NAMM: Native Instruments KORE
Jan 24, 2006 1:09 PM
As a universal sound platform, KORE operates both as a stand-alone instrument host and as a plug-in in every major sequencer. By integrating all VST- and AudioUnits-based software instruments and effects into a single, unified interface, it provides greatly increased control, overview and ease of use in all creative situations. Both Native Instruments’ range of instruments and effects, as well as third-party products are supported. The seamless integration with KORE’s advanced hardware controller gives hands-on control with an analog feel.
Addressing the issue of ever-growing sound libraries in today’s software synthesizers and samplers, KORE provides musicians with access to the right sound quickly in every situation. An integrated database holds the sounds of all software instruments on a computer, and allows for searching for them according to musical categories such as genre, articulation or texture. KORE comes equipped with categorization data for each of the more than 11,000 preset sounds of all Native Instruments software instruments and sound libraries.
KORE also marks the introduction of an extremely versatile performance platform with a wealth of advanced live features, making software instruments stage-ready for keyboard players and other live performers. Sophisticated layer and split configurations involving any combination of instruments and effects can be created and recalled easily, while a Performance Manager allows for seamless switching between different scenes and sound sets on the fly —either manually, pre-programmed or remote-controlled.
KORE also bridges the compatibility gap between different systems with the introduction of the KoreSound format. This universal file format can include complex sound, routing, configuration and categorization data, laying the foundation for easy and reliable transfer even of complex sounds between any setup and system, and between studio and stage.
KORE also marks a new step in hardware controller design and integration. With its high-resolution, touch-sensitive knobs and “Organic LED” (OLED) technology, the KORE controller turns a computer-based setup into a powerful tactile instrument. Bi-directional communication between controller and software gives quick context-specific overview, with the integrated USB 2 audio interface making KORE a complete solution for all musical applications.
“After 10 years of developing software instruments, our goal was to create the one solution that finally makes everything come together,” says Stephan Schmitt, founder and president of Native Instruments. “We believe that KORE will be a significant step forward for musicians and producers in many ways, and that it will make their individual process of creating and performing music much more efficient, convenient and fun.”
NAMM: Why KORE Could Change How You Play Software Instruments E-mail
Written by Peter Kirn, Back from NAMM
Monday, 23 January 2006
You need to find a specific sound quick, without hunting through individual plug-ins one at a time. You want to set up some layers and splits so you can play multiple sounds at once, then switch sounds at certain times in your set or during the song structure. You've got the instruments you want to play perfectly configured on your Windows PC tower in the studio, and want to move them over to a Mac laptop. All these tasks should be easy -- but, for a variety of technical reasons, if you're using two or more plug-ins, they're not. At least, they're not easy now.
Trying to understand what Native Instruments KORE is in technical terms gets confusing: it's a host . . . it's a plug-in . . . it's an editor/librarian . . . it's a hardware control surface. But talk about the problems Native is trying to solve, and it makes perfect sense. If you love soft synths and plug-ins, once you see the feature list, you'll be immediately intrigued. And if not, KORE wants to be the tool that convinces you to try playing software, onstage and in the studio.
Okay, so, really, what is it? Basically, KORE is a simplified host for managing your software instruments in a consistent interface. It'll work really well with NI plug-ins, because Native has tagged, categorized, and configured all their sound content, but NI is hoping you'll use third-party plug-ins, too. And they're hoping you'll be so enthusiastic about it, that other plug-in developers will follow and write keywords and meta-data for their patches for easier integration. Some plug-ins developers I talked to knew this was coming, but few knew details, and many found out about KORE at the same time as the rest of us. I expect we'll know more details over the coming months.
