KN7000: Extreme Expansion!

Sep 06, 2014

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KN7000 Expansion: Adding Virtual Instruments

It might seem unusual to be reading about a new keyboard in a Technics KN7000 blog but the brand new Native Instruments Komplete Control S Series keyboards are the perfect addon to your KN7000.

The S Series is coming on sale in October 2014 and if you are looking to expand your possibilities then it could be a good idea to pre-order one now!

Virtual Instruments

For those of you who haven't experimented with virtual instruments, they are sounds that you load into your computer which can be controlled via MIDI. This makes the KN7000 an ideal workstation for these sounds because it has very advanced MIDI control features.

Virtual Instruments are incredibly lifelike. In fact many of the astonishing movie soundtracks you have heard recently are probably virtual instruments, sequenced on a computer. However, KN7000 owners are generally interested in live playback and we're used to accessing our sounds in a very easy way. Hooking your KN7000 up to a computer and playing virtual instruments back in real time is not exactly difficult but neither does it give you the immediate access that we have come to take for granted on keyboards such as the KN7000 and Tyros.

This is where a new. highly-innovative software and hardware combination from Native Instruments comes to the fore.

Native Instruments

Native Instruments is a world-leading manufacturer of software and hardware for computer-based music production. Their products push technological boundaries and open up new creative horizons. Native Instruments started into real-time sound synthesis on standard computers in 1996, and now offers an extensive product range.

In 2010 Native Instruments made some moves to buy the Technics brand but that was mainly in connection with turntables and the DJ side of operations. What an amazing move that might have been for Technics Keyboards, we might well have seen a KN8000 running built-in virtual instruments!

But what does this have to do with KN7000 today? Whilst there is nothing to stop us from accessing the astonishingly realistic virtual instruments that N.I. makes using our KN7000s, it does involve some learning and quite a bit of KN7000 programming to get the best from them.

A new programming interface launched by N.I. makes things easier because the instruments are now available in a convenient, quickly-accessed format. Taking this a step further is the S Series keyboards because the keyboard hardware is patched directly in to the Native Instruments software!

Plug in and Go!

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What does this mean for KN7000 owners? Pictured above is one of the models from the S Series range (A 61 key model is also available) along with screenshots from the software. Accessing using a mouse or touchscreen monitor the virtual instruments are quickly selectable and their parameters can be controlled directly from the keyboard.

Now doesn't that sound like the sort of immediate editing that we're used to on our arranger workstations?

This hardware and software combination is what makes the setup unique. You can virtually plug in and go. Route the audio output from the computer to your KN7000 and these amazing virtual instruments are played directly through the KN's high quality sound system and instead of fiddling about with various pieces of software and hardware you're able to work with the sounds directly from the S Series keyboard.

So you can now add another keyboard manual to your setup and for once you won't be paying for superfluous features that you don't need.

Many KN7000 owners have also invested in Tyros and other arrangers in order to access good additional sounds. And I agree that the Styles and features that are added are useful but they largely replicate functions that are already available on the KN7000. Now, you can add a manual that can directly control virtual instruments which are quite frankly at the highest level of realism available. At a fraction of the price of purchasing a Tyros or similar keyboard.

The features available are also completely complementary to the KN7000 because they are almost all new, additional functions with very little duplication of what you can already achieve with your KN7000. So you get the best of both worlds.

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The labels you see in the picture above are in fact tiny screens, so the functions can be tailored directly to the virtual instrument being controlled and can be different for each instrument.

The LED lights at the top of each key change colour depending on the features that are being accessed and they also match colours used in the software screens, so that you have visual continuity. The lights also activate as you play and they can be used for many and varied features, such as displaying scales or arpeggios and showing how the keyboard is mapped to various instruments and controls.

The Sound of Things

I've barely spoken about the sounds themselves up to now. That is because you can take the quality of the N.I. virtual instruments as a given. The instruments are breathtaking and way beyond what any arranger keyboard on the market can achieve without a computer connected.

