You know how some NI lovers were complaining that they weren’t getting new synths? You can officially stop complaining. More details on each of these soon, but Native Instruments has dropped an enormous number of new synths, including one entirely-new instrument, in a single mega-announcement:

  1. Battery 3: Battery is a huge favorite drum sampler around here, so word of a new Battery 3 could be the most welcome news in this announcement. There are lots of new features — arguably a bigger upgrade than Battery 2, with new sound shaping features and adjustable flam, humanize, and roll settings. There’s a new wave editor, beefing up the sampler side of the equation. But I think the best improvement could turn out to be the redesigned, customizable matrix view, which could resolve the one part of Battery that felt clunky. It looks like it’s much easier to see and adjust your drum matrix.
  2. FM8: Whereas the previous FM7 was focused on emulating existing FM synths (namely the Yamaha DX series), FM8 promises to be a truly new take on FM. Sound morphing, a programmable arpeggiator, new effects, and new presets, are among the new features. What I like best: a new, friendlier interface to make controls accessible.
  3. Absynth 4: The thought of Absynth getting deeper actually makes my head hurt, but new wave morphing and freely-assignable modulation will make this synth more powerful. Fortunately, this release promises to be a little easier to use (thank you!). Previous versions of Absynth had deep but confusing envelopes. This version mercifully adds a master ADSR envelope and an envelope “step mode”, which sounds like this could finally clear the hurdles that kept Absynth from a wider audience.
  4. Massive: Massive is an entirely new instrument, with “wave-scanning oscillators”, multi-mode filters, flexible routing, drag-and-drop modulation, macro controls, and an envelope step sequencer that looks inspired by Absynth (though much easier to use than early Absynth releases). I really want to say more, but … well, stay tuned, and go listen to the samples on NI’s site and see what you think.
  5. Komplete 4: Naturally, Komplete needs an update with all this new feature, and it’s getting one. It’s also terrific to see that NI is bundling in the instruments that were missing, like Akoustik Piano, and including all the new stuff. The only software missing is Massive, though it’s available for a limited time in a bundle with Kore and Komplete. (Too bad Massive isn’t just rolled into Komplete, as it looks very promising.) Also, Komplete will no longer include Intakt or Kompakt, though these stripped-down samplers were already a bit redundant and obsolete, made more so by Kontakt 2 and now Battery 3, so I expect few will miss them. (I actually left them out when I installed Komplete 3.)

Got all that?

New Products [Native Instruments]

Common to all the new releases are integrated KoreSound browsers and better Kore integration. This will allow you to easily find presets even if you aren’t a Kore owner, right from inside the software, and if you do use Kore, it’ll make the integration with the hardware and host much deeper. This might sound like bad news if you’re not a Kore fan, but because it functions seamlessly within the software, I think everyone will benefit. Keyboard readers know I had some criticisms of Kore in its first version, but this could involve some first steps to resolve some of the issues I raised. More on that soon.

In fact, in general there’s a common trend you can see in all the screen grabs to improve NI’s user interfaces. We’ve heard people on the forum and comments here on CDM (let alone other sites) talk about loving the sound capabilities of NI’s software but wishing the instruments were a little more accessible from a UI standpoint. I look forward to doing some hands-on reviews with these instruments to see if this effort pays off; it already looks promising.

Of course, Mac Intel users will be happiest about finally getting universal versions of the software. NI chose to upgrade the entire package, which will mean investing in upgrade fees; I expect this will anger some users, but make others happy, as these do look like significant upgrades and potentially worth the cash.

Upgrade pricing is US$119/EUR99 for existing users of individual instruments.

More on all these updates soon, but wanted to give you the first preview.

  • bliss

    This definitely blows away Apple's "It's Showtime" soirée yesterday! Yet – I can feel the tendrils of the evil-jedi-mind-tricked-me-into-buying-it-stuff or EVJMTMIBIS method seeking to manipulate my behavior. 😉

  • rockridge98

    If indeed Kompakt is on its way out, I will be sorry to see it go. When I just want to sketch out a multi-timbral arrangement in Pro Tools, Kompakt is my first choice – lots of useful presets, quick to load, didn't bring Pro Tools to its knees. I often replace selected voices with Kontakt or Battery for the final mix as needed, but sometimes the thin sounding Kompakt patches actually sit better in a mix.

  • bliss

    Very good GUI upgrades, that's for sure. Thinking about owning Komplete 4 and my brain feels as if it's ready to s'plode! All that plumbing of the depths of all that synthesizer. Crazy! But some love it I s'pose.

    Massive sounds, er, well, massive. Nice synth for the gothitect in all of us. I like all the new stuff. Absynth has been a mainstay for me ever since before NI bought it – when it was available as a download from some guy's site way back in the day, so it's nice to see it get a workflow overhaul. Very nice updates in my opinion.

    NI definitely knows how to price it's products so that one will say, "Oh what the hell, I spending so much anyways I might as well buy the whole Kore/Komplete kaboodle. (EVJMTMIBIS)

  • Both FM8 and Massive look interesting. Hopefully this is a developing trend where our infautation with emulations is coming to a close and the focus is shifting to software designed interfaces that are clean, legible and lend themselves to an easy workflow.

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  • Damon

    Serious buzz of enthusiasm. I am sure glad NI has been improving the form and appearance of their stuff. It has never quite looked as good as it sounds. Especially Reaktor. Sounds like a Ferrari, looks like a fleet of shopping carts. There is something about gear that looks something consistent with how it sounds, that just holds your attention in a much more enthusiastic way. Helps you connect with the process in some intangible way. Maybe that is the spirit of consistency…

  • Sounds like a Ferrari, looks like a fleet of shopping carts.

    Hah! Nice one Damon. Sounds like something you'd hear on an episode of Top Gear.

  • i am so amped about komplete 4

    the absynth overhaul was desperately needed

    i totally agree with rockridge98

    on the death of kompakt/intakt

    they were both awesome for the quick and dirty mix

    the best tools

    and subsequently the ones that get the most love in my studio array are the ones that do one thing

    and do it well

    and dont kill my processor/ram/host when i load them up

  • I just bought Komplete 3 in the end of August, so I am happy I fo have the Kontakt, hate to see it go, anyway battery looks promising and so doe FM 8, I will definetly be upgrading. The massive seems alright, it seems like it was designed in Reaktor, I can do without it.

  • Nika

    Are there any good opensource software?

    These are all about 200-300 each.