Native Instruments Komplete 10 Review – Unmatched VST Collection

Native Instruments Komplete 10Welcome to my Native Instruments Komplete 10 review. This is, like the name suggests, a complete set of VST instruments and effects. It includes all the top soft synths, samplers, and effects from the Native Instruments line, covering 12,000 sounds across 39 instruments and effects, totaling 130 GB worth of sounds. You get everything here, from realistic grand pianos and African drum kits, all the way through to synthesizer sounds.


Please note: I will receive a commission if you buy through any links on my website, at no extra cost to you. I only recommend products that I use myself or products that I think are good after doing research.


Contents


PROS & CONS

Pros:

  • Contains nearly every sound you can think of
  • A lot of flexibility for editing and customizing sounds
  • Strummed chords on the guitar sounds
  • Aftertouch effects on many sounds
  • Choir sounds are beautifully expressive
  • Orchestral sounds are very good
  • A lot of synth sounds and soft synths to choose from
  • Urban beats for that old skool sound
  • Rare vintage electronic instruments
  • Good collection of world instruments
  • Piano emulators are great
  • Good organs with traditional controls like drawbars
  • Guitar Rig is a superb effects unit
  • Abbey Road 60’s Drummer – sound like Ringo Starr!
  • Komplete Kontrol app is an easy way to find your sounds
  • So much bang for your buck it’s insane!

Cons:

  • Some users say it’s glitchy
  • It is not a DAW – you still need a DAW to use it with
  • Difficult to integrate with Cakewalk Sonar?
  • It’s so vast that you can waste a lot of time getting lost while exploring its features
  • Bad after sales customer service

Rating:  (92%)
Recommended? Yes

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Video Review

What I really like here is that it comes with some really great preset sounds, but you can change them in many ways to create your own custom sounds. The Rounds plugin looks like a really unique way to manipulate sounds and is something I’ve not quite seen before. Kontour looks like a really decent standard software synthesizer.

The Polyplex has some awesome drum kits which I like a lot and is also extremely customizable. Drumlab is another great instrument that can produce some very realistic drum kits. Something which really took me by surprise was the Action Strikes instrument. This enables you to create the kind of tribal drum sounds that you might hear in dramatic film scenes.

Kinetic Metal is a truly unique instrument that can create some very interesting mechanical sounds. Rise & Hit is another one that I’ve not seen before, which is specifically for creating the kind of sound effects that build up and then hit.

For people wanting more of a “world music” type sound, Cuba provides many different Cuban instruments, covering percussion and melodic instruments. For piano enthusiasts, The Definitive Collection contains several very realistic pianos: The Gentleman, The Grandeur, and Maverick. They are meticulously sampled, but can also be customized to get the exact sound you want.

For brass sounds, Session Horns Pro offers a lot of realistic instrument sounds like a saxophone, trombone, trumpet, etc. There are various options to add performance nuances that a real performing musician would do, such as variations in volume.

When it comes to effects, Molecular is a modular collection of effects that are like effects pedals. it covers everything from dub-style echo through to melodic sequenced effects, and a lot more, many of them experimental. In addition to this, SuperCharger GT is great for mastering effects such as compression.


Who is Native Instruments Komplete 10 Designed For?

Because it has such a vast range of sounds and instruments, it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what type of musician this is most suited to. However, one that does come to mind is film score composers. If you are writing music for films, you are going to need access to a wide range of sounds. With the orchestral sounds and all the other realistic acoustic instruments, you would be able to create some classical music that people would not be able to distinguish from the real thing. Yet there may be film scenes that require some upbeat modern music, which is where the software synthesizers and electronic drums sound would come in nicely.

But really, this would suit anyone who makes music on a computer and who wants easy access to almost any sound they can think of. It is not a Digital Audio Workstation, but a vast collection of VST instruments. Therefore, it would suit someone who already has a compatible DAW they can use it with. According to Native Instruments, Komplete 10 should work with all major DAWs, but four that are particularly recommended are:

You may also be interested in the Komplete Kontrol keyboard.


