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Software Review: KOMPLETE 8 – Part III From Native Instruments

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KOMPLETE 8 is a bundled package of instruments and effects for modern digital music creation, composition, production, and sound design. There are three different versions of KOMPLETE 8 – KOMPLETE 8 ULTIMATE, KOMPLETE 8, and KOMPLETE ELEMENTS. Each one contains a variety of instruments and effects that provide value for your musical creation. Because there is so much contained within the package, this review will look at KOMPLETE 8 only and will be broken down into 3 parts.

I will look at the GUITAR RIG 5 PRO as well as the Guitar, Drums & Percussion, and the remaining Studio Effects that work with GUITAR RIG 5 PRO. GUITAR RIG 5 PRO is a software effects processor that is designed to work with electric guitar and bass. It uses amplifier modeling to allow real-time digital signal processing in both standalone and DAW environments.

GUITAR RIG 5 PRO and Guitar and Basses


GUITAR RIG 5 PRO is a software solution that will provide you with custom tone and more amps, effects, and creative control than ever before. This latest version comes with 17 guitar and bass amplifiers modeled to the standards of their real-life counterparts.

If you want to get the tone right, it requires a combination of the amplifier, microphone, and cabinet and so with GUITAR RIG 5 PRO every amp has its own matched cabinet as well as additional options providing a total of 27 cabinet models to choose from. It also has nine legendary microphones to choose from with flexible mic positioning. There are also four rotary speaker simulations giving you the ability to make your sound as simple or detailed as you choose it to be.

There are also 54 effects which are emulations of stomp boxes, effects from foot pedals, and complex studio tools. You can use these effects on just about anything from vocals to drums, synths to organs, or even on the master channel at mix time. You also have tools on hand to help give you the perfect tone.

So what is new in GUITAR RIG 5 PRO?

• Two new amplifiers have been added. First the Van 51 which provides a signature sound from hard rock to crunch. This is great for drop tunings and palm-muted chugs. It can also that can provide some classic Van Halen sounds similar to the Peavey 5150 amplifier. The Hot Solo+ sounds much like a classic hand-wired amplifier with a responsive, over-driven tone and will provide what you need when you want heaving sounding solos. This one looks like it was based on a Soldano amp.
• There are six new effects that include Fast Comp which is a warm, vintage compressor, Vintage Verb that has eight different classic plate and spring reverbs, Little Reflektor a convolution reverb, Stereo Tune which spreads and detunes the stereo image for a fatter sound and de-tuned effects, Filterbank which is an 8-band filter for providing expressive effects, and Resochord a six-pole harmonizer that turns notes into chords.
• A new custom multi-effects Container that gives you the ability to create and store multi-effects and channel strips. You can assemble your processing chain and take control of your sounds.
• Control Room Pro extends the mix options in the Control Room now giving you eight custom setups at once. You can choose up to 27 cabinets, 16 microphones, and 3 microphone positions.
• Over 130 new presets that include an array of warm, absolutely realistic clean sounds, a number of searing distortion presets and ready-to-use multi FX.
• New added side-chain inputs to a number of compressors and modifier modules, making it easy to incorporate this technique into your effects chains.

RAMMFIRE is a guitar amp emulation that runs in GUITAR RIG 5 PRO and is directly modeled on the Pre-500 Dual Recifire Amplifier and recording setup of Richard Z. Kruspe (Rammstein). Its purpose is to give you heavy room-filling riffs with super-fast attack and phenomenal overdrive.


SCARBEE MM-BASS is based on the Scarbee Black Bass that was created by the bassist and producer Thomas Hansen Sarbye. It has that warm and fingered bass sound of 70’s disco and funk. It is powered by KONTAKT 5 and was recorded with flatwound strings to get that essential sound. It goes beyond just sampled sounds, but rather it is an essential collection of playing techniques that brings that 70’s sound alive.

