New Komplete Kontrol version, mild improvement on UI/UX, but missing the mark again.

ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 118 Advisor

I was so excited when I launched Native Access about 20 minutes ago and saw that there was a new version. I immediately thought "If they brought GUI zoom to Kontakt 7, not even on version 7.0.0 but later on 7.4.0, and this was months ago, they have to have brought it to KK, which is something that users have been asking for since years ago.

But.....NO! Nice looking new GUI, very much in the style of Kontakt 7, many GUI elements in common, so it's great. It also suffers from the same problems as the K7 GUI, but not the end of the world.

I don't know why is it that NI has such a fierce reluctance to introduce GUI Zoom to their products. Kontakt 7 went from something I had to tolerate because it had so many great instruments, to something I enjoy using because even if they didn't change it drastically, they gave us the ability to make the GUI larger. Sure, some parts are still over ten years old, like the preferences, but for the past few months I haven't had to zoom in my whole OS GUI and then zoom out just to use Kontakt instruments.

And honestly I wouldn't even care to use Komplete Kontrol, but I spent almost $1,200 in a Komplete Kontrol MK2 S88 keyboard in part because of the integration with all the instruments in Komplete 14 CE that I had just bought. But it turns out the only way to get that integration, that extra experience that gives you more controls on the screens and knobs, and more importantly, shows you the ranges of the loaded instruments in the LEDs at the end of each key, is by using Komplete Kontrol.

And Komplete Kontrol was useless because it was tiny on my screen, and also all the text was blurry because it was obviously a very small GUI upscaled without much care for aliasing, so it was downright awful.

But I kept the keyboard, and I was so close to return it, but I love the keyboard, and I figured that the NI team eventually would release a new version with HiDPI and GUI zoom. The new version, however, barely addresses any of these problems. HiDPI? Yes, in some places. Some text is almost impossible to read. But fine, most text is fine... in its own GUI.

See, the great thing about having GUI zoom in K7 is that the whole GUI scales up. And every instrument created for Kontakt, whether it's native NI or third party, has to comply to the sizes required by the format. So the text inside the instrument's own GUI looks blurry, but if you have to read blurry text that is big enough, it's tolerable. If it's blurry text but at a small size, it's awful.

And this is what the new KK version fails at. They had plenty of time and plenty of users here and elsewhere asking when are we getting GUI zoom in KK, and still nothing. So it's still useless to me.

And the other great failure is the same stubbornness of the previous version of not allowing to even grab the lower right corner and resize like you can in 99% of programs. Hell, even K7 has a little thing that allows you to enlarge the GUI in the old GUI and as much as you want when you switch to the new GUI. Komplete Kontrol 3.0.0? Nope. Why???

And my last beef is something that it also shares with K7 in the new GUI. Having each preset listed individually in the new GUI is great, but they set a specific number of characters that they can't go over, just like an old OS and file names:

You can see all those presets from Cinebrass Sonore that are trumpets and that's all I know. Unless of course, I go into the old Kontakt GUI and see the actual long names. If it came with that column width, but you'd be able to adjust it and leave it as default, no problem. But if you move the divider line between the instrument folders and the presets, it gives you more preset columns, it doesn't widen the column. So another big fail, shared with K7, but in K7 I can switch to the old GUI very easily, get to the library and see what are all those instances of Cinebrass Sonore. Sure, Cinesamples shouldn't have put their library name in every single preset. But this happens on many presets that don't have their library name in them.

So at this point, can I ever hope for a program, doesn't matter at all if it's Kontakt or Komplete Kontrol, that will let me take advantage of this very expensive keyboard the way I should, or should I just resign myself to look at this boring thing forever?


  • ProfessorChaos
    ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 118 Advisor

    I mean, how hard is it to bring at least some of the interaction to Kontakt 7? Even if it's not all the bells and whistles. I'd be happy if it was just that the loaded instrument, as long as the vendor made it NKS compatible, loads all the stuff onto the keyboard that we would see with Komplete Kontrol. For example, the range of keys that instrument has, along with the keyswitches. And at least some of the instrument parameters on the knobs and buttons at the top of the screens. And at least a thumbnail of the instrument in one of the screens, and some basic parameters on the other screen.

    Then all the other customization like Scales, Arpeggios and all that can go in KK, but at least we'd get something better looking than that lame graphic of the 5 pin MIDI connector that hasn't been used in ages because everything is USB these days, unless you have an old keyboard. Sure, this one has both, but it's not accurate to show those connectors when I'm using USB.

    My point is, these are LCD screens, you can put anything you want in there. They're not like the old displays that could only show digital numbers on them.

