Kontrol S-Series MK3 - Feeling like a beta tester. :(

Jezric Member Posts: 29 Member
edited October 21 in Komplete Kontrol

My S61 mk3 just arrived and I have to say, I am very disappointed. Not because of the quality of the hardware, it feels fantastic. It's that the software integration feels like it's half-baked at best.

  • Switching focus between multiple instances of KK or Kontakt does not attach the controller to that instance, you have to re-choose the controller on Kontakt's dropdown menu or click the little 49/61/88 button in the top of the KK plugin window.
  • No integration with Maschine, I can kind of use Kontakt in Maschine, but can't use Komplete Kontrol and therefore can't use any of my Arturia plugins with the browser or controls. Oh, and no Play Assist features because those only work in the KK plugin.
  • One Default MIDI Template with no integration with your own Controller Editor software to you know, maybe create custom templates for the controls? (seems like a no brainer) I don't even see a way to change any of the CCs, you're just stuck with what it gives you in the Default MIDI Template, totally unusable.
  • DAW controls are limited to only the few that they list and even with those, it's half-baked in the functionality. They seem to be only focusing on Ableton (uh... your direct Maschine competitor? Is Maschine dead??) Even other DAWs that fully support Mackie Control Universal, the only controls that seem to work are transport controls and really just Play and Stop and the controller doesn't even detect that it's setup for DAW (i.e. the DAW button doesn't light up and does nothing, so no channel strip functionality).
  • Only way to use Play Assist is in KK. They boast about this new controller having a mini computer inside yet, they can't move this basic MIDI functionality to it so it can be used with anything? (like other hardware synths)
  • They use Arturia's CS80 V4 as an example for next gen NKS integration, but the control performance is SO bad that when you turn knobs on the controller it lags and does not produce smooth controlling of the parameters (PC, i9, 64gb memory, NVME M.2 SSD, should have NO problem), both Maschine mk3 and Arturia's own Keylab don't have this issue.

There is more, but that's enough for now... All of this really makes me second guess NI as a company and where they are heading (this is coming from a user that owns ALL of NI's software/plugins). In my opinion they should have figured all of this out prior to releasing this thing. I am so disappointed.

Have there been any answers to any of these questions from NI? Have they shared any solid plans for addressing these issues? I have searched around and there is very little and even in the AMA thread, it's all just asks with no answers... So really, it's an Ask Me Anything and We Won't Answer Anything. So, what's the point???

I really do see the potential here and I SO want to love it but am really bummed out every time I look at this thing right now. :(



  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,764 Expert
    edited October 21

    Well…in facts…you ARE a beta tester. A paying one instead of a payed one… Aren’t they geniuses? 😔

    if you are looking for some answers, have a look at this long thread where Matthew_NI, Product manager and the one who took all the decisions (as per its own words) came to give some …but be ready to be deluded…

  • chozilla
    chozilla Member Posts: 1 Newcomer
    edited October 22

    Hi Jezric,

    I feel exactly the same way. The keyboard is currently a closed platform with half the functionality it should have and I am not sure how people liked Komplete before the S MK3 and Version 3, but for me the keyboard is a well-build hunk of plastic, that can only work in a software mode that is bound to be abandoned at some point. I am a first time hardware customer of NI.

    You get a browser window on a keyboard and a keybed with direkt midi signals plus one page of non-changeable midi buttons and two pages of encoders. Without running the bloated software the keyboard is more basic than ANY OTHER midi-controller on the market.

    Being able to use Kontakt direct is cool but all the play-assist stuff that should been on-board is missing... and using Kontrol means I have no access to hundreds of 3rd party Kontakt libraries that I can not browse on the keyboard.

    I would write my own control script for my DAW, but since I only have one page of Parameters that I can not name or change (toggle vs. momentary buttons, choose midi channel per page, return device, etc.) I will not waste my time with this.

    I bought the keyboard to navigate my projects away from the computer. My S61 is in a rack and I need to get up to get to it. But there is no workflow to work properly at this point.

    It is a half finished product. Working on a video to document the current state. More people should do that.

