Kontrol S-Sequence MK3 hands-on: A high-end MIDI keyboard for the Native Devices trustworthy

Native Devices’ Kontrol S sequence MIDI keyboards are a favourite amongst producers and musicians for his or her stable construct and tight integration with the corporate’s devices like Kontakt and Huge X. This yr the controllers are getting a fairly important improve that pushes the {hardware} to new heights and tightens the mixing with the corporate’s flagship software program.

Bodily there are few instantly apparent variations on the Kontrol S MK3. For one the stark matte black aesthetic has been toned down a bit. Do not get me unsuitable, it is nonetheless a principally black affair, however there are some further lights and coloured labels have been added to a number of the buttons. The contact strip has additionally been moved above the pitch and mod wheels which, would possibly seem to be a minor tweak, however vastly improves playability. It might typically get in the best way and it is one thing that plenty of Native Devices’ clients complained about, so it is good to see the corporate listening to suggestions.

Native Instruments Kontrol S-Series MK3
Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The opposite obtrusive distinction is the display. The place the MK2 had two small, however practical screens, the MK3 has one giant hi-res display. It is brilliant and crisp and straightforward to view from any angle. Most of the graphics and UI parts have been up to date to reap the benefits of the brand new show, too. When you cannot do all the pieces in your DAW on the keyboard, the best way you would possibly with say with an Ableton Push, however you are able to do virtually something inside Komplete Kontrol. The display means that you can flick through all of your Native Devices plugins and sound packs, and even many third occasion VSTs, like these from Arturia, full with art work. 

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In the event you’d somewhat not cope with the extra overhead of Komplete Kontrol, the keyboard can faucet straight into Kontakt 7. Frankly I a lot most popular this. Whereas having the ability to browse, load and tweak presets, no matter instrument straight from the keyboard is good, it may be a little bit overwhelming. And there’s a contact extra lag loading Kontakt soundbanks if you’re going via the intermediary of Komplete Kontrol. (And so they open gradual sufficient on my four-year-old Dell as is.)

Native Instruments Kontrol S-Series MK3
Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

The eight knobs beneath the display provide you with fast entry to plenty of parameters based mostly on what instrument you’ve got loaded. And in Kontakt, there’s further flexibility as a result of they will fluctuate based mostly on preset, which masses with a efficiency mode by default. These are the eight parameters deemed most necessary for stay tweaking. However you’ll be able to dive deeper by hitting a button above the display to change to edit mode the place you’ll be able to web page via the whole set of choices and get actually detailed designing a patch. All of that is because of the brand new NKS 2.0 (Native Kontrol Normal) platform.

Two of the opposite main modifications to the S Sequence are rather less apparent. For one there is a new unibody shell that, won’t make any sensible distinction, however does give technology a barely extra stable really feel. The capacitive encoders and pitch and mod wheels are all produced from machined aluminum as properly. It is a keyboard that feels worthy of knowledgeable studio. 

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Native Instruments Kontrol S-Series MK3
Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Extra thrilling although, is the brand new keybed which was developed in coordination with Fatar and brings polyphonic aftertouch to the Kontrol sequence. Whereas there aren’t plenty of Native Devices’ plugins that take full benefit of this but, it does add a little bit of future proofing to the lineup. With MPE gaining in popularityThe firm needed to do one thing to maintain tempo with the time.

It feels nice too. I examined the Kontrol S49 which, like its barely greater sibling the S61, has a semi-weighted keybed. The journey for aftertouch is brief, however satisfying and usually it responds to enjoying naturally permitting you to get plenty of nuance out of your enjoying. The S88 nevertheless may have a full hammer motion keyboard that may attraction extra to critical piano gamers. 

Native Instruments Kontrol S-Series MK3
Terrence O’Brien / Engadget

Lastly, it is value noting that there’s loads of connectivity on board as properly. Clearly, there’s MIDI over over USB-C, however there’s additionally devoted five-pin MIDI ins and outs, plus 4 pedal enter jacks (one maintain, one expression and two assignable).

The Native Instruments Kontrol S Series MK3 keyboards can be found for preorder immediately beginning at $749 for the S49, $849 for the S61 and $1,299 for the S88. All three are anticipated to start out transport someday in October.

This text initially appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/kontrol-s-series-mk3-hands-on-a-high-end-midi-keyboard-for-the-native-instruments-faithful-162055627.html?src=rss

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