Software aside, how are people who own the S mk3 series liking or disliking it?

Ojustaboo
Ojustaboo Member Posts: 138 Helper
edited February 2 in Komplete Kontrol

I’ve got the 88 note mk3 and so far love it (firmware/software updates aside).

I know there’s a lot of upset over missing features etc, I just wanted to do a thread on what we like/dislike about the S mk3 series ignoring for the sake of this thread, the things discussed multiple times in other threads, like Maschine integration.


Having the pages grouped into tabs in those instruments that currently support it, is in my opinion superb.

I really like the feel/action of the S88 mk3.

I like the position of the ribbon controller

The more I get used to what button does what, the more I like it and the more I’m really impressed and glad I bought this instead of the mk2.

If I had to pick faults with the design, there’s two small things that slightly bug me.

1), the position of the on/off button, my S88 is in a pull out table/shelf and it would be so much easier if the button was on the top of the back, even better if over the left or right hand side, but where it’s positioned, I have to pull the S88 out far more than I would have liked to comfortably reach it.

2) Don’t know if it’s just my unit, but the pitch bend wheel makes a loudish (very noticeable) clunking noise when it passes through the mid/default point. This might be my imagination, but it also feels mush looser to push the pitch bend wheel up than when I pull it down.


This evening I had Komplete Kontrol open stand alone with a piano loaded. I then started my DAW (studio one). The S88 automatically went into DAW mode and wouldn’t let me select Browser mode or Plugin mode, bearing in mind I hadn’t even loaded/started a song/project in my DAW, I found this a little annoying, maybe it’s a setting I’ve got wrong, will have to have a good read of the manuals.

I also discovered tonight that I only need one sustain pedal. As I have both S88 mk3 and Arturia Keylab 61 mk2, I bought a 2nd sustain pedal. Tonight I realised that it doesn’t matter if I press the sustain pedal on my S88 or Keylab 61, either sustain pedal sustains both keyboards, which is really useful.

I bought both keyboards in January and every time I play, I end up telling my wife how happy I am with both of my keyboards, and how the more I use them, the more impressed I am by them. They work flawless together, load a sound on the S88, knobs/faders on Keylab 61 happily control same parameters as the knobs on the S88 etc.

Sure there’s a few software/firmware things with the S88 that need addressing , but overall I have high hopes for it in the coming months.

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Comments

  • Ongey
    Ongey Member Posts: 15 Member

    There seems to be big problems with KK and Studio One - I am currently in a dialog with customer support, my setup is currently unusable with crashes and glitches. Really not happy, especially because I have this lovely keyboard in front of me that could be so many things... instead it's a useless lump! And yes, I get the same glitches with the inability to switch / return to DAW & Plug-in modes. It seems the most common problem though is the popup to 'update KK / Hardware connection service' on a KK track (after which there is no integration with the keyboard). Really disappointed at present.

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 713 Pro

    I'm enjoying it so far. It seems great at what it was intended to do. I have the S61 MK3 and I feel the keybed is super underrated. Play the MK3 and then go back to an Arturia and you will quickly realize that the MK3 is waaaaay better.

    Of course like other people I wish they added faders and/or more knobs, especially given all the space they had, but I'm guessing they were shooting for a certain price point and that's why we have what we have.

    That being said, I've been watching a lot of YT reviews of the Roland Fantom-8 and I really really like that keyboard. Probably one that I won't take apart 🤣

  • mykejb
    mykejb Moderator Posts: 821 mod

    On the whole I'm pretty impressed with mine, although I've only had it a few days. The keyboard is solidly built, and there's a definite wow factor unpacking it. I like the strain relief collar on the main USB-C connector, makes it seem more solid than just the little wobbly plugs!

    There are things missing from the KK3 software that were in the KK2 version as has been mentioned elsewhere. From the point of view of someone using the keyboard to play music though I don't find I miss them. Parameter mapping is nice, although there are cases where it could be improved. For example, KK is the only place where I've seen time measured in k ms rather than seconds.

