KK3 UX Feedback

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  • nightjar
    nightjar Member Posts: 1,305 Guru
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    Have you been also trying some of the Universal stuff as native plugins?

  • D-One
    D-One Moderator Posts: 2,949 mod
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    You post was just pending for approval, it warns you when that happens. I just approved it, I assume thats what you're talking about when you said "its broken".

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
    edited February 10
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    Now with a Maschine mk3 as well as the S61mk2, and getting more familiar with the ecosystem, I'm seeing the benefits of the tactile plugin control with or even without NKS. I would like the option to use this on every plugin anywhere in my DAW sessions if possible.

    Now there is a Maschine MFX plugin where you can route audio input to a Maschine Sound, have it processed and sent back out. But this is an enormous amount of overhead if all you want is a plugin chain wrapper allowing the benefits of NKS FX browsing and the 8 knob controller for your use in a DAW. So I propose NI should make a cut down version of Komplete Kontrol plugin that, rather than purely MIDI in/audio out like KK3, offers audio in, enabling the same benefits for the rest of your audio processing needs. Call it FX Kontrol.

    I mean, we all have limited reach space, and if the NI kontroller (whether maschine or a keyboard) is already in that space for instruments, and we already can use it for FX on instruments, why can't we use it on other signals as well? We have to shift over to some other controller or the mouse? Or have this massive Maschine instance clogging the view?

    This seems nearly effortless, just an alternate build of KK3, and motivates sales and use of the hardware, and NKS support for FX. This may not be Console 1-level experience but it's better than mouse-only no? And consistency of interaction and the same presets and favorites etc is a win. Not sure how much use MFX gets, but I don't see why NI would build and ship that and not build and ship FX Kontrol, which I think might get more use. Plugin wrappers are out of fashion, but partial fulfillment is part of why.

    (edit: Searching around, I see this idea has been brought up before, eg in a thread complaining the MFX plugin which is still on AU isn't on VST3 and isn't planned for further development. I think NI has to endorse its own platform. We sell you plugin control? OK you get to control all your plugins.)

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
    edited February 10
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    OK so thinking more about this...and why NI seems at odds with itself and its platform. What if...

    ...Plugin wrappers are dead as a concept, everything is moving toward direct plugin control, that gets you host ("stock") plugin control as well, no need to rescan plugins twice, lots of ache avoided for developers and users alike, and all the remaining benefits of NKS are taken care of in MIDI 2.0 standard such as the subjective categorization and everybody gets equal access to an open standard.

    Sounds great, right? If any of that is true (again I haven't researched MIDI 2.0 yet) then KK3 was just a temporary transitional effort in place for the new hardware line until we get there. The new hardware line has the stuffing to support this new ecosystem, but the new ecosystem isn't there (other than Kontakt 7), and they need to get the hardware seeded early enough that enough people can run the thing when it gets here for wide adoption. So they just did whatever on this release and are more or less discouraging you from using it but no so overtly that they harm sales of the hardware.

    Sounds plausible. When you don't know the big picture everything just seems weird, and when they won't even explain the big picture because it involves deprecations, you have to imagine what they are going to do until it makes sense. Something like this would make sense. But I have no idea if it's true or not.

    Even so, FX Kontrol would be so simple to build (given KK3 is already built) that you could argue it's the same bridging effort just for FX plugins. I mean, why not? Afraid it would take off? I doubt it, but for those into the NKS thing for the time being, it would be handy. Would make the hardware more attractive, if that is the platform goal.

    Oh, and let any NI hardware with the 8 knobs drive FX Kontrol! Let me drive it from any Maschine, M series, S series, everywhere. With none of this Controller Editor thing running. Not MIDI, your own protocol you use for KK3. Finish the job.

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
    edited February 11
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    On a more mundane UX feedback level, and in keeping with the GOMS game I swear by, I'd like to request, if there's only one option available in the category submenus....go ahead and select it for us.

