NI Komplete Kontrol S49 and S61 MK2: how tickling the ivories looks in 2017
In addition to Maschine MK3, Berlin-based Native Instruments has announced a refresh of its Komplete Kontrol line of MIDI controllers. The Komplete Kontrol S49 & S61 MK2 (no 25 or 88-key versions for now) update what is still one of the world’s fanciest MIDI controllers with technology and enhancements familiar from the Maschine range of production stations.
Featuring the same elegant build, Fatar keybeds, and RGB light strips, the keyboards gain a pair of full-color displays, eight function keys in tandem with the same number of knobs, a jog control, and plenty of new dedicated buttons for Maschine functions. Furthermore, the pair of touch strips has been replaced by traditional pitch and mod wheels, with a single touch strip on the bottom.
With these upgrades, the Komplete Kontrol keyboards are certainly more functional and give additional hands-on control over the Maschine and Komplete Kontrol software. The MIDI controllers will work with any DAW and plug-in combination, with NI adding transport, mixer, and edit controls for Logic, Ableton Live, and GarageBand. Cubase and Nuendo are on the list, too. However, the keyboards are really meant to integrate tightly with Native Instruments’ software, which is how you will be getting the most out of the company’s products.
Although the Komplete Kontrol keyboards aren’t the first to offer colour displays and automated DAW/plug-in integration, they are still the world’s slickest and most technologically advanced MIDI controllers available to musicians. And, although good value, they are still a tad on the expensive (premium) side.
Price & availability
Hitting shops on October 5, the S49 and S61 are available for pre-order and priced the same as the original Komplete Kontrol keyboards. That’s 599 USD / EUR for the S49 and 699 USD / EUR for the S61.