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The NKS Standard and Users

Discussion in 'KOMPLETE KONTROL SERIES' started by JesterMgee, Sep 10, 2017.

  1. JesterMgee

    JesterMgee NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,671
    I would like to start this thread by saying that I am just a user of the keyboard, not employed/paid or even supported by NI. I have released (with great amounts of time and effort) NKS compatibility for some very popular plugins (check my signature) because I wanted to use the browser to find sounds in these myself. I have these available for other users and to date, they have made many users very happy. I love the Komplete Kontrol idea and hardware and now with the features of MK2 we have the potential for something that I have dreamed of for 20 years...

    But we have a problem that needs some more user voices...

    We need to address the fact that no matter how the marketing sugarcoats the hardware, it's a vehicle to sell the NI software and associated partners software. NKS is a "closed" system that is only available to vendors. Users (who are the whole reason that NI even exist) are not allowed access to the lightguide or any NKS creation features so have to wait for plugin vendors to add that functionality.

    There is an SDK that allows vendors to create NKS compatible files, but users cannot access this.

    The reasons cited from NI are "vendors will be able to make the most intuitive maps as they know their software better than any..." but we have a big problem with this. Vendors simply don't care or want to make NKS compatibility when NI are one of their competitors. Take Air Music for instance who have a deal with Akai and the Advanced keyboards. Think they will support the NKS standard too?

    3 years and I have seen almost no big vendors want to add NKS to their software. I have spoken with a few VST developers about it and they have shrugged it off as not in their interests (and these are big names). Then you have 3rd party librarys that will also not be interested.

    But, we have users like me who ARE interested to make NKS compatibility but are denied the use of the software to actually make it happen.

    When will the people who use the product be able to actually contribute to making it better? It would make our lives so much better being able to create NKS for plugins and contribute. Akai offer this feature and the tools in the VIP to help make it easier. If they release new hardware with better DAW integration I would have to say they are leagues ahead of NI and frankly, I'm waiting to hear what may be coming with the latest VIP3 release because after all these years the uptake of vendors adding NKS compatibility has been very disappointing.
     
    • Like Like x 21
  2. alec.tron

    alec.tron NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    722
    +1

    The close-mindedness of NI was the reason a few years back I purchased Ableton & Push over Maschine, even though it had a much heftier price tag...
    c.
     
  3. Futuretunes

    Futuretunes NI Product Owner

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    64
  4. thusis

    thusis NI Product Owner

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    175
    +1000

    I think the competiition in the market will help on one side, at least there is competition in mapping standards, but on the other side as described the structure of the market itself will help not...

    I think one issue why NI is not open it is that they are by themself not quite sure about the concept strategy they want to go and they burned their fingers with kore because they saw running themself into serious problems with the future work on the plugins behind itself and the concept was not very well laid out for third party plugins as native mapping standard....

    But i would love to see that probably users like you or lets say independent developers like you could able to release things over their sdk lets say like with reaktor on their homepage. so when they sell then a pack you get some money and they get some money but they can control anyway what featurres are used from the sdk and what not and in general if the mapping makes sense or not or whatever they like to control...
     
  5. Ed Redfern

    Ed Redfern New Member

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    7
    @JesterMgee I would like to thank you for posting this amazing post. You and I are clearly thinking on the same page and I am so pleased that you took the time to write this article. Well done. I fully agree that 3rd party developers are not interested in making their plugins supported by the NKS standard, Developers like IK multimedia and others besides who won't get involved, either because of the contracts side of things, costs, major rewrites to UI modes, etc just do not want to know. I believe rather firmly that we should have access to these same resources so that we can adapt libraries and instruments to make our workflows easier. As a blind producer, I rely heavily on Komplete Kontrol within my DAW setup with an S88 and I find myself having to either hunt down developers who produce certain libraries, etc to cater my needs, or struggle. We as customers, the reason why Native instruments have developed these products, need to make our voices heard and say "Enough of this nonsense. Make this system work for us, not for you.". If ever you need any help. give me a shout. All the best to you. Ed.
     
  6. subvertbeats

    subvertbeats NI Product Owner

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    23
    Great post. Sincerely hope it's listened to by the folks at NI.
     
  7. Kymeia

    Kymeia NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    6,111
    The additional problem with lack of user created banks is that even if I do have a plugin that is supported, I can only really use it to browse the factory patches, I have no ability to add patches made by third parties or myself except literally adding them one by one, and even here if they ever get updated, or the plugin gets updated, I lose everything because the other mistake NI made was to couple mappings to presets and not make it possible to update mappings across all presets for a given synth.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  8. b-righteous

    b-righteous Moderator Moderator

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    9,673
    Very true, but that NKS that Jester speaks of would remedy most of that as you can apply mappings to multiple presets in one go. NI just won't let users get the SDK, I assume not without a fee and contract.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. JesterMgee

    JesterMgee NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,671
    Exactly.

    If an actual vendor comes out with official NKS then of course people will want to use that but in the many (many, many, many) cases where there is unlikely to be NKS support there are loads of users who could take on the work and make it happen.

    The other thing is the new preview system that has been toted about, I am sure that every preset needs a small audio file attached to it... Something to consider that this will now take more space on your drive but user NKS presets will unlikely have access to this either so you will be missing another feature just as we also have no lightguide, no library creation, no ability to easily change controls of ALL presets within an instrument (to update new control layouts etc) all of which could easily be added into the KK software.

    Just does not make sense why it's not available to users.
     
