In one of my previous posts I made the assumption that users of Komplete Elements 7 would most likely be at a disadvantage because version 8 of the free players has been released. This assumption was based on a previous experience where I manually (re)installed the free Komplete 7 players after which the Komplete Elements selection disappeared and needed to be re-activated.
Combined with a statement from Native Instruments (“NI”) that they don’t provide support for the free players I assumed the worst.
SO I asked NI support how to best proceed with Komplete Elements 7 installed, and they answered. I mentioned in my previous post that it wouldn’t surprise me if the upgrade would be troublesome. So in all fairness I can now state that the upgrade is in fact quite easy, in this post I will explain how to do this. In fact; you may even wish to benefit from NI’s current ‘Summer Sale’ 50% discount…
Komplete Elements & the Players
First a quick recap; I think most people will know Komplete but for those who don’t: Komplete is a software package from Native Instruments and provides by far the most complete selection of instruments and effects. The Komplete package provides 3 different bundles; first is the whole package consisting of either Komplete or Komplete Ultimate, an introduction package called Komplete Elements and finally a selection of freely available Komplete players. These players provide the three sound engines from Komplete (Kontakt, Reaktor and Guitar Rig) and they come with a small selection of instruments and effects as well. The players are best used in combination with some separately available sound packs or effects.
What is Komplete Elements exactly?
Komplete Elements is basically a library of sounds and effects which you can use with the freely available players. In my opinion version 7 was the better version since the library was quite extensive back then, but in general Elements gives you (a little) more contents than the free players.
A good example to this is the Guitar Rig library. If you install the free Guitar Rig player you get the Guitar Rig factory selection, basically a small sub-set of the complete package.
As you can see above the Komplete Elements version raises the bar a bit by providing the so called Essential Selection. This opens up more effects which can be used within the program. Note however that this example shows you the Komplete Elements 7 setup. As far as I know Komplete Elements 8 also introduces an Elements selection (but this is an assumption on my part).
The other players do this different by the way; both Kontakt and Reaktor provide the default library selection and expand on that by also providing an Elements selection.
Performing the upgrade
The first thing you should really consider doing is making a backup in case something goes wrong. On Windows (7) this basically means copying the program folder as well as your Komplete library to a different location. Just in case I also made a manual restoration point so that the Windows registry could also be easily restored (otherwise I would have made a manual backup using the registry editor and also manually copied the “common data” (C:\Program Files\Common Data\Native Instruments) to a safe location).
The easiest way to make a restore point in Windows 7 is to go to the control panel and select the option “System and Security“. From here select the “System” sub-option. This will bring you into a screen showing you some basic information about your PC. From here you can select the option “System security” in the menu on the left. Now a dialog opens in which you can both create a restoration point as well as revert your system to a previously made point.
Get the players and install them
You can download the Komplete players from this location. Just fill out your contact information (e-mail address) and then NI will send you a download link by e-mail together with a serial number which unlocks the players. This procedure is part of their protection scheme. Note however that the download will only be available for a limited time so make sure you backup the installer so that you can always re-install if you need to.
The Players installer consists of either an executable or an ISO image. The latter can be very easy if you don’t have much free disk space; in that case you can simply burn the image to a CD and install the players from there.
Save time with the Reaktor player
When in doubt you can simply select all the three players and install those, but you maybe aware that Reaktor hasn’t released a new version so far. Guitar Rig and Kontakt moved from 4 to 5 but Reaktor is still on 5 as well. So if you kept up with the updates using the NI Service Center then you could consider skipping the Reaktor player installation to speed up the installation process.
The installation process may take a while based on your selection and hardware. The main installer (as seen above) will start a separate installation process for each selected player. In the screenshot above you can see its getting ready to install Guitar Rig 5.
Be aware that the new players will not recognize a previous installation. So if you simply click on “next” without doing anything the players will be installed to their default location, on Windows this is in “C:\Program Files\Native Instruments”.
Things to be aware of
After you installed all the players you will notice that both Kontakt and Reaktor will easily recognize and import the Elements library. This means that its quite safe to uninstall the previous version of Kontakt after you’re done because all your installed libraries will remain available.
Here you can see the library collection which is available in my Kontakt 5 player. As you may notice the library section is quite a bit smaller than it was in version 4 which leaves you with more space for the sample section.
But as you can see the Elements selection is still available.
