When it comes to software sonic goodies, loads of virtualized gear you can add to the digital, computer-based studio, Komplete is one of the deepest boxes out there. Komplete 7, announced today, is the latest edition of Native Instruments’ bundle of virtual studio software. As always, that means a refresh of what’s in the box to recent upgrades of synths like Absynth, FM8, and Massive, plus drum instrument Battery, guitar effects and amp simulation Guitar Rig, and the modular creation powerhouse Reaktor.

In addition, though, today’s Komplete 7 announcement brought some new tools to the table, as seen in the image gallery above. (Click on the thumbnails for a closer look.) They include a number of surprise effects announcements, and one less-surprising – but intriguing – synth for the new release of Reaktor from NI’s sonic scientist-in-chief.

  • Reaktor Prism is a new “modal synth” created by NI founder and Reaktor creator Stephan Schmitt. Stephan walked me through Prism when I visited him in Berlin earlier this summer, and I have to say, it’s one of the software releases I’m most excited about – Stephan’s ideas about synthesis are always refreshing and inspiring. It makes a lot of use of the new objects in 5.5. It’s hard to describe, so stay tuned for more on it soon.
  • Reflektor is a “zero-latency” convolution engine for simulating reverbs and other effects.
  • Traktor’s 12 brings some of the effects from Traktor into producer’s hands. That’s good news, because some of Traktor’s far-out and granular-based timbres seem a natural for non-DJs.
  • Rammfire is a new amp emulation developed with Richard Z. Kruspe of Rammstein.

While some standalone instruments and effects had been casualties of a trimmed Komplete suite in previous releases — Spektral Delay, Vokator, B4, and Akoustik Piano come to mind — those are replaced in this version by the addition of extensive soundware for the remaining flagship instruments. Scarbee Vintage Keys and MM-Bass, Abbey Road 60s Drums, and the Classic Piano Collection more than make up for the omission of dedicated piano and organ instruments, folding these instead into the consistent interface of the Kontakt and Battery samplers. Vintage Organs becomes the new replacement for B4, or as an NI spokeperson described it to me, a “spiritual successor.”

More interesting, you also get some more unusual instrumental creations: Reaktor Spark (also by Schmitt), Tim Exile’s insanely-brilliant performance effect The Finger, and the sonically-adventurous Acoustic Refractions.

So, that’s what’s new in terms of new stuff. But the new Komplete also represents some shifts in strategy, ones that mean cheaper access to sounds for those who don’t want all of the editing capabilities. That shift goes beyond even previous player and Kore soundware from NI.

Player for Guitar Rig, Reaktor

In addition to the expanded sonic palette, Komplete reflects a different way of delivering instruments. Guitar Rig Player allows effects to be delivered standalone in a “universal” (well, that’s what NI calls it – it’s universal for them) effects platform. Reflektor and Rammfire are delivered on the Guitar Rig Player platform, a bit like the soundware we’ve seen for Kontakt.

More notably, Reaktor Player means that Reaktor patches can finally be distributed without having to buy the full release of Reaktor. Unlike previous Kore versions, these won’t have a crippled UI. You’ll get the full, graphical user interface for some brilliant Reaktor patches, without having to buy the whole Reaktor package if you don’t want to edit them. Depending on how much NI exploits this idea, that could make Reaktor a more compelling tool for artists to create new instruments and effects for the platform, at least for those who work with NI directly.

Pricing and “Elements”

At US$559 for the whole set ($229 update), Komplete is also looking more economical, and I think is competitive with the pack-in instrument bundles in tools like Logic and Live.

If half a grand is steep, there’s also a budget “Elements” edition at US$119, which incorporates the Kontakt, Kore, and Guitar Rig engines plus 12 gigs of sample materials and 2000 sounds. You don’t get the full editing capabilities of the whole packages, but it means a cheap way to get a huge dose of preset sound content. There’s also a $60 voucher for adding on a la carte instruments and effects presets.

Upgrading from standalone NI products appears to be more difficult, unfortunately, say a couple of readers. That’s not great news; I’ll contact NI for clarification. Previous Komplete owners can easily upgrade from any version. Some standalone NI products are covered; here’s the upgrade deal:

Introductory Komplete 7 Upgrade
for owners of Kontakt (any version), Reaktor (Version 2 and upwards), Kore 2 or Guitar Rig 4 Kontrol Edition
Available until December 31st, 2010 as long as stock lasts
$339 / 299 €

But this isn’t a review – merely an acknowledgement that some of this is stuff I think will get us excited. Stay tuned for a full review, and details on some of the stand-out creations here, soon.

