The holy grail of the controller to rule them all may have got a bit closer to reality today with the announcement from Native Instruments and their Komplete Kontrol S-Series Keyboard Controllers. Available in 24, 49 and 61 key versions - using Fatar premium keybeds (not clear if they have aftertouch yet), they are designed to work with Native Instruments suite of plug-ins and instruments. Featuring specific hardware and a software interface for komplete kompatibility.
Reading through the press release NI have added no fewer than SIX trademarked features to this keyboard - Komplete Browser, Native Map, Clear View, Light Guide, Smart Play and Touch Kontrols.
Firstly, the all-new Komplete Browser - "unifies the powerful instruments in Komplete, delivering tag-based access to all Komplete instrument presets"
Native Map - "automatically maps all key parameters for each Komplete instrument to the touch sensitive controller knobs" - all of these are visible using the Clear View - display (what no K?)
The Light Guide feature - this gives each key it's own multi-colour LED to indicate various zones, or mappings or keyswitch areas. Additionally they light up when sequences or arpeggios are playing and can show you which notes fit the scale - very pretty.
Though there are many similarities with the Maschine look, there are no drum pads included, however features such as Chord Set and Smart Play provide assisted play.
The Touch Kontrols - are basically two touch strips, similar to the DSI types but can control physical attributes such as springs and bouncing balls.
They are to be released in tandem with NI's Komplete 10 on October 1st, though Komplete 9 users will also have access to the S-Series integration via free download.
KOMPLETE KONTROL S25 is available for $499 / 499 € .KOMPLETE KONTROL S49 is available for $599 / 599 €. KOMPLETE KONTROL S61 is available for $699 / 699 €