Legacy support → More trouble than value and lots of frustration

Yes i have
Yes i have Member Posts: 4 Member
edited November 2022 in Other Software & Hardware

I have owned licenses for various Native Instruments products for many years. Of course, I also used them in productions. After these many years, however, I had to learn (painfully) that Native Instruments has no interest in sustainable product maintenance, which has really fatal consequences. It doesn't matter whether you invest in updates or simply continue to use products that you have purchased at some point.

While it is often still possible to use Native Instruments products for a long time with many tricks on the Windows platform, this is not possible under macOS. The consequence is that you either have to pray that your own old Apple computer never breaks down and missing security updates for old macOS versions don't become a problem, or that you can no longer use your old productions - or not without considerable effort . At best, you still have exported stems that you can continue to use to a limited extent.

It's not even really bad that at some point old products will simply be replaced by new products, but that Native Instruments doesn't make sure that the old sound libraries are still available (example: Battery 3 -> Battery 4) or that simply update old projects to the new plugin versions. And that regardless of the fact that (major) upgrades are paid for with Native Instruments and that as a paying customer you can expect adequate product maintenance.

Even drivers for old controllers - such as the machine MK1 - are simply no longer maintained, although there is no technical reason for this and the principle of sustainability - also in the interest of our environment and resources - is quite relevant. As a customer, I would also be willing to pay for updated drivers - but I am not willing to throw away a technically fully functional controller because the manufacturer does not update its drivers.

If you also consider that with each new iteration at Native Instruments countless new products are created (the current Komplete 13 contains an insane 188 products - at the same time the quality and ergonomics have been decreasing for years (example: Massive X and its incredibly lousy preset browser, the most diverse (e.g. partly grotesque) implementations of price browsers and presets, which are only suitable for showcases but hardly for productions) - I'm now getting to the point of maximum frustration and refusal to invest even one more cent in Native Instruments products in the future.

Consider this: I have productions that are 5 years old and can no longer open them on a current MacBook with m2 processor and macOS 12 - although I have paid for "upgrades" and do not want to use my 5 or 10 year old licenses . Instead, I have to switch to my now 11-year-old computer with Windows 10, which will soon reach the end of its life - and then it only works without the Internet because the necessary security updates are simply missing.

I can no longer use productions that use Battery 3 or Reactor 5 because there is no reasonable product maintenance and apparently nobody at Native Instruments thinks about such situations. And even if I exchange the instruments manually for the new versions: the old libraries with sounds are missing.

What kind of product management is this? Does the responsible person even know what it means for artists when their own works can no longer be edited without restrictions or sometimes no longer work at all because the sounds used are no longer included? What drives those responsible not to provide legacy packs? Are you so obsessed with developing more and more new products to win new customers that you simply ignore the needs of existing customers? What is this? 🤔

Now the question arises for the future: Am I throwing good money after bad money? Or do I take the opportunity when I have to invest a lot of time in reworking my productions anyway in order to migrate away from Native Instruments altogether?

What do you think about Native? That I want more and more products that are less and less useful and less well thought out and developed with less and less love? If so, your foundation is wrong. I don't need 20 new, half-baked products, but reliable product maintenance and expansion of the existing products - at least that's my priority. If there is an occasional new, innovative product: Great! But all the "glass beads" and all this "bloating" is useless if I can no longer use my productions because Native Instruments either doesn't have the will, the understanding or the ability to carry out reliable product maintenance.

Because that's the way it is, I'm done with Native Instruments for the time being and won't invest any more money in products from this company for the foreseeable future. It's obviously not worth it, and in some cases you're better advised to rely on manufacturers and products with good care - a prime example of this is e.g. Apple with Logic or Presonus with Studio One.

