Old 10-13-2017, 03:47 PM   #1
24dB
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Default Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S61 MkII

Just got my S61 MK2 in, some thoughts:

1. The Mk2 is much lighter than the Mk1, no metal in the upper case anymore, no rubber endcaps, everything is lightweight plastic. Good and bad, easier to move but feels flimsier than MKI.

2. The Mk2 can run off USB power solely, but for hardware MIDI to work (and for the Mk2 screens/lights to be 10-15% brighter) an AC adapter must be used ($25 at NI site, $7-10 on Amazon)

3. The transport controls no longer work in Reaper, due to the new API for communicating with DAWS mixers, etc. There is no longer a 'Komplete Kontrol - DAW' MIDI object showing up in Reapers MIDI prefs or surface/OSC prefs. I assume that apart from the main DAWs mentioned with the MK2 release, other DAWs no longer have any KK compatibility

4. There is a distinct lack of documentation apart from a link to download the manual, it would have been nice to have a 'getting started' or something as there are several unlabeled new buttons and the overall layout has changed a lot.

5. The Previews worked fine in My Mk1 Browser, seems equally fine in the Mk2 browser. MK2 Bonus Points: you can view/filter by favorites with the touch of a button including previews. Nice.

6. The touchstrip control doesnt work yet, just outputs MIDICC 11 until an update is released. Same goes for editing the color of the light guide.

7. The entire Perform panel for adjusting curves, wheels, touchstrip is not implemented yet, again there is no way to do it until they release an update (BAD NI!)

8. The Controller Editor is dead, no longer works with the Mk2. All MIDI Hardware/Controller editing is now done inside the Komplete Kontrol application.

9. When browsing you ONLY see the browsing GUI on the little MK2 screens, it doesnt show up on the main DAW screen any more (might be a way to bring it back? or have both)

10. Main 8 controller knobs seem more consistently made, same amount of resistance in each, nice touch sensitivity on the caps.

Overall though it feels rushed, I'm not sure why they would release it with several key features unimplemented. If it wasn't for the new wheels I might think about sending it back and sticking with the MK1, but they are here and they feel good and that was one of the big reasons for me to update.

Does anyone have any inside info if/when we at least might see the return of the transport controls, etc?
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Last edited by 24dB; 10-14-2017 at 01:07 PM.
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Old 10-16-2017, 11:20 AM   #2
pryere
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Thanks for the "hands on" review.

I an a happy S49 MK1 owner.
There are at least two deal breakers for me before considering an update.
The non functioning touch strip and panel being them. I prefer the MK1 touchstrips for more versitality over wheels.
Are you active or lurk in the NI forum?
You are not alone.

I am a lover of NI stuff for a long time, this has left a nasty taste for me and I am not a direct victim of this shoddy roll out. I would have returned it the next day.

Peace
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Old 10-16-2017, 02:16 PM   #3
tommo
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Default S61 MKII issues....

.....yep 24dB - I agree with you.

I have been using an S88 for a year with Reaper - and it has been a star - no issues - the transport works great and all is good - sure - there is no 'deep' integration - but I knew that and am delighted how it has worked so far. Unfortunately - the '88 is a HUGE beast and I have struggled to accommodate it in my teeny 'studio' - soooo - tempted by the 61 MKII I thought - go for it (and a Maschine MK3 into the bargain)

As you say - the bl**dy transport controls do not work on the 61 - I HOPE this is sorted at some point. I also have issues with '....ports could not be opened.....' when I start Reaper. My workaround is to switch the 61 off BEFORE starting Reaper, then switch the 61 on after Reaper is loaded - then 'reset midi devices'(I have created a shortcut) Its a bit of a pain. Never had this issue with the 88.

I have to say the 61 is a lovely piece of kit - and is beautifully put together - but - it is nowhere near the quality of the 88 - yes - I know it is much cheaper - but the 88 'feels' worth its money - the 61 MKII doesn't.

