Categories
General Music Software

Komplete 13 Ultimate Collector’s Edition

My story of ordering it and installing it (and a few comments about the software).

I routinely update, or is it upgrade (?) Komplete from Native Instruments. I almost immediately went to the website to pre-order it as soon as it was announced.

The product page said nothing about the possibility that some libraries/programs would not be included on the hard drive. In fact, the ultimate edition page says “If you choose a physical copy of KOMPLETE 13, instruments, effects, and additional content comes on an HDD. Choose a download version, and your software becomes available right away via Native Access – your one-stop hub for easy product installation, registration, and updates.” Nowhere does it say that some products won’t be on the HD.

After the fact I did find a page, buried on the website that says “Certain products may require additional free downloads.” But that hardly means that entire programs or libraries will require full downloads. But back to ordering.

The order page had two pull-down menus, one for delivery – shipped or download only – and another for what type of product – upgrade, update and first time purchase. I definitely wanted it shipped to me as I have a very slow internet connection. I made sure to choose the shipped product option first. Then I selected the “upgrade” option.

The website then displayed a message under my choice saying I was eligible for the “update” option. Are you confused yet? I chose the “update” as it was cheaper. Without noticing it, the website changed my delivery option to download only – something I did not want.

As I went to the next page it probably said download only, but with so many companies I deal with providing physical copies and download at the same time, I didn’t notice the change on the next page or two. Yes, it was my fault for ordering the wrong delivery option, but the website should not have changed my choice in the first place.

When the product was released (October 1, 2020) I got email saying that Komplete 13 Ultimate Collector’s edition was available to download. Again, so many companies allow you download your order even when they are shipping it to you. (PG Music, makers of Band in a Box is one that comes to mind). So, I ran Native Access and saw about 30 new products that weren’t installed. When I saw the huge download size of some of the files I was glad I would be getting a hard drive with them on it.

After getting some of the small libraries I tried downloading a few of the larger (under 8Gb) files. I had to start them at 11pm and hope that the download didn’t fail overnight. Some did fail, some didn’t. I’d often had to retry a failed download in the morning. Once I start doing things that require using the internet during the day – like teaching piano lessons – I have to stop the downloads. After about two weeks I got the bulk of the files I was willing to put up with the nonsense of baby-sitting downloads.

I was surprised not to get any email telling me the HD had shipped. NI is good at providing tracking info.

I contacted support and they said that I had only ordered the download version. Since I had already started downloading products they were unable, due to their activation system, to ship me a product. I find that hard to believe and told them so. I mentioned my mistake in a tweet. The online NI Support person offered to give me direct links that should be faster than using Native Instruments. I also had the possibility of someone with a 100Mbps connection downloading the titles. Problem is they live 100 miles away. (My internet speed is never faster than 3Mbps).

I would think a company would be nice to the customer and realize they made a mistake and ship them the product. After all, it is the same content and price for either. Why they were so reluctant to fix my mistake I found to be a poor example of customer support.

I did send the person the links, but one was wrong. They sent me a thumb drive with all the titles I had yet to download. Even at that speed it took them about 4 hours to download. I got the thumb drive on October 23.

After a few weeks of their messages never getting to me – I think AT&T has way too aggressive a spam filter in place – I got a message saying that the issue was considered solved. It was not, in my opinion, solved. Apparently they had offered to send me a HD but I never got that message. I replied stating some of my issues and that I would take the HD offer.

So, 29 days later I finally get the HD I thought I had ordered in the first place. All is good, right? You would think so, but no, not for me.

Remember earlier I said the website said nothing about entire libraries or programs not being shipped on the HD? They only said that “Certain products may require additional free downloads.” That’s a far cry for me from having entire libraries or programs not on the HD.

Some of the major libraries not included are:
Cremona Quartet (4 string instruments, each about 27Gb in size)
Arkhis
Guitar Rig Pro 6
Super 8
Butch Vig Drums.

There may be more, but those are the ones I could easily determine weren’t on the HD.