It's a shame that Native Instruments places more value on "Bling Bling" than on good product maintenance, which I would gladly pay for. For example through separate legacy support. But no: I am left with no choice and in the end I am expelled. congratulations

And sorry: I had to get rid of that! I'm really frustrated and upset with this poor product maintenance. 🤬



  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,441 Expert
    edited August 2022

    Quite the rant.

    was far TLDR for me so I skimmed but basically you cannot expect NI to maintain old products forever just to satisfy macOS. Users need to accept especially if they choose to use an OS designed to make things obsolete that one day old tech will stop functioning. If compatibility is more important than running the latest and greatest then seriously consider switching to Windows which is far more forgiving over time or don’t use a computer at all. Even hardware can fail and have no service parts after 15 years.

    It's a sad part of life but sometimes as things get too old they must be let go.

  • Lowkus
    Lowkus Member Posts: 26 Member

    I am boycotting new NI software until they allow activation of their older products. If they don't support their users then they don't deserve our money.

  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,721 Expert

    @Yes i have

    Well, maybe better blame Apple? Komplete 14 will be Apple Silicon native. So, most problems will be sorted out soon. Reaktor and Battery will take longer, it should be 1Q23.

    Win 10 gets security updates, no problem. You might mean Win 7.

    But your idea pay for maintenance of obsolete SW.... Maybe good idea. Microsoft also still supports Win 7, but only as paid service... And it is not that cheap.... Might be good source of income for NI to maintain compatibility of old plugins for hefty fee... And all would be happy....

    Jester is right, Win platform brings way, way less problems than MacOS. At least concerning compatibility. And more powerful maschines (double of M1 Ultra, or even much more if using workstation grade CPU), which also may count....

  • BIF
    BIF Member Posts: 417 Pro

    "Consider this: I have productions that are 5 years old and can no longer open them on a current MacBook with m2 processor and macOS 12 - although I have paid for "upgrades" and do not want to use my 5 or 10 year old licenses . Instead, I have to switch to my now 11-year-old computer with Windows 10, which will soon reach the end of its life - and then it only works without the Internet because the necessary security updates are simply missing."

    Well, surprise surprise, Windows 10 also will eventually go out of support. Microsoft is pushing hard to get everybody on Windows 11. So nobody is innocent and pure as the wind-driven snow.

    But still; I get you. I still curse those who eliminated Kore 2 from Native Instruments' catalog. And those who eliminated compatibility between Guitar-whatever-whatever and its controller. See what happened there? Native screwed that one up so badly that I moved to hardware pedals and don't use Native at all anymore for guitar or guitar effects. So now I can't remember the name. Was it Guitar Factory? No no, that's not it. Komplete Guitars? Well it's not complete if you can't use it with the controller by the same company, so that's not it either... I know I know Guitar King! Yeah yeah, that's it! No...maybe not.

    Here's your best bet for making sure that any of your old sounds don't get completely lost in the passage of time. When you finish a song, bounce that track to audio. I'd keep both versions; the dry un-effected version, as well as the final version with effects that's on your song. Be sure to keep the MIDI too for it, and make a note of those effects that you're using. Save everything as audio stems. If that plugin goes out of support someday, then you could still play the song with that audio track and have the original instrument track turned off or removed from the song. And by having the other versions (wet, dry, mono, stereo, whatever), you'd at least still have the raw audio before effects and can use it again for sampling or remixing.

    Another technique you can do is when you finish your song, go back to every track and replicate each and EVERY NI SOUND on that song with generic sounds or hardware. What you'd be doing is re-arranging your song as if you're planning to go on tour but can't bring a computer with you. So that bleepy-bloopy-bloppy sound you made with a flanger gets replicated with a vanilla Array Mbira sound put through a flanger. It's safe to say that Kontakt won't go away, so you can probably make your replicated sound from the Kontakt libraries and throw a flanger on it. Different? Yes. But done and preserved.

    When I was in my 20s, I was surprised at just how differently a Peter Gabriel concert sounded from the albums. On the albums, he had things like "scraped concrete block" and "clubbed sheepskin" (okay maybe not that last one) and other weird sounds listed in the liner notes. But in concert in the 80s, his band was very very guitar oriented. Not the same sound at all. But they WERE STILL the same songs, and that was one of the best concerts you could see during that era!

