Native Instruments has announced a new update of their comprehensive Komplete 9 collection, featuring some exciting new additions to their established lineup including Monark, a new virtual analog synth that brings classic Minimoog sounds to your software setup, as well as the long-awaited update to their Battery drum sampler…
Komplete is a behemoth of a software package that includes a wealth of different instruments and tools, offering just about anything you could need to find the right sound for a project or create your own sounds fast. It continues to be the go-to collection of software instruments and sounds for producers in all styles of music, from film composers to EDM producers to hip hop beatmakers, so let’s look at what NI have added to the mix this time around.
Recently-released sample libraries such as Session Strings, Evolve (cinematic electronics) and Damage (an office favorite here at Dubspot blog with its piledriver impacts, drum hits and loops) have been added to the mix, as well as the long-awaited update of industry-standard drum sampler Battery 4. There is also a new Reaktor-based synthesizer called Monark, a fresh take on classic analog monosynths of the 1970s, and the Solid Mix Series of studio effects has received a significant update as well, adding functions such as sidechaining and parallel compression.
Monark: One Synth To Rule Them All?
One of the most outstanding new additions to the Komplete line is the new Monark synthesizer. Meant to accurately emulate an unnamed classic 1970s synthesizer while adding some modern touches, Monark is aimed squarely at the growing market for classic analog synth sounds and it is a strong entrant to the field.
Featuring a stripped-down old school design with three oscillators, a thick-sounding filter and two envelopes, Monark is a classic single voice synth with an extremely thick and robust sound that is really fun to work with because of its simple easy-to-understand design. Careful work by NI’s programmers has brought stunning realism to the instrument, with gritty sonic results that may be difficult to tell from its 70s predecessors.
The Minimoog Model D seems to be the most obvious reference for Monark, and its preset banks include many sounds modelled after classic analog synth sounds from recordings by Kraftwerk, New Order, Daft Punk and others. The preset list is also full of fat basses and biting leads that should prove popular with the current generation of EDM producers as well as fans of classic sounds. The lead sound of “Da Funk” by Daft Punk is only one example of a Minimoog-type sound in dance music:
Daft Punk – “Da Funk”
Another major addition to the Komplete 9 package is a new version of drum sampler Battery, bringing it up to its fourth iteration since it was first launched in 2001. Battery hasn’t been updated for more than five years and this new upgrade adds some of the innovations in interface design and workflow that we’ve seen added to Maschine, Kontakt, and the other NI apps in that time.
Battery’s new streamlined interface reflects its futuristic potential, featuring a more elegant and simplified design as well as a redesigned factory library with 79 new kits aimed specifically at electronic dance music production. There is less emphasis on acoustic drum sounds here than in earlier releases of Battery, probably because NI has devoted so much effort to recreating realistic drumkit sounds in Kontakt 5 in the last few years instead. (Check out the Abbey Road Drummer or Studio Drummer Kontakt libraries included in Komplete 9 if you’re looking for realistic acoustic drums.)
Battery 4 has been redesigned from the ground up for better usability and improved workflow. This has been a hallmark of NI releases in recent years and something of a trend among other software makers as well; users have become overwhelmed with new features and are more interested in creative tools that help them actually make music rather than getting lost in a complex interface full of unneeded options. Features like Battery 4’s reworked browser will make it much easier for users to find the sounds they’re looking for instead of wasting time digging through files and folders.
Battery 4 also incorporates a number of newly-added NI effects earlier seen in Guitar Rig (like the excellent Transient Master) to mod and tweak your drum sounds.
Other Synths and Samplers
Of course, no Komplete upgrade would be complete, without the inclusion of many of Native Instruments’ new sample libraries and synthesizers that have come out since Komplete 8 was released. Other new additions this time around that caught our eye include The Giant, a sample library capturing the sound of the world’s largest upright piano (three meters tall!) and Skanner XT, an ingenious sample-based synthesizer built in Reaktor by Native Instruments’ founder Stephan Schmitt.
Komplete 9 vs. Komplete 9 Ultimate
If you’re thinking about getting Komplete, its important to understand that there are two different packages in the Komplete product line, the basic Komplete 9 package and the Ultimate version. Komplete 9 includes 33 individual NI software instruments and effects, including 12,000 sounds and 120 GB of sample libraries. Komplete 9 Ultimate, its big brother, contains 65 instruments and effects and over 16,000 sounds, with over 370 GB of sample material. Both versions include new additions Monark, Battery 4, The Giant and the Solid Mix Series of plug-in effects in addition to Native’s core suite of software tools: Kontakt 5, Reaktor 5, Massive, FM8 and more. Ultimate also adds some of the best of NI’s recent products like Razor, Damage, the Premium Tube Series and the Classic Reverb Series.
Should I Get It?
Whether you are looking to make fat trap beats or score films, you write for orchestra and choir or you need raw dubstep basses, Komplete offers everything you need to achieve your production goals. With a wide selection of sounds ranging from the acoustic musical instruments intricately sampled in the Kontakt 5 library to the cutting-edge synthesized sounds of synths like Razor and Prism, Komplete has it all.
However, the big question with a package like Komplete is: with all the competing bundles on the market and the wealth of free and cheap plug-ins and effects available online, does it still make sense to pay hundreds of dollars for a collection of instruments and sounds like this? To some extent the answer to this question depends on the kind of music you want to make (as well as your budget!), but it has to be said that both Komplete versions continue to be a great value for money considering the overwhelming amount of quality sounds and instruments that are included. In many areas (such as Kontakt for general sampling or Massive for dubstep bass), Native Instruments’ offerings set the standard that the competition has to measure up to.
For electronic music producers, the NI synthesizer suite is virtually a must-have, with popular synths like Massive and Reaktor being used on countless contemporary dance, pop and hip hop tracks. Especially if you already own an earlier version of Komplete, upgrading to the new version is a no-brainer (the full version of K9 lists for $559 but upgrading is only $149).
Note: we will have more in-depth coverage of Monark and Battery 4 coming soon when the products are actually released so stay tuned! The official release date for Komplete 9 is March 27th.
Related Dubspot Courses:
Become fluent in the language of sound design with this comprehensive program. This six-level Sound Design program uses Native Instruments’ Komplete as a platform for learning synthesis and sampling techniques. Starting with an introduction to the properties of sound, this comprehensive series of courses covers most common synthesis methods available for music production in the DAW of your choice.
Discovering the right sound is like finding a needle in the digital haystack. Learn the fundamentals to make this easier, and gain the depth of knowledge to make a good sound better. Factory content is great, but everyone has it – your mix needs something special.
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March 19, 2013 in NYC – Tuesdays, Thursdays, 3:15-6pm
April 30, 2013 in NYC – Tuesdays, Thursdays, 6:15-9pm
The week of April 21, 2013 ONLINE
- Sound Design Level 1: Introduction to Komplete 8
- Sound Design Level 2: Synthesis with Massive, FM8 and Absynth
- Sound Design Level 3: Sampling with Kontakt and Battery
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- Sound Design Level 5: Reaktor Ensembles and Production Techniques
- Sound Design Level 6: Reaktor Programming and Instrument Building
Start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.
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