About 30 minutes ago I was up doing my project on a Saturday morning.
At beer and Pizza tonight I had a talk with Ronald. Again we talked about composing and equipment like soft synths and which one was better. He has always advised me to go for the Native Instruments' Komplete 8 bundle. This just came out in September 2011, pretty new product.
Native Instruments (NI) is pretty much a standard in the music industry. Almost everybody doing music professionally would have some of its products. Its products are used from games to films to tvs and music albums. Their sampler Kontact, also became some sort of a standard where lots of 3rd party developers are creating sample libraries to sell. Komplete 8 consists of 27 products while Komplete 8 Ultimate consists of 50 product. This is literally the whole range of their products all bundled in 1 super swiss-knife package. With the Ultimate edition there are delicious addition of the more exciting products like 3 more drum kits, and loops. Also included in Ultimate are detailed and high quality session strings, 2 collection of cinematic percussion, loops and drums, and a Yamaha C3 Neo grand piano sample called Alicia's Keys. That is the piano used by the very same popular pop celebrity of course. All in all Komplete 8 Ultimate has twice the number of NI products
At the same time I was also looking at EastWest's Composer Collection offer, where you can just choose 7 items from their pool of products, making your own bundle. (The link may expire, when the offer period ends). This costs from US$799 onwards (usual US$3188) and translates to a 75% discount. EastWest has the reputation of being the standard everybody looks to when doing cinematic and soundtrack for the big screen. They faithfully sample every instrument on every note plus extra articulation specific to their instruments. They also have a well rounded collection of virtual instrument for all purposes called Goliath. They also have a collection of drums, guitars and basses for rock to heavy metal kinds of music called Ministry of Rock 2, so real that if used and played correctly, one would mistake them for real guitar performances. There's even a very innovative choir virtual instrument called Symphonic Choirs, that allows controlling a choir that can sing any consonant or vowel you input! How cool is that??
Somehow Ronald has always advised me to take the Komplete package from Native Instruments because things that I've shown him (my works) has led him to believe that I am more of a pop music kind of guy. He is a hardcore fan of composing film music and soundtracks.
I always felt that NI products are more skewed towards dance/electronic/hip-hop/dupstep kinds of sounds. It can be seen from just the number of synth products in the Ultimate collection. They have stuff like:
- FM8, an FM synth
- Razor, an additive synth
- Reaktor, a subtractive modular synth that models 70 different kinds of synthesizers, grooveboxes and sound generators
- Reaktor Prism, using modal synthesis
- Absynth, a semi-modular synth that allows great flexibility in editing and morphing
- Massive and Retro Machine MK2, Analogue synth modellers
Of course this ensures that users have lots of ways to generate and get the sounds they need. In the age where electronic sounds and waveforms are mixed into conventional instruments, this will give our music a truly modern sound. They are also invaluable to sound-design.
On top of all that the Komplete 8 collection features lots of audio processing plug-ins as well. From lots of guitar amps, bass-amps, and voice processors, to reverb, EQ, compressors, etc. This covers all the bases of the tools an artist/studio producer ever needs to produce a polished piece of work.
I finally decided to go for NI because it is such a well-rounded product, more flexible and suited for a wide range of modern purposes. As Ronald also reminds me, Komplete can also be used for film / TV music composing as well, because the sounds included symphonic and orchestral instruments as well. Also, many film soundtracks will also inevitably contain moving and morphing sounds in the background. I would also need to master the appropriate use of modern synth sounds to make my work stand out.
Komplete 8 Ultimate comes with a USB 2.0 harddisk full of 240GB of installation information. I read from the articles that 170GB contain sample information, and the rest are the executables. All this data, however, are just the installation files. To use the products, I must install from this hard drive, and probably use up another 240GB on my local hard drive.
Having made my decision, I looked around for the "best priced" dealer that sells Komplete 8 Ultimate. Many vendors price it slightly below NI's price from their website. However, the prices are all fixed across all the websites that sell this.
They are giving away the Sennheiser HD 201 Closed Headphone (worth £21.99, they say) with the purchase of NI Komplete 8 Ultimate.
Okay, at this point you may say I am a cheapskate, but if you think about it, £849 is not a small sum of money. Having a free gift for so much money spent, is better than not having anything, right? ;)