See comments for some interesting discussion of for whom this upgrade and pricing makes sense, and for whom it might not.

  • http://drift.es Tricil

    My biggest beef with them is non-componential pricing.

    I have battery and massive, and to "komplete" my collection, i would have to buy the whole deal, unlike Ableton's tiered upgrade system.

    I was hoping the "new business model" was this, but NI seems to find other ways of taking all out money.

  • Jeff Brown

    Their pricing scheme is inflexible, yes, but they offer a lot of good deals, IMO.

  • http://kief.net/ Valis

    Tricil there is indeed an 'upgrade' from lower tier products. While battery/massive aren't listed I would just contact sales/support to ask if they can add an allowance to your account for a Komplete upgrade.

  • grimley

    I contacted sales and asked them for an upgrade to Komplete 6 and they said no. I own Kontakt 4, Reaktor 5, Massive, FM8, Absynth, Pro52, Kore2, Maschine, Spektral Delay. The only reason I wanted to upgrade/crossgrade was to get on the bandwagon for the Komplete7 upgrade, but after seeing what's on offer … meh … I'll wait for Komplete 8.

  • http://mattnasty.com Matt Nasty

    True it is a non-tiered system, and I, myself, own multiple versions of Battery and Kontakt; but Komplete is a great(the best) value. Plus, resale and transferring licenses is super easy with NI.

    Moreover, their summer sales are repetitive foreshadowing of future releases.(What's really really discounted on July4th will prolly get replaced or rebundled soon) Also their version numbering alludes to an order future updates.(x.5s tend to be the last before the x gets a +1) Following their marketing/update/sale/bundle patterns isn't rocket science. Is it a 100% guarantee? No…but I'd bet on it.

  • http://tohmjudson.com tohm

    The news about Reaktor Player is great for those of us that were "misinformed" about the Finger and could do nothing about it. There is 23 pages of forum folks upset that we had to guess what each setting did in Kore without owning Reaktor.

    Its a great app, but the lack of documentation and support was insane. Even after they finally gave us docs (at the end of June mind you), it is just a list of effect names and no details about the other usable parameter.

    Maybe now I can finally use it without just mashing keys, or running the demo long enough just to get the effect names, hahaha

  • Sky

    I just upgraded from v5 > v6 three weeks ago. Thankfully I got in on the $85 upgrade deal, but honestly, I would rather have paid 229 for this upgrade because I am interested in at least three of the included sample libraries.

  • phase90

    This looks great. Does anyone know if a Kore 3 hardware controller is in the works?

  • salamanderanagram

    unfortunately, both this and the recent reaktor 5.5 have seemed like lazy releases to me…. not that i have a problem with getting electronic instruments 1 + 2 as well as lazerbass for free, but there was a serious lack of actual upgrades to the reaktor *engine*. IE, instead of actually upgrading the software it felt like they had a bunch of stuff lying around that wasn't selling too well anymore so they released it for free.

    komplete 7 is looking similar to me. i'm happy to grab all the sample packs for real cheap, but i'd have rather seen upgrades to the synths…

  • http://rekkerd.org/ ronnie

    For newcomers Komplete 7 is an insane deal, can't believe how much you get for the price.

    Prism looks really good, looking forward to a more in-depth look on that, Peter.

  • Ghost

    I'm actually okay with the pricing here, I think for what you're getting it's pretty wonderful – even the scaled down pricing seems fair, as long as the versions aren't TOTALLY uneditable (meaning, if they cut off controller capabilities, that would be unfortunate of course)

    I have a question for the folk here, has anyone attempted running one of these Komplete packages on a Mac Mini? I ask because I'm getting one of the newer Intel Mini's next month and I'd love to put a "suite" on it for production, I fear that Native Instruments makes their instruments a little too bulky for such a thing though – anyone have thoughts on this?

    I have even just considered getting Kore running with specific sound packs and trying to be mindful of what I have installed, but WOW it would be great to put an entire Komplete on there! K7 is exactly in my price range too :)

  • http://www.doanforest.com Donald Anderson

    A great deal for newcomers, I think. But unfortunately in the past 7 months I have bought Reaktor, then upgraded from Kontakt 3 to 4 in another recent sale, while also using a credit to get the Finger. I wish I had the foresight to see this deal coming.

