozone 10 Standard by Izotope is one of the biggest additions to the Komplete library (at least in the $599 and up Standard version). This mastering plugin has countless fans thanks to its powerful feature set and simple interface. But for many, its biggest selling point is its AI-powered mastering support. Many amateur musicians (including me) rely on Ozone to master their tracks. You simply play the loudest part of your song, click a button and the plugin will suggest a starting point for mastering, including compression and EQ. You can then accept the settings, adjust them to your liking, or discard them and start over.

Native Instruments Complete 14

native instruments

The new partnership also allowed Native Instruments to beef up the bundle with a handful of smaller items from Plugin Alliance and Brainworx like bx_Oberhausen, bx_Crispytuner, and LO-FI-AF. None of these instruments or effects alone are likely to convince you in one way or another that Komplete’s more expensive versions are worth the hassle. But I don’t know anyone who would complain about that too many plugins.

The only problem is that many users may not immediately understand how to access it. You are not in Native Access Manager. Instead, you must go to your product and serial number list on the NI website to obtain the Plugin Alliance Bundle for Komplete 14 code. Then go to Plugin Alliance and redeem the code and download a separate plugin manager. Hopefully the two platforms will eventually be integrated to remove the addition steps.

Native Instruments Complete 14

native instruments

As always, the big heart of Komplete is contact. The new version – Seven – is not a big departure for this industry star. The browser has been updated for better compatibility with HiDPI displays and improved search and filter tools. The factory library has also been overhauled to take advantage of the graphical overhaul and provide better sound. The process of creating your own Kontakt instruments has also been simplified with improved creation tools.

Kontakt 7 might not be a major change from version six, but if you opt for the more expensive versions, like the $1,199 Komplete Ultimate or the $1,799 Komplete Collector’s Edition, you’ll get some unique and powerful expansions like Lores, Ashlight, Kinetic Toys and, one of my personal favourites, Piano Colors. The latter combines samples from a grand piano, various synths and textures along with effects and modulation tools to create complex sounds that cross the line between organic and synthetic.

Native Instruments Complete 14

native instruments

The only bad news here is that while Kontakt 7 is technically included in Komplete 14, it’s not yet available and won’t ship until sometime in October. Komplete 14 is available now, starting at $199 for the Komplete Selects base package and going up to $1,799 for the Komplete Collector’s Edition.

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Russell Falcon

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