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Tried the new NI S88 Mark 2. Keyboard still doesn't feel good.

jbuhler

Senior Member
Still on the fence about this one. Just got it. Keybed is OK, hoped for a lot better. Has a bit of a spongy, damped feeling (memory foam anyone?) than a hammer strike actuation feel (for want of a better word)

Just fired up the Komplete Kontrol software for the first time tonight, thing seems like a mess. Cant scale the window on the PC, and the way you browse the instruments seems like a pain. Probably just not used to it yet. IDK.
I hate the KK plug-in with a passion. (I’m on a Mac.) I only use it to make changes to splits, lights, etc. on my KK S61 mk II, never to host other VSTs.
 

Lee Blaske

Senior Member
Still on the fence about this one. Just got it. Keybed is OK, hoped for a lot better. Has a bit of a spongy, damped feeling (memory foam anyone?) than a hammer strike actuation feel (for want of a better word)
Not sure if you'll like it more or less, but it'll feel quite a bit different after it's broken in. If you've ever been inside these Fatar actions, there's a big glop of silicone lube on the pivot points. That's what gives it the damped, memory foam feel. As you use the keyboard, a lot of that lube will be moved aside, and it'll feel less damped. Then, after you use it more, the mechanical sound of the action will become a bit louder. I'm not the biggest fan of the way Fatar builds anything, but I do like the way the S88 interfaces with Kontakt. I just wish NI would buy their actions from Kawai, Roland, Kong or Yamaha (definitely not Nord, though... Nord uses Fatar actions).
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
Not sure if you'll like it more or less, but it'll feel quite a bit different after it's broken in. If you've ever been inside these Fatar actions, there's a big glop of silicone lube on the pivot points. That's what gives it the damped, memory foam feel. As you use the keyboard, a lot of that lube will be moved aside, and it'll feel less damped. Then, after you use it more, the mechanical sound of the action will become a bit louder. I'm not the biggest fan of the way Fatar builds anything, but I do like the way the S88 interfaces with Kontakt. I just wish NI would buy their actions from Kawai, Roland, Kong or Yamaha (definitely not Nord, though... Nord uses Fatar actions).
Interesting. I did like how quiet it was, it'd be a shame if it got loud and clunky.

any tips for not getting fed up with KK software? I just want to be able to browse through my instruments like in the library tab of kontakt, I hate that menu where you choose keys, strings, synths, then a style, etc. lol. I'll spend some more time with it tomorrow.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
will non NKS instruments still show up in Komplete Kontrol?
Yes, load non NKS instruments through "Files." I think you can then put them some place that they load similar to Quickload in Kontakt, but I never use the KK software to host libraries so I don't remember how to do it. I only use it to map the keyboard splits, knobs, buttons, etc. I like the keyboard, though I don't like how closed the MKII is—they took away Mackey support so it only works well with supported DAWS and the transport and navigation keys on the keyboard just taunt you with their inoperability if you use a DAW that isn't supported.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
any tips for not getting fed up with KK software? I just want to be able to browse through my instruments like in the library tab of kontakt, I hate that menu where you choose keys, strings, synths, then a style, etc. lol. I'll spend some more time with it tomorrow.
You can do this. Press "Browser." The knobs under the screens will then allow you to navigate among your libraries, and patches. Some of the libraries work better than others at this. Right now mine doesn't seem to be playing the previews. I probably turned it off at some point and now can't remember how to turn it back on...
 
OP
H

Headlands

Active Member
Still on the fence about this one. Just got it. Keybed is OK, hoped for a lot better. Has a bit of a spongy, damped feeling (memory foam anyone?) rather than a hammer strike actuation feel (for want of a better word)

Just fired up the Komplete Kontrol software for the first time tonight, thing seems like a mess. Cant scale the window on the PC, and the way you browse the instruments seems like a pain. Probably just not used to it yet. IDK.
Yeah, the Komplete Kontrol thing is a bit of a pain because it requires loading two things instead of one -- i.e., I need to first load Kontrol, then the instrument I want. I wish it would simply communicate with compatible plugins directly instead of having to go through another plugin. Also, it doesn't work through VE Pro, which really sucks; I know it would be extremely difficult to make that happen, but for some reason I had thought that's what it would do (my mistake for not researching better). NI is often fiddly/clunky with a lot of their software GUIs...that's just the way it is with both them and Steinberg.

