Komplete Kontrol S series MK1 keyboards End Of Life

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  • B.Minor
    B.Minor Member Posts: 156 Advisor
    edited December 2023

    @Matthew_NI :

    Thanks for your reply. Knowing now that it can be an issue to write postings which appear to be too long, I'm going to split my message to you in several parts.

    PART 1 - My recent questions to you for which you provided related answers already:

    Regarding the "Sub-banks" topic:

    There is no answer or timeline for this issue yet. There are some other things I see as higher priority such as Tag Editing and Drag+Drop

    I'm very glad to hear that you haven't entirely dropped the idea of bringing back the sub-bank browsing/management to KK3 yet. You have made clear that this KK2 feature was currently not on your radar, at least not in terms of tasks to be prioritized - fair enough. However, I'd like to remind you of your replies to very detailed questions which I raised once in the thread "Feedback - Komplete Kontrol 3.0" some time ago:

    yes, of course we plan to continue to support VST hosting, irrespective of who made the VST in question.

    ...and...

    You seem rather worried we'd disallow 3rd party participation in our ecosystem in general, but the opposite is true. Almost 50% of the usage in KK is 3rd party, and Native Kontrol Standard (NKS) already includes more than 1200 products, with many more coming all the time.

    Well, you were completely right that I was (and I'm still) worried, as there seems to be enough reason for that. After all, it's also true that exactly those 50% usage you mentioned above, dedicated to 3rd party suppliers and their libraries (even including those products which are Kontakt-based), ARE mainly involving such (factory-based or self-customized) sub-banks per design, either directly coded into NKS patches, or at least available as folder-based disk structures that are to be interpreted properly. If you take your promise above seriously to support all these libraries in the future in the same way as you would support your own NI products, it simply would be a No-Go to ignore the proven capability to browse, select and manage preset banks along with their related sub-banks. This applies to both, existing and future libraries making use of that feature that was common for a while already. Please re-think your priorities, as otherwise NI is actually keeping to break the compatibility; and that's exactly what you affirmed NOT to do. No one can actively work with NKS presets in case they were divided into sub-bank-based categories, at least as long as you haven't fixed that issue that was introduced by the first KK3 version already.

    You could finally also prove your appreciation towards the community, especially important NKS supporters and contributors like @Kymeia, @JesterMgee, @Christos Adamos, @Sunborn , @Mercury, @Vagus,... (just to name a few - please foregive me that I cannot mention everyone here) who all have been very active in filling existing gaps/issues and in creating very useful NKS patches/tools. After all, at the end it was also to the advantage of NI (and it will be in the future as well, if you don't want to miss their valued support in the future). NI should never forget that exactly those guys, having also relied on the way how KK2 was initially designed to work (until KK3 was introduced) were encouraging several hundreds of other people - like me - to start working with NKS on a deeper level or to get interested in NKS at all. It will be a punch in the face of all customers currently using NKS if no progress can be perceived in the near future to bring back recently lost functionalities like that mentioned "Sub-bank" feature which has been highly requested to re-appear soon. For now, thanks for taking that point to your list.

    Regarding your reply to the other important question I raised, the "Simultaneous NKS Preset + Plugin View":

    This is not planned. We're going to continue to make investments in the new browser view.

    Well, I don't interpret your answer like @nightjar does, as I've been asking a clear "yes/no" question and you replied that it's NOT planned to implement that previously common KK feature, aka "combined NKS preset + VST plugin view". I must confess that this left me in a kind of shock first, and I can only express my deepest estonishment. It's fully okay and understandable if NI will focus on further KK GUI development, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a really useful view option of the past needed to be kicked out for no obvious reason, as if there would have never been the need for it at all. I cannot understand the reasons that could have lead to such a decision which is even counterproductive from a user's perspective who has really worked deeply using KK so far. The more people are keeping wondering about the direction in which KK development is drifting currently, the more speculations will arise (which is never a good thing). However, I have also started thinking already about what in the world could be going on, and I can only think of one particular scenario which might have brought you to your decision. You may anytime prove me wrong (I'd even apprectiate that very much) by giving me hard facts about the reason why you dropped that very essential view. It would really surprise me if my theory (explained further below) turns out to be totally incorrect. I can drop in here at this point again - let's say in one year or so - and see if my predictions have become reality or not:

