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Native Instruments’ new keyboard controller is affordable and backpack-ready

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As usual, hardware and software company Native Instruments has announced a slew of new products for this year’s NAMM show. Last year, the Berlin-based company focused on launching sample platform sounds.com and showing off pricier flagship products, but this year Native Instruments put shifted the spotlight to affordable versions of its tech. That includes, among other things, the new Komplete Kontrol M32 keyboard controller.

The Komplete Kontrol M32 carries many of the same visual hallmarks found in its more expensive counterparts in the A and S series, like the multi-functional push encoder and a small navigation screen, but it does strip a couple elements away. Instead of wheels for pitch and modulation, for example, there are touch strips instead. You also lose the semi-weighted keys.

But, priced at $129, it’s a competitive entry-level buy. Plus, it’s built a bit more rugged so it can withstand being toted around. When I held the device at Native Instruments’ booth, I was pleasantly surprised both at how incredibly light the M32 was and also its compactness. I could see myself carrying it around without feeling the effects of added weight through the day.

Image: Native Instruments

There are things you do get with the M32 — namely, bundled software and features to speed up your music making abilities. The Komplete Kontrol M32 includes Komplete instruments and effects, Komplete Kontrol software, MONARK synthesizer, and Maschine Essentials (Native Instruments’ production kit for making loops, beats, and melodies). On top of all that, you also get Ableton 10 Lite.

Additionally, sounds.com is integrated directly so you can browse and preview samples and loops without having to go to the website. There’s also smart play, a mode that lets you lock the keyboard to play only within a certain scale, or play chords and arpeggios with a single key.

All of this makes for a compelling entry-level product that still feels and looks as professional as Native Instruments’ more expensive options. See all of the keyboard’s features on Native Instruments’ website. The Komplete Kontrol M32 will be available March 6th and will cost $129.