Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol and Cubase

Hi all,

I recently bought into the NI and KK world and am really getting my knickers in a twist. Appreciate these are mostly NI related, I have posted on their forum as well. And i’m sorry this post is so long-winded! I have a number of situations that frustrate me and some related questions. Really hope someone can help and that this ends up being useful for other people to.

Here is my setup:
Cubase Pro 9.5
UAD Apollo Twin
Macbook Pro running Sierra
S61 mk2 keyboard
Komplete Kontrol

And here is a list of the issues:

So far my understanding is that I should use Komplete Kontrol every time I want to load a single instrument (NI or NKS only) such as a piano or a saxophone, and when I only need one stereo output. This is because it makes browsing the presets so much easier and I can do it directly from the keyboard.

  1. Am I right in assuming there is no point in running instruments like Kontakt and Battery though KK unless you are only using one preset/output?
  2. If you load KK and browse the presets you can obviously choose presets from battery and kontakt, but if you then load one from one of these instruments, you are limited to how you can handle and manipulate that sound right? Isn’t it better to run these particular instruments outside of KK?
  3. If I load a drumkit via KK, for example a Battery kit, and then I want to assign multiple outputs, what do I do?

I want to use Kontakt for sound design and creating layered sounds using lots of different presets from different NI instruments. I imagine I will only need around 2 to 4 stereo outputs.

  1. Am I right in assuming I need to load this as a ‘rack’ instrument in Cubase rather than a ‘track’ instrument? The reason being that ‘rack’ instruments handle multiple outputs a bit better than ‘track’ instruments?

If a load an instance of Kontakt through Komplete Kontrol, then I get easy and quick access to the instruments and presets from the keyboard. But if I load Kontakt directly onto its own track in Cubase then I have to select presets from within the software.

  1. Is there a way of accessing Kontakt parameters from the keyboard if loading directly onto a track in Cubase rather than through Komplete Kontrol?
  2. Why would you ever load Kontakt through Komplete Kontrol?

I want to use Battery to create electronic drumkits with multiple outputs:

  1. Again, I assume I should be using this as a rack instrument for the same reasons mentioned above.

  2. What do you guys typically do in this situation, do you have like 8 separate MONO outputs for kick, snare, clap, hats etc…Or do you use stereo outputs? What would be your typical setup in terms of routing and nr/type of outputs?

  3. Can you recommend other ways of intuitively setting up electronic drum kits?

    Controlling NI and NKS instruments with the keyboard knobs works great. However if I want to control a non NI/NKS instrument like Cubase’s stock Retrologue (vst3) instrument for example then I need to do this in midi mode. I create a new template from within KK and start using midi learn to assign controllers.

  4. Is it really true that once I have done the assignments, I cannot name and save this template as ‘Retrologue’ for example?

  5. Am I able to use the keyboard knobs to control for example Cubase’s own eq, or a 3rd party eq or compressor plugin?

  6. I thought that I would be able to create a midi template for each of these and then recall it when I open the plugin so that I can control it from the keyboard. Is this not possible?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

1 Like


The difference here is following:

  • Using Instrument Track with multi-outs…
    The Audio Returns are handled as an Automation tracks of the Instrument track. So in the Project window, you cannot se a dedicated tracks for these Audio Returns. But you can access them anyway.

In the MixConsole, you will see dedicated Audio Return Channels. But the Main Out (Out 1) is the Instrument Track fader. There is no dedicated fader for this Channel.

Then it’s a bit tricky handling the Mute. If you Mute the Instrument track (channel) in the MixConsole, you Mute the Main Out of the Instrument track. So all sounds, routed to this output are muted. But if you mute in the Instrument track in Project window, you mute the source MIDI notes of that track. So all other sounds routed to the Main Out are audible.

  • Using Rack Instrument
    You get dedicated MIDI tracks and Audio Return Channels for all like 1:1.

In the Project window, you can see the Audio Return Channels in the dedicated folder only. You cannot place them under the MIDI track, or so. So it could be a bit messy.

New to KK and relatively new to Cubase so the above explanation of rack vs track filled in a few missing pieces for me. Thanks for that. I believe I’ve read and found that you can only get the NI keyboard lightguide if you load the inst thru KK vs Kontact or K Player. Is that your experience?

I’ve bumped up against same same audio out dilemma for multiout instruments that you mention, eg drum kits. Don’t think I’ll load in KK because of the limited audio outs. I got this stuff to work with Session horns and what I think I’ve read and found that is ensembles are best loaded one KK instance per horn. Hope that doesn’t bog down my PC.

In my week with KK and NI mk2 I’ve found that non-NKS templates can be made with KK and that these are available in the User area of the kb’s Browser. But I don’t believe the file name you store them with is visible when they’re used. And Ive read that they can’t be renamed, supposedly because they’re stored in the database. I don’t think these support the light guide.

There is also separate NI controller editor software which allows setting up and coloring of keyboard key ranges in addition to knob assignments. But so far I’m unable to figure out how to use the templates created with those.

Yes you can move the audio return channel so they are under the midi channel just like you can move any other tracks.

Just thought I would pose a question to you guys since you’re also working with the Komplete Kontrol Keyboard. Do you ever have issues with the keyboard reverting to midi mode and not allowing you to use the browser mode on Komplete Kontrol tracks? I notice if I have an instrument track disabled, then enable it, the keyboard works as it should. I move on to another instrument channel and enable it, and the keyboard still works as it should. Then when I select the first channel, all of a sudden, the keyboard is in midi mode, the light guide is no longer working, and I can’t choose browser mode. It’s not lit and won’t respond. If I disable and re-enable the track it will work fine while I have it selected, but after I browse away and back to the track the behavior happens again.

To compound the matter, this happens only while I’ve been working on the project for a period of time… Everything will work fine for a while regardless of what I do, and then boom, the behavior presents it’s self. It’s as if the keyboard looses connection with Cubase or doesn’t recognize that the channel that is selected is an instance of KK. Thanks in advance for any advise you might be able to give.


I’m just wondering if you ever got this figured out?

I’ve been having the same exact trouble.

Thanks, take care,


This is while ago this thread and recently i bought this keyboard and got the same issues

I had this similar problem where my S88 Mk2 would seemingly lose connection wharf selecting different tracks, reverting to midi mode and not showing the screen info or light guides. U eventually discovered this was caused by the fact that I’d un-synced the project and mix console windows in preferences. I think I did this so I could edit track settings of a specific multi timbral instrument output in the track settings window (effectively part of the mix console) while having a different midi track selected in the project window for playing midi notes with while doing so. Once I re checked the sync option in the mix console section of preferences everything started working fine with S88. Of course now I don’t have that occasionally useful separation of the mix console and project windows, but as time goes on I’ll probably figure workarounds for that.