    When it comes to NI's ideals, thousands of previous KK2 users should applaud happily and approve the new KK3 GUI without exception. Well, aside from the lack of missing KK2 functionalities currently (which can be still repaired by NI), I have to admit that the KK3 GUI could have become worse than it actually turned out to be. As we all know, taste is discussable, and you even announced to implement window resizing finally which is highly appreciated. However, that cannot hide the fact that one very important thing must be mentioned very clearly, as it cannot be repeated often enough:

    • The current KK GUI is simply NOT fulfilling its initial purpose anymore, namely supporting the user accordingly with his/her workflow, especially in terms of procedures which have always been simple and initially even been designed and propagated by NI to be applicable to this very application/plugin.

    People have trusted NI and have established a certain way of working accordingly to get along with KK. So, the big question everyone is pondering now is: Why would NI like to offend existing KK customers in such a bumbling way? For me the answer is obvious now (please prove me wrong):

    NI has worked very intensively to match the looks between KT7 and the newly released KK3. After each single "update" they almost look like real clones already. After all, both applications/plugins are providing the same kind of menu structures, the same library icons and preset arrangements, the same resizing options (if that will hopefully be applicable to KK3 very soon as well) etc.; in fact the "KT7 look" has been 1:1 replicated to "KK3". Why is that? Because of any "corporate identity guidelines" prescribed by NI management? No, for sure not. It all seems to have just commercial reasons.

    As we all know, KT7 has already been updated and prepared in such a way that it is able to support direct communication with MK3 keyboards. This was done by introducing the new "NKS2" standard which does not necessarily require the involvment of the KK application anymore at least when it coms to NI-owned libraries/plugins. So far so good, nothing to claim about such an approach from an innovative point of view. But this aspect also raises new questions nobody has ever answered by now. Would the next logical move for NI be to remove the KK application in general and to merge its functionality (at least the one making sense for NKS2) into the next major Kontakt release (let's say KT8)? Hasen't there already been a related approach recently, trying to get rid of all sales/offers that previously included KK as a "free" application/plugin (like "Komplete Start")? Unfortunately for NI that first attempt went horribly wrong so that KK still had to be made available as a "free" application, but on dedicated request only.

    Now, wouldn't that fit perfectly into the picture and make perfect sense for NI to get generally rid of the KK application ASAP and to announce something to the community very soon, like "Hey guys, look: Both applications, KT and KK were anyway similar already, so we decided to retire KK3 and to migrate its "best" functionalities into our new KT8 application/plugin, tailored to serve our new NKS2/MK3 flagship combo. Ain't that great?" Such an approach would finally give NI sales another opportunity to sell something again that was previously available for free already, but which now can be commercially sold once again under a new title; in fact, an "all-in-one" solution, if you will. Any further KK3 development could immediately be dropped from that moment on, as only one single application/plugin would remain to be actively supported by NI and "needed" by "everyone". The desired side-effect for NI would be that all those "legacy users" with their annoying requests to bring back old features would be finally silenced forever. No need anymore to invest in KK3 development at all, as KT would be the only predecessor, exclusively tailored to MK3/NKS2 purposes.

    Maybe I'm the one now starting to "phantasize" more than I possibly should, but actions like the ones experienced from NI in the last two months are only provoking an uprising of existing customers, or even causing that conspiracy theories arise from the ashes, like the "example theory" I mentioned above. However, regardless if this is correct or wrong, NI shouldn't have dropped all those great KK2 features only because a new keyboard has been released. Full support and feature parity should be guaranteed to all customers in the same way, depending on when and what they have purchased. Only because "KK2" didn't fully match anymore with some current "KT7 design" decisions (like missing subbank display/selection, indicators, menus, tagging features, etc.) doesn't automatically mean that users are not interested anymore to use such features within KK, or that they are willing to give up such "power-user" features (as NI likes to call those frequently).