I have spent days, no weeks of on and off again downloading to get the 30 products that were new to me in this version. I still have the Viola to download. I’m looking at 30+ hours so at least two days, if not three just for one instrument!

I like Pharlight, Straylight, Arkhis, Mysteria and even the Butch Vig Drums. I don’t do much cinematic, but the first four products listed are great for that. At first I didn’t think I’d need another drum library, but the Butch Vig drums have a good sound and the interface and ease of use is good. I forget if it was Straylight or Pharlight, but when using it in my DAW (Reaper) and automating the X/Y parameters, I got a fair amount of glitching on some patches. If I used the mouse to do the same exact movements, no glitching. That’s the only odd thing I’ve noticed so far and it was only on certain snapshots.

The Cremona Quartet instruments are extremely nice. For anyone doing any classical music or anything that demands solo strings, I do recommend it (although to be fair I’ve yet to download the viola or try the cello).

If I had known that the shipped version did not include so many libraries and programs I would not have ordered it. And I certainly would never have ordered a download only version.

For people like me in rural areas, the internet providers, particularly AT&T, have ignored us completely. The technology here has not changed since 2003. I’m stuck on DSL which has never been faster than about 3Mbps and the upload is barely 500kbps. What is ironic is that the entire neighborhood has fiber optics at the street. Unfortunately what I think is our switching office, or at least the DSL equipment is a box buried in the ground about 2 miles away. Why they can’t upgrade to fiber I don’t fully understand. Please comment below if you do (besides that it would hurt their profit margin). I pay about the same for 3Mbps as someone who has 100Mbps via a cable modem.

I would like to think that maybe the Space X Starlink satellite based internet will be nice if it ever becomes available in Florida. But, the nearly $100 a month and $500 up front costs that current beta testers (Oct 2020) have to pay may be out of the price range of the typical rural user. Supposedly by Fall of 2021 we might see service available here. Maybe the cost will go down. (Ha-ha).

I think music software library companies are spoiled by high speed connections at work and don’t realize that not everyone has a high-speed connection. I would love to see companies like Native Instruments offer their products, all of them, on physical medium. I’d be happy if they put the content on a thumb drive and mailed it to me in 1st class envelope (properly padded – 4 sheets of letter size paper folded works just nice). I’d even return the thumb drive if they wanted me to.

Anyhow, if you are thinking about buying a shipped version of Komplete 13 Ultimate Collector’s Edition, be aware that you’ll spend a lot of time downloading products.

Categories
Arranging General Other YouTube Videos

My first look at Komplete Kontrol

Komplete Control is software that allows Komplete 9 & Komplete 10 users the ability to find sounds in one central location.

So, I just got it and put together a video showing some of its main features.

See the video

Subscribe to me on YouTube to keep up with my latest videos like this.

 

Categories
Arranging General Other Reaper YouTube Videos

Komplete Ultimate 9 – Software based music creation

Komplete Ultimate 9

Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate

FM 8
FM 8 (Photo credit: matt.searles)

For those that might be new to the world of creating music all on your computer or new to the world of synthesis and sampling, I thought a brief mention of what I use would be in order. There are many very good comparable products available from many sources, but for the cost, the unified look & feel and overall quality, I really like Native Instruments and their products. If you want everything, then Komplete Ultimate 9 is the one to get. You can spend years playing around and putting this software to use. It is pricey, but consider it a worthwhile investment, especially if you anticipate making money from your music or as an educational investment. But, if you don’t want to spend that much, individual parts are available.

The main components:

  • Kontakt – Sampler and playback. Includes a lot of ‘default’ sounds in addition to libraries mentioned below
  • Reaktor – A modular synthesizer with lots of instruments and, best of all, the ability to create your own instruments.
  • Massive – wavetable synthesizer, great for bass and leads
  • Absynth – semi-modular, great for pads and abstract sounds
  • FM8 – FM synthesizer and more
  • Battery 4 – A drum sampler, player than can be used for more than just drums
  • Guitar Rig 5 – A creative effects rack with 17 amps & cabinets, 54 effects and lots of capability

With just the above programs and their factory content, you can do more than enough to get really great sounds. Kontakt & Reaktor are the main ‘engines’ on which most of the rest of the content relies.

