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Acoustic & Electronic Instruments, Musicians, News, Tutorials, Videos & Interesting Finds

Native Instruments Kontrol S-Series MK3 launches

Native Instruments has announced the availability of its advanced Kontrol S-Series MK3 controller keyboards, available in three keyboard sizes and two keyboard types, and offering a wealth of controls.

49 and 61 key models feature semi-weighted keys while the 88 note model has hammer-action weighted keys. All models feature polyphonic aftertouch, with the company claiming that their S88 is the first widely available keyboard featuring piano style keys and polyphonic aftertouch. This feature means it’s possible to add further expression to the sounds generated by each key pressed on an individual basis. This is compared to channel aftertouch where the whole keyboard is sampled and a single aftertouch value is sent over MIDI. Renowned manufacturer Fatar is responsible for the keybed on these instruments.

The keyboards feature deep DAW integration controls thanks to transport controls and a display which shows a project’s channels. Additionally, Kontrol brings virtual instruments to life in a genuinely immersive experience. Whatever you’re playing, get in-depth control with deep Kontakt integration and next-generation NKS technology. Find sounds quickly with intuitive on-screen navigation, then adjust and play them thanks to intelligent auto-mapping that understands the parameters. This unparalleled direct connection means no interruptions to your workflow with not just NI instruments but thousands of partner sounds, instruments, and effects.

The Intelligent Light Guide displays switches, key zones, scales and more lit up on the screen in front of you. A chord mode allows for musical progressions simply by playing single keys (rather like the accompaniment features found on many keyboards) and there’s also key signature mapping in Easy Mode which maps the white keys to whichever scale is required – rather like transposition but all on the white keys for easier playing.

Connections include USB-C for power and connectivity, MIDI in/out, and four assignable TRS pedal inputs including default sustain and default expression.

All models are sturdily built from high quality materials, including large glass screen, touch-sensitive anodised aluminium encoders and mod wheels, and redesigned tactile buttons.

The keyboards are bundled with various software including Komplete 14 Select and Komplete Kontrol. Komplete 14 Select is the essential production suite, including powerful synths, drums, percussion, studio-grade effects, and a load of customizable sounds. Komplete Kontrol unites and organizes all your instruments, effects, loops, and samples, mapping everything to the keyboard controller. 

Hit the ground running with polyphonic aftertouch presets in Hypha, a Kontakt instrument with an array of sounds inspired by nature. Plus get iZotope Elements Suite, Ableton Live Lite, Guitar Rig 7 LE, and more.


Inputs and outputs

  • Bus-powered USB-C
  • USB-C port 
  • 4 x assignable TRS pedal inputs including a default sustain and default expression
  • MIDI in and out

DAW integration

Kontrol has advanced integration with the following programs, with further integrations currently in development:

  • Ableton Live
  • Bitwig
  • Cubase – support coming in late 2023 
  • Digital Performer
  • FL Studio
  • Logic Pro
  • Pro Tools – support coming in late 2023
  • Studio One

Compatible plug-in formats

 macOS (64-bit only): Stand-alone, VST, VST3, AU, AAX
 Windows (64-bit only): Stand-alone, VST, VST3, AAX

What’s included?

  • USB-C cable
  • Komplete Kontrol and Komplete 14 Select software, plus a load of instruments and effects
  • Setup guide and documentation as downloads

Kontrol comes with a USB-C cable. It is bus-powered meaning the USB cable draws power directly from your computer, so there’s no need for an additional power supply. If your computer does not have a USB-C port, you can use your own USB adapter and power supply. 

Use the adapter to connect the provided USB-C cable from the keyboard’s HOST port to your computer’s USB-A port. Then connect a USB-C power supply (5V, 7.5W or higher, 1.5A or higher) to the keyboard’s USB-C power supply port. 

Check the manual for more information.

System requirements

  • MIDI 2.0 (requires MacOS 13.5 or higher)
  • MIDI 1.0 (with MacOS 12 or higher)
  • Intel Core i5, Apple M1 (and equivalent or higher)
  • macOS 13 (Ventura) or higher
  • Windows 10 or 11 (latest service pack) or higher
  • 8 GB RAM

An internet connection and a graphics card that supports OpenGL 2.1 or higher Direct 3D 11.1 (feature level 11_0) or higher are required to download and activate this product and associated content. Once installed and activated, the product can be used offline.

Hardware specifications

  • A high-resolution 1280 x 480 color screen with glass surface 
  • CNC machined, bead blasted and anodized aluminum, 8 x encoder caps, 1 x 4D encoder cap, 2 x wheels (pitch and mod)
  • RGB illuminated pitch and mod wheels
  • New button-islands that form a continuous dustproof control surface and are grouped by function
Kontrol S49 
Height: 86 mm
Width: 802.2 mm
Depth: 323 mm
Weight: 5.5kg
Kontrol S61
Height: 86 mm
Width: 967.4 mm
Depth: 323 mm
Weight: 6kg
Kontrol S88
Height: 120 mm
Width: 1353 mm
Depth: 347mm
Weight: 13.5 kg


  • Unparalleled software integration with next-generation NKS technology for a direct and immersive connection to NI and partner instruments, effects, and sounds
  • Choose between 49 or 61 semi-weighted keys, or 88 fully weighted hammer-action keys, all in an industry-leading Fatar keybed
  • All three models come with polyphonic aftertouch as standard, plus Kontrol S88 is the first widely available hammer-action polyphonic aftertouch keyboard controller
  • High-resolution full-color display screen for intuitive browsing, tweaking, and mixing
  • Light Guide: RGB lights above each key highlight drum cells, key switches, chords, scales, and more
  • Smart Play: See scales and modes on the Light Guide, play chord progressions and arpeggios with single keys, or map any scale to white keys only
  • Anodized aluminum knobs and pitch and modulation wheels


Kontrol S49: $749
Kontrol S61: $849
Kontrol S88: $1,299