NI, the future and transparency
In most of the forums and conversations I'm a part of, there is growing doubt about the future of almost every major NI platform: Kontakt, Maschine, Reaktor, Traktor... all amazing for their time, but with the lack of major updates and the changes in ownership at NI there's a growing fear that one or all of these platforms are on the path to abandonware. In my circles, many people are actively looking for alternatives and rapidly shifting away because of this fear. Given that learning these powerful instruments/software is a multi-year investment on the part of users/musicians, IMO NI needs to do something to address this growing fear.
Remember a couple years ago when everyone felt like Apple was abandoning the pro market? They invited a couple of respected journalists in and gave them a peak at the future. It had a major impact on creative pro users' relationship with Apple.
I think some kind of official policy on transparency from NI would be very helpful in repairing relations with the community and rebuilding trust. If it's true these platforms are being phased out, NI can just stay silent... these rumours are growing quickly on their own. But if there is a long-term future for any (or all) these platforms, NI would do well to find a way to communicate that clearly.
It would probably help if they had someone with a reputation to show off whats possible with Traktor DVS. Those Rafik and Craze Videos are almost 10 years old...1
Communication is always welcome, for sure but I wouldn't go panicking...
It has been sort of officially communicated here across different threads that right now the priority is dealing with the M1 bomb that Apple dropped on developers, complex software with old codebases have a particularly hard time supporting it, so this might be contributing to a feeling that nothing is happening but it is.13
Sure, this whole M1 brouhaha has certainly contributed to the feeling of standstill, but the problem runs deeper than that. I’m not really worried about Kontakt, but I do worry about the long term future of Reaktor, for sure. This former flagship product is so marginalized that the OP didn’t even mentioned it — or mislabeled it as Reason. 😭
It’s kind of water under the bridge now, but NI really botched the Reaktor 6 / Blocks rollout and lost a great deal of trust along the way, the trust of users and the trust of builders. The commercial third party Blocks ecosystem never materialized, absent the excellent Toybox and Unfiltered Audio packs, and non-commercial builders had to wait a long time for front panel patching and Rack-ability of UL blocks. Just look at the UL now: it’s not really dead yet, but it certainly isn’t vibrant either. I mean, lAZy fISh for example posted an excellent LFO block a few weeks ago, which was downloaded only 226 times as of now. That’s crazy and sad and doesn’t bode well for the future.
Nowadays, kids and developers jump into VCV Rack or Max/Msp/M4L or whatever to build weird and experimental stuff. I’m sure there are more reasons for that than the ones I’ve mentioned above, but the bottom line is that Reaktor couldn’t possibly be in a worse position, strategically. It’s not dead yet, but it seems to be on life support, hanging by a thread. I was really worried it wouldn’t survive the M1 transition, and tbh I’m still a bit fearful.
Reaktor is probably the most drastic example, but as the OP has outlined, users have been noticing for a while that something ain’t right. Who cares that Reaktor Core or Massive X (ha!) are among the best sounding tools on the market, if the excruciatingly slow pace of development and wrong strategic decisions are sowing doubt and confusion. Better communication might help, but can only go so far. To finish off my rant, let’s hope that NI manages to turn the ship around before it’s too late.5
Kilroy was here…0
Luckily KONTAKT still an industry standard and has come a long way in 10 years. Komplete Kontrol works very well for intended use and newer dual voice instruments with simpler interfaces are quite nice sounding with modern hardware. I have never felt sky is falling. Having one of my other daily tools, izotope in the mix, should bring some new things in future, too. High hopes.1
No company (especially one selling computer products) is going to be open and honest about their future plans. I'm not being critical of NI here, it's simply self preservation. Unfortunately, the computer / software world is throwaway.0
Hah... yeah Reason != Reaktor... but I guess that just proves your point!
I've been in music for a long time but I'm new to the modular world. I discovered VCV Rack first (thanks to Omri Cohen's amazing tutorials) and the realized Reaktor was in much the same vein.