    Best reg4rds

    \ chozilla

  • chk071
    chk071 Member Posts: 298 Pro
    edited October 22

    "Well…in facts…you ARE a beta tester. A paying one instead of a payed one… "

    Nonsense. No one who writes such threads, or write such problems to support is any way helpful like a beta tester. A beta tester has to provide exact instructions to reproduce the issues, and has to have a fundamental knowledge of how software works, and, this particular software works. A beta tester also, obviously, tests a lot of features of the software, and tries things out which could potentially break the software. I.e., his job is to find bugs and reports them, so that the developers can repdroduce and fix them.

    This whole "early adoptors are mere beta tester" is one of those stupid internet things you read all day, and know exactly that the people who argue like that have no idea what beta testing is about.

  • kikolator
    kikolator Member Posts: 1 Newcomer

    Thank you for posting this. Agreed on all points.

    This is my view after just a couple of days messing around with it and there might be a little frustration as it does not do what I expected it to do.

    Nonetheless a beautiful piece of hardware with lots of potential. I do understand how they used a more instrumental approach to developing the S-series mk3. The build is amazing. But functionalities are so far from the mk2 that it feels weird. Especially having no integration (null) for Maschine 2 software... I basically got a very expensive MIDI keyboard that only kind of has value when using with Komplete Kontrol, and in a DAW that is listed.

    And the fact that they market this Play Assist feature (great feature) but only have it work with Komplete Kontrol (not even Kontakt or Reaktor...)? Big disappointment.

    A very legit question, is Maschine software dead? I use Maschine software for quick beat making and then route audio to my DAW. With this S-Series it feels like Maschine software is a bit lost, and it makes the Maschine mk3 feel useless unless running as a plugin in a DAW but then I lose the functionalities from Maschine software that I love in my workflow...It's an either/either question to which I have not found the solution. Either I use Maschine2 with my Maschine mk3, or I use a DAW to play instruments with the S-Series. Not both (unless I do not care about overloading CPU, having to ad buffer and have more ms delay than my grandma answering her new smartphone...)

    I hope they work on some updates that will make this really beautiful piece of hardware actually do what they promise it does.

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,764 Expert
    edited October 22

    Strange…all the beta tests I’ve been involved in agreed that I’m a good one. I’m also in the credits of apps under “developed with wonderful advice and feedback from” with 9 more people, Beardyman and DubFX being 2 of them…

    Probably that developer had no idea what beta testing was about…you could teach him…

    Or maybe he just didn’t feel the urge to attack me…

    Do you wanna add something about my parents this time too? Or do you think that saying others are stupid for the umpteenth time is enough?

    Anyway…let me learn from the Master and take some notes:

    1. Provide exact instructions ✅
    2. Fundamental knowledge ✅
    3. Testing a lot of features ✅
    4. Trying things out ✅
    5. Find bugs and report them ✅

    Thank you very much. With this so difficult to know knowledge, I’m sure next time I’ll be a better Beta Tester 👍🏼

    BTW: just to give you something back for your kindness, I’ll teach you something too: Beta Tests are composed by so many people because less than 10% of them will be active…the others will never participate and are used to collect datas anyway 😉

  • Keith Cocker
    Keith Cocker Member Posts: 105 Advisor

    I've had mine 3 days and am delighted with it. It does everything I expected and more. Keyboard feel is better than my s61 Mk2 and it integrates fully with Logic. No regrets and looking forward to any enhancements that might be in the pipeline.

  • Jezric
    Jezric Member Posts: 29 Member
    edited October 22

    Not going to argue on the point that it DOES feel great, the build is really good and the poly aftertouch is great. It sounds like you're not a Maschine user. ;) I can understand that if you're using a supported DAW (and best of all Ableton), it is a much better experience.

    However, I have seriously bought into Maschine as a song starting arranger scratchpad. I don't expect the integrations like the Mk2 had, as that seemed redundant given that most people using Maschine software also have a Maschine controller (I have 2 mk3s and a Plus). If they had integrated this into Maschine so you could at least use the controller for browsing and controlling my instruments (All of NI and all of Arturia) I would be MUCH happier (I mean at least they could just allow you to open an instance of the KK plugin on Maschine and it would solve that problem). But the fact that they completely leave out all Maschine integration and focus mainly on Ableton integration (yes other DAWs too, but all the demos are Ableton) has me worried that all this investment in Maschine hardware and workflow will be "frozen in time" (like the KK mk1), I totally understand that things change over time and we can't expect eternal update support but we're talking about a whole ecosystem (Maschine) that seems to be in a troubling state.