    • Like Like x 5
  10. Zye

    Zye New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Thanks for the post Jester (and your NKS integrations). I have Maschine Mk2, S61 Mk1, Audio 6 and upgraded to Komplete 11. It adds up to being a substantial investment for me. If I don't see a solution to browse all of my plugins within Komplete Kontrol soon I will spend my money with Akai (cheaper), instead of upgrading to Maschine Mk3 and S61 Mk2 etc. What!!! another £1000 to find. I want the flexibilty to find my own work flow. Like Apple products, I don't want to be in that kind of bubble. I hope VIP 3.0 rocks. I see that VIP 3.0 comes free with Akai's MPK 2 mini (£70). At the end of this month I am going to check it out (payday LoL). Come on NI, lets get flexible, before Akai's Advance MK2 comes out LoL. Money, money, money ..................
     
  11. detech

    detech NI Product Owner

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    195
  12. Philippe

    Philippe NI Product Owner

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    1,311
    ???
     
  13. JesterMgee

    JesterMgee NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,671
    Yes I second the ???

    Maybe you can explain what that is?
     
  14. JesterMgee

    JesterMgee NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,671
    Just so users are aware of how NKS compatibility works:

    NKS compatibility requires every preset in an instrument to be saved as a NKFS file which contains the preset info, controller mapping, tag information and lightguide info.

    In the browser you have the Factory/User screens and to have instruments within the Factory screen you need to use the NKS SDK software to create the NKFS files and this software requires a vendor to sign a contract with NI which I have heard is not very appealing to the vendor (some have flat refused to sign it). On top of that, the vendor has to then employ someone to spend days/weeks/months creating the files. This is the reason you will probably NEVER see NKS for a large chunk of plugins, it's simply not designed to make vendors or users lives easy, just NIs lives.

    Users (that is all of us that use the product) have no access to the SDK or to edit NKFS files at all. The only thing we can do is use the Maschine/Komplete software to manually save a preset and tag it. That's it. No way to globally edit control maps, no way to access the lightguide info. nothing. I bet the new sound preview feature will be yet another feature that cannot be accessed by us either. People like me have created scripts to automate all of this but it's not ideal and a big issue is if a change needs to happen (such as change the controller mappings) it requires re-saving every preset again. Then there is the issue of 3rd party library's for an instrument where you would not be able to browse these.

    I was so excited when MKII was released but after some consideration i'm rethinking my excitement for the simple fact I do NOT want to be stuck in a closed minded format that will probably slowly fade into the background. If it was actually opened up it would see compatibility for VSTs explode as we could ALL start making it happen. I'd be straight on board if it was the case, but i'm really not too sure to be honest given the years the NKS "standard" has been out and only about 5% of vendors and instruments out there are supported. Personally I have added almost as much NKS compatibility on my own for vendors than they have done themselves. Dissapointing.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2017
    • Like Like x 3
  15. alec.tron

    alec.tron NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    722
    Thanks for the writup, very interesting!
    And yea, I'm in the same boat - I do not understand how/why NI does not see how much there is to gain from an open/active userbase and ecosystem users as well as developers want and can contribute to....
    Just look at Max and Live and how a thriving community around a customizeable standard enables users to build & share things which in turn has elevated the whole platform and sales in turn... so why NI would develop a communcation format that discourages users as well as VST developers to actually adopt it is beyond me... and seeing Jester's experience when trying to help people as well as the NKS platform in itself has made another dent into how I perceive NKS & Komplete Kontrol...

    c.
     
  16. Kymeia

    Kymeia NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    6,111
    It's frustrating because I've been saying all this since it first came out (ironically it was always my main reason for not investing in lots of preset packs and just making templates as I have so much third party content and presets made my myself it would not have been useful to just have the factory ones without being able to import anything else) - and still nothing much has changed. Hopefully with the next version NI will take some of this feedback on board.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Canis Majoris

    Canis Majoris New Member

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    15
    akai make it easiest
     
  18. JonnieCache

    JonnieCache NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    45
    I agree that it is frustrating. Very. But, it’s not like anyone else has done any better. VIP is okay, but lacks the full set of features offered by NKS. Still a big process to scrape their settings unless/until plug-in makers start supporting their new format.
     
  19. JonnieCache

    JonnieCache NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    45
    I’m not defending NI, but I did think of something else and that is quality control. Having a closed SDK is the only way to make sure that a company has a consistent, quality user experience. I have no idea what their SDK terms are, but having been in software development in the past, I suspect that is a big part of why they don’t want to open it up to just anyone.

    Not excusing it. There are other ways to deal with t, such as a certification program. But, look at other businesses like PS4, Xbox, the Apple App Store and Mac Store. They all hold the keys to publishing. You have to pay for their SDK and publish under their guidelines if you want to play in their sandbox.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  20. JesterMgee

    JesterMgee NI Product Owner

    Messages:
    2,671
    I can understand to a degree but this is at a major detriment to the user base. I am sure even yourself would have some VSTs that you would like to easily browse within the KK software and unless you have the skills to create scripts to automate things, you are in for a long haul OR just accept you can have a simple controller map and forget finding sounds.... which means you miss out on a huge chunk of function.

    The SDK, I can understand, but not even allowing users to access lightguide or even create their own librarys? Doesn't make sense.

    I have used the AKAI as well and for VST support, it is honestly a whole world ahead. The software does a good job of managing things, it's just the hardware and DAW integration that lacks.

    I will continue supporting and releasing my own NKS compatibility where I can but the work involved and looking at the future I see issues maintaining it and even if there was an SDK that offered all the same features as the official, but just allowed creation of User library files would be acceptable. Fact is users need something because vendors that are not on board that I have spoken to (some in my signature) have absolutely no interest to support NKS.
     
    • Like Like x 1