The story so far
In honour of its incredible contribution to computer music making, we thought it would be appropriate to celebrate 15 years of Native Instruments with a pictorial guide to its product history, courtesy of NI itself.
NI started way back in 1997 as a software company, but is now also one of the biggest global brands in digital DJing and makes superb studio and DJ hardware, too.
Click through the gallery to take a trip down memory lane and revisit NI's landmark products, and reminisce on how vintage software sounded so much better...
This modular software synthesizer started it all.
Version 1.5 supported the new DirectX format, allowing it to use any audio interface.
Under the new name Reaktor, creative sampling and granular synthesis were introduced.
This software version of an iconic analogue synthesizer was another pioneering instrument.
This emulation of the famous Hammond organ was a universal success - even outside of the electronic music domain.
Based on FFT processing, Spektral Delay was able to create previously unheard special effects.
The first version of Traktor started the digital DJ revolution at a time when MP3 files were just becoming popular.
As a dedicated drum and percussion sampler, Battery quickly became one of the most popular NI instruments.
With its complex soundscapes, Absynth redefined people‘s expectations about software synthesizers.
This absolutely faithful emulation of one of the most popular digital synthesizers took the music world by storm.
The expanded GUI design options in Reaktor 3 made it possible to create much more distinctive and intuitive instruments.
Kontakt marked Native Instruments‘ entry into the sampler domain, which was still dominated by hardware at the time.
The second generation of Traktor introduced the crucial looping feature, as well as 'scratch macros' which didn‘t stand the test of time.
Traktor Final Scratch
This collaboration with Stanton established the 'Digital Vinyl System', which would change DJing in the years to come.
This versatile FFT-based effects processor took the classic vocoder concept to a new level.
The second version of Absynth added support for Windows - cross-platform compatibility was not yet a given back then.
The first Native Instruments collection came in a big and bulky box, and with a price tag to match.
With its authentic tube sound and flexible 'virtual rack', Guitar Rig debuted as the first truly versatile software guitar studio.
The second version of the instrument collection also came at a new price point and became a runaway success.
With easy-to-use versions of the B4, FM7 and Pro-53 instruments, this trio was the first NI offering for an entry-level audience.
This rugged drawbar controller allowed musicians to get hands-on with the B4 organ.
With a sample library of nearly 4GB, Battery 2 set a new standard for content and was available on DVD only.
Version 2 introduced KSP scripting, a crucial feature that finally enabled truly expressive sample-based instruments.
With its new 'Core' programming layer, the fifth version of Reaktor opened the doors to virtually unlimited signal processing.
Four classic pianos were recreated in this collection - one of the first acoustic emulations from Native Instruments.
Traktor DJ Studio 3
The third generation of Traktor offered four decks instead of the usual two, greatly expanding the creative options for DJs.
Guitar Rig 2
The revised guitar studio also included the most complex NI hardware yet - a versatile foot controller with audio interface.
With its simplified interface and matching hardware controller, Kore provided a central front-end for software instruments.
Audio Kontrol 1
This affordable USB interface for studio production marked Native Instruments‘ entry into the audio interface market.
With a high-resolution audio engine and advanced wavetable synthesis, Massive was introduced as a 'next-generation synthesizer'.
Based on Traktor and a specially designed DJ interface, Traktor Scratch set the foundation for the NI DVS family.
The fifth version of Komplete added major updates to Guitar Rig and Kontakt, and became the most successful version yet.
The second generation of Kore put a focus on live performance and sound design, with sophisticated layering and morphing features.
As a substantial reimagination of the Traktor concept, the 'Pro' generation was designed to provide a more immediate and intuitive DJing workflow.
Combining the flexibility of software with classic drum machine concepts, this groove production system established itself in record time.
This unique keyboard-controlled effects processor was derived from the custom live setup of electronic artist Tim Exile.
Audio 2 DJ
The compact DJ interface delivered professional audio characteristics in a pocket-sized format, a major engineering feat.
With its 'Authentic Expression Technology', Kontakt 4 introduced a further crucial feature for the realistic emulation of acoustic sounds.
Abbey Road 70s Drums
Produced with the legendary British studios, this instrument recreates the distinctive drum sounds of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.
The Kontrol X1 marked the debut of NI in the DJ controller segment, and developed into a bestseller immediately after release.
Sampling specialist Thomas Scarbee spent months in the studio of the soul superstar to recreate her personal piano as a software instrument.
With 24 instruments and over 90GB of content, Komplete 7 expanded its scope and value significantly.
The long-awaited integrated Traktor system also marked a new level of sophistication for Native Instruments‘ hardware design and development.
Traktor Pro 2
Traktor Pro 2 expanded the feature set once more, with high-precision waveforms, sample decks and a user interface optimized for club use.
Komplete 8 Ultimate
Due to popular demand, Komplete 8 Ultimate for the first time bundles the full assortment of NI's instruments and effects range on one dedicated external hard drive, representing 50 individual products.
As the compact version of the Kontrol S4 DJ system, the S2 provides a '2+1' setup with two decks plus sample decks with a smaller footprint and lower price.
iMaschine is Native Instruments' first software for the iOS platform, and allows the user to sketch out grooves on the go and edit the results in the regular Maschine software.
By combining the full-featured Maschine software with a more compact controller, Maschine Mikro has dropped the tactile groove creation approach to an entry-level price.