Komplete Elements; ‘k’ompletely reduced…

and it used to be so good.  I’ve given it some serious thought but considering that this product is part of my Synth gear and thus somewhat “promoted” by me I sort if felt obliged to write this up, even though it is a slightly negative review.

Introduction

The Komplete Elements series used to be described as the “best introduction to the Komplete series” and in all honesty I can say that Native Instruments didn’t exaggerate one bit with that.

Sure; the package did come at a relative high price, but it was worth every penny.

It consisted of the 4 different audio engines as used by Komplete: Kore player, Reaktor player, Kontakt player and the Guitar Rig player. These players came with a library containing 12 Gb worth of samples and over 2000 sound presets easily (thanks to the inclusion of sound packs such as Best of Absynth and Best of Massive).

Changes for the worst

Unfortunately Native Instruments have recently changed the Elements package and reduced both the price and the contents quite heavily. Lowering the price by nearly 50% may sound like a good thing, the downside to all this is that the included contents now barely surpasses those of the freely available Komplete Players:

  • The 12Gb library has been reduced to a meager 3Gb.
  • 2000 plus presets have been cut in half; the current package only provides 1000 at best.
    • One of the reasons is because this package no longer includes ‘Best of Absynth’ and ‘Best of Massive’.
    • Also keep in mind that 900 of these sounds are provided by the Reaktor player. So much for diversity..
  • The original provided 4 sound engines; this has now been reduced to 3.
    • I consider this the weirdest change of them all: they excluded the Kore player yet it is still freely available when you download the Komplete players. This really makes no sense to me…
  • Obviously the free voucher has also been reduced; from E 50,- ($ 60,-) down to E 25,- (I assume $ 30,-).
    • While it makes sense it still lowers the overall value of Elements dramatically. Where you used to be able to purchase a complete instrument for free you can now only use the coupon for some discount on a bigger purchase.

The Guitar Rig player has mostly been left alone so it seems. It still provides 8 amplifiers with the “Matched Cabinet” module and 27 pedal effects. But I still think something is amiss here. The original Elements used to clearly specify that it also came with 19 cabinets. No idea if they left those out as well, but lets give them the benefit of the doubt here.

Get the players instead…

As much as I dislike being so negative all of a sudden I honestly don’t consider Komplete Elements worth the money anymore. Sure you get some variety of sounds (it still includes the Abbey Road drum selection as well as the String section and Brass ensemble) but its hardly the kind of introduction to Komplete as it once was. Most sounds are now produced by Reaktor which leaves you with some very small amount of diversity.

One of the the worst changes for me is the removal of the Kore player. This is really a very versatile instrument which you can use as both an instrument and audio effect.

The beauty of the Kore player is that its actually capable of playing sound presets of all the other Komplete instruments around.

Another advantage is that it also allows you to tweak the sounds by using the 8 knobs and buttons as well as the “Sound morpher”.

This is the section of 8 squares visible at the (middle) top right of the player.

Whenever a preset provides certain variations they will be presented here. And this brings some very good ways to enhance your sounds. By dragging the white square to other sections you will apply changes to your sound. Sometimes subtle and sometimes quite dramatically.

All in all it is a real enhancement to your sound capabilities.

Alas; all of this has been removed in the most recent version of Elements…  Of course you can always download the freely available players. If I’m not mistaken then the installer allows you to do a custom install so that you can tell it to only install the Kore player.

Do be careful because if you install the players there is a chance that the NI Service Centre will ask you to enable them by means of entering a serial number. If you already have Elements installed then there is a possibility that this will reset some of your Elements contents. For example: if you have an Elements license then the Kontakt player will provide the “Elements selection” (this gives you access to the sounds provided by Elements (Orchestral, Vintage, Synth, etc.)). Enabling the players again will block access to this library and reset it so that it only provides access to the factory selection.

If this happened to you then the solution is simple: re-install Komplete Elements again. The Service Centre will ask you for a serial number again after which you have once again unlocked your Elements contents.

Still quite the hassle and I honestly cannot believe that they stooped this “low”.

For those of you using Ableton Live…

One small tip for those of you on Live and who (still?) have the Kore player at their disposal.

If you wish to automate the “sound morpher” then you’ll notice that this isn’t possible by default. No worries; enabling this is really easy, and here’s what you do:

Drag in the Kore player VST and load in any kind of preset so that the morpher is enabled:

You can see that it is enabled since it now shows you a white (broken) square as well as lit “morpher” icon (at the right side of the 8 squares).

Now go back to Live and expand the parameter section by clicking on the arrow next to the ‘device on/off’ button and enable the configure mode, see the screenshot to the left.

Now its easy; go back to the Kore window and simply drag the ‘morpher’ somewhat to the right (see screenshot below).

When you’re done you’ll see 2 new parameters appear at the right side of the Live VST panel. And that’s all you have to do; the moment these X/Y parameters are visible they are immediately available for automation.

Better yet: you can also use the first 2 dials on your APC device control section to move the marker left / right and up / down.

If you want to get even more control over the morpher then you may want to enable the x/y slider in Live (the black square with the yellow circle in it).

This is even easier; simply select the x and y parameters from the drop down menu’s at the bottom of the VST panel. Now you can simply drag the yellow circle which will move the morpher controller in the Kore player.

One caveat though: it will be totally mirrored. So the default as you see here (bottom left) will be upper left (section A) in the Kore morpher section. Still; this sure beats having the Kore player block your Live window all the time.

This is how it looks when dragging the morpher.

And there you have it…

If you’re looking for a good way to get a feeling for Komplete then I’d advice not to bother with the Elements anymore, either get the Komplete players or search your local (or online) music stores for the previous Komplete Elements package.

Its simple to determine what version you have: if it includes “Best of Absynth” and “Best of Massive” you have the real deal, otherwise….

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4 comments

  1. Thx for the warning! I was thinking to get it bcause of the discount, but I see its more than that 🙁

  2. Yeah well… I do know that some stores (even online stores) still carry this. So if you were saving up for this then that may still be a chance to get it.

    In all honesty; I stand with what I said; the previous Elements version was /totally/ worth it (IMO). Some very cool instruments in Reaktor, lots of sound presets and thus also lots of diversity.

    NI is all about sound, no question about that IMO. And some of their stuff simply goes that extra mile so to speak..

  3. Saw dw music store (dwmusicstore.com) still carried it so I ordered; now to hope I got the good one (E99).

    thx for your post

  4. I like the old Komplete Elements too, and I was surprised to hear this. Thanks for the heads-up. It was a great assortment and one can assume that it just wasn’t selling well enough at that price point. Plus I see they’ve now started bundling it with hardware, so slimming it down to 1 DVD makes some sense.

    I think it really depends on what you’re looking for that makes the new $60 version a better or worse deal. The Massive and Absynth content is gone, that does amount to less content. And obviously getting down to 3GB from 12 must have trimmed the Kontakt instrument selection.

    I’ve been using it for 4 months and it’s been great. But personally, I did not have much use for the Kontakt content, and somehow, Massive and Absynth don’t really move me, so for $60 I see it as a great deal for the Reaktor instruments (Photone, Spark, and Oki Computer all have tons of personality and features). The downloadable free Reaktor synths are nothing compared to these. And of course it’s really just $30 if you are in the market for another Komplete instrument add-on.

    Plus I really like the Guitar Rig effects, they are definitely worth something to me. I guess in balance it is not quite as good a deal as before but it’s still one of the better deals out there.

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