  • B.Minor
    B.Minor Member Posts: 156 Advisor
    edited December 2023

    PART2 - Final thoughts about NI's "depreciated NKS Preset + Plugin View":

    Regardless if KK and KT will unite in the future or not, one question remains: Why is it so difficult for NI to realize that it would make perfect sense to have an additional view available within KK, tailored to both purposes, NKS and NKS2, providing us all again with a "consolidated information experience"? After all, something similar has always been available in KT right from the start; just think of the "library + rack view" mode; you would also not seperate that particular combination for any specific reason.

    In addition, NI wouldn't need to start new development; both views ARE already included in KK3 (but currently just seperated from each other). Not sure what in the world could prevent NI from adding the option to display the related plugin window in addition to the existing NKS preset browser window (and if this might only be realized by a floating window which is detachable and can be optionally shown/hidden)? This would even give that currently useless "Pin" icon in the top menu a new meaning and reason to exist at all. It could be used to pin that mentioned additional plugin window anywhere to the screen (or even to make that window appear anywhere on a second monitor etc.). If used in a clever way, endles view combinations could be developed later as a consequence, offering users all kinds of mixed environments to work with. That's what I'd call innovation, but not degrading already limited overview and visibility capabilities any further by reducing the amount of information that can be displayed at a time. Technically speaking, we need more "AND" in the GUI, not just "XOR" conditions, mutually excluding each other. I hope you understand what I wanted to explain by mentioning that example. Please finally provide us that additional view again! The community will greatly thank you for that!

    PART 3 - Expressing my own personal frustration (still):

    It was your product specialist, Matt Lara (@Matt_NI), who convinced me about 9 months ago to enter that whole "NI ecosystem" by purchasing an MK2 keybaord in addition to the libraries I already had obtained from NI before. There was also a 97 minutes long (!) video available from him, called "How to use everything in Komplete Kontrol software" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zu2eQrkwrMI), where he demonstrated KK in all its power and glory by entering a very detailed operational working level. I really appreciated all that inside scoop and useful information, as Matt was presenting many great functionalities which were available at a glance by performing just a few mouse clicks only; all aligned and in combination with functionality to be extrenally triggered and controlled by an MK2 keyboard. Already in minute 05':40" of that very video he started presenting the KK2 GUI layout which should finally represent the central instance of everything happening. I was very impressed by seeing all the application's/plugin's capabilities, especially NI's clever workflow approaches which seemed to be developed very carefully; and I immediately wanted to dig further into that "NI bubble". I finally decided to join the "KK/MK2 club" by purchasing and enjoying my new H/W + S/W combo; there was no reason not to trust such a world company like NI.

    Well, my enthusiasm didn't last for very long. I would have NEVER expected that already 7 months later (!) - after finally having customized all my libraries and DAW setups in my studio to comply with that particular workflow and setup - NI would come up with a simple "KK V3 update" that should break everything. Yes, "break" is the correct term, as major functionality had suddenly disappeared and the workflow that was initially the solid base of that whole "KK concept/experience" has not only been reduced to absurdity, it was simply destroyed; there's no other word for that.

    It cannot be an excuse for NI to tell existing customers, to keep on using the KK2 application from now on in case they are not satisfied with all these counterproductive changes and issues introduced by KK3, in fact just leaving them behind like dummies. Not sure why there has never been a newer video available showing the actual drawbacks of the new KK3 application, e.g. called "How to destroy everything in Komplete Kontrol software". Please forgive my sarcasm here at this point, but it exactly reflects the situation right now from a customer's perspective who has just started to like the NI world before the new keyboatd came to the market. KK was never announced to be degraded or slimmed down in terms of existing features; it was quite the opposite. The new KK, now featuring NKS2 was even propagated by NI to represent another level of music experience, even though it was mainly made to satisfy new users only who are going for the new keyboard. NI was not honest enough to tell the full truth, especially to all existing NKS users and MK2 owners. Even now - throughout the whole sales period currently going on - all pictures, videos and descriptions on NI's homepage are still referring to the good-old KK2 functionalities, processes and views, even though this is not applicable anymore. Isn't that also a little bit shabby, especially towards new customers who get tricked. believing in such nice "details" which doesn't even exist anymore?