SYNTHESIZERS & ELECTRONIC INSTRUMENTS

Native Instruments Reaktor 5

Reaktor 5

A modular synthesizer in software form, it has over 70 ensembles for you to dig into. You can also build your own synths and effects. Listen to some of the sounds it can create:

 

Native Instruments Rounds

Rounds

This advanced sequence synthesizer has both analog and digital engines and allows you to design and sequence up to 16 different synthesizer sounds. It has a unique key switch setup which enables you to do re-sequencing on-the-fly. Have a quick listen to it here:

 Native Instruments Kontour

Kontour

This is full of infinite sound design options, thanks to the advanced architecture which gives it an organic sonic character. It has a Motion Recorder which can record the movement of the knobs and sliders in real-time. Here’s what it can sound like:

 Native Instruments Polyplex

Polyplex

A quick and enjoyable way to create your own drum kits, it has 8 parts and randomization abilities. Layer and tweak the sounds until you get the drum sounds you’ve been looking for. Have a listen:

 Native Instruments Monark

Monark

A monophonic synthesizer with easy-to-use controls. Great for creating those mono leads and basses, it has 3 oscillators, filter cutoff and resonance, contour, and the standard envelope parameters. Here’s an example of how it can sound:

 Native Instruments Massive

Massive

This is another synth that can be good for leads and basses, with its virtual analog sound architecture and 1,300 presets. It’s particularly good for those “wob wob” sounds that you get on dubstep, as you can hear here:

Native Instruments FM8

FM8

Good for sharp, metallic sounds, it has a powerful FM matrix, flexible envelopes, and an arpeggiator. It has lots of patches from popular FM hardware synthesizers. Great for harsh, dirty, loud sounds, as you will hear if you listen to this:

Native Instruments Reaktor Spark

Reaktor Spark

Developed by the founder of Native Instruments, Stephan Schmitt, this synthesizer has 200 synth sounds as well as 14000 sound variations. It is based on a totally new Reaktor synthesizer and has the ability to do dramatic sonic transitions. Listen to the mechanical type sounds it can create:

 Native Instruments Reaktor Prism

Reaktor Prism

A polyphonic modal synthesizer with interesting sound shaping abilities, it has 370 sounds that you can play straight away. It was also developed by Stephan Schmitt, and is great for creating acoustic sounds like plucked strings and pianos, as you can hear in this video:

 Native Instruments Reaktor Absynth 5

Absynth 5 

This is a semi-modular synth that can be used for creating grooves as well as pads and abstract soundscapes, as you can hear in this sound clip:

 Native Instruments Retro Machines

Retro Machines MK2

Here you get a bunch of classic instruments from the 70s and 80s, so you don’t need to struggle to hunt down the original hardware synthesizers. Now you can get all those great sounds without having to worry about your hardware breaking down and needing to be repaired. Have a listen here:


SAMPLED & ACOUSTIC INSTRUMENTS

Native Instruments Kontakt 5

Kontakt 5

This has an advanced sampling framework, a huge number of instruments, effects, and complex editing and instrument building abilities. With over 43 GB of samples, covering over a thousand instruments, there’s probably enough here to satisfy you without all the rest that comes in the Komplete package. Have a listen to how it flawlessly speeds up and slows down a sample without any problems:

Native Instruments the Grandeur

The Grandeur

This is one of the most popular concert grand pianos, with a dynamic sound to suit many different styles of music. It uses state-of-the-art sample quality, using real samples from the piano. Take a look at this video demonstrating what it can do:

Native Instruments the Gentleman

The Gentleman

Here is another piano, using samples from a vintage upright piano that was made in 1908. Have a listen to a demonstration here:

Native Instruments the Maverick

The Maverick

Here is a vintage grand piano that has been sampled in meticulous detail from a vintage piano built in 1905, to give it an authentic tone with a unique character suitable for a lot of modern styles of music. Have a listen to it’s unique sound here:

I can imagine that being used for a typical pop ballad or soft rock song.

Native Instruments Session Horns

Session Horns

Here you get a four-piece horn section consisting of two trumpets, a tenor saxophone, and a trombone. As you can hear in the demo sample here, it sounds just like a real horn section:

Native Instruments Drumlab

Drumlab

Combining both acoustic drum samples with electronic sound synthesis, Drumlab is an advanced sonic laboratory providing production-ready quality straight out of the box. Have a listen to how great it can sound:

It’s just like a real drum kit, isn’t it?