  • PK The DJ
    PK The DJ Member Posts: 801 Guru

    Reality check: Technology moves on. Old things become obsolete. It's normal.

    Computers don't come with parallel or serial ports any more. Nobody uses dial up modems to connect to the internet via the phone line. Mice and keyboards don't have PS2 connectors any more.

    TVs used to have bulky CRT screens and analogue tuners. Now there are no analogue TV signals being transmitted. Everyone with a TV had to change to a digital set.

    The first mobile phone tech was analogue (1G). Now we're on 4G/5G digital. I very much doubt you're using a 1G brick phone....

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,441 Expert

    Well, surprise surprise, Windows 10 also will eventually go out of support. Microsoft is pushing hard to get everybody on Windows 11. So nobody is innocent and pure as the wind-driven snow.

    The big difference with this is that a move from Win 10 to 11 will see almost no issues with software you choose to run and it will still be 10 years before people move and support is completely dropped, they have quite a large allowance gap.

    I can still run software from 25 years ago, FastTracker II still loads up and works as it did in DOS on Windows 95 so I can still launch tracks I created back in 1996. Some hardware may have issue between major versions purely due to drivers but that is expected with such old hardware.

  • Kay Boarder
    Kay Boarder Member Posts: 21 Member

    Well, they should find a way activating old products on an old machine IMO.

    I use both, up to date technology and OLD technology,- hardware and software.

    So, there´s still my old Intel dual core DAW machine, WinXP 32Bit, which had NI Komplete 7 installed as also some products picked from Komplete 4.

    It´s not my main DAW running NI Komplete 12 Ultimate Collectors Edition, Reason 10.4 and 11.4.3, Presonus Studio One Pro 4.6 and Reaper.

    But the old machine ran well too until I accidently wiped the programs folder while trying to install USB, ASIO and Wave drivers as also Remote Editor for Creamware Noah EX,- and forgot I´d have to disable drivers signing. It´s unclear HOW the programs folder got wiped,- but I´d want to re-install all the former NI Komplete 4 and 7 stuff and activate again. Using the old machine is sometimes very helpfull when working w/ old projects formerly been done on this machine.

    I wonder how to realize and how to activate ´cause I understood I´d need a working version of NI Service Center to do on Win XP.

    It´s a fact I payed for NI products since Komplete 2 and it should be possible using old products on old machines even running current NI products on a 2nd up to date machine. Is the only way not losing now "discontinued" products.

    With Komplete 14, Absynth is now discontinued ... ****** !


  • Kubrak
    Kubrak Member Posts: 2,721 Expert

    I would add to JesterMgee that Win10 still gets security updates and it is possible to connect it to internet without fear....

    Actually my completely new computer (almost year old) is Win10 and I expect to use it for next 7-10 years... I still use mainly Win7, I would not move to Win10 if current AMD CPUs were supported on Win7...

    The technology makes progress, but I still use PS/2 mouse and keyboard. Why not? There is USB converter to connect my lovely 20 years old keyboard and mouse. The same for serial port, if I need it, I use it via USB to serial converter.

    My opinion is that NI should support authorisation of all SW produced ever (on HW and OS versions it was made for), or remove antipiracy protection on them....

  • ShelLuser
    ShelLuser Member Posts: 240 Pro
    edited September 2022

    With all due respect but I think OP's tirade is laughable.

    Battery 3 and Reaktor 5? What a coincidence...

    I actually still have the installers for Reaktor, as you can see, and I can rest assure you: they still work. Just copied 'm into my Windows 10 sandbox and... I fail to recognize the problem here.

    Not to mention that Reaktor is pretty decent when it comes to being backwards compatible. I mean, we're only 1 version ahead...

    You mention projects which you can no longer open, I have Live projects dated all the way back to 2013 - 2014 which I set up with Komplete Elements 7 which I can still use today while I'm using Komplete 13UC. Of course I also made sure to apply some failsaves back in the days to ensure continuity.