And as mentioned above the same applies to the Reaktor 5 player, but that should be obvious considering that you could have kept the Reaktor player up to date using the Service Center as well (which is really a smart thing to do; some updates can be quite beneficial).
Also keep in mind that some products have been updated to work even better with the new players. So if you have The Finger or The Mouth installed, or as seen here the Balinese Gamelan, then its best to start the Service Center after the installation has been completed, activate your players, quit, and then start it again to update your optionally installed products.
If you’re upgrading from Komplete Elements 7 keep in mind that the Kore player has been discontinued. Fortunately that doesn’t mean that you can no longer use it, but you may need to tweak things a bit if you decide to remove the Kontakt player 4.
For example; I now have 3 Kontakt library locations: “Kontakt Factory Selection Library”, “Kontakt Factory Selection” and finally “Kontakt Elements Selection Library”. The first location is the one Kontakt 5 uses so the second can easily be removed. Since Kore uses whatever is setup with Kontakt it will go over the right location. However; I have ran into some problems where Kore couldn’t find the right sample(s) because it was still looking into Kontakt 4 locations.
Also keep in mind that Guitar Rig does things a little bit different as well…
As I mentioned above Guitar Rig is the only player which provides a different library if you have Elements installed where all the other players add a new library (factory selection vs. Elements selection).
So don’t be alarmed if you start Guitar Rig 5 and all of a sudden see this selection appear:
As you can see you no longer have the ‘Essential selection’ available but instead it reverted back to the factory selection.
While this may trouble you at first you really don’t need to worry because the Guitar Rig 5 player has been installed besides version 4. So you can easily start version 4 and then you have access to the Essential selection again.
The only possible annoyance could be the inclusion of the demonstration versions of Reflector and the other sound effect libraries.
These demo versions have also been installed in the Guitar Rig 4 player and although I think you can easily remove them I haven’t bothered to look into this, instead I discovered something far more interesting…
NI takes Komplete Elements 7 users way more serious than I thought.
Guitar Rig 5 Pro upgrade
Guitar Rig is provided in 3 different versions. The free player, the Pro version and the Kontrol version which also gets you the MIDI pedal controller.
As could be expected from a software company; people who have a previous version of a product don’t need to purchase the full version again but instead can upgrade at a reduced price. Obviously this does not apply to the free players.
However, with Guitar Rig things work a bit different. Komplete Elements 7 basically installed Guitar Rig 4 Essential. And if you look at the Guitar Rig 5 Pro product page you’ll notice that users of “Guitar Rig 4 Essentials” as well as “Komplete 7 Elements” are entitled to an upgrade!
And it’s Native Instruments Summer Sale!
SO if you upgrade now (before the 31st of July 2012) you’re entitled to an extra 50% discount on top of the already reduced upgrade price. So get Guitar Rig 5 Pro for € 44,50 instead of € 89,-.
Well, the most obvious reason is that it makes things easier on you since you no longer need to maintain 2 different versions. But upgrading also provides some very extensive sound effects which are not available in the Essentials version. Don’t let the name fool you; although Guitar Rig is aimed at guitar and bass sounds its also perfectly usable to spice up other sound material as well.
12 amplifiers, 27 cabinets and 54 effects.
Native Instruments is all about sound, I learned that quickly enough after I picked up the free players, only to upgrade to Komplete Elements 7 soon after. Guitar Rig is all about sound effects and processing. 3 compressors, 9 filters (from Formant to Peak, Auto and Wahwah), 4 equalizers including a fully custom EQ and a lot more.
If you’re looking for some gear expansion now could be a good time to look around. And although it maybe a little unfair comparison this is yet another example why I live by the motto “diversity is the name of the game”.
Because basically it boils down to being able to pick up a huge amount of outstanding sound effects at a price where Reason 6 users can hardly get 1 effect as a locked in Rack Extension…
FET Compressor; € 99,-; Analog filter or Reverb? € 39,-. And that includes a 20% discount (available until August 14 2012). SO after that discount period you need to cough up € 124,- or € 48,75 respectively for one single effect fully tied into 1 DAW.
UPDATE: Someone at the Propellerhead forums told me that I was overlooking something here wrt. the introduction discount: this does not apply to all extensions available, which is what I thought so far. So please ignore my comments on how the prices will go up even further.
Don’t get me wrong here: I’m not insinuating that one product is better than the other. I’m merely trying to illustrate that having some variation in your gear can often provide many advantages.
In my case being able to pick up a lot of high quality sound effects at a very reasonable price (a little pun intended 😉 ).