    I spent an exorbitant amount of money in this keyboard because I really like the promise of the integration with the Komplete 14 CE instruments, but when I think about it, I hardly ever use anything that is not the piano keys themselves. Sometimes the knobs, but for the most part I use the computer keyboard and an accessory with 4 faders, or the pedals.

    It's like I spent all this money for nothing. Sure, it's high quality, but to use it like it's intended to use, you need to load instruments through Komplete Kontrol, and while it has a nicer GUI, functionality wise, it still sucks.

  • Tim_NI
    Tim_NI Product Team Posts: 42 mod

    Copying @Matthew_NI's post from as this speaks to much of your post:

    • We've made a major tech transition, partly to allow for us to build more things users want (e.g. resizing)
    • We have not yet brought everything forward, and where not, I've explained why (e.g. prioritize the most used features first, and then continuously improve). I don't expect that all users necessarily like the prioritization, but all deserve to hear the explanations I'm providing.
    • The main complaints as of now are:
      • RESIZING:
        • What: we have transitioned to a UI framework that allows us to support HiDPI and resizing. We focused on supporting host content resizing, as this was the most hotly requested feature.
        • Feedback: users also want to see browser resizing, and KK shell resizing.
        • What next: we plan to take on browser resizing as a next priority (Kontakt 7 already does this). KK shell resizing remains an open question, as there are interdependencies with the host content, which itself already resizes.
      • BROWSING:
        • What: we implemented the new visual browser seen in Kontakt 7
        • Feedback: some users use the browser to organize samples they then drag/drop into hosted content (e.g. a granular sampler) and are no longer able to do so.
        • What next: we plan to add a way to import samples from the new browser into host content
      • SCANAPP:
        • Feedback: some users are reporting hangs or crashes with specific content. Note that we tested with 10s, 100s, 1000s of products, but the variables are exponential, and issues can occur.
        • What next: we will look at the bugs filed against specific reports, and also some general improvements (e.g ability to exclude from list).
        • What: the new Qt user interface framework unlocks a lot of possibilities (some already realized, like scaling and resizing) but is more memory intensive than previous (which was fixed bitmaps).
        • Feedback: some users are reporting an increase in memory usage too great for their needs
        • What next: we will continue to profile and reduce memory where possible - this is not one specific thing, but a general effort you can look for in release notes
      • TAGGING:
        • What: we implemented the new visual browser seen in Kontakt 7
        • Feedback: since the new browser does not yet support the full user tagging workflow, people who make use of this tag editing capability (especially on behalf of preset communities) are stuck on KK 2.9 until support is added
        • What next: we plan to add tag editing capabilities and eliminate the regression in the coming months.

    Note that despite my transparency, the one thing I'm not at liberty to say is exactly when each feature mentioned above (and others that crop up) will ship, just yet. But what I can say is that the browser resizing, scanapp and memory topics are things we're starting work on this year, amidst other topics specific to the new keyboard (Play Assist on device, MIDI templates on device, Accessibility support).

    I hope that provides some helpful context regarding where we are at and where we are going from here.

  • ProfessorChaos
    ProfessorChaos Member Posts: 118 Advisor

    What next: we plan to take on browser resizing as a next priority (Kontakt 7 already does this). KK shell resizing remains an open question, as there are interdependencies with the host content, which itself already resizes.

    Thanks, Tim, at least now I know it's in the works, and just like it was implemented in K7 and it went from being an engine that I would think "Oh *****, I need to use Kontakt for this instrument", to "Oh good, it's under Kontakt".

    Just curious, what exactly do you call "browser resizing" and "KK shell resizing"? There are two main problems with size, one is the full interface that is stuck at the same size except when you load an instrument that has a GUI size larger than KK, so it adapts to that size. So I guess you call that KK shell resizing?

    But, the full GUI stuck at the same size means that the browser can't be expanded from the bottom right corner like K7 when in browser mode. And with the new GUI that wouldn't be the end of the world, because now at least we can see 11 presets at a time, up from the absurd 3 that we saw in previous versions.

    However, there's the other issue I mentioned, which is that not every instrument has presets that comply with the 32 character limit (if you have informed them, that is). Cinesamples and many other vendors have included their company and product name in the name, and I understand why. KK's browser has always been a mess where you scroll and scroll and don't know what product the presets belong to.

    But the problem remains, 32 character columns are not wide enough for some presets, and it leads to confusion. So that separator between the thumbnails and the presets list could be changed so that it widens the presets list, but not as it is now where it will bring more columns of 32 characters, but so that it can show more of the name if necessary.

    Hopefully the GUI zoom will be implemented soon.

Back To Top