I gave Reaktor a solid try for a couple months, but it's just so slow to patch with compared to VCV. I love the idea of patchable blocks, and the sound is great, but everything about the usability is far inferior. Low-res graphics make the interface hard to read, the 18 different file formats are impossible to decipher as a new user, it's difficult to understand why a patch is working or what's broken when it's not working, downloading and adding new blocks requires many steps, etc. etc. The power and sound quality are obviously there, but IMO Reaktor is totally opaque to new users because of all of the technical debt. I even purchased some commercial Reaktor modules, hoping some consistency would help, but I just didn't end up having much fun (or making much music). I've ended up working with VCV much more often.3
I completely fail to understand why anyone would run away from this market based on nothing but rumors and hearsay. You make it sound as if you fear that Komplete will stop working overnight and to me the thought alone sounds ridiculous.
When was the last time when NI really dropped something? I don't keep track of everything, but I did experience the abandoning of Kore. See, even though it was abandoned I continued using it for many months to go, maybe even more than a year.
If I can do that with a product which I mostly used for free (I did buy myself some instruments for it) then I'm not in the least worried about my Komplete UC environment.0
These guys are now using pioneer or rane battle mixers for dvs along with the software that supports those hardware now.
Here's one of the last holdouts in which Inmusic gave NI a handout because Rane wanted to market the 12mk11's for everybody. Enjoy 😎1
Yeah, I was actually surprised that it took so much time for Rafik to leave the Z2, he was still live streaming his Dj Sets with it in 2020, well.... not anymore. Craze has been with a Rane for a while.
I don't think promo vids can really do much for what is a clearly super outdated mixer, it's only advantage is really the price.3
Reaktor is quite an interesting piece of software. I learned about VCV and Reaktor's take on modular roughly at the same time and I have to say that VCV is handling or creating a much better UX.
Still, I find myself patching in Reaktor mostly. I can use Reaktor standalone or as a plugin (roughly the same price for VCV, IIRC, but I already own Reaktor) and the nano pack is so well designed it is such a joy that I even patch with the sound off. Really.
But Reaktor as a whole.
Dear God, how do you tackle this thing? I read every bit of manual about it. I subscribed to reaktortutorials.com. I harass the gurus in the Reaktor subforum. I did some interesting things like read out of a cellphone's movement sensors and turn them into CV or use a statistical curve from the internet as a wave table in custom-built synth. Try that with VCV. But still...I haven't even scraped the surface of Primary. I have never gotten around to dig as deep as core. What monster is this? I did all these things and I am so much of a noob, the Reaktor Council of the Core Elders wouldn't know how to begin to tell me how much I don't know.
So why do I bore you with all that? Because I can't imagine that NI actually want someone new to get the hang of this. There is superficial introductory videos. ADSR and reaktortutorials.com videos are almost a decade old. No serious attempt by NI themselves to really teach the usage of this brilliant powerful elegant omnipotent light saber of DSP to the willing in a way that actually makes them understand how to grapple with audio data. It baffles me. Sure, you need to dive in and create to get better. But if it wasn't for the forums, you'd think NI didn't want anyone to learn Reaktor, because there is no other learning/teaching experience of their own device.
On top of that, if you compare Reaktor to a node based system like Blender, you get the feeling that Reaktor's UX as concerns node handling and editing is really rigid and tiny and blocky and somehow grumpy and really needs to change (and take a long hard look at Blender while doing so.)1
alec.tron Member Posts: 61 Tri
I too am wondering where especially Traktor is going as a fair bit of fundamental issues aren't addressed for years now... and the zig-zag for new features/hardware and half baked implementations really did leave a mark. But nothing we can do than wait and see what NI does next...
Uhm... Epic/Unreal does this, and they are in a very competitive market with Unity...
and UE5 roadmap will most likely come after release, preparing the user base as to what's to come on next updates...
And as for (man... quoting is still a mess here...) in the above post:
"if you compare Reaktor to a node based system like Blender, you get the feeling that Reaktor's UX as concerns node handling and editing is really rigid and tiny and blocky and somehow grumpy and really needs to change (and take a long hard look at Blender while doing so.)"