    For instance, when browsing by vendor, I scan to a vendor who has only one plugin on the menu, and I don't see that plugin lit up on the screen, I have to select it from the "All products" menu before that happens. I can understand not selecting it if there is more than one option, but if there's only one option in any of these submenus, you ought to select it for us, because that's a free way of offering us more useful information on the screen without the user doing anything. I can see what categories I'm in already because there's only one category anyway. And I get the nice plugin graphic over on the right side in the browser providing a visual cue what product I'm browsing. And I don't bother wondering whether there are other options to consider.

    Easy high bang-for-buck tweak that makes you look thoughtful. I ought to mention, I think the hardware people have done a really good job being thoughtful about all their details...the Maschine mk3 is impressing me hardware wise. Get jealous of their sheen software team.

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,650 Expert
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    Well, most of what you suggest has been suggested already many times, by hundreds of users, for the last decade... Still, hope can be behold for the new ones I guess. Just don't hold your breath for too long.

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
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    The developers tend to get embarrassed when I show up because there's no hiding from another dev. It's typically the middle management who feel a need to interfere with "tough decisions about necessary priorities" :eyeroll:

    But partial fulfillment is sloppy. Software can be finished and should be. People are exhausted but it's a negative exhaustion when you leave things unfinished and the audience shrugs, and a positive recuperation when things are finished with pride. Just get the job done and done right.

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 658 Pro
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    Developers getting embarrassed is not the biggest problem with development teams. Here are my top problem areas.

    • Senior leadership changing our mission without warning or adequate forethought.
    • Senior leadership allowing maverick players (whether they are leaders or not) to inject their own priorities into a team's mission.
    • Senior leadership not providing enough support in terms of workload, funding, and consent to hire more staff.
    • Senior leadership not providing a consistent vision for the future.
    • Senior leadership turning on/punishing middle management or entire technical teams when a team has not achieved success. Even if the team did not receive a stable mission, enough support, enough funding, or a consistent vision for the future. Senior management almost never holds senior management accountable for violating the #1 rule: Stay the eff out of the way of your best people!

    You can convince yourself that because you're a dev, you know all the recipes to all of the secret sauces worldwide. And you might. But it matters little if a team doesn't get the support it needs, receives mixed, confusing, or constantly changing priorities, and can't hire enough skilled team members to even complete 50% of the needed work.

    By the way, I'm not connected with Native Instruments or any of its business partners...except for being a customer.

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
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    Yes management in a mature company is a racket in the sense that they only hold IC's accountable and circle the wagons around each other...unless a manager is deemed threateningly effective and talent-friendly. The sickness starts early on when the first bad hire goes unopposed by the often overly optimistic founders, and that bad hire ensures they will be surrounded by co-conspirators.

    Still, I don't see that as going on so much in these little music operations. As I learn Maschine and this ecosystem, I'm seeing the ICs more or less free to scratch their own personal itches, e.g. including all their personally owned hardware pieces in the MIDI external bank and not bothering with easy tooling for the rest of us to do the same. So to the contrary the management may be too coddling in this case...which is the sense I get from EU shops.

    The management will likely only prioritize new releases and things that they think will make money over the relative drudgery of completing a product...that drudgery will rely on IC initiative, and if they are satisfied (they aren't music professionals, just enthusiasts we recall) these things won't get done. But that damages the brand as it feels and is considered half-baked. The brand? The company already was acquired so who there gives a toss about the brand. Just try to meet sales targets, and since we don't have much better offers available, they are met regardless.

    Perhaps my best strategy then would be to educate the ICs there on the opportunities for their own hobby compositions and they will sneak the improvements around the managers benignly neglecting them. OK, I will think about tempting them, and getting them to facepalm when they can't do something without a solid night of coding.

  • Kymeia
    Kymeia NKS User Library Mod Posts: 3,882 mod
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    What's an 'IC'?

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
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    Individual contributor. A tech industry term for the people who actually build things rather than sit in meetings and organize damage.

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 658 Pro
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    There's no one single "right way for all" on this, but in general, the term "Individual Contributor" is an HR term as well as a manager's term to refer to team members who are (surprise) "individual contributors". It's not "only" a tech industry term, but it probably has some history in tech.