So, I mostly can't use the keyboard light mapping for that reason. And browsing in Cubase/Kontakt is still faster for me than using the onboard browser on the S88 or their Kontrol plugin.

But I have gotten to like the keyboard just fine and will keep it. I dig the expression pad, and it feels like a quality piece of hardware overall. Maybe we'll see some improvements in the future with the things I've mentioned...!
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
Yeah, the Komplete Kontrol thing is a bit of a pain because it requires loading two things instead of one -- i.e., I need to first load Kontrol, then the instrument I want. I wish it would simply communicate with compatible plugins directly instead of having to go through another plugin. Also, it doesn't work through VE Pro, which really sucks; I know it would be extremely difficult to make that happen, but for some reason I had thought that's what it would do (my mistake for not researching better). NI is often fiddly/clunky with a lot of their software GUIs...that's just the way it is with both them and Steinberg.

So, I mostly can't use the keyboard light mapping for that reason. And browsing in Cubase/Kontakt is still faster for me than using the onboard browser on the S88 or their Kontrol plugin.

But I have gotten to like the keyboard just fine and will keep it. I dig the expression pad, and it feels like a quality piece of hardware overall. Maybe we'll see some improvements in the future with the things I've mentioned...!
That's basically where I am with it too. I'm OK with the action, and do like the hardware overall, I just think it would be doubly as good if we could see/control the instrument and light mapping directly from konakt. I just want to go in Cubase and add a konakt instrument that way.

Assuming the hardware on the SL88 Studio or grand was as good, I suppose it would make a tough choice. The main reason I chose this was for the integration, but that's much clunkier than I had hoped. Ah well.
 

jbuhler

Senior Member
That's basically where I am with it too. I'm OK with the action, and do like the hardware overall, I just think it would be doubly as good if we could see/control the instrument and light mapping directly from konakt. I just want to go in Cubase and add a konakt instrument that way.

Assuming the hardware on the SL88 Studio or grand was as good, I suppose it would make a tough choice. The main reason I chose this was for the integration, but that's much clunkier than I had hoped. Ah well.
I have the S61 mk2 and I've done some mapping of lights and knobs to the instruments I use a lot (and Spitfire, for instance, uses a pretty standard set of CCs that means I can have a Spitfire preset). I also set up some keyboard splits for working with multiple instruments in different channels. (It took NI almost a year after it first released the mk2 keyboards to get this functionality, however.) I've also mapped the buttons along the top to DAW capabilities since I don't use them for the KK software.

In Logic and a few other DAWs, the transport and page navigation are all nicely integrated, but if you use a DAW the keyboard doesn't support those buttons are useless. I do wish the keyboard had a few sliders, and I've taken to adding a Korg NanoKontrol Studio, which fits neatly in an open space on top of the S61 mk2, in order to run Studio One and add sliders.
 

whiskers

Perpetual student
I have the S61 mk2 and I've done some mapping of lights and knobs to the instruments I use a lot (and Spitfire, for instance, uses a pretty standard set of CCs that means I can have a Spitfire preset). I also set up some keyboard splits for working with multiple instruments in different channels. (It took NI almost a year after it first released the mk2 keyboards to get this functionality, however.) I've also mapped the buttons along the top to DAW capabilities since I don't use them for the KK software.

In Logic and a few other DAWs, the transport and page navigation are all nicely integrated, but if you use a DAW the keyboard doesn't support those buttons are useless. I do wish the keyboard had a few sliders, and I've taken to adding a Korg NanoKontrol Studio, which fits neatly in an open space on top of the S61 mk2, in order to run Studio One and add sliders.
Thanks for the thoughts.

RE: the sliders. I agree. Seems it would be really simple to add 4-10 sliders, and not cost very much. You have space to stick 5 or 6 on there easy.
 
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