"Just a host" doesn't really cover it, though; it's what it does and how that makes KORE unique. I got to talk to the NI engineers at NAMM, and here's basically what they're trying to do as I understand it:
Preset management: Normally, to find a preset in an instrument, you have to first find the right plug-in, then navigate its (often non-standard) preset management settings to find the sound you want. With sounds that are pre-categorized (like NI's) or that you've categorized yourself, KORE enables you to simply type in a keyword or patch name or other characteristic and immediately pull up the right sound, regardless of plug-in. For newcomers, this means fast and easy access to the right piano sound. For advanced users, it means you can get right at one of your zillion custom Reaktor patches. And for long-time MIDI studio enthusiasts, it means the days of the universal librarian may finally be back -- only much-improved. This is the feature that's earned the most skepticism, because for now it seems it'll be most useful for NI plugs, but the folks at Native really do hope this will become a universal standard, especially in the absence of any near alternative. I hope so, too. (Presumably, though, you'll still be able to search third-party presets by name.)
Control: In addition to knowing about what presets you've got in a synth, KORE also stores information about how you want to control parameters. NI is most enthusiastic about its 8-knob KORE hardware, which sends proprietary information over USB2 for four times the resolution of a MIDI knob. The implementation is slick: touch a bottom on the beautiful, slim hardware and the parameter name appears automatically, so you know your filter cutoff from your oscillator tuning. I think the idea behind the 8 knob interface is to provide at least one simple, basic standard for the most commonly-used sound controls, as Native did with their Xpress keyboard line. I didn't get a chance to look at MIDI assignments, but obviously some of us will want control beyond 8 knobs, so we'll do that with our existing MIDI controllers as before.
Playability: Since it's an integrated environment for all your instruments, KORE naturally lets you configure splits and layers for playing multiple instruments at once. We've seen that before in hosts (though never a dedicated host that works on both Mac and Windows). What's new is that you'll also be able to easily switch between sound sets manually or automatically as part of your song structure. So if you want to take an organ solo over a bridge, you won't have to mute and unmute channels on a mixer or switch MIDI channels or perform other counterintuitive tricks.
Sync: One detail I don't think anyone else asked about: you'll be able to use OSC to sync multiple computers running KORE, especially useful for those performance settings. Reaktor users have already been doing this with their setups for some time, but with KORE, it could appeal to a wider audience. More on this once it's official.
Portability: Because KORE will store all this patch information and performance and control settings, you'll be able to take your whole KORE setup anywhere you want -- move from Logic to Live, SONAR to Fruity Loops, from your Mac to your PC, from your studio tower to your stage laptop, whatever. Of course, you'll have to have the same plug-ins on both systems, but at least you won't have to manually move over plug-ins. As someone with two computers who uses way too many hosts (let's see, Max/MSP, SONAR, Live, and Logic on a regular basis), I'm interested to try this out. The only thing that makes me sad is that not all soft synths are plug-ins -- like my Live and Logic instruments. So KORE will only benefit instruments that are plug-ins, not the ones that are integrated into the host.
Compatibility: Particularly on the Mac, juggling plug-in formats is a pain. KORE will work with all your VST and Audio Unit plug-ins (and possibly other formats), in any host. (Or so Native claims; obviously trying to break it will be one of our first jobs when we get the initial release!) No word yet on DirectX or RTAS, but Native didn't provide specs and the product is still being developed, so this could change.
Audio: Weirdly, the KORE also includes an audio interface via USB2 and foot pedal jack. It seems like absolutely everything we buy now includes an audio interface. I expect we'll soon see 2-in / 2-out audio interfaces included free with our box of Frosted Flakes. Anyway, we'll know more about this once we see specs.
Compatibility: Mac/PC, VST, AU (at least to begin with)
vveerrgg said:Looks like it'll only work with a computer.... dag!
I'm trying to get away from using a computer... hehehee.... Sweet interface. I wish it would've been more a stand alone device instead of one teathered to the brick of a laptop.
maybe that'll be version 2.
why you hate the laptop so much verg? I just hate operating systems personaly. I would kill for a program like live for example to just ditch windows/osx and have a version that just boots straight up. There are so many reasons why this is not happening but dam even if they had a version that would work on one given laptop, like lets say they picked one mac and one pc and provied support for only thoes two computers. Leave all the other users with there windows and osx versions. That is my poiontless dream. It will never happen. Getting back to Kore, it is only as good as its operating system. Could be a great chunk of hardware but it could be just as buggy as osx/windows. And NI have not been one to be solid on all there gear. I would not rush into this one if I where you.
vveerrgg said:ack... standalone mode requires a laptop.