Native Instruments Session Strings

Session Strings

2.4 GB of rich string samples, along with 12 different articulations to emulate the expressiveness of a live musician, and the ability to play rhythmic phrases with the Animator. This sounds just like a real orchestra, as you can hear:

Native Instruments Battery 4

Battery 4

Another way to create drum sounds for your music, Battery 4 has a lot of electronic and urban drum sounds. Have a listen to some of them in this video:

Native Instruments Studio Drummer

Studio Drummer

Oh, we’re still not done with the drums, I can tell you! Studio Drummer has three different acoustic drum kits to emulate the realistic performance of an actual drummer. It also comes with a really big groove library covering many different styles of music. Take a look:

Native Instruments Abbey Road 60s Drummer

Abbey Road 60’s Drummer

As if you didn’t already have enough drums to be getting on with, you can also make your drums sound like one of two famous 60s kits from the Abbey Road studio. It also comes with a VST groove library and a bunch of great effects. Have a listen:

Native Instruments Abbey West Africa

West Africa

If you’re looking for enchanting melodic instruments as well as vibrant percussion, which you can play individually or together, you might be interested in this particular plugin. It has 3 GB of uncompressed instrument samples, covering 8 tonal instruments and 26 percussion instruments. You can even use any of the 74 pre-programmed ensemble patterns, as well as the intuitive groove sequencer. You can listen to them here:

 Native Instruments Scarbee MM-Bass

Scarbee MM-Bass

If you want the bass sound of 70s funk and disco, this is the plugin for you. The meticulously sampled bass sounds are dry to give you maximum flexibility, and come with 17 expressive articulations to make it sound just like a real bass guitar player. Have a listen to what it sounds like:

 Native Instruments The Giant

The Giant

Do you want the sound of the world’s biggest upright piano? If so then, The Giant could be just what you are looking for. Sampled directly from the Klavins Piano Model 370i, it is great for cinematic use. Take a look at this introductory video:

 Native Instruments Vintage Organs

Vintage Organs

Looking for the classic organ sounds of the golden age? Vintage Organs is based on high-quality recordings of 5 classic organs and comes with 100 presets. Here’s what it sounds like:

 Native Instruments Scarbee A-200

Scarbee A-200

If an electric piano is what you are after, the Scarbee A-200 has 16 velocities per key for a full dynamic sound. It can do loud, overdriven sounds when played hard, or soft and sweet sounds when played lightly. Have a listen to it here:

 Native Instruments Scarbee Clavinet Pianet

Scarbee Clavinet/Pianet

Two legendary keyboards are brought back to life here, expertly sampled from Clavinet Planet N models, totaling 8 GB of samples. If you are looking to create music that sounds like classic funk, soul, reggae, disco and rock tracks from the 1960s, this is for you. You can hear what I’m talking about here:

 Native Instruments Scarbee Mark I

Scarbee Mark I

Another electric piano, complete with adjustable instrument noise and onboard effects, it covers 12 velocities with separate samples for each velocity.


EFFECTS

 Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 Pro

Guitar Rig 5 Pro

For that realistic guitar amp sound, Guitar Rig 5 Pro contains 17 amps, 27 cabinets, and 54 effects, to get the right guitar or bass sound you are looking for. It also has in-depth tone shaping with a selection of microphones and positions. Take a look at the introduction video:

Native Instruments Supercharger

Supercharger

Pure tube compression with an extremely simple control interface. Have a listen to a demo where you can hear the compression kicking in a part way through:

 Native Instruments Driver

Driver

This is a distortion effect with a difference because it also contains a filter with frequency and resonance, as well as AM modulation. It covers a wide range, from subtle distortion to total devastation, and has a great buildup and breakdown effect. It’s perfect for hard-hitting modern urban music, as you can hear:

Native Instruments Solid Dynamics

Solid Dynamics

Based on a classic mixing console from the 1980s, Solid Dynamics is a stereo compressor combined with a gate/expander. It has switchable soft and hard knee modes, two attack modes and two release modes, and gives a clean, responsive, musical sound.

Native Instruments Solid Bus Comp

Solid Bus Comp

Inspired by the bus compressor from a legendary British mixing console, the Solid Bus Comp gives you the famous “audio glue” compression. You can hear it take effect in this clip:

Native Instruments Solid EQ

Solid EQ

A six-band equalizer for precise control over the frequencies of your sounds.