    I know, I'm repeating myself many times already, but I can't express in a more accurate and clear way how upset I'm personally about all that strange moves. I won't stop mentioning the following things again and again:

    •    It's NOK to change the whole GUI in such a drastical way that now you have to skip through differend tabs first in order to select "brand/type/character" combinations

           (instead of providing an option to select and view those ALL AT ONCE - like it was in KK2)

    •    It's NOK to detach the Plugin GUI completely from the NKS Preset View, fully ignoring the original KK principles

           (and at the same time NOT offering any other option to have all NKS preset and plugin information displayed ALL AT ONCE - like it was in KK2)

    •    It's NOK to remove any Sub-bank browsing capability in general, knowing that NI and 3rd party libraries' NKS preset selection is depending on that important feature

           (where even Banks and Sub-banks can still be searched individually or ALL AT ONCE - like it was in KK2)

    To be fair and to mention some positive progress as well at the end (but I don't want to get excited about that too early until I've seen it); at least we have:

    •    The chance to get back full "Sample Drag & Drop" capabilities

           (even though nobody knows how this should be practically working when having one single window available only)

    •    The chance to get back "full tagging capabilities"

           (with the known downside that any "vendor/category" differentiation will be gone forever as it seems)

    To recap, I can only appeal to NI's common sense one more time to straighten things up again and to align tasks not only with commercial goals to be immediately achieved (no matter what), but above all with the needs of their already acquired customers. Any company that fundamentally ignores such basic rules will not survive in the long term. You should never underestimate your customers, and most of all, you should listen to their valuable feedback very carefully whenever you have the chance (and not only trust data counters that may not capture the real world properly). Respecting these rules may help NI to reach the highest level of customer satisfaction there is. Just look at Steinberg or UVI; they also had their issues once, but at least they have learned a lot, and now they are listening to their customers as it should be. They may finally show NI how to do it in the right way.

    I know, my postings were extremely long this time, but many things simply HAD to be mentioned (again and again), as it really seems that important facts get ignored and overseen otherwise.

    Thanks to all of you who kept on reading anyway.

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,995 Expert
    edited December 2023

    A lot of nice reasoning in this thread…but sadly I start to think that we are just overthinking, and in reality everything comes down to a very typical and simple work environment dynamic (that I’ve seen many times on my work place, since I’m there from 20 years):

    Every time a new “boss” comes in, he feels like he MUST do something. Bring some innovations, change dynamics that were working from years,… in short: just DO something to mark the territory and show that things are changed

    It doesn’t matter if everybody tells him that something won’t work, that it’s already been tried in the past, that what was in action was already good… the urge to do SOMETHING (sometimes it doesn’t even matter what) is stronger. Otherwise, how could he show that the decision to chose him was a good one? (even at the risk to prove exactly the opposite…)

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro

    Don't feel bad. There is fairly popular male comedian who goes by the stage name "Fluffy". So I would have made the same mistake.

  • B.Minor
    B.Minor Member Posts: 156 Advisor
    edited December 2023


    Maybe you're right and the reasons are completely different from what customers are thinking at first. Unfortunately, that won't change the situation.

    If nobody speaks up - and the forum here is all we've got to do so, managers usually tend to feel confirmed in their decisions, regardless if these were right or wrong. Of course, it's not clear if those who are finally responsible for what's currently happening will ever read those lines. But hey, at least someone tried😉...

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro

    "Yeah, it almost seems to me that NI hasn‘t acquired iZotope, but iZotope development team has taken over NI‘s former playground."

    It "almost seems" that way because it IS that way. Here's some history:

    In 2021, Native was bought by Francisco Partners, which is an American company. There's always a chance that an American holding company would prefer its principals to be .. at least based in America, if not American themselves. Then there was the short-lived time where it was all rolled up under "Soundwide", which was itself a partnership between Francisco and EMH Partners. EMH, according to their website, is a German company. Then "Soundwide" took on the Native Instruments name. What's old is new again. But still, the fact is that NI is owned by (and funded by) a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT entity since the time you bought your MK1 or MK2 controllers.

    I've said for years that when companies merge, combine, and acquire other companies, it is more often than not that the combined company will destroy value, even just within the first year. I'm not saying that this is true in NI's case, but an argument can certainly be made.

