In terms of variety of quality instruments and mixing tools there is really no software that can match KOMPLETE 9 in the studio, especially at its cost. If you just looked at three key music creation elements—sample playback, sound design and drum programming—you’d have three of the industry’s best products in this collection alone, KONTAKT, REAKTOR and BATTERY, respectively. Now, add in dedicated acoustic instruments, synthesizers, and a vast selection of effects and post-production tools, and you’ve got yourself a truly KOMPLETE audio production arsenal.
The Ultimate in Music Creation
KOMPLETE 9 comes in two different flavors: KOMPLETE 9 and KOMPLETE 9 Ultimate. They both work on Mac and Windows systems and support multiple interfaces including: VST, Audio Units, RTAS, AAX, ASIO, Core Audio, WASAPI and Stand-Alone. Ultimate offers almost three times the sample library size, with over 370 GB and 16,000 sounds at your disposal and 65 included products compared to 33 in the base version. Where you’ll find the biggest differences in the two versions is in the ULTIMATE package’s much larger collection of Strings and Cinematic, Drums and Percussion, Creative and Studio Effects, and Guitar and Bass titles. I chose the ULTIMATE version, not only because it is the most complete collection of products, but because it comes pre-installed on a portable USB 2.0 hard-drive, making installation much more efficient. Trust me, you’ll want to pony up the extra cash for the full collection, the install drive, and the freedom to spend your weekend dreaming about your creative options, rather than swapping out DVD installation disks.
Due to the overwhelming size of the collection, if you’re new to REAKTOR or KONTAKT it will take some time to familiarize yourself with the navigation and learn how to squeeze the most out of the collection. However, Native Instruments has done a great job of making version 9 its most intuitive yet.
KONTAKT will be your go-to product for all sample playback libraries, both new and old. I was able to breathe new life into my trusty old Kurzweil, Akai and Roland sample libraries. Yet, when I wanted something completely fresh, I found myself using GIANT and Session Strings PRO to create creepy ambient piano textures and lush, articulated strings over the raw, aggressive rhythms of DAMAGE and EVOLVE. Think of it as your dream sample-playback synthesizer that can provide layer after layer of sound, process each instrument layer with effects independently, and route each instrument output discretely. Go ahead and create a wall of sound with this powerful product.
When you want to really draw upon your creativity, REAKTOR is your portal to all things synth, effects and dynamics related. Two of my favorite and most often used synth titles exclusive to ULTIMATE 9 are RAZOR and SKANNER XT. Not only is RAZOR visually striking with its 3D audio frequency spectrum feedback, but its additive synth engine can be easily controlled and automated to produce some of the most unique leads and basses you’ll ever hear. The SKANNER XT synth is a completely innovative way to create sounds as it uses sample waveforms to shape the oscillators. Although its power sounds complex, the interface is simple and easy to understand. One of its coolest features is the Morphological Synthesis. Simply put, this allows you to morph between eight different sound snapshots for continuous, evolving textures—quite powerful for sound design.
What’s that? You want beats? Aside from the huge collection of drum samples, loops and rhythm boxes already within KONTAKT and REAKTOR, BATTERY 4 brings along an additional bag of tricks. It’s probably the most powerful software drum sampler on the market. A vast collection of drum kits from a wide variety of styles comes standard. However, you can import your own samples and trigger drum loops within each cell. Edit each loop and sample using LFOs, effects, filters, pitch, time-stretching and dynamics. I especially enjoy creating my own custom kits, combining older samples with new, and having them trigger at different velocities. This allows for all sorts of creative options using any type of sample sound source. Think about recording samples using your phone or digital recorder. Use the samples in your own kits and BATTERY’s powerful shaping tools for a whole new organic sound and feel.
KOMPLETE 9 is not only a collection of custom instruments and effects, it’s also a platform for working with third-party samples and instruments. It quickly becomes a vital part of your music-creation workflow. You’ll find industry-wide support for Native Instrument formats as many virtual instruments are created utilizing the KONTAKT player. And how does it sound? With over a decade of development and selectable internal audio processing up to 192kHz, KOMPLETE’s audio engine is one of the industry’s best. Eight years into using KOMPLETE, I continue to learn and tap into more of its power and flexibility. Rarely do I work on a project where some aspect of KOMPLETE is not being used. Try it yourself. You may never look back.