Seriously, can't we make Kontakt bigger?

ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 129 Advisor

Is there some kind of hack anybody knows to make Kontakt, even if it's just version 7, to go up to at least 150%? I mean, I love all the stuff in Komplete 14, but most of it is under Kontakt, and it's just gives me a headache after an hour or two. I mean, look at the size of the interface and especially the characters:

Sure, I can set the resolution to half 4K HiDPI, but I had two 27" Dells that were practically a gift, and I had to buy two 32" Samsungs because the others were too small. And 5K HiDPI with a 32" display looks great for almost everything, but Kontakt is an eye killer.

We all know that the claim NI made about Kontakt 7 being HiDPI is absolute ******, because the only portion that is HiDPI is the new interface that they put on top of the old one. But when you choose an instrument, you go back to the old GUI, which is tiny and with poorly rendered fonts. Some instruments get around that by having a GUI that widens Kontakt and that helps.

But there are dozens of libraries that have the same exact style and rendering that they had in 2014 when I bought Komplete 9. But back then most people didn't have 4K monitors, they had 1080p ones. So it was fine with me even if the font rendering was blurry, it was big enough that it didn't bother me.

But I don't understand how NI releases all these new instruments, many of which are just a couple of years old, and most people switched to 4K monitors like 5 years ago if not more. I had bought a really nice LG barebones 4k monitor in 2019 for $250, so it's safe to say that 4K hasn't been a luxury for the rich for many years now.

Why is NI still releasing instruments and libraries that look fine in 1080p, but can barely be read in HiDPI 5k, which is 2560x1440.

So I can't believe there isn't a hack, maybe going inside the contents of the Kontakt 7 app and digging to see if there's any file that is not encrypted but just regular code that can be open in Xcode and edited.

I'm not looking for perfect sharp resolution, I'm just simply looking for a way that we can make the Kontakt 7 GUI twice the size, even if it's blurry. That's what would happen with HiDPI, for any application that wasn't created for it but with that "toggle" enabled. Even Logic Pro X has some filters that were done a long time ago and when you enlarge them they look like an enlarged GUI, similar to enlarging a photo that was taken in a small phone camera in the 2000's.

But that's much much better than having to trying to make out what the tiny text says, or having to press Control and swiping the finger back and forth in the Magic Mouse to zoom into the whole macOS GUI, so it's really annoying after you do it several times.

And someone at Native Instruments is actually thinking about this, because look how cool Guitar Rig 6 looks at just 140%:

And while that's a GUI conceived as HiDPI because everything looks sharp, it's OK to make Kontakt look like an enlarged GUI until you hopefully turn the whole Kontakt GUI, not just lipstick on a pig, but everything into HiDPI.

Now, come on people. I know there's some nerd like me out there that knows Xcode in and out and can make this happen.



  • Gee_Flat
    Gee_Flat Member Posts: 906 Guru

    If Netflix did a remake of Green Acres in 2023, I'm pretty sure Arnold Ziffel would be wearing lipstick.

    Just sayin' ...

  • ProfessorChaos
    ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 129 Advisor

    I'm an old guy, but you have to be way older than me. I had to look up what the hell you were talking about 🤣

    But these days, Netflix would do a remake and then cancel it after a very successful first season. It's just what they do these days.

  • Gee_Flat
    Gee_Flat Member Posts: 906 Guru
    edited February 2023

    I was just being a cynic because this topic has been beaten to death.

    Glad you looked it up and got the joke. I suspected very few people would get that reference. 😃

  • ProfessorChaos
    ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 129 Advisor

    I know it's been, and a few months ago it was me brutalizing this topic just to show NI that it's not cool to release something like this in 2022, but back then I had no plans to do anything with NI software. I had paid $500 for Komplete 9 in 2014 and that was it.