    Maybe NI owns a bunch of Ableton stock and with the release of Ableton's Push3 controller (with a battery powered standalone option - that you can install after the fact) it's kind of putting the dated Maschine software to shame and NI knows it... So, either they are rising to the occasion and building an updated Maschine3.0 full DAW and new Mk4 controllers with all the 3d pad control goodness that the Push now has, or they will give up and get out of the "DAW" business. Even though yes Machine is not really a "DAW", but come on... it is for sequencing and plugins and sampling, it's a very murky ecosystem if you ask me.

    However, I really love the Maschine workflow and use it all the time for starting and arranging songs and then loading it in as a plugin for final touches in my DAW. Probably partly because I disciplined myself to really learn it through and through using only the hardware, but maybe it's time to switch over to Ableton. :| I feel like I'm at a cross-roads here and all thanks to this $900 S61 mk3 purchase! I did not own the mk2 and really just bought the mk3 for the poly aftertouch and the light guides considering I own all of NIs software, so it's not all for nothing, but I think all the points in my original post ring true for a lot of users and NI should really do something about it... soon...

  • Jezric
    Jezric Member Posts: 29 Member

    Agreed. I also have thought about doing a doing a video on all this. I really want to love this thing and I want to trust that NI will fix all these issues, but will they? How long will it take?

    It's the pain of early adoption and I knew it would be somewhat of a work in progress, but I thought it would be further along than this and that the beta software/firmware that all the youtubers were using would actually be improved upon before launch, but no... nothing...

    If you're reading all this NI, I really hope I can trust that you're in the process of addressing all these things... Please say something! Throw us a fricken bone here! :D

  • PoorFellow
    PoorFellow Member Posts: 1,123 Guru

    Quote : "Please say something! Throw us a fricken bone here! :D"

    The regular N.I. forum person Jeremy is absent until November 6th. And the leader of the hardware team Matthew is having time off with his family ! So all in all don't expect too much of 'saying something' at the moment !

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,764 Expert
    edited October 22

    Some people know how to argue (and usually, agreeing with them or not, I have good exchanges with them, that help me grow). Some others are the ones name-calling others, insulting parents, but then…when they receive some irony in return, don’t have the ability to answer and use flags…


  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 266 Advisor

    You are 100% correct. As a past beta tester myself, I can confirm that everything you said in your post was absolutely correct.

    The beta team I was on (I'm still honoring NDA, so I won't say who) was one of the absolute best technical teams I ever had an opportunity to work with. Other than my own IT employees, that is. But the beta team members, many who were professional recording/mix engineers, musicians, or video producers with audio expertise, all worked together to make EVERYBODY better together. And the documentation we produced...just as professional as I would expect from any of my developers, network, database, OS, or troubleshooter team members.

  • RobertDorn
    RobertDorn Member Posts: 38 Member
    edited October 23

    I have no doubt everyone did their very best in the beta of Komplete Kontrol 3.0 towards the release. However I didn't see such a release version in long time. Since working on silicon Macs , CPU overload errors tend to be a thing of the past. So I'm quite curious to see an update coming that will fix this bug, and at the same time I'm wondering how this couldn't have been tackled during beta testing. Because, it literally can be nothing different than a bug when software on the latest Mac(book) pro or Mac Studio one can buy, gives CPU overload errors.

  • LostInFoundation
    LostInFoundation Member Posts: 3,764 Expert
    edited October 24

    Edit: I must apologize on one thing to @chk071 since I discovered he was not the one flagging my explanation about “the people who argue like that have no idea what beta testing is about”.

    Therefore my accusation to him in the subsequent post was wrong.

    I stand on my other points about me not liking his way to call people stupid and insulting my parents in another thread, and also on my hope that one day we will be able to confront in a more polite way, without me being sarcastic because of some of his name callings/insults (his post about beta testing was indeed full of correct things…my ironic comment was just because of his previous insults and the fact that he had to end the, once again, correct statements by calling others ideas stupid and presuming that no one knows what a beta test is except him)

Back To Top