Native Instruments’ new Kontrol S-Series MK3 MIDI keyboards arrive with polyphonic aftertouch

Native Instruments has introduced new MK3 Kontrol S MIDI keyboards, updating the company’s flagship range of 49-, 61- and 88-note controllers.

NI has resisted the temptation to follow the lead set by Maschine+ and make the Kontrol S ‘boards work standalone, but they are designed to integrate tightly with your DAW, instruments and effects.

Perhaps the biggest news is that all three Kontrol S MK3 keyboards offer polyphonic aftertouch, enabling you to adjust parameters using pressure on a per-note basis. The keybeds were created in collaboration with leading Italian manufacturer Fatar - the S49 and S61 have semi-weighted keys, while the S88’s offer a fully weighted hammer action.

On the software side, the Kontrol S MK3 keyboards ship with Komplete 14 Select, a slimmed-down version of NI’s all-encompassing instrument and effect suite. As you’d expect, all controls are pre-mapped on the hardware so you can start getting hands-on right away. Everything is organised in the Komplete Kontrol software, and a full-colour glass display on the keyboard can be used for mouse-free browsing and parameter tweaking.

You can expect seamless integration with all major DAWs - transport controls and mixing features are accessible on the keyboard - and there’s full support for the Native Kontrol Standard (NKS), which should enable compatibility with plenty of third-party plugins, too.

NI has refined the design of the Kontrol S series, giving it a more industrial look and feel. There are touch-sensitive anodised aluminium encoders and mod wheels, redesigned buttons and a redesigned Light Guide that pinpoints notes with a light above each key. You’ll find USB, MIDI, and bus-powered USB-C connectivity, plus inputs for four pedals (one sustain, one expression and two assignable).

The new Kontrol S MK3 series is available for pre-order from today priced as follows:

  • Kontrol S49 MK3: $749/£649/€749
  • Kontrol S61 MK3: $849/£749/€849
  • Kontrol S49 MK3: $1,299/£1,129/€1,299

Find out more on the Native Instruments website.

Native Instruments Kontrol S MK3

(Image credit: Native Instruments)
Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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