    Then recently I came across some videos here and there showing all the stuff in the new Komplete, and it caught my attention. First I was thinking for days whether or not to pay the $200 to upgrade to Komplete 14 standard, then more days considering paying $700 to upgrade to the other one, and eventually considering and deciding to spend $1200+tax on the Collector's Edition.

    And I don't regret doing it, despite my initial problem with the downloads because Native Access 2 sucks donkey balls, but once I got NA 1 and was able to download everything and start playing, it's an amazing suite for sure.

    But it puzzles me because it seems mostly laziness not to tweak a few things here and there to make Kontakt 7 a true HiDPI product. In a way, certain elements are already HiDPI, or at least have a decent clear font that is readable, even if I would like it a bit larger:

    But then you have two other types of rendering in Kontakt. One is the typical aliased font that is part of the list of presets in the left pane, and in the GUI designed for that specific instrument. This font is sometimes readable, sometimes a pain depending on how big they decided to make it when creating the plugin. But if it's big enough, it's not terrible. And from this we also know that instruments in Kontakt are not constrained to the same width they used to be, which made this font hard to read.

    And then you have the tiny font from 1981 that is bitmap and zero aliasing, which looks awful and is impossible to read unless you get really close to the screen, or use macOS's Control while swiping the index finger up in the mouse. If it was only the preferences dialog, so be it, but Kontakt is incredibly powerful software, with a lot of great stuff under the hood, but pretty much all of it is with this horrible font and I hardly ever go in there because it gives me a headache. But I wish it had the same font as the list in my first screenshot, which may not be large but still readable.

    So it seems to me that there isn't a technical barrier that means rewriting everything from scratch for HiDPI. If they were able to get menus with presets in there with a font that is obviously HiDPI, why not change the elements that are in the 1980's font first, and continue with making the GUI for each instrument HiDPI capable? At least the newest ones, especially the most expensive ones like Lores, the Symphony series, the Cremona Quartet, which is such an amazing feat to have a Stradivari violin from 1727 captured in the city where it was created, with such an attention to detail, played by musicians that had to be approved by the museum, where the mayor closed the area around the studio for traffic for like a month, and residents were told to avoid all loud noises. Such an amazing virtual instrument to keep the memory of those four instruments alive past the date where they will become unplayable.

    And how are we supposed to interact with this beautiful instrument? With this tiny blurry font, that to make matters worse, they decided to make it color 87827C, which is like a 50% gray but towards the orange side, so it's like a dark beige, and the selected text, E8E1DB, which is 88 lightness also with an orange hue. And, to make matters worse, they made it really really tiny:

    So you have what is one of the best virtual instruments of all time, which at least to my ears sounds fantastic, much better than any other sampled violin solo or ensemble I have, and we're forced to use it in this lame GUI? I mean, this, and the rest of the Cremona Quartet, it deserved its own plugin engine designed from scratch! But, if you're going to use Kontakt, fine, just give me something bigger that doesn't strain my eyes. And don't make a brown background with text in dark beige! I mean, the thing doesn't even pass the industry standard for color contrast:

    It only passes if it's large text (this is most definitely NOT), or UI components and graphic objects, meaning the parts in it that are not text but graphic objects like the notes, the vibrato snake, or the knobs, etc. There's a good reason for those standards.

    Again, this is a 32" monitor in 5K HiDPI mode. Between 3 and 4 feet away from my face. Are you going to tell me that they managed to switch some elements in the Kontakt GUI to HiDPI and they can't do the same for all of it?

    It seems to me that it's just laziness, but I would love to be proven wrong. But it seems to me that Native Instruments is sitting on a boatload of PNG files that make up a lot of their GUIs, and somebody just has to go there and enlarge some with a a nice Bicubic or Lanczos filter, or even just go into Affinity Designer or Illustrator and put the old ****** PNG in the back enlarged to twice the size, and then draw some elements as vector shapes.

    I'm not saying this is something that would take a week, but it is doable. Hell, I'd be happy to help with the Cremona quartet, just so I can use it for years without straining my eyes.

