Native Instruments have been creating excellent products for the DJ/ Producer market over the last few years and they have now released a new product line called the “Komplete Kontrol S” series.
With the success of the Native Instruments Maschine line it was only a matter of time before they expanded on their controller line up. The new keyboard range is designed to give you a lot more control over their popular sample library “Komplete” and it ships with its own software to help this along.
Firstly we looked at build quality and we have to say that we are impressed. The keyboards feel sturdy and have a similar finish to most Native Instruments controllers with the metal housing and gloss exterior. All buttons and rotaries feel solid and give good feedback.
The most important area is obviously the key bed and Native have done a good job on this. The semi-weighted Fatar bed gives excellent response and added after touch function gives greater control for performance features.
The usual modulation wheels have been replaced by a touch sensitive strip similar to those seen on the Kontrol S8 DJ controller. They operate as you would expect giving you control over pitch and effects such as filters but they also have built in modulation patterns which can be triggered to give a wider variety. These are ultra-sensitive and make it extremely easy to make small adjustments and they certainly keep up for quick changes.
On the top of the keyboard there is a bank of rotaries for controlling the parameters in the software which automatically map themselves which is extremely helpful when switching between plug ins. Below the rotaries is a screen which gives gives clear feedback on the parameter you are controlling and you can scroll through pages for more functions to control.
The features that really set the keyboard apart from others in the market use the lighting above the keys to give visual aids to the performer. These can show notes that are in key with the selected scale, show active notes in an arpeggio and also give feedback for certain areas in the active plug-in such as the cell colour in the Battery plug-in.
Not only can this keyboard give visual feedback but it can also play chords for you when you trigger one note and transpose a scale so that it plays only on the white keys meaning any note played will be in key. Although we take on board that this is a great feature for people who have never played a keyboard before, we feel concerned that it may give them the excuse not to learn it. One thing we did notice with the chord feature was that when using the software in plug in mode and you pressed a key to trigger a chord only the key pressed would be recorded. This is an issue if you would like to copy that part onto another midi instrument as the chords would not be triggered. We presume this will be updated in patch but its something to keep an eye out for.
The keyboard also includes transport controls and a dedicated browsing section to quickly recall samples which is extremely handy.
Overall we really like this new line of keyboards and our team are ready to demo these to you in store.