I am going to stick with the 61 - to be fair - its brilliant with Maschine (well - it would be) and the previews are a superb touch. I was considering returning it straight away - but - what do I replace it with? It really is a lovely little thing - and those screens....

Yep - it definitely feels 'rushed' as far as its firmware/software integration is concerned.

And - may I say - not including a PSU is pretty cheeky.

Still - I am having fun with it - and thats the main thing - aint gonna sell my 88 yet tho.......

All the best.
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Old 10-16-2017, 03:25 PM   #4
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somewhat related: I'm using an Alesis VX49 to control Kontakt and it's working pretty slick. I like the feel of the keybed. The VIP sofware is annoying at first but actually quite good once you know the ins and outs of configuration. seems like a good poor man's kontrol. I got it as a MF "stupid deal of the day" for $150.

Last edited by pixeltarian; 10-16-2017 at 03:38 PM.
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Old 10-19-2017, 01:39 AM   #5
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I just got my Komplete Kontrol S61 MK2 two days ago and so far I have to say I'm pretty pleased.

First, I never had the MK1 to compare to. I'm also not a great keyboard player and while feel isn't as super-critical to me as it is to many pro players I do appreciate a nice key bed. Right now I bounce between a Motif XF6, DX-7II, Sub 37 and A-300 Pro for keyboard control. I like the MK2's keyboard better than them all.

The look and feel of the machine (no pun intended) is nice. It feels solid although a bit fragile. I think my Motif would survive a drop better than this would. The button and pot feel is solid enough and consistent.

The displays are really nice and easy to work with. I haven't found any screen controls for brightness / contrast but really haven't needed them yet. Working with the variety of Native Instruments products I own was a snap. Other products I have including Synth1, Sunrizer, Zebra2 were added and are easily accessible through both the onscreen interface and through the keyboards display/controls.

I also like the pitch and mod wheels. While I like touch-bars for effects I prefer the physical feel of a wheel for these two functions. I like that the wheels are large and comfortable for sausage-fingered players. They are also rubberized which provides excellent grip. The mod wheel does not have auto-centre which is the way I like it.

Losing transport control isn't a concern for me as I don't use my keyboard for transport control. The feature wasn't even on my radar. I can see, however, how it could have a huge negative effect on the workflow of artists utilizing this feature. It'd be nice to see an OSC interface.

Speaking of interface I wouldn't expect to see any deep integration with Reaper. I contacted NI about it and received the reply;

"We currently only have Logic, Garage Band, Ableton and Cubase / Nuendo fully integrated with our Komplete Kontrol. We don't have any information regarding Reaper at the moment. Please follow this link to have more information regarding host integration : https://support.native-instruments.c...st-Integration

Oh well... again, not a deal-breaker for me.

While I'm familiar with NI's software this was my first venture into the Komplete Kontrol package. I found it easy enough to use on both ends but as some have already said in this thread, it seems a bit rushed. That's not surprising though. It's easy to finish software later on. After all, it's only the customer that suffers, right? ; )

Seriously though, I'm sure with this platform they've laid a foundation for their next line of products and we'll likely see some great things in the future. At least I hope so.

Plus they got it out in time for the holiday season!

In the meantime.... I'm really loving this toy!
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Old 10-19-2017, 11:28 AM   #6
tommo
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Default S61 MKII...

....brightness - hey - Flareless - hello to you. Just in case you missed it - you can alter the display brightness - press 'setup' and you will see the option appear bottom left on the LH screen.

Hope that helps??

All the best to you.

Tommo
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Old 10-19-2017, 02:03 PM   #7
Flareless
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tommo View Post
....brightness - hey - Flareless - hello to you. Just in case you missed it - you can alter the display brightness - press 'setup' and you will see the option appear bottom left on the LH screen.

Hope that helps??

All the best to you.

Tommo
Thanks Tommo!
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