Hey Native Instruments! Just shut up and take my money! (MASCHINE Mk3 & KOMPLETE KONTROL Mk2)

Photo of keyboard and music production drum machine.

Unified by an all-new industrial design, both units have been re-engineered to inspire and enable nonstop creativity, boasting more intuitive workflows, optimized layouts, vivid visual feedback, and deeper studio integration.

NI’s Press Release

I will tag this post in the “shut up and take my money” category! As a current MASCHINE Mk2/ KOMPLETE KONTROL S25 owner, I was not particularly interested in running out and purchasing the flagship MASCHINE Studio when it was launched back in October of 2013. I was tempted to pick up the JAM as it would have made a great companion to my MASCHINE Mk2, but it wasn’t until September 7th, 2017, when Native Instruments announced the next generation of MASCHINE and KOMPLETE KONTROL hardware, I began to take full notice. After reading the specifications and looking at NI videos online, I immediately got excited at many of the new features. The specifications are phenomenal and I will only be scratching at the surface in this blog post. With the addition of dedicated function buttons, a more ergonomic layout, a built-in audio interface, and more responsive pads, the MASCHINE Mk3 is hailed as a creators dream. For those that prefer to tickle the ivory, so to speak, the KOMPLETE KONTROL Mk2 adds Fatar semi-weighted keys with after touch. An additional 17 function buttons have been added to the Mk2 and like its counterpart, the MASCHINE Mk3, the addition of two high resolution color screens, will make browsing for patches, and auditioning sounds so much more enjoyable. When working in tandem, the screens on the Mk3 and KOMPLETE KONTROL Mk2 are independent of each other, which means you can view the screens in any sort of configuration, between the two devices. For example, you can view the sound browser or parameters on one device while looking at the mixer on the other, thus not diverting your attention from the units and relying less on your computer screen.

A photo of Native Instrument's new MIDI music controller called Maschine mk3. It has colorful pads and dual monitor screens.

New to the MASCHINE Mk3 hardware, are revamped touch sensitive display knobs for improved on the fly tweaking, selecting tag clouds, and various pop up list. With the addition of dedicated mode buttons for pad, keyboard, chords, and step, you no longer have to hold shift when selecting these functions. For you finger drummers out there, the familiar 16 colorful pads are now larger and ultra-sensitive for boosted response and performance. One particular function I am very excited about is the 4-directional push encoder, which enables you to browse for sounds and navigate windows and functions, by rotation or tabbing left/ right, up/ down. Previously you were limited to a clockwise, counterclockwise and a push encoder on the MASCHINE Mk2, and a jog wheel on the MASCHINE Studio. The addition of a smart strip enables the user to tweak FX and strum notes for enhanced performance and a slightly more natural feeling with string instruments in the NI library. Furthermore, the addition of a built-in 96kHz, 24-Bit audio interface eliminates the need for a dedicated audio interface or using the 1/8″ phono plug or headphone port on your computer. The microphone/ line input expands the MASCHINE Mk3 capabilities when sampling, recording vocals, instruments and ambient sounds. I was however, hoping for more of a MPC style portability, with perhaps some sort of internal drive in which data can be merged between the MASCHINE software on your computer and the Mk3 unit, for a true on the go experience.

A rear view of Native Instruments new MIDI music interface. There are several audio ports on the back.

Improvements to the KOMPLETE KONTROL Mk2, include access to transport functions in Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, GarageBand, with support for Cubase and Nuendo available in later this year. One exciting function is the one-touch access to scenes and patters in MASCHINE, and much like its Mk3 counterpart, the 4-directional push encoder will be a welcome addition. In addition to Native Instruments products and full VSTi support, hundreds of leading manufactures will utilize the Native Kontrol Standard (NKS), which adds the capability of browsing, and the RGB Light Guide for key zones, scales, chords and more. The move to incorporate a more traditional pitch and mod wheels to the KOMPLETE KONTROL Mk2 is a welcomed addition, but sound tweakers fret not as NI has maintained an assignable touch-sensitive smart strip for additional creative possibilities. Pre sales started on September 7th, but the units will not be available until October 5th. Unfortunately, the KOMPLETE KONTROL S25 model is no longer available; the good news is the pricing will remain the same for all other models (see below).

MASCHINE Mk3: EUR 599, USD 599, JPY 72800, GBP 479, AUD 899
KOMPLETE KONTROL S49: EUR 599, USD 599, JPY 69800, GBP 479, AUD 899
KOMPLETE KONTROL S61: EUR 699, USD 699, JPY 79800, GBP 559, AUD 1049

What do you get for your hard earned money? Purchase the Mk3 and in addition to the software, you will receive the 8 GB MASCHINE library, the 25 GB KOMPLETE 11 SELECT library, and 25 studio quality FX including filter, EQ, delay, reverb, and compressors. Pick up the KOMPLETE KONTROL Mk2 and in addition to the KK software, you will receive a copy of KOMPLETE 11 SELECT Instruments and Effects collection. Don’t quote me, but my guess is that our friends over at NI will toss in an e-Voucher for good measure. Native Instruments usually throws in that perk when you purchase hardware. Now that I think of it, I have an e-Voucher that may be nearing its expiration date!

A photo of Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol Mk2 keyboard.

“Holistic, tactile experiences and optimized layouts showcase the most powerful features in a completely intuitive way and support a sustained creative workflow. Sophisticated integration, with an ever-expanding software ecosystem of KOMPLETE, MASCHINE, and NKS plug-ins, make these the most advanced music production hardware units available today.”

NI’s Press Release

Hardware specification below:

● 2 extra-large, high-resolution color displays
● 16 high-quality, multi-color, illuminated pads with velocity and aftertouch
● 8 multi-color group buttons
● 8 endless rotary touch-sensitive encoders
● 50 backlit click buttons
● 1 dual-touch Smart Strip
● 1 four-directional push encoder
* 96 kHz / 24-bit built-in audio interface
● USB 2.0, 3.0
● 2 x ¼” TRS line outputs, 2 x ¼” TRS line inputs
● ¼” mic input for use with a dynamic microphone
● 1 headphone output
● 1 x MIDI in, 1 x MIDI out
● 1 footswitch or pedal input
● 15V 1.2A power supply included

● Smart keyboard controller f or all your virtual i nstruments
● Pro-grade Fatar keybeds with aftertouch – 49 or 61 semi-weighted keys
● Ergonomic pitch and mod wheels, plus t ouch strip f or expression control
● Pre-mapped control of KOMPLETE i nstruments and hundreds of Native Kontrol
Standard ( NKS) i nstruments f rom l eading manufacturers
● Full VSTi support
● Tag-based preset browsing: Find sounds quickly and hear i nstant previews
● Two high-res color screens f or browsing, t weaking, mixing, and more
● Light Guide: RGB l ights above each key highlight drum cells, key switches, chords,
scales, and more
● Smart Play: See scales and modes on t he Light Guide, play chord progressions and
arpeggios with single keys, or map any scale t o white keys only
● Deep i ntegration with MASCHINE software / hardware
● Intuitive control over Logic Pro X, Ableton Live, and GarageBand. Cubase and Nuendo
integration coming soon after i nitial r elease
● 4-directional push encoder f or one-handed sound browsing and project navigation
● Two assignable pedal i nputs
● MIDI i n / out
● USB 2.0 bus powered

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