Komplete 14 review: Native Instruments music software is an even bigger bundle
The Native Instruments Komplete bundle has long been one of its flagship products. Bundled with some of the most powerful and frequently used products in the production space, Komplete has always been a one-stop-shop for all things music production.
Native Instruments’ Komplete 14 is a powerful toolkit upgrade and is designed for sound designers and music producers. It includes 139 products, over 84,000 preset sounds, and 770GB of music production goodies.
Some of the standout features include the Kontakt 7 sample engine, Massive X, Session Guitarist, Symphony Series Collection, and 62 expansion packs that go beyond any genre, allowing for endless musical exploration. This article will discuss some of the many software upgrades and enhancements included in Komplete 14, such as iZotope’s Ozone 10 and Brainworx’s offerings, which are available for music producers.
Download the free Kontakt sampler libraries from Native Instruments here
What’s New in What’s Komplete 14
Most of the Komplete bundle will see the return of classic Native Instrument synths and plugins (although many with some well-deserved upgrades). Overall though, the new features in Komplete offer some truly unique tools for you to use in your next track.
First, there’s a fresh new Kontakt in its seventh iteration. This award-winning sampler lets you create full-spectrum orchestral bohemian melodies and almost any other sound and texture you could imagine. Komplete 14 also comes with a handful of fresh new libraries (but I’ll save that for a later section).
This version of Komplet also comes with a few other site plugins. Yes, you heard that right: full SUITES of production tools. For the first time, purchasing Komplete gives you access to Ozone, a powerful mastering suite, as well as Izotope RX, which is a phenomenal audio repair tool for post-production.
And while many other minor inclusions are included, I will mention this one last big one; the large number of additional instruments you can now access in this pack. You will get over 84,000 presets spread across 139 different devices. You’d be hard pressed to even scroll through and audition that many sounds in a lifetime, let alone use them in your productions (and I mean that in a darned good way).
What I liked What is Komplete 14?
This pack has so many new things to get excited about, but I’ll narrow it down to my three favorite things. Let’s dive into what excites me the most by opening this bundle.
This new instrument playable on Kontakt is damn crazy. It randomizes different sounds and plays them in sequence when feeding MIDI notes. The result is a dreamy, sporadic chord progression that sounds familiar.
It’s an absolute inspiration machine that just cycles through the presets, and the randomization features let you keep pouring gas on the inspiration sequence once it’s started.
More ambient instruments!
Alright, so I know I’m a bit biased here as a producer and mood setter, but the near-inclusions here are to die for.
Komplete has better backing vocals, pianos, more nuanced strings, and many more effects and soundscape instruments. These instruments are great to include as the first thing in a blank project to set the mood or just to layer over the background of a fully finished track to add more depth and texture to the production. All in all, it’s incredibly inspiring.
More tools than ever before!
I was pleasantly surprised when I read the initial announcement that Komplete would include Ozone and RX. It was one of those things that the company probably didn’t have to do at all, but chose to do for the good of the community. There are so many great features in Ozone alone that if that doesn’t put you over the top and convince you to snag this pack, then I don’t know what will.
Because although it is billed as a mastering suite, you can also use each plugin individually. Their exciter is one of my favorite stand-alone harmonic exciters, and their imager is also powerful.
What I wasn’t crazy about
The list of what I wasn’t a fan of is a bit shorter, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t share what drove me a little crazy with this bundle.
Drum 4 is a Native Instruments drum sampler and programmer. In its time it was powerful and still has the potential to be today, except for some glaring issues.
Simple quality of life issues like the inability to undo are deal breakers for me. You can spend an hour working on a custom drum kit, then accidentally change the filename of a preset and instantly undo all your work with no way to redo it. And that’s just one of a handful of features that drove me a little crazy.
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I feel so passionate about it because Battery has so much potential. As many. I was almost ready to ditch Ableton’s drum racks altogether. But alas… a missed opportunity for Native Instruments.
It’s REALLY big
Looking at the product description to scroll through everything you’ve unlocked once you’ve grabbed your license can be incredibly exciting. Eighty-four thousand new sounds are almost at your fingertips.
The only problem is that some of these libraries are massive. Native Instruments Access told me that a single string library said it took over 30 gigs, and when I tried to install my Macbook it needed even more!
So, while there are a ton of them, you need to be pretty selective about which instruments and sounds you can afford to have space for on your computer.
Of course, you can work around this if you have a ten terabyte hard drive, but I guess most drives don’t.
Who is Komplete 14 for?
This can be a tricky question to answer as the easy answer would be that it is designed for any music producer. And while there’s some truth in that, let’s unpack that a little more.
I’ll start this section by saying that you don’t need to update every time a new Komplete bundle comes out. Usually, version-to-version upgrades don’t justify the price, and most producers I know wait for one or even two versions of Komplete before making the switch.
With that in mind, I’d say Komplete 14 is suitable for either producer.
The first is for new producers looking for a one-stop-shop for all their production needs. If you don’t have a library full of synths that you know inside out, and you’re just looking to invest some money that you know will be used for years to come, this option is perfect.
The second would be for season enthusiasts who know how to put together a melody with classic popular synths like Serum and some drum samples and are now looking to add a new level of detail and texture to their tracks. The sheer number of high-quality templates, sounds, and tools in this bundle could be the tool that takes your productions to the professional level.
And speaking of professional growers, I don’t think those would find as much value as the price justifies in this bundle.
Because while many of the instruments and sounds in this set sound great, there are third-party Kontakt libraries that are considered more industry standard (and if you’re a professional composer, I’m sure you probably have them already on your hard drive).
Because while Komplete’s instruments and sounds are certainly quality, they don’t offer much new to the conversation that professional composers don’t already have access to. Most producers and composers at this level probably don’t need to rely on mastering tools like Ozone to get quality end results either.
Specifications for Native Instruments Komplete 14
Type of software: Komplete 14 Instrument Library
Platform: Macs, PCs
Download/Boxed: To download
Shallow: 64 bit
Format: AAX, VST3, AU
Hardware requirements – Mac: Intel Core i5 / Apple Silicon or better, 4GB RAM or more recommended, 20GB hard disk space
Hardware requirements – PC: Intel Core i5 / AMD Ryzen 5 or better, 4GB RAM or more recommended, 20GB hard disk space
System Requirements – Mac: macOS 10.15 or later
Operating System Requirements – PC: Windows 10 or later