KOMPLETE 14 is coming later this month, with a major software update to the KOMPLETE sampler following in October. That includes some major expansion to bundled tools, but still incomplete support for new Apple machines until late 2022 / early 2023. Here’s an overview of what’s new.
KOMPLETE 14 is the first landmark release of Native Instruments’ production line since NI became part of Soundwide, alongside iZotope and Plugin Alliance. As expected, you get a bunch of newly bundled tools out of that merger.
Between all those added bundles, though, it’s worth teasing out what is genuinely new here. The biggest answer to that Kontakt 7, which promises to be a significant update:
- HiDPI UI (it says “browsing experience,” curiously, so – wait, not the rest of the UI?)
- Overhauled Factory Library
- New effects
- Audio engine improvements
Kontakt also has native Apple Silicon support for macOS users, which at this point a lot of the Komplete line still lacks. (See below.)
Kontakt – and the ecosystem of sounds around it, both from NI and third parties – is surely the make-or-break heart of this Komplete release. So we’ll look at it in more detail shortly.
Also new in Komplete is Ozone 10. Now that Soundwide are one brand, that’s worth mentioning here, too: iZotope is unveiling Ozone 10 in the same timeframe. Now you get that popular mastering suite as part of the deal. Neutron 4 is also available in Komplete, too, and is also a fairly new release, combining mixing, dynamics, and sound processing tools.
Here’s where NI products are suddenly becoming redundant in the merger, though. I might rather use some of NI’s dynamics tools in place of Neutron, but it appears they don’t get an update here – even though many have seen only minor tweaks since release and still lack native Apple Silicon support.
What’s newly bundled
Synths from NI don’t get much play so far in the Komplete 14 announcement, but what we do get is a bumper crop of synths and effects from Plugin Alliance. That includes Knif Audio’s Knifonium model, which recreates a 26 vacuum-tube instrument.
You also get effectively all the major new releases from NI of the last two years. So that means, depending on the bundle/upgrade you buy, you could pick up:
- Brainworx/Plugin Alliance instruments: bx_Oberhausen, Knifonium, bx_Crispytuner, LO-FI-AF, bx_Console Focusrite SC, bx_Console N
- Choir: Omnia vocal ensemble
- Lores textural instrument
- Piano Colors (piano + modulation layers)
- Ashlight granular instrument
- Action Strings 2
- Sequis sample/sequence instrument
- Session Guitarist/Bassist – Electric Mint, Picked Nylon, Prime Bass
- Play Series
Traktor is now subscription-based – in line with Pioneer’s Rekordbox, which is available as the same – with updates there, as well.
Also new – Native Access is updated, at last, with some additional browsing/search features. I honestly don’t care what it does so long as it’s easier to install things reliably – we’ll see.
Well, this is certainly complicated. See the comparison chart.
Here’s the simplest possible way of saying it:
Select, at $199 or free with some NI hardware, gives you an array of different kinds of instruments but limited to the Player version of Kontakt.
Standard+, from $599 new, now includes Kontakt 7 and Ozone 10, plus a ton of instruments / effects / expansions.
Ultimate adds some key additions: Razor, Flesh, the new Piano Colors, the Pro version of Session Strings. There’s a lot of the “cinematic” stuff – Action Strikes, Ashlight, Mysteria, Pharlight, Sequis, Emotive Strings, and more. And a bunch of additional symphonic libraries are in the deal, plus nearly all the additional NI and BX effects.
Collector’s Edition is a bit more of a puzzler – 1.5 TB of stuff instead of around a gigabyte, but a somewhat random selection of additions not in Ultimate, including the Knifonium, and Lores, plus a bigger mix of orchestral stuff. The main thing about this version is, that it’s expensive new but only $100 more if you have the 12-13 Collector’s Edition, so as an upgrade it’s more of a no-brainer.
Native Apple Silicon compatibility is still spotty across the suite, but NI does have a timeline for finally making software available.
Native now: Guitar Rig 6, Kontakt
Native in Q4 2022: FM8, Monark, Komplete Effects (that’s the Solid effects, Transient Master, Enhanced EQ, VC 160/2A/76, etc.), Komplete Kontrol, Massive, Massive X, Rounds, Form, Super 8, TRK-01, Bite, Drive, Phasis, Raum, and other Komplete 14 Instruments and effects, except –
Native in “the beginning of” 2023: Reaktor 6, Battery 4
Any other criticisms aside, I will absolutely have a party when Reaktor 6 is Apple Silicon native. On the other hand, I’ve had the least trouble with Reaktor in Rosetta – and probably the most with Kontakt and Kontakt-based stuff, so it’s great to see Kontakt become Apple Silicon-native.
Yeah, if you’re using Windows, what you care about is HiDPI support – I’ll try to find that out separately. I’ll also try to get a more complete (pardon the pun) list.
What’s not there
Updates to software? I’m researching this, but for now, it seems we don’t get new functionality or UIs outside Kontakt / Ozone 10 / Neutron 4. That’s disappointing, as competitors have updated software across their suites. We’ll see if more arrives with Apple Silicon-native versions later this year or if NI provides more information.
No subscription. Despite years of talk about software-as-service, there’s still no subscription available for Komplete – only a limited bundle of Massive X and a collection of effects and various sound packs/smaller tools in the form of Komplete Now.
No preinstalled hardware option. You also still can’t buy this on a hard drive preinstalled. Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’d love some luxury “Collector’s Edition” version with a fast hard drive you can just plug and use, only touching the installer for updates. Surely after all that investment money, NI could call up Western Digital or someone, no? It could have a velvet bag. It could be a limited run. You could get one signed by your favorite film composer. Tim Exile could include his own personal eau de cologne. I don’t know.
End of Absynth. Absynth of course is removed, as reported widely (including here on CDM). It is compatible with Rosetta 2, though, meaning if you’ve got it now, there’s no immediate threat to compatibility.
No hardware / integration updates (yet). There’s no word yet on updated hardware – including anything going on with firmware / support. I’ll wait to get details. As far as the NI news would seem to suggest, though, Komplete Kontrol and Maschine/Maschine+ do support the updated software at launch, though there would be more involved questions to ask about something like Kontakt 7.
14 comes on 27th
Komplete 14 is available on September 27, though with Kontakt 7 shipping in October.
KONTAKT 7 (placeholder page for the October release, for now)