    Sometimes managers might think of ICs as people who are not themselves managers or full-time team leaders. So an HR person who does employee recruiting might not be called an IC. On the other hand, if there are six recruiters on the "recruiting team", then they might be ICs...as differentiation from the "recruiting team's" manager.

    An IC is not necessarily a person who works by themselves, contrary to what the word "individual" might imply. If you work on a team who's work product is code, assets, or other deliverables to the customer, then you're an IC. Even if you work on an elite bug remediation team all day on tickets and never talk to a single customer, you'd still be an IC.

    For that matter, if you sit at an electronics workstation and solder doohickeys to breadboards all day, you'd still be an IC. If you were a baker in a grocery store, you'd be an IC...if that term is used by your industry.

    If you have a hybrid job where you're part team leader and also one of the people who solders doohickeys, then you might be thought of as having "IC work" that is separate from your "administrative work".

    Even if somebody spends their whole day doing progress spreadsheets or other types of "TPS Reports" (loosely refers to useless or pointless work product), they might still be thought of by their supervisor or manager as an IC.

    The delineating factor (in my experience) is whether or not they're a manager or team/task leader full time. But even this isn't carved in stone. Sorry for the TLDR.

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
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    I was actually soldering doohickeys (vintage mics) when you typed that.

    Anyway, a salient and unavoidable argument in favor of FX Kontrol is the merger with iZotope and Plugin Alliance: those are primarily FX plugin companies, and if I were their dept. heads, I would certainly apply pressure if the conglomerate's hardware controllers didn't control my plugins wherever they are used.

    Yes there may be a long term strategy of avoiding plugin wrappers, but everyone at those companies works with plugin frameworks all day and knows exactly how much work would be needed to turn Komplete Kontrol into FX Kontrol. If they are using something like JUCE I believe this is easy enough. If they have adopted monorepo's all the easier to maintain in parallel with KK3. For the immediate term I think having a plugin wrapper is far better than nothing.

    Make it happen.

  • spicemix
    spicemix Member Posts: 61 Member
    edited February 13
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    I was able to install graphics for my unlicensed K7 libs. They are still over on the User folder, getting them in the same Factory list would apparently require...well, we won't go there.

    But NI forced me to at least look there. Which is a mistake for your fully paying patrons.

    Speaking of management, I will admit managing the Kontakt franchise is a profoundly difficult challenge in tech. Both the users and 3P devs don't want to pay the upkeep of the franchise. Backwards compatibility is essential as the devs will not update libs when it won't make them money (cf Spitfire NKS). We learned in tech 40 years ago that total copy protection is good for titles but awful for platforms and network effects. (Some slower individuals have to re-discover this from time to time.) So balances have to be struck.

    The precious user experience for the fully paying customer however is a distasteful place to apply pressure. The idea is to motivate the devs to pay the vig on the license (and submit to supervision) but look fellas that's a dispute between the two of you and leave me out of it. I paid both of you. You are punishing me for your dispute. You want more of me or less? Is this that important?

    Often the solution for these digital challenges is hardware monetization. NI has this proprietary NKS thing with the controller and browser etc. But they partially fulfilled it! Killing enthusiasm for their best path out of the morass. Not a brilliant management coup.

    It is true the K7 library browser unites the User and Factory content (when set up by hand) but KK3 does not offer this. So you are prevented from a unified browsing of licensed and unlicensed and user-authored K7 libs and 3rd party plugins which would be the entire point of KK3 as a super-browser over a user's entire sonic encyclopedia. Partial fulfillment, for the loss. 🙈

    I mean, there are many many mistakes to be made in this situation where NI ends up unprofitable and shrinking. We should be grateful nothing that severe happened. OK kudos for that but there is a lot of opportunity cost being assessed. Annoying the paying user is dismaying. The world is profoundly imperfect but the people making it better for you ain't those you should be annoying.

  • Matthew_NI
    Matthew_NI Product Team Posts: 933 mod
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    So, uh... hey, I guess.

    I'm part of NI, and part of teams working on these things.

    There's a lot of speculation about how things are, or might be, or should be, and a lot of assumptions about hierarchy being made.

    If anyone has specific questions, I'm available to answer those, but I'm getting a little lost in the meanderings.

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