With Kontakt, there various libraries that come with Ultimate (or are available separately). Those include Strings & Cinematic libraries like Session Strings, Session Horn, Session Strings Pro, Damage, Evolve and Evolve Mutations 1 & 2. If you want to do anything for TV, Film, video games or just generally dramatic music, these are great. For retro sounds there is Retro Machines MK2. There are several drum packages in the Abbey Road series including Vintage, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s & modern drummer. There is also a Studio drummer. These drum packages give you drum kits, thousands of midi grooves and effects appropriate to those eras. To round out the drums, there is a West African drum collection, Balinese gongs and samples from Maschine. If that weren’t enough, there are several electric bass instruments and guitar. Finally, there are keyboard libraries. These include classic rock organ (B3), several grand pianos, upright pianos, including The Giant, electric pianos, retro keyboards, and a soul loop library.

With Reaktor, the instruments included are: Razor, a great additive synth; Reaktor Prism, a modal synth; Reaktor Spark, a dynamic subtractive synth; Skanner XT, part synth, part sampler; Monark, a new analog emulation similar to a mini-moog. Remember, these are just the added libraries that come with Reaktor. Reaktor itself has hundreds of synths, samplers, sequencers & effects including in the base package.

On top of all of that, NI includes numerous effects as plug-ins ready to be inserted into your DAW. (It should be noted that many of the above products include versions of these plug-ins as part of their implementations). These include a variety of solid state and tube emulations of compressor/limiters, EQ, reverb, gates, transient master, driver (distortion & filter effect), The Finger & The Mouth for live performance or studio manipulation of sound; and Reflektor, another reverb.

If you’re just getting started and don’t want to invest in all of these sounds just yet, I would recommend either Kontakt or Reaktor depending on your interest. If you want to design your own synths and get into the world of sound design, then go with Reaktor. If playback and maybe taking sounds you already have and making into an instrument is for you, then Kontakt. Each of these are available in a free versions with limits on what you can do with them. But, they do come with sounds that can be used in a production. Think of them as demos to get your feet wet before deciding what to do.

As to learning about them, the manuals that come with Ultimate are pretty good. There are also videos from various sources. I have some on my YouTube channel (as shown below). I also like Groove3.com for their tutorial series.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd2VZsK6btM]
In addition to the tips you can find on my YouTube channel, I offer this. To start with, for the synths, take any piece of music you are familiar with, load it into your favorite midi sequencer or midi track of your DAW and start assigning different instruments to it. For effects, use an audio track with GuitarRig or the plugins. Mess around with the various knobs on the software and/or use automation in your DAW in order to vary the sounds. Personally, I use the Reaper DAW. Great for the price and great for what it can do.

I’ve been using Ultimate 9 since it came out and am very impressed with it. As an updater from a previous version, I think there are just enough new products included to make the upgrade worthwhile (assuming you didn’t buy any of the libraries when they came out individually over the past year or so). The effects package and Battery 4 definitely deserve a good going through.

Enjoy..

Categories
Arranging General Music Theory Reaper

Session Strings Pro Animator Revisited

Session Strings Pro Animator Revisited

Back in 2011 I did a YouTube video showing the Animator function of Session Strings Pro. It was a quick overview and not terribly detailed.

At the request of a few people, I’ve come back to the Animator to take a more detailed look. The video is intended as a starting off point for you to be able to use the Animator function yourself.

 
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sC95fzwLtsI]
Please consider subscribing to the YouTube channel and checking out our website

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Other YouTube Videos

Native Instruments Driver Plugin

Driver Plugin

Native Instruments came out with a free (through 12/31/2012) plugin called Driver. I did a first-look video of it on YouTube

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd2VZsK6btM]

Hope you enjoy it. Please check out my website for free sheet music and links to all 6 of my currently available albums.