    So I'm going to keep beating this horse to death until I can use the great virtual instruments and plugins that Native Instrument has with an inferior GUI from a decade ago, until somebody does something about it.

    I was really surprised when I launched Guitar Rig 6 for the first time and saw such a polished, well designed GUI that had nothing to do with its older 5 iteration. GR 6 has a GUI that is on par with most of the other virtual music industry GUIs, like Eastwest Opus (even if it's not totally reliable), the Spitfire ones, Arturia, Soundpaint and many more.

    Everything in it is easy to read, it has a zoom selector, that even at 100% is far far better than anything in Kontakt, and you can take it up to 200%, which is for a crazy big monitor with 4k real mode.

    So it can't be that hard to make Kontakt a product from 2023 and not 2013. And I bet somebody here has a clue on how to do that. So please, please tell us.

  • Gee_Flat
    Gee_Flat Member Posts: 906 Guru

    "...So you have what is one of the best virtual instruments of all time..."

    Perhaps Kontakt is at the end of it's lifespan and something newer is in conception. I've always imagined something called 'Komplete Studio' was that idea.

    My world is Komplete Kaos and none of it matters.

  • ProfessorChaos
    ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 129 Advisor

    Oh come on, people. I'm all good with the jokes, but there has to be at least a few of you who know code and the internals of Kontakt to do this. I'm not asking anyone to rewrite it from scratch. Just find a way to make it larger so I don't have to constantly go back and forth with the macOS zoom to adjust things.

    Doesn't have to look super sharp, fonts can be blurry as long as they are big enough. That's all. Windows has a setting in the compatibility tab that can make any old app zoom x2. I don't know if it works for Kontakt, but then again, I don't use my PC for this, I use my Mac and I want to keep using my Mac.

    But this is not impossible, so come on, there's gotta be someone around here that can give us a clue.

  • Gee_Flat
    Gee_Flat Member Posts: 906 Guru
    edited February 2023

    At first I meant to make it a joke, but I think any activity in a thread discussion can draw attention.

    But the reality is, if Kontakt could be converted to a vector based framework that easily, it would be done.

    I'm guessing there are thousands and thousands of users who use Kontakt on a laptop and it has to fit that screen size also. And if you think they aren't aware that Guitar RIg works better visually, I think you are wrong.

  • ProfessorChaos
    ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 129 Advisor
    edited February 2023

    Well, the question is why was it designed as a bitmap interface, and one that didn't even look well rendered at 1080p.

    Now, the laptop thing is a good point, but you can't set your GUI to one group of people and forget about the rest. There are tons of software out there, and most of them look fine on both laptops and large screens. I don't see any reason why a software has to be constrained to one screen size and screw the rest and give them headaches. And while most of the people using all these products are young, some of them are not, like me, and we don't need text that takes up the whole screen, but we need something that can be read without straining the eyes.

    What I don't understand is that I'm not complaining about this in the year 2015 when a large number of people, maybe most, were working with 1080p monitors and 4k monitors were too expensive for most people. This is 2023, 4K monitors have been the standard for several years now. And many people have 2015 to 2020 iMacs, not the joke they sell now, but the beautiful iMac with the curved back that came with a 27" 5K screen, in which working with Kontakt and most Native Instruments programs is impossible if you don't switch the screen resolution. But I don't want to have to go into the system settings and do that every time I have to use anything NI.

    I mean, these people just don't get it. I just got a Maschine Mikro and only had a couple of hours to play with it, but the Maschine program, while it's not as bad as Kontakt when it comes to the topic we're talking about here, shows a total lack of understanding of what the end user needs when it comes to working with their products.

    In Maschine, you can select 4 different sizes, or you can drag the lower right corner and resize the window. Peachy, but the windows resize, the text does not!

    I mean, do Germans only use 1080p monitors, or maybe have an amazing eyesight? Because I can't understand why they like everything so small (not Germans in general, I mean the Germans working at Native Instruments.)