    Oh, and just in case we all haven't had enough things to worry about: In my research, I also found that EMH has provided capital for Cleverbridge, and lists that company as a "market leader in subscription management." To me, this falls clearly under "things that make you go 'hmmmm...' ", but I'll let you all decide what you think.

  • B.Minor
    B.Minor Member Posts: 156 Advisor
    edited December 2023

    Thanks for the detailed research. If a subscription based model is the next thing we can expect to happen, then I wish everybody goodnight already...

    Edit: Btw., "Things that make you go hmmm" by C+C Music Factory was one of my favorite beats I listeded to back in the early 90's 😎.

  • fluffy
    fluffy Member Posts: 57 Member
    edited December 2023

    "Fluffy" is a gender-neutral nickname, and most of the people I know who go by it are feminine. The music industry already has a problem with being extremely male-dominated; I suggest that maybe you examine why you feel it more important to forgive someone else for a mistake that didn't affect you, rather than reevaluating your own biases.

    The original misgendering wasn't a big deal to me (it happens!), but for someone else to absolve them of a mistake rather than accepting that mistakes happen is a weird choice to make.

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro

    You're welcome! And yeah, one of my favorite songs and groups too. Until the one guy died. Do you remember Arsenio Hall? He used to do a standup routine, "Things that make you go Hmmmmm" too. I don't know who was first, him or C+C.

    And I'm right there with you on the subscription based model. I avoid Adobe, Muse, Composer Cloud, and UVI because I'm ALREADY subscription-fatigued.

  • Kymeia
    Kymeia Member Posts: 3,468 Expert
    edited December 2023

    How can you have drag and drop if you can't have the plugin and browser open at the same time?

    Also much as I want the return of tag editing this was always seen as inclusive of the bank field in presets, which has always been an important aspect of sound content management and browsing

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro
    edited December 2023

    I didn't "forgive" anybody. He didn't even make a mistake, because he didn't know the facts until you disclosed them. Nor did I. All he had to go by was his own personal life experiences. As did I. And for me, the ONLY entity I know who's not a cat, dog, or bunny rabbit who's called "Fluffy" is the male comedian.

    There is nothing to feel ashamed of, so I do not feel ashamed. There is nothing to forgive, either, so I did not offer forgiveness. And I'm also not asking you for forgiveness either.

    I hope we can still all be friends, but I'll understand it if you reject this overture.

  • Matthew_NI
    Matthew_NI Product Team Posts: 682 mod

    We are getting so far off topic.

    This was, initially, a thread to discuss the introduction of end of life for the Kontrol S MK1 keyboard.

    Happy to get back to discussing that.

    If the other topics raised (e.g. the future of KK, entirely inaccurate speculation on ownership models, and/or interpersonal slights) must continue, then please do so in specific discussion threads, not this one.

  • nightjar
    nightjar Member Posts: 1,235 Guru

    I'll get this thread back on track...

    Landfill, cremate or compost?

    Kidding!

    Those who have a S-MK1 can use and enjoy their keyboards for years to come. Excellent build quality... use KK 2.9.6

    Like any other product that is combo hardware/software, when it goes "legacy status", owners will need to keep needed dependencies withinin the "legacy" environment.

    Hmmm.. now how can I watch this VHS-tape???

  • Maciej Repetowski
    Maciej Repetowski Member Posts: 369 Pro
    edited December 2023

    It’s certainly easier to watch VHS video tape nowadays, than, for example, to use NI Vokator on any modern computer. I could install it on a PC (Mac - not possible) but I wouldn’t be able to activate it. It’s 32 bit anyway…

    It’s a shame that you can’t see that your comments only enrage Mk 1 users. They didn’t pay for a dumb midi controller, they’ve paid for software integration with KK, which has been taken away from them. They need to stay on KK 2.x which will not receive compatibility updates anymore. Sooner or later, things will break.

  • nightjar
    nightjar Member Posts: 1,235 Guru

    I'd like to think that some S-MK1 owners might laugh a bit... as that was my intention.

    Lighten up people....we are talking about a keyboard controller....

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