Drums & Percussion

• STUDIO DRUMMER is a software based drummer. It gives you everything you need to create acoustic drum tracks. From drum kits, mixing options, as well as a ready to use groove library. It goes beyond just sampled drums, but rather it gives you the ability to produce lifelike tracks. With the on-board mixer and effects, you have enough versatility to meet any expectation. You get three kits – Pearl Masters Premium Maple, Yamaha Maple Custom Absolute, and a Sonor SQ2 Drum system kit. The studio provides a dedicated mixing environment, high-quality studio effects, and fast-track settings for a wide range of sounds. You also get the drummer with over 3500 drum patterns and fills in a wide range of styles and genres.


• ABBEY ROAD 60s DRUMS give you authentic recreation of these classic drum sets with no emulations or acoustic modeling of any kind. These were all recorded using period equipment. You have the ability to adjust the tuning, volume envelope, and overhead and room microphone mixes. You can also control the articulations for selected drums. There is a mixer page where you can control the levels of the various microphones as well.

• BATTERY 3 is a drum sampler and takes an extensive library and fuses it with simplicity. Through a powerful engine and sound shaping options, you can create a vast multitude of sounds. It comes with over 12 GB of samples, over 100 professional kits, and ranging from acoustic to electronic and ethnic percussion from around the world, you will find every genre is represented. Through the use of an adaptive interface, you will find flexibility that will allow you to setup for any situation.

• WEST AFRICA is part of the discovery series and focuses on the influential traditions of West Africa. These sampled percussion and melodic instruments, playable individually or as customizable ensembles with highly inspirational pre-programmed patterns. The rhythms of all percussion instruments are also easily editable via the built-in sequencer for instant polyrhythmic groove creation. Some of the sounds include djembe, dunun and bells, which can be used in the ensemble. Additionally included are the calabash and krin, which can be used as solo instruments. Pitched instruments recreate the unique melodies of the kora, ngoni, bolon, balafon, and fula flute.

Creative & Studio Effects


• REFLEKTOR is a definitive convolution reverb based on the Zero Latency Convolution technology developed by Native Instruments. This high-performance effect provides reverb ranging from super-realistic physical rooms to fully virtual acoustics, offering in-depth modeling parameters for creating unique spaces.

• TRAKTOR’S 12 gives you the intense buzz of the club to your studio creations or live stage performances. 12 of TRAKTOR’s tested floor-rocking effects have been adapted for easy use within your Digital Audio Workstation. This is the result of top DJs looking to move beyond the standard effects available with most DAWs and bring the legendary power of TRAKTOR into their studio. TRAKTOR’S 12 runs in the GUITAR RIG 5 PLAYER, meaning the Guitar Rig Factory Selection of tools and effects is also included. These can be used on anything from vocals to keyboards and drums! Thanks to the flexible rack concept and integrated modulation possibilities, the creative potential is endless.

• TRANSIENT MASTER is the go-to tool for positioning drums and percussion, letting you mix from front to back and dial-in just the right amount of space. TRANSIENT MASTER is also a mix-fix for problematic recordings and with only three knobs — Attack, Sustain and Gain. It is quick and easy to use. It can make radical changes to a sound, or just add subtleties. Fine-tune both Attack and Sustain to get exactly the right sound for your beats. Raise the Attack for assertive kicks and crisp snares, or apply TRANSIENT MASTER to the whole drum group for added punch and definition. Transients are non-tonal material at the onset of a sound. The Attack control emphasizes or de-emphasizes transients, making a sound more or less lively without affecting the overall level. The Sustain control cuts or lengthens the sustain part of a sound.


Once again it is just incredible what Native Instruments put into this collection of instruments. KOMPLETE 8 has just about anything anyone could ask for when creating music. In this grouping GUITAR RIG 5 PRO is just amazing with the sounds that it can give you the ability to create. STUDIO DRUMMER allows you to build just about any realistic drum track, and BATTERY 3 any kind of sampled set.

Those three alone just about pay for the collection. When you consider everything else that comes with KOMPLETE 8, there is no way to go wrong. If you are serious about creating music, then this is the system for you and I very highly recommend this product.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.