Native Instruments Transient Master

Transient Master

If you want to be able to change the envelope of your sounds after they have already been recorded, the Transient Master may be just what you need. For example, you may want to give your drums more attack. This video explains how it works:

 Native Instruments Reflektor

Reflektor

A convolution reverb effect with more than 300 Impulse Responses for wonderful versatility. Have a look at the video below:

 Native Instruments Rammfire

Rammfire

I’m not sure how many people actually want to sound like the band Rammstein, but if you do, Rammfire is an amp emulation that might get you excited. It has a large number of presets designed by the guitarist of Rammstein himself and has matched cabinet and control room features. Take a look at the introduction video:

 Native Instruments Traktors 12

Traktor’s 12

Here you have twelve of Traktor’s best effects units in one VST. Each effect has just 4 knobs to make it easily accessible so you can get straight into messing around with your sounds. Take a look at this video:

 Native Instruments The Finger

The Finger

Designed for live performance and remixing, The Finger has 40 playable effects and can be played via MIDI keyboard. Take a look at this video of The Finger in action:


PROS & CONS IN DEPTH

Contains nearly every sound you can think of

Any one of these plugins would be great on its own, especially the 43 GB of sounds in Kontact 5. You could probably make most music just with that VST, but there is so much more in Komplete 10, it’s mind-blowing. This is why it is so ideal for taking up the position as the core of a professional recording studio setup. If you need a particular sound or effect, you can just dive in here and find it. No need for lots of different bits of hardware all taking up space.

A lot of flexibility for editing and customizing sounds

It’s not just a case of having a bunch of sounds that you can use. You also have a lot of flexibility with how you can manipulate and change the sounds. That’s what’s so great about VST instruments and effects, they emulate hardware instruments and effects, complete with all the knobs and sliders for adjusting all the parameters. All you need in addition to this is some kind of MIDI controller surface, for example, the nanoKONTROL Studio, but there are many others you could use.

Strummed chords on the guitar sounds

Digital musical instruments have been trying to emulate guitar sounds for many years, and in recent years, they have become more realistic. These days, you can get them to sound like they are actually being strummed by a real guitar player, rather than just having all notes played at exactly the same time. So now you don’t need to hire a session guitar player, you can just get the software to make it sound like a guitar is being strummed.

Aftertouch effects on many sounds

Aftertouch is one of those features that not all synthesizers have, but can add a nice extra level of expression to your playing. You press the note, then you press it down harder and you get an additional effect; maybe it gets louder, which is great for expressive strings sounds that build, or maybe you can set it to open up the filter on a synthesizer sound.

Choir sounds are beautifully expressive

Voice and choir sounds can add real beauty to a piece of music. Here you can get tremendous control over the choir sounds, by using the modulation wheel to change the vowel sound as you are playing. So you can go smoothly from an “oooh” sound to an “aaaah” sound.

Orchestral sounds are very good

This is where Komplete 10 becomes perfect for a film score composer/producer. Many films work well with orchestral music to for emotional or dramatic scenes. In the past, you would have had to arrange a score for an actual orchestra and then get the orchestra to perform the score. Now you can just do it all yourself with the software, saving you a lot of time and money. It also means you have a lot more control because you can make last-minute changes late in the project that would have been difficult when recording a live orchestra.

A lot of synth sounds and soft synths to choose from

Although Komplete 10 is definitely not just for creating electronic music, it can definitely do that extremely well. Even just with the Kontact 5 sampler, you have a lot of sampled synth sounds, but beyond that there are a lot of very versatile software synthesizers in Komplete 10. Gone are the days of having to have a studio filled with physical keyboards and sound modules. Now you can do it all with software. And if you use a control surface like the nanoKONTROL Studio, for example, you can get the same kind of physical control over the synth parameters as you would with a traditional hardware synthesizer.

Rare vintage electronic instruments

If you really want to use some of the classic synth sounds of the past, now you can, without needing to hunt down second-hand hardware synthesizers that might break and need to be repaired. Now you can do it all with software, saving yourself a lot of potential headaches, frustration and time wasting.

Good collection of world instruments

With the 26 percussion and 8 tonal instruments from West Africa, and 74 pre-programmed ensemble programs, you can create some very authentic sounding African music that could work very well either on their own or integrated along with other instruments in a very eclectic piece of music. The drum sequencer and groove controls allow you to easily add rhythmic realism.

Piano emulators are great

Piano sounds have featured on keyboards and synthesizers for many years, but never quite with the realism you get in the piano emulators included in the Komplete 10 package. The Grandeur allows you to control the Color, Dynamic Range, and the Space of the sound, for that real concert piano sound. With another grand piano called The Maverick, which has a very different sound, and two great upright pianos, you have all the realistic piano sounds you need for any style of music, whether it’s classical, rock or pop.