  • Whack Cracker

    cant wait for the torrent.

  • http://www.nk-e.com nk:e

    I have K6 and have bought The Finger, Acoustic Refractions and a couple of other things now in K7. Much of the stuff they throw in (e.g., Abbey Road Drums, Scarbee, etc.) doesn't really interest me.

    However Reflektor and Prism are of interest to me.

    Since the cost of buying those two as stand alones is about the same as getting the upgrade, I suppose i will upgrade, but the proliferation of sounds and softsynth options is getting out of hand…

    Yes I know: a) That is a "luxury complaint" and b) I don't HAVE to install all of the package….

  • Random Chance

    Well, I just pre-ordered the upgrade yesterday. I don't really need or want all the instruments that are in there, but Kontakt and FM8 are already enough to convince me. Some of the sample packs might also come in handy, I like the fact that they included several pianos and organs as well as some drums and bass. Will probably not use the effects much or at all because everything that is too complex gets in the way of my process to translate my ideas to actual sounds that others can hear. It's a great value all in all. If I think about it: You get Logic Pro and Kompakt for just about 1000€ and then you don't really need anything else, but if you're like me you'll still buy other software packages and lots of hardware, so it's even better that the pricing is so "humane". Hurray for NI, and hopefully Reaktor 6 will be free or very, very cheap for those already owning Reaktor 5 or else I might feel a little cheated.

  • http://www.exodub.com Kyran

    If I'd still be on komplete 5, I would upgrade right here and now for kontakt 4 and reflektor. However, I took their komplete 6 upgrade deal, so I'm going to hold off.

    I don't really need any of it, and I only "lust" for reflektor. Most of the other bits are pretty redundant.

    If you're just starting out and have the money, this is insane value. And for all you preset lovers out there, it's even better.

    I just wish their "a la carte" add ons were a bit more in line with the bundle pricing. Like someone already said: if you already have a version of komplete and just want 2 soundpacks you're already better off buying the entire upgrade.

  • Ben

    I was seriously just about to drop some dollars on Komplete 6 + Kore 2 but I'm glad I chilled on it. Sorry for all previous owners but I'm getting a pretty sweet deal :P

  • http://nickkent.net nick

    Your descriptions implies they dropped Spektral Delay, Vokoder, etc. for v7. Some of those were dropped long before v7.

    I upgraded but didn't install 6 in May so I got the $185 upgrade deal. Not the end of the world but I'll be waiting for a deal with this one.

    I feel they should separate their sample based "instruments" which are basically turn key sample collections off from their software instruments personally, though I guess without them their Komplete upgrades wouldn't look like much. It's also interesting that NI started off doing modeling, and while they did add some amps, other companies have been modeling electric and acoustic pianos for years. You can debate how good they are but they are certainly smaller on the drive and more tweakable than big sample collections

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Nick: I got my tenses screwed up; corrected text is "While some standalone instruments and effects had been casualties of a trimmed Komplete suite in previous releases — Spektral Delay, Vokator, B4, and Akoustik Piano come to mind…"

  • Jeff Brown

    I just checked out the audio demos for Prism on NI's site. They are jaw-dropping. Fantastic.

  • urbster1

    Well, this kind of sucks because even though I own Komplete 6 I'd already paid probably half of the upgrade price alone just for Spark and The Finger, and there's nothing really new or exciting in K7 besides some new ensembles. I am, however, excited about Reaktor 5.5.

    Guess I will still be waiting for the multi-core, 64-bit update of Kore (3?) before I drop any more $$$ on an NI product.

  • Scott

    I really am a fan of a couple of the plugin options as standalone. like traktor 12, and Reflektor. that will just drop into guitar rig 4 pro.

    I just cant seem to bring myself to buy the whole thing. I have a hand full of them massive and guitar rig. but I have taken. 100's of hours to get to know each one before I picked up another on and something Komplete I feel like I would never get to spend enough time with all the parts to be really good with any other them.

    For me at least, I would rather be a power user of a few things and really know how to get the most out of a couple of tools.

  • http://music.cornwarning.com chaircrusher

    I get really confused any more about NI products. I have 20 different licenses on my NI User Account — a mish-mash of NFR review copies, and the things I've actually purchased.

