“Unlocking Your Creativity: A Detailed Look at the Komplete Kontrol S88 Keyboard Features”

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I. Introduction

As a songwriter and music producer, I am constantly on the lookout for innovative gear that not only enhances the recording process but also sparks creativity. I have a full time job and a toddler of 15 months at the time I am currently writing this article, so speed and efficiency are extremely important to me. The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 is a fantastic keyboard that offers exceptional playability and seamless integration with Logic Pro, my primary Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). In this review, I will dive deep into the features of the S88 and share my personal tips and tricks for unlocking creativity while using this keyboard in Logic Pro.

II. Key Features of the Komplete Kontrol S88

The Komplete Kontrol S88 boasts a range of features that sets it apart from other keyboards in its class. Some of the standout features include:

A. Weighted, hammer-action keys: The S88 has 88 fully-weighted, hammer-action keys that provide a realistic piano feel, making it enjoyable for both performance and production. I’m not a piano player, and the weighted keys can sometimes fatigue my fragile unpracticed fingers, but my wife IS a piano player and loves the weighted keys because they feel more like a real piano.

B. Light Guide and Smart Play: These unique features enhance the creative process by providing visual feedback and assistance with scales, chords, and arpeggios. This feature is a really cool way for non piano players like me to cheat and actually sound like they know what they are doing. It also allows us to jam along and create some pretty cool spontaneous moments in the writing process.

C. Seamless integration with NKS-ready instruments and effects: The S88 easily integrates with Native Instruments’ NKS format, allowing you to browse, load, and control your favorite instruments and effects directly from the keyboard, which takes a little fumbling around at first to get the hang of but it works pretty well and also allows for quick sampling of tones without loading the full preset- which is a REALLY nice feature.

D. Comprehensive connectivity options: The S88 offers a variety of connectivity options, including USB, MIDI In/Out, and pedal inputs, allowing for maximum studio flexibility and compatibility with a wide range of hardware.

III. Personalized Tips and Tricks for Unlocking Creativity with the S88 in Logic Pro

Now that we’ve covered the key features of the Komplete Kontrol S88, let’s dive into some personalized tips and tricks that I’ve discovered while using this keyboard with Logic Pro, which is my main DAW:

Tip 1: Use the S88’s Light Guide to learn and practice new scales or modes, increasing your musical vocabulary on the piano. This visual aid can help you explore new harmonic possibilities and inspire fresh ideas for melodies and chord progressions.

Tip 2: Leverage the Smart Play feature to create complex chord progressions or arpeggios, even if you’re not a seasoned pianist. By setting a specific key and scale, the S88 will automatically generate harmonically-correct chords and arpeggios, allowing you to focus on your arrangement and production in Logic Pro.

Tip 3: Utilize the S88’s touch-sensitive knobs and buttons to automate and control your favorite Logic Pro plugins in real-time. Mapping plugin parameters to the S88’s controls can really simplify the automation process by giving you tactile knobs. In this way you can “perform” nuanced automation tasks that would take you hours to do with just a standard mouse.

Tip 4: Create multi-instrument layers in Logic Pro with the S88’s powerful MIDI mapping capabilities to achieve richer and more diverse sounds. By stacking different instruments on separate MIDI channels and triggering them simultaneously with the S88, you can craft unique and complex textures that add depth and breathe new life into your tracks. Of course you can do this with logic using track stacks pretty simply- but this adds another way of accomplishing the same thing, and for those non-logic users it will give you a nice additional midi functionality.

Tip 5: Use the S88’s onboard arpeggiator with Logic Pro’s MIDI effects for unique and intricate patterns. Combining the S88’s arpeggiator with MIDI effects such as the Chord Trigger or Modulator can generate fascinating rhythmic and melodic ideas that you might not have thought of otherwise.

IV. Integration with Native Instruments’ Ecosystem

One of the major benefits of the Komplete Kontrol S88 is its seamless integration with the Native Instruments ecosystem:

A. Komplete and Maschine software: The S88 is designed to work flawlessly with Native Instruments’ Komplete and Maschine software, providing an efficient and intuitive workflow for sound design and beat-making.

B. Access to an extensive library of high-quality sounds and instruments: As part of the Native Instruments family, the S88 offers access to a vast collection of premium sounds, instruments, and effects that can be easily incorporated into your projects, regardless of DAW.

V. Conclusion

C. Tips for optimizing your workflow between Logic Pro and Native Instruments’ tools: To get the most out of your S88 and Logic Pro setup, consider creating custom templates that include your favorite NKS-ready instruments and effects, and use the S88’s dedicated transport controls to navigate and control your Logic Pro sessions. For example- I created a midi writing template that incorporates a bunch of kontakt instruments. I have Getgood drums invasion for my drum track, Submission Audio Eurobass III as my bass track, Shreddage Rogue and Hydra as my guitars, Ample Sound’s Taylor model and multiple different pianos from the native instruments library. Utilizing the S88 with this setup makes it a breeze to flow between instruments and just stay in the “creative” mode rather than having to stop and figure out routing or a setup parameter. I can literally write an entire high quality demo in under 4 hours.

The Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 is a remarkable keyboard that has significantly enhanced my creative process and overall studio experience. Its combination of weighted, hammer-action keys, unique features like Light Guide and Smart Play, and seamless integration with Logic Pro and Native Instruments’ ecosystem make it an invaluable tool for any producer or musician.

After spending considerable time with the Komplete Kontrol S88, I can confidently say that it has unlocked new levels of creativity in my work. The tips and tricks I’ve shared in this review have not only helped me create more engaging and dynamic productions but have also inspired me to explore new musical territories. The only downside I can find to this keyboard is that due to its size, it’s impossible for me to take it on the road with me.

In conclusion, the Komplete Kontrol S88 is a worthy investment for anyone looking to elevate their studio setup and unlock their full creative potential in and DAW. Its innovative features, exceptional playability make it an indispensable tool for the modern producer.

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