Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Komplete 8 Ultimate, Overkill? Separating Wants From Needs

Komplete 8, the comprehensive package from audio software giants Native Instruments, releases September 1st. Sporting some updates to workhorse legacy products and some new additions to the family, NI seeks to provide all you'll need in one bundle. But how much of it is actual need and how much is gear lust?

For synthesis, Komplete includes the heavyweights, Massive, FM8 and Absynth, giving you wavetable/subtractive, FM, and a more modular textural sound design capabilities respectively. Then of course the big daddy, Reaktor, allowing you to build your own anything really. Apart from the Reaktor factory and user library you also get Spark, Razor and Prism, which you can all modify and take apart. Razor and Prism especially are fresh approaches to synthesis and implement some of the new features from the updated Reaktor.

The powerhouse sampler Kontakt also gets an update and includes a huge sample library. Instruments from drums, bass, guitar and keys are all meticulously sampled and ready to play, while Session Strings Pro provides orchestral samples for those epic tracks or film scoring. Finally, they round out the bundle with an updated Guitar Rig and some effects, most notably the new Vintage Compressors.

The goal here is clear: supply basically everything you could possibly need in one bundle and I'd say they do a good job at meeting this goal; Kontakt does represent an extensive offering. It contains something of interest to producers, sound designers, musicians, film scoring, etc.

While this versatility provides a sort of sonic freedom, could it be preventing you from focusing by overwhelming you with options? Sure it contains pretty much everything you could possibly want but is it all really necessary? A lot of musicians and producers suffer from an addiction to new gear. There's this subconscious perception that more new stuff means better music, and the marketing teams do a good job at enforcing this. The learning curve for this package would be pretty steep if you have no previous experience, especially for Kontakt and Reaktor. Although a lot of these products are the foundation for modern studios, you may be better off choosing a select few and learning them inside out. Seek to master them one at a time; specialty is what is going to yield spectacular results, not just a general knowledge of many tools.

Deciding whether Komplete is right for you will require considering your needs. It's a good investment for studios where versatility is important. For the amount of products you get it's a bargain, and if you think the whole package will eventually be put to use, you can save some money versus buying things separately. If you're just starting out or your requirements aren't as extensive, you might be better off stating slow and just sticking with what you need. As you master one you can move on to the next, ensuring you have a good foundation, and hopefully preventing you from losing track of what's really important: using the tools you have to create powerful music.

Do you suffer from gear lust? Let me know in the comments and tell me how you deal with it.


  1. I actually own Komplete 4 and it seems like a life time ago when it came out but now I am so glad I got one of the "komplete" collections the and not now.

    I haven't even dug through all the stuff I got with 4, now its komplete is 4 generations older it just full of even more samples, kontakt library's and Reaktor ensembles which I doubt most people will not get through in 4 years.

    Its a fantastic bundle but its seriously more than you -need- .

  2. Ok, i dont know the first thing about this, but im eager to learn. It's certainly a good post, i would have appreciated it better if i had more knowledge on the subject.