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Review of Komplete 4 and 5 by Native Instruments

Native Instruments improves their big bundle of Synths, Samplers, Drum instruments and FX


By Tweak



So far so good. The products, and there are twelve of them, all install nicely on my system  (Mac OSX 10.4.8 PPC).  Some are Universal Binary for the Intel based Macs already (FM8, Battery 3, Absynth 4 and Guitar rig 2), and of course they are all compatible with Win XP.  The set comes in a sturdy box with 8 DVDs and 13 paper manuals.  Give yourself some time to install them.  Take some time to think about where you want to install them on your system as some of the sample libraries are big.   

Big is the operative word.  Many big updates here. The FM7 is now upgraded to FM8; Absynth goes to V4; Battery from 2 to 3; Reaktor from 4 to 5; and B4 is now at version II.

For those who had not already upgraded to Kontakt2, Komplete 4 does that for you. Gone now are Kompakt and Intakt. The Akoustik Piano and the Elektrik Piano are now added the the Komplete Collection.  I upgraded from Komplete 2, so the price and timing was right. The cost is minimal for those who owned Komplete 2 or 3.  It costs just a little more than getting the Akoustik Piano for those previous users.

If you a new to the Komplete set here is the


KOMPLETE 5 includes the following instruments:

REAKTOR 5 - fully modular sound design studio

ABSYNTH 4 - synthesizer with unrivalled sonic potential

GUITAR RIG 3 Software - guitar amps, cabinets and effects emulation

KONTAKT 3 - the ultimate next-generation sampler

BATTERY 3 - the pioneering drum sample expert

AKOUSTIK PIANO - 3 famous grands and 1 upright

ELEKTRIK PIANO - four legendary electric stage pianos

B4 II - the award-winning tonewheel organ emulation

FM8 - radically expanded FM synthesizer

PRO-53 - the perfect emulation of an analog synth classic



Native Instruments NI Komplete Bundle (Macintosh and Windows)
KOMPLETE 5 is the high-end collection of 11 ground-breaking synthesizers, samplers, emulations, and a virtual guitar studio. Perfect for both studio and stage - this is the industry-standard bundle for serious musicians, producers and sound designers. KOMPLETE 5's instruments can be heard on platinum-selling records and in underground clubs alike, all over the world.
Native Instruments Kore 2 Software Edition
The Kore 2 Software Edition delivers the full feature range of Kore 2 in the form of a software solution without the Kore 2 hardware controller. This powerful software instrument and multi-effects unit provides a versatile library of 500 production-ready sounds based on six integrated high-quality sound engines. With the ultra-fast Kore Sound Browser, internal effects, sound morphing and other advanced features, you can find, play, combine, and create sounds with unprecedented efficiency and ease. Additionally, Kore 2 is infinitely expandable with the Kore Soundpacks, Komplete 5 or any other Audio Unit/VST-plug-in.


What I like, in order of how I well I like it

For me the standout of the upgrade is the Akoustik Piano. It's a lovely collection, and the interface has just the right controls to get these pianos to work well in a mix.  They sound gorgeous by themselves. You can make them sound wide and dynamic if you want.  Playing the Akoustik Pianos on my Fantom S-88 is a wonderful experience as they exceed the stock Fantom S pianos easily.  There are 3 Grand Pianos, the Steinway D, Bechstein D 280 and Bosendorfer Imperial, and an Upright, the Steingraeber 130.  I liked the Upright piano the least, but it is kind of quirky, like an old dusty attic piano at grandma's house.  I'm going to use this collection regularly as they now make the grade as the best pianos on my system.

The next best, (again, speaking only for myself) is the FM8.  It is now much more useful and interesting, thanks to the addition of the arpeggiator, much better preset control with the "Kore-style" browser built in, and interesting morphing and real-time control. The FM8 now has effects, which gives more sonic possibilities.  Some of the sounds are sublime and beautiful.  I have already used it quite a bit and I predict I will use it heavily.   The interface is now white and gray, rather than DX style green. In fact, when using the FM7 one actually felt like they were programming a Yamaha synth. That is gone now, but the functionality remains.  You can import all your FM7 sounds into FM8 and they sound exactly the same. There is no denying, however, that the new interface is much faster to navigate, easier to understand, and that the sound is of a higher caliber.  Updated Review.




Close behind in the realm of great value is Battery 3, which is a mind blower.  NI chose some great samples, all carefully assembled into some large kits. I am impressed.  If you have not heard the demos of Battery 3, you should go listen to them at NI's site. 100 drum kits, 23,000 samples. 12 GB library.  Just take about 20 minutes, sit back and listen to all the kits in the demo.  I feel this is a groundbreaker in terms of sound.  Battery 3 is Native's programming at its best.  Brilliant!  The basic kits have a natural sound unmatched by most sample collections. 

