Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88 - 88-key MIDI Keyboard Controller

79
GEARANK

79 out of 100. Incorporating 90+ ratings and reviews.

Street Price: 

$999
Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S88

As you might expect, Native Instruments have designed this to be the best controller for their range of Komplete software, however it can be used with other software, plugins and DAWs as well and many virtual instruments via their NKS protocol - take a look at the video below for more information.

Key Features:

  • Keys: 88 fully-weighted hammer action keys with aftertouch.
  • Zones: Yes with configurable splits.
  • Pads: No.
  • Controls: 8 knobs and 2 1/4" TS jacks for expression and sustain pedals - you can use the expression jack for half-damper sustain pedals. 2 touch strips which you can use for modulation, pitchbend and more. It also has standard transport controls such as Play, Stop, Pause etc.
  • Automap: All of Native Instruments KOMPLETE software, Ableton Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Logic.
  • Power: Via the included power adapter.
  • Connectivity: 5-pin MIDI In + 5-pin MIDI Out + USB.
  • Dimensions: 54.69" (W) x 13.74" (D) x 4.96" (H).
  • Weight: 34.75 lbs.
  • Bundled Software: KOMPLETE KONTROL, KOMPLETE 10 and KOMPLETE 10 ULTIMATE software packages. Once your keyboard is registered online you also get emailed a $25 voucher to use on Native Instruments software.
  • Compatibility: Mac OS X: OS X 10.9 or later and plugins - Stand-alone, VST 64-Bit, AU 64-Bit, AAX 64-Bit. Windows: 7 or later and plugins - Stand-alone, VST 32 & 64-Bit, AAX 32 & 64-Bit.

This video from Native Instruments explains all the major features and it's comparability with major software platforms other than their own:

Pros

Many customers praise the action of the keys including many who are pianists - some even said it feels like a piano. Several also commented on how good the documentation and setup process is. A few expert reviewers and customers commented on how useful the Light Guides are, in fact Francis Prève wrote in Keyboard Magazine that they're "one of Kontrol’s coolest and most meaningful innovations". The video contains has a quick demonstration of this feature.

Cons

One expert reviewer thought that a sustain pedal should have been included in the package. Daniel Griffiths from Future Music complained about the high cost in his Music Radar review, a sentiment that was echoed by some customers. There were some complaints about V 1.0 of the Komplete Kontrol Software, however I haven't seen the same complaints about the current version.

Overall

This was on our recommended list however it has now been superseded by the more expensive MK2. You can see which alternatives we currently recommend in our guide to The Best 88 Key MIDI Controllers.