So in this package you have convenience and digital realism built-in. It is a perfect compliment to your KN7000 and it adds editing and learning functions plus realistic sounds playing directly through your KN7000 sound system, controlled by or layered with your KN7000 using MIDI should you desire, creating an unbeatable combination!

KOMPLETE KONTROL keyboards add unprecedented control to the KOMPLETE Instruments portfolio and seamlessly integrate with the new KOMPLETE 10 and KOMPLETE 10 ULTIMATE production suites.

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The keyboards represent a hallmark in the history of Native Instruments, providing advanced innovations in hardware/software integration and uniting the KOMPLETE Instrument portfolio under one purpose-built keyboard controller and software interface.

KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards are available in a choice of 25, 49 or 61 keys and come equipped with premium Fatar keybeds for a luxurious playing experience. They will be available online and at retailers worldwide October 1, 2014.

Daniel Haver, CEO of Native Instruments, comments: “In the last twodecades our software instruments have shaped and defined diverse musical styles and genres. The KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards finally bring our original vision to life, and elevate the experience of sounds to a whole new level. Only now the diversity of all KOMPLETE instruments and sounds becomes truly accessible in a single instrument, in ways that no controller or keyboard ever did before.”

The KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards signal a new era of control for the KOMPLETE Instrument portfolio. The all-new KOMPLETE Browser™ unifies the powerful instruments in KOMPLETE, delivering tag-based access to all KOMPLETE Instrument presets from one plug-in interface. Instead of browsing by instrument, users can now search by sound, opening the breadth of the KOMPLETE Instrument range faster and easier than ever before.

Native Map™ technology automatically maps all key parameters for each KOMPLETE Instrument to the touch-sensitive controller knobs – all clearly visible on the keyboards’ Clear View™ display. Each instrument was carefully mapped by NI sound designers to arrange the most relevant parameters on pages laid out on the keyboard’s display. The need for complicated mapping is eliminated, bringing producers closer to the act of creating music and allowing them to stay in the creative flow.

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A first-of-its-kind Light Guide™ shows key switches, zones, and more on multi-color LEDs positioned just above the keys. For example, key switches for KONTAKT Instruments such as ACTION STRIKES are illuminated in one color, while keys used for performance are lit with another. This puts the instrument’s layout on the keyboard at a glance without having to look at the software. The lights also provide performance feedback – scales, chords, and arpeggios light up across the keyboard as they are played.

KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards also deliver Smart Play™ features to accelerate workflow and stimulate new ideas. Chord mode lets producers play complex chords with single keys. Chord Set mode provides ready-to-play progressions that can inspire and augment original compositions or add new flavor to remixes. The integrated scale mapping features deliver fast access to new melodic possibilities – notes of the currently selected scale light up on the Light Guide. Many widely-used musical scales can also be mapped to the white keys. ‘Wrong’ notes can be automatically re-mapped so melodies are always in tune. The arpeggiator works seamlessly with every KOMPLETE Instrument. And the eight controller knobs manage parameters such as direction, rate, rhythm, patterns, and variations.

Two touch-sensitive Touch Kontrols™ tap into a new paradigm in software instrument control. They can mimic the behavior of pitch and mod wheels, and physical objects like springs and bouncing balls for interesting modulation curves – far beyond the capabilities of conventional mod wheels. Keyboard functionality such as key splits and Touch Kontrol behavior also function when using the keyboards as a standard MIDI controller, opening these control innovations to instruments outside the KOMPLETE universe.

KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards were designed to integrate seamlessly with the 10th generation of NI’s acclaimed instruments and effects suites, released October 1st, 2014.

KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards are available online and in retailers October 1, 2014. Preorder is also available.

KOMPLETE KONTROL S25 is available for $499 / 499 € .KOMPLETE KONTROL S49 is available for $599 / 599 €. KOMPLETE KONTROL S61 is available for $699 / 699 €.

KN7000 KOMPLETE CONTROL VIDEO

 



Category: KN7000 Technical

Mike (Admin)

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I started playing Technics instruments in my early teens and I've owned several models of their organs and keyboards. As a former professional organist and keyboard player I have played most of the models that I haven't owned, so I'm pretty familiar with most Technics organs and keyboards.