Here's a link to my revised review of Battery which now also talks about Battery 3

Kontakt 2  I've reviewed this a while ago so I won't say much more here, other than that it is, in my opinion, the best soft sampler you can get.  Definitely not the easiest software to learn but once you have, it can take your projects using samples into different dimensions.  Kontakt 2 comes with a huge library.  An excellent orchestra, included. It will also import a huge number of alien sample formats.  Here's a link to my previous review.

Kontakt 3

Link to review

Reaktor 5 is next, which has one feature I really like--its stable on my system.  Some of the new ensembles are fantastic. There is one sound generator called Skrewell, which is one of the most fun FX synths I have ever used. RandomStepShifter als gets high marks for glitching up drum samples in unusual ways. Ditto for Vectory.  Plus you get all the Reaktor classics, like the Junatik (remarkably similar to the Juno 106), Carbon, Green Matrix, GoBox, Spring Tank... 

Reaktor is really a bundle of software instruments and effects by itself.  These are called Reaktor Ensembles. There are analog synths, digital synths, sample players; mini sequencers; groove boxes; sample transformers; sound generators, and a variety of effects.  Reaktor 5 keeps the edge on sonic exploration.  To get more of an idea of what Reaktor is, see my older review of Reaktor Session

Absynth 4 just saw its first update, which makes it much more stable.  It has a wide range of sounds.  Some of the Absynth sounds are quite evocative many will cut hard through any mix. When I need an unusual sound, I can go digging through Absynth's database and I often come out with something cooler than I went looking for.  You can read more about Absynth in my older review of Absynth 2.

The Elektrik Piano is sample-based, unlike other EP instruments by other software makers who use software modeling.  Yet the sound is all there, warm and toasty, compared to the brittle-like texture to many EPs on the market.  The Pianos are quite usable.  I just have so many EPs on my system I am not so excited.  These do stand out for their "warmth", a buzzword term I don't like to use, but when you hear it, I think you'll have to agree.  It's warm!

The B4 II.  I haven't explored this much yet, other than going through the presets.  As it was with the original, its hard to find B3 emulations that compare.  The sound is warm and intimate, yet can hold its own in harder electronica club music, and of course, rock and some some uh, funky, nasty blues.  The presets are simply dripping with character.

Guitar Rig 2.  An awesome software interface.  Just in case you are wondering, you don't need Native's Guitar Rig hardware to use this software.  Just insert GR2 as a plugin on an audio track and watch the huge "reason-like" rack of effects processors open up on your screen. I counted 52 rack devices that can be chained in various ways to help you define your guitar tone.  Again I am left with the word, "big".  In fact, I think it is the largest of all my plugins. It takes up nearly half the screen on my 23" monitor.  You can read my comments on Guitar Rig 2 in my article on getting a great guitar tone

Guitar Rig 3

Nothing to say yet

The Pro 53 is unchanged form Komplete 2.  But for those who don't have it, it's an excellent software model of the Prophet 5 synth by Sequential Circuits.  It would have been nice to get a Kore browser for this one, as there are many presets in this synth and it is hard to find the ones you want.  But for those that don't know the Pro53, its one of the better sounding analog emulations that has a small CPU hit. 


The thing that stands out the most, for me, for the whole Komplete 4 package, is how inventive the sounds are.  There is great stuff here.  NI's programmers are defining the cutting edge for electronica. You get plenty of high quality sounds for any composition plus a huge assortment of vastly experimental sounds that may help you define a niche for your music. There is stuff here that simply has not been heard before.

Kore and Komplete 4
Native Instruments Kore 2 Plug-In Host and Controller
KORE 2 stands for unique sound -- in no time. Transform your computer into a

Thanks to the Kore-like browser in many of the instruments, sounds are easier to find than ever.  By Kore-like, I mean that the browser for many instruments works exactly the way Kore's database works.  You look for a sound by choosing some keywords of what you want the sound to be like.  It might just be a timbral attribute like "Thin", the add the type of instrument, like "plucked string".  Just from those two you'll get a list of instruments that fit that description. 

The idea behind Kore is to merge all these individual databases into one monster-sized master database. Does it succeed? 

As of Kore 1.1, I can say "Yes!" with confidence.  This was not the case with Kore 1.03, which could not "see" Komplete 4 level Kore sounds.  Now it can and the world is right.  While its still not a 100% perfect world, I am happy to say that Komplete 4 and Kore are ready for prime time.

But even without Kore, Komplete 4 is a huge, fantastic package. If you are coming from Komplete 2, its a no brainer. If you are not, I know of no faster way to get a software studio up to speed with a variety of good sounding instruments.

Kore 2 and Komplete 5

Definitely better.  You still have to be very careful on CPU compromised systems.  I have a Mac Pro now, and finally, I can make sounds which much more freedom.  But still, even with a monster computer you can still overload Kore2, its really not hard to do.  Just keep stacking sounds and eventually you hit the wall.  Probably the buggiest thing is not Kore, but the componenets one loads into it.  Sure, go ahead and try to load up 5 or 6 hack job free VSTis.  Don't call me to fix it. 




Native instruments Komplete Forum

Review of Kore

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