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