Categories
Arranging Church Music Reaper YouTube Videos

What Wondrous Love Is This

I’ve uploaded a new video to YouTube. This is a recording of the piece What Wondrous Love Is This that I arranged for orchestra. The hymn tune is from the early 1800’s in Appalachia and is found in Southern Harmony, 1835. It is still used today in many churches and instrumental versions, like this, are also used in secular schools for its historical aspect.

This recording is done via software instruments (although most of you would have thought they were real if I hadn’t said anything). I used instruments from the Native Instruments Kontakt 5 factory library as well as Session Strings Pro. I layered the string sounds so each instrument in the string section had 3 to 5 different instruments. They were mixed together to get the final sound. For the reverb I used two instances of Guitar Rig 5, one for the strings and their reverb and all other instruments.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6U-7E3cjY9A?hl=en&fs=1]

The orchestra sheet music is available for purchase at my website. The instrumentation is for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Triangle, Violins, Violas, Cellos, Double Bass and Guitar (or Harp). See the catalog description for details about substitute instruments and keyboard reductions.

If you have any questions or comments, you can leave them on the YouTube page or here.

Categories
Arranging Reaper YouTube Videos

Reaper, MIDI, VST YouTube video

This video is now available on YouTube. In it we look at how to use the Reaper DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) along with VST software instruments and MIDI to record and produce a song.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc1kkJQcLyQ?hl=en&fs=1]

This features VST instruments Plex2, FM8 and Massive. The piece is entirely done in MIDI. The video also looks at automation of both the VST parameters via MIDI controllers (CC) as well as Reaper’s built in automation.

A full tutorial on all of this would take several hours, but this is hopefully a good introduction to the subject. If you are interested in seeing more detailed videos on specific topics covered, comment on the video at YouTube or leave a comment here.

Categories
Arranging General Reaper YouTube Videos

Abbey Roads 70’s Drummer

Native instruments released a big update, almost like a new version, of their entire Abbey Roads Drums series. The names now add the word Drummer to them. The new versions add the mixer and grove parts of their Studio Drummer product. The entire series update includes the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and Modern drums.

I put together a quick video showcasing some of the features of the 70’s version.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62DeXE3s3As?hl=en&fs=1]

The main changes are the mixer, along with all the effects and multi-channel routing, and the thousands of midi grooves available.

Enjoy

 

Categories
Arranging General Reaper YouTube Videos

Skanner instrument demo

Not too long ago, Native Instruments released a free instrument based on their Reaktor platform. It is called Skanner.

I put together a quick demo of the instrument. The recording uses only instruments from Skanner.

Categories
General

Latest News (Dec 2011)

News

A quick post to let everyone know what’s new. A few new titles on the website, some new mp3 files and sheet music to one of those recordings.

See our other posts for the latest YouTube videos. I am soliciting suggestions for future videos. What would you like to see? Some categories I have in mind are: Music theory; Native Instruments Komplete 8; Reaper DAW; Sibelius 7; Slide shows with my original music as background music; All about scales; piano lesson related. What do you think?

In addition to the recordings and sheet music at the website, I play organ for and direct a choir at a local small church. See the 1611 KJV blog entry for more. That is keeping me busy with our involvement in the Christmas music program that a number of churches put on for the community. It is little more than 5 or 6 churches getting together and singing some Christmas music for one another. I’ve heard some people say it is the greatest community music event they’ve heard (they don’t get out much) and even one person, a professional musician from the Netherlands comment that she had never imagined choirs could sound so bad. But, whether it’s the greatest thing since sliced toast or the worse things since ?, it and all the special music that goes into the Advent & Christmas keeps me busy and away from doing YouTube videos or getting new material on the website.

I welcome feedback as to what you’d like to see in the way of new sheet music, new recordings, YouTube videos, piano lessons, etc. Please leave a comment.