Komplete, Native Instruments’ flagship music production package, has a bit of everything. That has always been part of its appeal. It’s pricey, but you get monster synths, a top-notch drum sampler, virtual guitar rig, and Kontakt – which is also a sampler, but to call it one seems incredibly reductive. Native Instruments is still one of the biggest names in the music software world, but it’s an increasingly crowded and competitive market. And much of it is moving towards a subscription model (even Native Instruments). So this year the company is adding new software in hopes that customers will come back for at least one more major 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, among others. As such, one of the biggest additions to the Komplete library (at least in the standard version at $599 and above) is the Ozone 10 standard from Izotope. This mastering plug-in has legions of fans thanks to its powerful feature set and simple interface. But for many, the biggest selling point is its AI-powered mastery support. Many amateur musicians (myself included) rely on Ozone to master their tracks. You simply play the loudest bit 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, modify them to your liking, or discard them and start from scratch.
The new partnership also allowed Native Instruments to beef up the bundle with a handful of smaller pieces from Plugin Alliance and Brainworx like bx_Oberhausen, bx_Crispytuner, and LO-FI-AF. None of these instruments or effects individually are likely to somehow convince you that the more expensive versions of Komplete are worth it. But I don’t know nobody who’s gonna complain about having too plugins.
The only problem is that many users may not immediately know how to access it. They are not in the native access manager. Instead, you will need to access your product and serial number list on the NI site to obtain the “Plugin Alliance Bundle for Komplete 14” code. Then you’ll head over to Plugin Alliance, redeem the code, and download a separate plugin manager. Hopefully at some point the two platforms will be integrated to remove the add steps.
The big centerpiece of Komplete, as always, is Kontakt. The new version – seven – is not a giant departure for this industry stalwart. The browser has been updated for better compatibility with HiDPI screens and improved search and filtering tools. The factory library has also been revamped to take advantage of the graphical overhaul and for better sound. The process of creating your own Kontakt instruments has also been simplified with improved creation tools.
Kontakt 7 may not be a significant change from version six, but if you go for the more expensive versions, like Komplete Ultimate at $1,199 or Komplete Collector’s Edition at $1,799, you get extensions unique and powerful like Lores, Ashlight, Kinetic Toys and, a personal favorite of mine, Piano Colors. The latter combines samples from a grand piano, various synths and textures, as well as effects and modulation tools to create complex sounds that oscillate between organic and synthetic.
The only bad news here is that Kontakt 7, while technically included in Komplete 14, isn’t available yet and won’t ship until sometime in October. Komplete 14 is available now starting at $199 for the base Komplete Selects package and up to $1,799 for the Komplete Collector’s Edition.
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