    Yes, the font in Maschine is easier to read, and it is a fantastic product, both in hardware and software. But that long list of projects, and groups, and this and that, that you have to scroll, is not very big and it has too much aliasing, so it's blurry. Nobody at NI realized this?

    Again, fantastic little controller with a fantastic set of songs and sounds with endless creativity possibilities. And the GUI looks good, but why set the font so freaking small???

  • metmettuo
    metmettuo Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    Seconded, would make life easier if scalable.

  • MMFF
    MMFF Member Posts: 4 Newcomer

    It has to be an in-house policy not to add resize.. It has been a joke for years with NI and the quality of their software.

    I've had the miss-fortune of running development studios for about 20 yrs and have worked in gaming, finance, special FX and so on.. I've never seen a company deliberately break AAA or try to support it.

    One thing is for sure, it must be on the backlog, my life story tells me it's either or a collection of ****** Product Owners, lack of financial investment, failure to follow any type of Design Thinking or user feedback and or just not giving a flying fck.

    What get's me however, with the release of 7, that's either a pig in lipstick or a new architecture for the UI wrapper, gut feeling the first one.

    Bottom line though, now approaching my 50's the eye's are little behind the curve and having left the software world, I get to spend more time producing, so pull your lazy, finance driven fingers out NI and do your job build applications the right way..

    Don't even get me started on that ****** they call Access, that latest drop is another pile of ******.

    That feels better..

  • Gee_Flat
    Gee_Flat Member Posts: 906 Guru
    edited February 2023

    I'm not gonna defend NI for their recent shortcomings, but as I said to Joe Chaos 🙂, if you don't think they are working on something then you would be a fool.

    Clearly converting Kontakt into a scaleable framework is no easy undertaking. Yet PChaos seems insistent on rambling on about something that has been discussed ad nauseam.

    Someone should close this thread.

  • ProfessorChaos
    ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 129 Advisor

    Well, it needs to be discussed ad nauseam until NI does something about it. If they, as you suggest, close this thread, they will show they are just another arrogant company like Apple, which deletes posts and threads for anything remotely critical of them.

    So I will keep pushing this, because I know that a complete rebuild of everything is a major undertaking, but we're talking about one of the largest virtual instrument companies in the world, not just a small companies with 30 guys in a rental office building space.

    I'm not asking to rebuild all their software from scratch. I'm just saying, for now, do small things here and there to make life easier. For example, eliminate that stupid restriction in Komplete Kontrol that doesn't allow you to click and drag the bottom right corner or the edges to make the window larger, especially vertically, so you can see more presets and more instruments.

    You know it's possible because it has some code to automatically enlarge it if you load certain instruments, or even load Kontakt and go into edit view. So this is not crazy talk. Enlarging the window is perfectly possible, they are just stubborn in not changing a bit of code, probably one of those things in code, I can't remember the name, it's not variable, it's when it's either true or false.

    Now, tell me, why can't they do that in ten minutes and upload the new version to Native Access?

    And the rest, is just a matter of also enabling the user to scale up or down the whole interface, even if when enlarged it looks blurry. But like MMFF approaching his 50's, I am in my 50's, and I'd much rather have a big GUI with blurry text than a small GUI with blurry text. At least I can read the large one.

    Maschine 2 has options for size, but in the most ridiculous lack of understanding from the designers, it only enlarges the window size and doesn't touch the text at all. Good, but the text is still too small for hours and hours of working with it.

  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,479 Expert
  • Jeremy_NI
    Jeremy_NI Customer Care Posts: 8,833 mod

    @ProfessorChaos The next update of Kontakt should bring improvements on that matter. I'm not sure when the next beta is going live but let me know if you would like to be part of it.

    For the other NI products, it is a hot topic, you can already see there is a long going conversation here: Please make all UIs scalable

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