    I was a bit worried about the initial setup/firmware update after reading a lot of other people's experience, but it went really smoothly on a Windows 11 system. A few more progress messages during the update would be comforting, but it worked which is the main thing.

    DAW control with Cubase is good, with the odd quirk. I've still got to test Studio One, Ableton and ProTools but a quick play with S1 and Ableton went ok.

    -- Mike

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 425 Pro

    I also like my S61 MK3 a lot. I will say that I've not yet used it with Cubase or Ableton, so my experience isn't a full one. Partly, I'm waiting for the new version of Ableton Live to come out before I start digging over there.

    Also, I'm not really all that active with it at the moment; I'm using mine only a couple times each week right now because I've been so busy with my art and my investments...plus I have at least 2 or 3 paid-for composing and music theory online training courses out there that I need to make time for.

    Whenever somebody asks if we recommend the MK3, I still say "not yet" if the asker is expected to be making regular (or time-critical) deliverables themselves. Even though I like what NI has done so far, I think there are rising risks.

    It's middle of February, and we've only gotten two meaningful updates to 3.X (one in December and one in January), as well as only one firmware update. Updates seem to come in the last full week of each calendar month. That's a steady rhythm, for sure. But it's not as frequent as I had been hoping to see. It's not as frequent as it SHOULD be, considering the backlog mentioned by some forum members.

    My biggest fear right now is that NI will decide to reduce staff BEFORE all of this amazing work is done. Yes, I know they have been changing and reinventing themselves as a business in the last 6 months plus. But I've seen these company buyouts and consolidations many times before, and they almost always end up with layoffs, and almost always it happens before the combined team members can even achieve a working rhythm...not to mention fix all the stuff that's been busted for years.

    I love my MK3, but I still have a lot of concerns.

  • MorrisEd
    MorrisEd Member Posts: 30 Member

    It is pretty terrible. I really feel NI did absolutely nothing except move things around on the screen and drop features they didn’t want to pay for. Here are the things that really suck:

    1. The new “page view” system for accessing controls is not customizable and takes the exact same amount of button presses to get through the pages as the MK2. I imagine NI knew that they lack of customization was a terrible idea because they included the “classic” mode whereby the keyboard uses the old page by page system and lets you update the parameters you want to control. I have not used the new page system at all, which was a big disappointment since their promo videos made it look like you could create and move pages and parameters. Typical NI.
    2. The preset browsing is ridiculous. There is no alphabetical selection or text boxes. Komplete 14 has something like 40,000 presets. I have never used search on the keyboard…always the computer’s search box. I really think this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever experienced on a piece of hardware.
    3. No midi templates. NI keeps saying they are “on the way,” (I am skeptical hippo on that) but currently you cannot set up a template for midi cc commands like on the MK2. This is terrible. I had all these templates set up for plug-ins like Zenology and the MK2 board was such a joy to use. You could label parameters and map as many controls as you wanted. Gone. I am glad I kept my MK2 because I am using it more than the MK3 at this point, which makes me feel like I wasted money.

    The only positive I can say is that the knobs on the MK3 turn more quickly than the MK2, but other than that it is the worst release I have ever experienced through NI, and I have almost every piece of hardware they make. It’s very bad, and I can’t recommend getting one.

  • Ongey
    Ongey Member Posts: 15 Member


    Hi Matthew, I'm on Windows. I've got a support call currently open with both NI and PreSonus. I noticed that using Kontakt seems to be ok - although of course that's a workaround. The crashes are worrying (and to my knowledge, 6.5.2 only, but I might try again to regress and test - just a bit weary, have tried lots of combinations), but I've just told Support that it doesn't happen when I'm using the Realtek audio driver (which is rare - I'm mostly using Focusrite's Scarlet 2i4). Hopefully something will come out of the support calls.