    If that worked for me while still being a bit of a newbie then I don't see how this would fail for someone who considers themselves a professional.

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,441 Expert

    If that worked for me while still being a bit of a newbie then I don't see how this would fail for someone who considers themselves a professional.

    Simple, macOS, that is the real issue here not the software or the fact the developer should be expected to reissue compatibility updates forever.

    The OP appears to have spewed his rant and bailed out already so probably little more to discuss.

  • Matt_NI
    Matt_NI Administrator Posts: 1,079 admin
    edited September 2022

    I can confirm that OP wrote the thread and never came back in the community since then.

    Products like Battery 3 or Reaktor 5 can still be activated and are working on the system they were designed to work on (and even beyond for Windows). Obviously since we released newer version of these products, we're not maintaining compatibility with modern architecture for the old ones if something prevents them from a running on a new OS. That's pretty common actually for plug-in manufacturers (correct me if I'm wrong), especially considering how quickly things change these days and when you see things like M1 introduced, a lot of old software won't run.

    It's a lot smoother on the Windows side of things, I'll tell you that.

  • JesterMgee
    JesterMgee Member Posts: 2,441 Expert

    Yeah this is not an NI thing at all, user is just miffed they haven’t forward planned or understood the constrains of their environment. There is software I support that I see users have to stay on an old legacy version because they have a Mac that cannot update, and also when they buy a new Mac the old version that have no longer installs so they have to update their maintenance plan to access the latest version.

    This helps force people to the latest version and also generates income. Some PC users will use 10 year old versions because they still work and we have to support that so it can be pain. There’s pros and cons to it but it’s kind of designed by Apple to keep the playing field level and people have to accept this if they want to buy into this platform.

  • Yes i have
    Yes i have Member Posts: 4 Member
    edited November 2022

    Well, @ShelLuser and @Matt_NI

    Of course I don't know what you do and what your background is. However, reading doesn't seem to be your forte. You try to make up for that with polemics. No offense!

    I have an old production computer with Windows 10. However, regular updates for Windows 10 will not be available for much longer. An upgrade to Windows 11 is not possible on this computer, if only because of the Secure Boot requirements. From a certain point in time, the only option left for security reasons is to operate the device in an "airgapped" mode without network access. I don't have any other way of opening old projects. If critical hardware also fails, that's it too.

    On macOS, the question does not arise. A lot of things just don't work anymore. And of course technology advances and of course one company cannot support everything forever.

    But what a company can do is design products carefully. For example, some problems wouldn't even arise if Native Instruments hadn't come up with the idea of ​​using version numbers as part of the plugin name at some point. Further problems would have been avoided if there were legacy kits with the appropriate sounds - because they are independent of the processor and architecture. Of course, the main problems could be avoided in this way - but Native made a different decision and customers pay the price for it. So it's not just about "old software", but IMHO wrong design decisions by the manufacturer.

    Mind you: The plugins don't even offer groundbreaking new functions that show incompatibilities with old versions - with a little effort and the original installation media you can get Battery 3 Kits to sound again in Battery 4. It just wastes time unnecessarily. There was similar nonsense at Reactor and Kontakt.

    Of course, if you only play with Traktor and fire off a few tracks left/right, you will have few problems with it. If you have complex productions with several dozen tracks with plugins, you will face really big problems, which are mainly - of course not only - with Native Instruments products.

    But forget it... It's my own fault. Nobody forced me to buy and use Native Instruments software. My mistake. I will never do it again.

    Some of the advice here is also rather nonsense and far away from reality... Double all tracks and recreate the sounds with other plugins or hardware? Yes, then I no longer need Native Instruments products. I also have stems - but they can only be edited to a very limited extent.

    And one more thing for @Matt_NI : I don't live in the Native Instruments community forum and I rarely come here - and less and less in the future because I'm just fed up...

    If all of this is fine for others: Great! It's not for me and I just vent my anger. You don't have to share my opinion. Have a good time!

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