    Komplete 7 I'll probably shell out for, but AFAIK the big deal stuff — Reaktor 5.5 and new Kontakt 4.1 are free updates if you already own their stuff. The new effect stuff looks cool, but I don't think I'm alone in not caring so much for the multi-gigabyte sampled instrument shovelware.

    I have B4 and Pro53 and honestly they should still be selling those. I wish Spektral Delay was still available. Well I wish they'd actually made it as reliable as their other products and kept it available.

  • guugi

    How is it in these Komplete bundles if some, for example Reaktor 5.5, instruments gets upgraded meanwhile Komplete life cycle? I mean, that can I upgrade Reaktor to number 6 if I have it from Komplete bundle.

    I'm asking this because I own Reaktor, and can update it to Komplete 7 (which is nice), but I'm still primarily interested of Reaktor, and it's upgrades.

  • http://www.steadistone.com/ Andrew Stone

    Make sure you check the NI website. The number of things they have thrown into Komplete in terms of soundpacks is astounding.

    I bought the upgrade from v5 to v6 only a few weeks ago like Sky but unlike many s/w companies, NI almost always gives outrageously good value for the their upgrades. NI also keeps their Komplete owners pretty happy with their upgrade path.

    It is also good to see NI finally creating an ecosystem for Reaktor with a broader reach that could allow some of the Reaktor geeks to share in the wealth by becoming software developers that can get paid for their efforts and talent.

  • dennisj

    is there something similar to komplete?

  • DumaisAudio

    It's kinda shady that they had the drastic sale on Komplete 6 that ended June 30th, and then a month later announce this, with no clause for the people that just spent $85 a month ago. I'd like to have some of the new stuff, namely Prism and Reflektor, and I never got The Finger, but I don't want to pay $229 for just that. It seems a little wrong. A lot of times, a company will give a customer a discounted rate for an upgrade if they bought a product within a certain time frame from a new release. I wish they would do that here, because if I were to buy Komplete now, I'd be essentially paying them an extra $85. I used to think NI were really good with customer service, now I'm thinking otherwise.

  • A1MixMan

    They also have the scaled down cheaper version of Komplete call Komplete 7 Elements.

  • brett weldele

    If you haven't caught onto the massive discount in June for the impending release in September, you're just not paying attention. If you upgraded for $85, you got exactly what you paid for at a great price. It's better than paying $170 and then seeing the new version. A software sale must always be regarded as a closeout sale, because there's almost always a new version coming. I understand that, you might not have bit had there not been a sale, but really these days…consumers have to be sharper.

    By the same token, I don't get the entitlement where "i paid $85 for an upgrade and should therefore be entitled to another discount." If a client I did work for is completely pleased with the work I did and the cost with which they paid me, then turned around and demanded more for a discount because they had paid me money therefore I owed them something more…I wouldn't like that much. Yet, since this is software and somehow not real, one can demand more. I don't see this attitude with hardware.

    $200 for the amount of soundpacks alone is a huge bargain. I remember back when I found an awesome bargain on Komplete 2 for around $900. Yes, $900 as opposed to $1400.

    Update if you want, but don't think since you're a customer that they owe you more than what you paid for.

  • http://nickkent.net nick

    >It’s better than paying $170 and then seeing the new version.

    I paid that in May and then didn't have enough time to make room to install it.

  • salamanderanagram

    dude, if you're willing to spend hundreds of dollars on software you're not even going to bother to install, it's hard to have that much sympathy.

  • Jeff

    As someone who paid full price for the 6 upgrade, I wouldn't complain too much about the $85. I would have loved to have looked at this 7 release knowing I only paid $85 for the last one. I am really excited by Reflektor and some of the packages they are adding. I had considered buying several of them and am now glad that I had only bought a couple add ons that are now included. As a supporter of those add on pack though, I guess that is where I struggle a little. It would be nice to get an extra coupon for things that ended up getting that are included now (great add-ons btw, but frustrating to have also paid for them and the 6 upgrade and now have it all included). If you didn't upgrade at 6 this is an incredible deal. If you upgraded to 6, I think it is still a good deal, just maybe not as sweet as it could be. For new users 80% off is a no brainer. But I will say that I have enjoyed Kontakt 4.1 thoroughly and I think there are some really great products here. NI does need to start doing something though to start supporting people that support every release with them. I think the general conclusion that I come to is that the more I buy from them, the more punished I am financially in the offers they make to people who wait. That is a bit frustrating.