    The failure to switch to MIDI mode for non-KK instruments seems like a fundamental bug (probably easily fixed). Otherwise, when everything is working, my S61 MK3 keyboard is great.

  • Ojustaboo
    Ojustaboo Member Posts: 138 Helper

    @BIF said “plus I have at least 2 or 3 paid-for composing and music theory online training courses out there that I need to make time for.”

    Wonders if they’re the ones from Guy at thinkspace education? I’m working my way through the Theory one and have both the Hamony courses and the How to write music course.

  • reffahcs
    reffahcs Member Posts: 713 Pro
    edited February 12

    I don't think there's any reason to be skeptical about MIDI templates happening. I really don't think they'd be in the forums saying it's in Beta if they weren't preparing to release it soon?

  • mykejb
    mykejb Moderator Posts: 821 mod

    Studio One seems ok here after some basic testing. The main thing I noticed is that if you have the plugin window open switching between tracks with the 4-way encoder takes a long time (2-3 seconds) rather than the instantaneous change if the plugin window isn't open.

    Not had any crashes or problems with the switching between KK/MIDI mode though. Using an Audient interface here. Maybe it's a problem with the driver if it works with a Realtek driver?

    -- Mike

  • frankspappa
    frankspappa Member Posts: 13 Member

    I have the S49MK3. Software aside, I really like the hardware and the keybed a lot.

  • Ongey
    Ongey Member Posts: 15 Member

    I get requests to update to latest KK / Hardware Connection Service when clicking on KK tracks - the weird thing is that it's a bit random as to which tracks I get the notification from. Worse still if I load a project where the last saved track is KK and I get the 'update' dialog, then after that, Studio One hangs and then closes. I've a support call open with NI for this, hopefully we can sort it out.

    Otherwise the integration with Studio One is good - reasonable DAW controls, nice KK integration when working. The keyboard controls are good (unlike others, am not missing faders / pads - I've got separate dedicated controllers which I put on top), the key feel is nice, polyphonic aftertouch responsive etc. Good to have a selection of foot pedal controls too. I hope they iron out bugs in future releases, and an excited to see if they use the onboard computer for more features.

  • mykejb
    mykejb Moderator Posts: 821 mod

    I've just tried 10 tracks of KK in Studio One and I can't duplicate this. Does the Windows event log show any errors related to NI software/drivers?

    I'm with you on the missing pads/faders, if I want pads I'll use a pad controller, for faders I have a Faderport and CC-121.

    -- Mike

  • Ongey
    Ongey Member Posts: 15 Member

    Hi Mike, thanks for the suggestions, will have a look around that area. I'm going to try a few things with the workaround Kontakt 7 too. I did notice that the problem got worse after my 6.5.2 upgrade - previously I'd get the 'update' popup intermittently but never a crash. I just didn't notice it so much because I am in 'sketch' phase - create a project, sketch out ideas, close and don't return to it for a while (i.e. the problem is only present upon reopening, not initially creating KK tracks).

  • MorrisEd
    MorrisEd Member Posts: 30 Member

    Yes there is. Although NI would say otherwise, they are behind the timeline communicated at launch by quite a bit. As I’ve said previously, NI communicated in the comment section of their launch video that these templates would be available in Q4 we. They pushed that back to Q1 24 about a month later and vehemently denied they ever said they would be done in Q4 23. Now they are saying first half 24 and denying they had ever said they’d be done in Q1 23. Also, there was an article if I recall about the NKS2 transition that had some commentary about how difficult transitioning midi templates would be, which is a bad sign imo considering the delays. If I had to guess, we will not get the functionality we are expecting and probably some scaled back version of what was on the MK2. I do hope I am wrong, but NI’s track record is not very good imo. Look at the pace of product launches at other companies and updates. It’s much quicker. NI doesn’t seem to understand the pacing of the market and how they are falling behind imo. And this is just midi control…a basic feature. Think about how long the larger projects like updating Maschine will take.

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