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Author Topic: NKS?  (Read 970 times)

piet

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NKS?
« on: June 27, 2019, 03:29:23 pm »
Some time ago, a new Masterkeyboard had to come into the house. It should be an Arturia KeyLab61 MkII. As far as everything is fine. AnalogLab was there, DAW support, user profiles. It was good until I discovered Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol. The Arturia V Collection was fully supported by Complete Kontrol. The magic word was NKS. Many plugins, and there are more and more, support this NKS standard. The problem, my Keylab 61 MkII looks there in the tube because I need a keyboard from Native Instruments to be able to work properly with Komplete control. Of course, Arturia only has the Analog Lab for its own V-Collection plugins. To be honest, I feel a little crazy. Why does not Arturia offer something like that? The Analog Lab could become the "control center" for all plugins that will be supported by Keylab. In user mode are the 18 knobs and just as many sliders. The assignment is done via Midilearn and could be stored in AnalogLab. If I had known that before, I would have a complete Kontrol S61.

PhilG

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Re: NKS?
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2019, 07:15:24 pm »
Haha, I just exchanged my Komplete Kontrol with the KeyLab MK II.

NKS is nice on first sight, it seems to make things easier, but...
Only some big names can effort the license fee to get into the NKS system, so not all and some older plug-ins will never make it into NKS.
There are a few solutions offered by some helpful guys and girls to integrate some plug-ins into this system, but not for free and it is quite advanced to handle ;)
The ability to browse through sounds became useful after NI integrated preview sounds, before it has been a nightmare because of the loading times of the source plugins.
But these loading times are still there when you really want to use the sound in your project, in Analog Lab the sounds change nearly immediately and can be used much faster.
It may be helpful to be able to listen to previews, but it is much more helpful and more practice-oriented to load a sound into a running song and listen to it in the musical context.
Try to switch through sounds from different NKS plugins in a running project and youīll understand what I mean  ;D

NKS definitely ties you to the Kontrol keyboard and the NI eco system and that can be a big problem in some scenarios.
NI gives the impression that they are mainly targeting hobbyists and beginners at the moment.
The new products are promising modern values, like activity, ultra fast results with slim portable, light-weight fully-integrated devices.
But the usefulness of reduced keybeds without aftertouch and is your laptop really powerful enough to handle the needed software are important questions you should answer before you buy.

The actual NI products can be helpful when you canīt play keyboard or instrument at all, but you want fast results to satisfy yourself by putting together loops and clips made by and bought from NI and affiliates.
And believe me, youīll have to and will spend a lot of more money there.
New customers are left out in the rain when they hopefully reach a more advanced state and want to do more with their NI equipment.
NI is lacking innovations or useful additions for some years now, for example:
Maschine and Kontrol still donīt work hand in hand together flawlessly, too much interaction with computer is needed, no set lists or similar on sight, completely ignored on stage usability and so on.
Not to forget the desaster when they silently left out the MCU functionality for the MK II line and how long it took to put it back.

Thatīs the reason why I went back to my good old Spark CDM and chose the Arturia KeyLab MK II after feeling chained the last three or more? years.

Letīs take a look at the hardware.
The Kontrol keyboard has a slightly better (=harder or stiffer) keybed.
Build quality is excellent.
The light guide can be a helpful addition, if the hosted plugin is fully integrated.
But it offers no split functions that can be edited or set directly from the hardware and has no option to create instrument layers at all.
With the Arturia KeyLab MK II you can combine two instruments from Analog Lab and split or layer them directly from the hardware!!
Something like the genius concert option of Analog Lab 4 is completely missing on the Komplete Kontrol.
There are no faders and assignable buttons for a better integration with some DAWs or plugins, only predefined knobs for the NKS instruments or you have to build a MIDI template in the Kontrol Editor without all the benefits from NKS.
Donīt even think of switching from midi controlled instruments to NKS on the fly.
So the possibilities of interaction from the hardware itself is very limited compared to the KeyLab MK II, even in pure MIDI mode.

If Arturia would decide to open Analog Lab a little bit and integrates a simple plugin hosting option without preset integration (only load, save and recall) or better puts it into the songs from the concert list, it would be sufficient for most scenarios.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2019, 07:31:37 pm by PhilG »

 

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