Native Instruments (NI) is the innovation leader in the music creation industry. NI caters to music creators of all backgrounds, including producers, performers, and DJs. Its comprehensive ecosystem of connected hardware and software systems comprises popular brands KOMPLETE, MASCHINE, TRAKTOR, along with complementary online services Sounds.com, The Loop Loft and Metapop.
The worst piece of drek this side of Pro Tools. Overpriced, the ridiculously cramped screen with tons of real estate wasted, you can't resize or even simply maximize that cramped screen, the ridiculous cobweb of file extensions, the lame and inconsistent file navigation, the weak customer service, the short shelf life (it's not long before simply having Kontakt is enough, you need a newer version for newer plugins, and can only get the free upgrade for minor upgrades), I could go on. And really this plugin within a plugin thing is stupid in the first place. It's a shame that so many plugins were written just to appease this archaic software sewage, which is the ONLY reason to get it. Fortunately I there are a ton of great plugins which don't require it, and few if any sample libraries do anymore, so I'll never waste money on it (I'm only familiar with due to a friend having it and quickly realized how happy I was that I never bought it).
Kontakt by itself is a five-star sampling application and the literal heart and centerpiece of all my music production. Kontakt as an MPE software ranges from 3.5 stars to 4.5 stars depending on a billion factors, like:
If you can find a Kontakt Library that's MPE-compatible that fits your project or use-purpose.
If you have to do any finnicky fiddling / routing to get your desired effect.
If you'll buy an MPE-enabled synth or plugin instead of even trying anymore.
So if you need Kontakt for its core functionality (loading up and playing your virtual instruments beyond the Kontakt Player functionality) and also found at least one MPE-enabled Kontakt library, then grab it for sure.
But if you think Kontakt is (as of 2020) a playground of enldess MPE-controlled fun, dig much deeper before pressing the buy button.
Modular Icons which is part of the Native Instruments Play Series does sound modular. I Love the sounds and feel of this library. Built-in sequencer is really easy to use and you can apply it to pitch, velocity and the macros.
The play series is mostly about blending two layers and create some very useful sounds with minimalistic user interface. The sound browser is easy to use and the extra options are very useful. For example you can map the layers to different ranges on the key board and so layer A can be triggered by the lower part of the key board while layer B is triggered by the upper part of the keyboard and they can overlap as well.
great quality samples you can load your own samples you can make custom Kits the gui is fine, it's working, it's str8 forward...you see everything you need at once, there's no need to learn tonz of stuff to use it.
only con i see on it is the 16 stereo outputs... when it comes to big kits with more than 15-16 samples unfortunately i have to run 2 instances of it just for routing them all to different mixer channels.. on every else perspective it's awesome :)
Edit: I've spent even more time with Massive X, working around the poor GUI performance on Mac, and I have to say, the sound is top notch. In particular, it growls and grunts and rasps in a way that maintains its character when pushed to extremes, where other synths would dissolve into white noise and buzzing. And in less extreme settings, the sound still has a certain je ne sais quoi, a dimensionality that is hard to put your finger on but is nonetheless there. Sorry if that sounds like audiophile voodoo. I doubt it's an illusion on my part, because my initial response to the synth was overwhelmingly negative. I'm going to let most of my old review below stand because IMO the criticisms are valid and not nitpicks. Raising my rating though, in light of the great sound engine and in expectation of some nice updates.
Here's what I don't like:
- It handles like a cow. It's awkward and sluggish.
- it uses huge amounts of CPU on Mac when the GUI is displayed. I think this is the first Mac product from NI that uses retina resolution, and it appears they have some work to do in the optimization department. In the meantime I run it at 50% size, which helps.
- it's obscure. Nothing is obvious. Very poor ergonomic design, compounded by the lack of a manual.
- the GUI looks tired. It's full of wasted space, and paradoxically manages to look empty and cluttered at the same time. And it also makes me think that this is fundamentally a polyphonic Reaktor blocks ensemble with the hood welded shut. That could explain the performance issues, compared to the first Massive which looks to have been coded from the ground up.
- You can't import wavetables.
- The "switcher" LFO clicks when it's switched. Whaaaaa...? What... is the point??
- Want to map a MIDI controller to a control? Forget about it, you have to map it to a macro and then map the macro to a control. Why??
What are the good points? Well, hopefully my criticisms can be addressed in updates. And the sound is very, very good. It'll do that skronky womp womp post-dubstep EDM thing that people will want to use it for, and more.
Looking forward to raising my rating when the updates drop.