Bit of an unfair comparison when Reaktor is over 25 years old, and hasn't had a architectural overhaul in at least half the time [looking from the outside], and Blender being a prime example of multiple overhauls in the last 5 years. i.e. Blender before 2.8 wasn't much of an alternative for bigger productions... whereas now they are.
But, I too am amazed at how music software in general seems to ignore UI/UX & Media-/Tool-Dev-Frontend standards of the last 10-20 years altogether happening in other fields...
Kaldosh Member Posts: 109 Tri
What would really make reaktor more commercially attractive for noob users like me would be a better integration in Maschine, with good midi routing possibities. This would make Maschine a crazy modular setup in its own right with tons of useful combination, automation, modulation, customizable to your liking making also the M+ a must buy. Even a low life like me would sell his mum for this 😜. Seriously this would seriously change the game and would combine with hardware too in an amazing manner. Creating hours of inspiration and boost creativity in an amazing way. I could get midi out of reaktor plugin to a another soundslot but it looked like a happy accident impossible to reproduce. The only plugin that give stable use with Internal midi routing is midi shaper and some mutone plugins. I guess it just a matter of will. The music world would be much happier, original and productive with those doors opened and it would bring back a lot of interest from less Brainiac users. But hey, someone like me will never understand why it's not there yet. Reaktor is the best tool anyway4
@Kaldosh I try to overcome this by running Reaktor in standalone and routing its midi through Loopmidi into Maschine. It works, but it is no viable workaround for Maschine+ users.
The thing I am missing most isn't actually an overhaul of the UX (and I want that very very much to happen). What I miss even more than that is a thorough and comprehensive and most of all up to date set of videos, extended manuals, references, use-cases and learning platform lead by NI themselves. Yes, there is the forum, but NI relies on the experienced users for their friendly support and teaching. Yes, there is manuals, but the reference for a whole bunch of modules was part of manuals of Reaktor 5 and I had to retrieve them from longtime users. Yes, there is videos, some by NI, but they cover next to nothing, and the comprehensive material is ancient.
As I said. It's like NI does not want people to learn it. Or it's some kind of dojo thinking where you have to wash the Gi of the senseis for half a year in order to prove worthy. I am not talking about the senior forumites. Those are the heroes of Reaktor. I am talking about NI.
In the Social Club section they have people initiating idle general chats and inspirational talk. Well, what about a team of people initiating a deeper understanding of Reaktor?
There's five seasons of TruTorials. A lot of thinking and money went into little things to try with NI hardware. What about a series of videos on Reaktor with the same impact. I mean, I know it's dry stuff. It does not sound like a sexy task. But will you please listen to and look at what you can actually do with Reaktor?! Don't tell me a wide spectrum of producing/music-making people wouldn't freak out if they really got what this software is all about. They need to be made aware and taken by the hand, followed by an occasional push.
That's what I'd love to see4
The Z2 definitely needs a revamp now for sure. 10 years of support for a mixer is a rarity these days and I'm pretty sure the z2 will be enjoying an even longer life. People who bought it must feel like they got a return on their investment though.
I'm not impressed with the current 2 ch mixers. $2000cad+ for a battle mixer with no send/returns is not something I'm interested in. Even if they did I wouldn't be forking out that kind of cash.
I own Traktor's first dvs battle mixer it's 15 years old and still works the current version of Traktor with intel Macs. It has a s/r that I use with Traktor fx post fader and external fx units, it is my favourite all time mixer. My current mixer is 9 years old it has 3 s/r modes for built in fx, external fx and Traktor post fade fx. It's recieves midi clock and is a dvs battle mixer (it's magical🦄). I just got another one bnib for $350cdn. It sucks I got to back to the past to get what should be available today the future cause the new ones are exponentially overpriced ****.
Sorry for the rant but 2ch mixers bring out the troll in me.1
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