  • salamanderanagram

    i've been buying software for about two and a half years now, which is plenty of time to understand that you should *never* buy software when it's not on sale, unless you really don't care about $100 that you will save simply by waiting for it to go on sale.

  • toni

    Gigas of sounds make no better music.

    In fact they get me confused.

    Ah,the good old days of the first Reaktor,i remember how thrilled i was.Now they're only sounds and effects and sounds.

    I own K5, maybe wait a little more..

  • http://www.meh.meh.meh.com Meh

    TIME is a commodity so many cry-babies refuse to acknowledge.

    Also, the cry-babies have a warped way of valuing something. They paid for something, they get what they paid for, they're happy. They're not happy when something new is available and they're expected to pay for it ?

    Grace periods. Where would they ever end ? If it was a grace period of 1 week, folks who bought the last version 8 days ago would be crying. And so on & so forth ad nauseum.

    They offer the upgrade for half-price when it's close to coming off the shelves for a tried & true reason. But of course, you can't please everyone.

    If you could wait for a promotion until you bought a K6 upgrade, you can wait for a promotion for the K7 upgrade. I guess winter is the next sale.

    Even those folks who bought the Komplete 6 + Kore 2 bundles don't have much to complain about. The savings you made on that bundle will cover the cost of upgrading – IF YOU MUST – you can always wait until the next promo.

    And finally, NI make re-selling your licenses very easy and straight-forward. I'm not sure about sample content, for obvious reasons. But most people will own an NI product or two before going for a Komplete license. C'est la vie.

    And a huge LOL to the guy who says he expects a Reaktor6 upgrade for FREE or 'very very cheap' or he'll be disappointed. WTF ? lol.

  • http://www.meh.meh.meh.com Meh

    btw, "grimely" wrote:

    *********I contacted sales and asked them for an upgrade to Komplete 6 and they said no. I own Kontakt 4, Reaktor 5, Massive, FM8, Absynth, Pro52, Kore2, Maschine, Spektral Delay. The only reason I wanted to upgrade/crossgrade was to get on the bandwagon for the Komplete7 upgrade, but after seeing what’s on offer … meh … I’ll wait for Komplete 8.*********

    Dude. They are offering an upgrade to K7 from either Reaktor Kontakt or Kore. 299 bucks. Check the 'KOMPLETE' section of their website and navigate your way to the upgrades page.

    Sell your Kontakt-Massive-Absynth-FM8 licenses and upgrade to K7 from your reaktor license.

    You should *easily* raise $300 by selling those licenses I listed. ~$80 each for Massive/Absynth/FM8 … and like ~$170 for kontakt.

  • stepwriterun

    I bit on the $85 K6 upgrade and I'll wait until next year for the $85 K7 upgrade, or the inevitable Christmas upgrade sale. No worries. I'm just happy that Reaktor 5.5 will be a free upgrade.

  • apoclypse

    I don't know if I should go with this upgrade. I've gotten all the Komplete packages since version 4. I remember when Komplete used to be damn near $1500 without Kore. Now you get it for half that and the upgrade price is fairly reasonable. Going $85 over is chump change, imo, compared to what it used to cost.

    The only reason I'm considering skipping this one is because, at this point I'm not really interested in soundpacks, and the new effects and synths they have are interesting but nor enough to warrant an upgrade, imo. I'll see I may get it anyway. This is the fist Komplete that I don't think is a must have. Then again Komplete 6 was a bit weak as well.

  • http://www.meh.meh.meh.com Meh

    I love Native Instruments.

  • Andy

    I hate to seem ignorant but does

    "Introductory Komplete 7 Upgrade

    for owners of Kontakt (any version), Reaktor (Version 2 and upwards), Kore 2 or Guitar Rig 4 Kontrol Edition"

    mean that you have to have kontakt, reaktor, kore 2 AND guitar rig 4 to upgrade or can you have any license to do so?

  • Mark

    Andy – keyword "or".

  • jan

    hey.. how could I close a M4L application, as max fuel do in his puremagnetik production?

  • Chad

    What is it with all the cheesy unsolicited marketing about the "great pricing and best deals" that the Komplete 7 sales force is populating this blog with?

    Please recognize that not all of your potential customers are Komplete idiots.