Native Instruments S88 closeup

In an unusual move for a software company, but working for further adoption of one of its new protocols for synth/software control, Native Instruments today released a number of new advancements to their KOMPLETE KONTROL product family, while also announcing a special offer for folks to purchase competitor Arturia’s virtual synth lineup at a special price, marking Arturia’s updates for compatibility with the NKS protocol.

Version 1.5 of the KOMPLETE KONTROL software adds the new Native Kontrol Standard, as well as VST support, and comes as a free update. This also coincides with release of their latest “S” control keyboard, the S88, which is an 88-key hammer action keyboard compatible with the new protocol.

NKS is a new protocol allowing tight integration between software instruments and Native Instruments Maschine and Komplete Kontrol S-Series keyboards.

To mark this new level of integration, Native Instruments have partnered with Arturia to offer special pricing on the V Collection – their acclaimed bundle of 13 classic vintage synths now updated as NKS plug-ins. Until November 15, 2015, The Arturia V Collection is exclusively available at the NI Online Shop for $199 / €199 / ¥24,500 / £144 / AU$ 269 (update 10/29: NI have updated the info to state the offer is “only for existing NI customers”). Finally, the flagship, 88-note hammer-action KOMPLETE KONTROL S88 is now available online and in retailers worldwide for $999 / €999 / £729 / ¥119800 / AU$ 1399.

While it may seem odd to cross promote another company’s products, on the face of it there is less “direct” competition between N.I. products and those from Arturia when examined for what they are. Most of N.I.’s products are sample-based, with a couple of notable exceptions like REAKTOR; while most of Arturia’s products are based on modeling and emulation of classic keyboard synthesizers. While there is some competition between the two for drum boxes, it’s clear that N.I. has the leg-up on the higher end of that marketplace.

Still, it’s pretty remarkable so many vendors are jumping on board — not just Arturia (see example list below) — to support the Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) protocol as a standard.

“Integration has been at the center of the Native Instruments’ philosophy since we introduced our first fully integrated software/hardware solutions over a decade ago,” says Native Instruments CEO Daniel Haver. “With the release of the Native Kontrol Standard, we’re moving this vision of true integration a bold leap forward. Now, the power of KOMPLETE KONTROL and MASCHINE is open to the whole community of software instrument developers. And we are honored that highly respected partners at Arturia and other leading instrument manufacturers are travelling this road with us.”

“It is a real pleasure to partner with Native Instruments on this exceptional promotion around the V Collection,” says Frédéric Brun, CEO of Arturia. “NKS, as a new format, is more than promising and will serve musicians by offering a standard in integration between software instruments and controllers. We all understand our customers want to build solutions of their own, taking what they consider the best, or the most interesting, from each brand. Let’s help them!”

Today marks the release of the Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) – NI’s extended plug-in format allowing third-party instrument developers to directly address hardware features in KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series and in MASCHINE. NKS instruments organically appear in the Native Browser with all presets readily tagged, offer sensible parameter assignments via Native Map, and make use of the Light Guide to display key switches and sample assignments. NKS also brings Smart Play features to third-party instruments, allowing detailed access to the touch strips, scale mapping, Chord Sets, and the powerful arpeggiator. Notable partners releasing free updates for the NKS format include Arturia, u-he, Output, Heavyocity, and Spitfire Audio. See below for the current list of NKS partners.

KOMPLETE KONTROL 1.5 also introduces VST compatibility, allowing producers to play and control VST instruments without changing to MIDI mode. A new ‘Control Panel’ allows producers to intuitively customize parameter mappings for specific use cases – even across multiple pages.

Native Instruments S88

KOMPLETE KONTROL S88 provides a truly ‘piano-like’ playing experience thanks to a premium keybed from Fatar, featuring fully-weighted, hammer-action keys and superior aftertouch. The keyboard is also equipped with the same controls and advanced features as the other S-Series keyboards such as Smart Play and Light Guide.

Starting today, the following instrument developers are releasing free updated versions of their instruments to be NKS compatible.

• Arturia
• U-He
• Output
• Soundiron
• Heavyocity
• Spitfire Audio
• ProjectSAM
• Softube
• XILS-lab
• Waldorf
• Sonokinetic
• Sonic Faction
• Orange Tree Samples

The KOMPLETE KONTROL 1.5 software update is available for free via the NI Service Center.

KOMPLETE KONTROL S88 is available at the NI Online Shop and major music retailers worldwide for $999 / €999 / £729 / ¥119800 / AU$ 1399.

Until November 15, 2015, The Arturia V Collection is exclusively available for existing NI customers at the NI Online Shop for $199 / €199 / ¥24,500 / £144 / AU$ 269. (UPDATE: 10/29; this updates the info originally posted which now states the Arturia special pricing is only for existing NI customers. -CS)

Additional information on the latest KOMPLETE KONTROL developments is available at:

Additional information on the exclusive Arturia Sales Special is available at:

Complete info on the V Collection can be found here:

A review of the Matrix 12 emulation in the V Collection can be found here:

Arturia have also produced an article on “How to manage presets inside of N.I. Komplete”

VIDEO – Demo of Arturia V Collection integration with the NKS protocol (YouTube):

Tutorial on Arturia V Collection supporting Native Instruments NKS format

Watch this video on YouTube.