Good organs with traditional controls like drawbars

Again, as with the piano sounds, organs have been featured on keyboards for a long time. But here you get 5 different classic organs reproduced in software form, with drawbar controls for that real organ sound.

Guitar Rig is a superb effects unit

If you are a guitar player, you will probably never need to buy another amp if you are using Guitar Rig. With its 17 amps, 27 cabinets, and 54 effects, you can definitely save yourself a lot of money and space by doing it all in software like this. I’m curious what it would sound like if you were to apply these guitar rig effects to other sounds within Komplete 10, such as the piano sounds, or the acoustic guitar sounds. It could be a lot of fun to have a play around and see what happens, don’t you think?

Abbey Road 60’s Drummer – sound like Ringo Starr!

No need to hire a real drummer and try to make his drum kit sound like Ringo Starr’s when you can do it all in software. With two perfectly-recorded vintage kits, along with lots of effects and mix control, as well as a big groove library, you can sound like Ringo even if you’ve never picked up drumsticks before.

So much bang for your buck it’s insane

The amount of stuff you get in Komplete 10 is truly mind-blowing. I for one can honestly say I’ve never seen anything like it at all. This is literally every instrument and sound I could possibly ever think of and would ever need in any style of music ever. If you link this up to a good Digital Audio Workstation and add some good performance control surfaces, you pretty much have everything you would ever need to create superb quality music. Just make sure you have a lot of time to spare…

Some users say it’s glitchy

I noticed that a couple of users said they found it glitchy. I wonder if this was due to them having a slow computer. It would make sense, because there really is a lot going on here if you have a computer that is not quite up to the task then it is clearly going to buckle under the strain. You could almost consider this a good thing, though, because it’s due to there being so much going on in the software that it has high demands for the hardware it’s running on.

It is not a DAW

When I first took a look at Komplete 10, I thought it was a perfect all-in-one music making solution. But then I found out that it’s not a Digital Audio Workstation. It is a collection of top class VST plugins which you can use with your DAW of choice. So if you are a beginner who doesn’t yet have a DAW, and you buy this expecting it to be everything you need to make full pieces of music, that’s not true. It’s intended for people who already own a DAW which they can slot these VSTs into.

Difficult to integrate with Cakewalk Sonar?

Komplete 10 is designed to work with all the standard Digital Audio Workstations. However, one user said they had a lot of trouble getting it to work with Cakewalk Sonar. I didn’t see anyone else say they had a problem with that, though.

Could be too vast for some people

Komplete 10 is for serious music producers who want quick access to any sound at a few clicks of their computer mouse, along with infinite editing and sound manipulation possibilities. It is not intended for a casual user who just wants to mess about. Some people will find the whole thing too expansive, and could get lost with everything that it has to offer. This is perhaps a good point as well because it just goes to show how comprehensive this VST package really is.

Bad aftersales customer service

Several users report that Native Instruments have terrible aftersales support, so beware if you have any technical problems or you get a product that is faulty in some way. One user said they bought Komplete 9 Ultimate, and when their drive containing the 320 GB of sounds broke, they were told that they would have to pay $120 to get the sounds again and that there is no download option. Another user had problems installing it and got no help from Native Instruments.


Conclusion

There is so much going on here, it’s insane! For many people, it may actually be too much. Some people may just waste too much time getting lost in all the different things that Komplete 10 is capable of doing. Others will relish the chance to explore all the different sound possibilities that are on offer here. This is clearly not just a fun toy. This is a very professional product, best suited to being part of a professional studio setup for serious music producers who want instant access to any sound their imagination can conceive. It’s highly unlikely that you will ever run out of sounds with Komplete 10. This is top of the VST league, but definitely not for beginners.

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I hope you found my Native Instruments Komplete 10 review helpful, but if you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them in the comments section below and I will reply as soon as I can.

All the best,
Marcus.

2 Comments

  1. Hannah

    I’m in awe over how many different sounds are available on Native Instruments Komplete 10. And to think I’ve never heard of this software before. My boyfriend is very into his music and DJing so I will show him this post. I’m certain he’ll be interested.

    I would love to try this out but I would have no idea what I was doing personally!

    Great review anyways. I love music but I’m just no good at it!
    Hannah.

    Reply
    1. Marcus (Post author)

      Thank you, Hannah. I hope your boyfriend finds something he likes on my site. There are a lot of music programs out there to choose from, and there are even some great free music programs if he is short on money.

      Reply

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