Native Instruments has just announced a recession-busting update to its impressive arsenal of digital musical instruments and effects - Komplete 6. The bundle not only comes with improved versions of amp and effects simulator Guitar Rig, the powerful sound manipulator Absynth and over 44Gb of sampling joy in the form of Kontakt, but it's also being offered at a significantly reduced price too.

Version 6 of the Komplete package is a little trimmed down compared to its last outing. Version 5 crammed together no less than 11 power tools for computer-based performance and production of music. Some didn't make the grade in the new version - Akoustik Piano, B4 II and Pro-53 are no longer produced as individual products and Elektrik Piano now forms part of Kontakt 4.

Komplete version 6 brings together seven professional quality studio music tools, improving on ease of use and adding even more power and flexibility to much of the suite.

Updating some favorites

The earlier Kontakt suite variant was already an immense sampling studio. It's just got even bigger and now includes over 44 Gb of instrument sounds spread over seven collections (Choir, Orchestral, World, Vintage, Band, Synth and Urban Beats). Native Instruments claims that cooking up something special is easier than ever before with the help of a new attribute-based browser to simplify searching and, of course, an advanced wave editor to define, redefine and customize preset sounds using up to 19 different effects (such as surround sound or realistic reverb).

Over 200 new sounds and 30 new effects added to the synthesizer suite brings Absynth 5's soundscape count to over 1700 presets. As well as more voices, other additions to this version include a new sound design interface named the Mutator, which aims to make manipulation and modulation a might easier for the user. Perfect mood music - or something a little less ordinary - is but a few steps away with the help of advanced sound decomposers and filters.

Guitarists looking for that elusive perfect tone will no doubt be pleased to learn that Guitar Rig 4 Pro adds four new amp simulators to its library and a host of new effects. A new Control Room feature offers even more tone tweaking possibilities, and true stereo processing should provide great sound performance too. Now with over 250 studio-ready presets ready and waiting, you're sure to find what you're looking for.

Completing the ensemble

Entering more familiar territory, Battery 3 is a drum sampler with a huge 12Gb sample library of electronic and acoustic samples from over 100 kit variations.

Massive is an analog sound engine that's loaded with 600 production ready presets to help you synthesize the perfect character to your signature sound.

Powerful but easy-to-use frequency modulation is the order of the day for FM8, which comes with over 960 presets whilst also allowing patches from modulation hardware.

A ‘jack of all trades', the Reaktor 5 instrument studio can impersonate a synthesizer, sampler, effects processor, groovebox, step sequencer and much more besides. If the Native Instruments-designed 60 or so instrument sounds and effects (each one lending itself to customization possibilities) are simply not enough to melt your creative brain then access to another 2000 via the user library should result in imagination overload. And if you're still not satisfied, the software will even let you create new types of instruments to really stand out from the crowd.

Adding up

With all that musical processing power at your fingertips - and the 60Gb of sampled material incorporating some 7000 individual preset sounds - you might just be thinking that you have everything you need for professional level music production and performance. But there are perhaps a few additions you might like to make to get the most out of the suite.

To make multi-tasking easier, Native Instruments recommends using Komplete 6 with its Kore 2 package - a multi-functional host system which bring everything together into one revised user interface. Kore 2 is naturally compatible with the Komplete suite but also benefits from connectivity with third-party systems.

Guitar or bass computer interfacing for the Guitar Rig 4 Pro part of the suite is made possible with Rig Kontrol. Sadly, it's not included with Komplete 6 so you'll have to obtain this hardware separately if you want to plug in and play.

Although the included Reaktor software does have a step sequencer, you'll no doubt be wanting to add your own sequencer/digital audio workstation (like Ableton's Live Suite, for instance). A sequencer/digital audio workstation makes it possible to record multiple performances as data and then play them all back at the same time. Such a tool is essential for those who fly solo but also a good idea for any working band, making finding yourself suddenly without a bass player or drummer much less of a nightmare.

Pricing information

Komplete 6 is available worldwide from 1 October 2009 at a suggested retail price of USD$559 / €499 (if components were purchased individually, according to Native Instruments, the suite would cost USD$1713 / €1573). Owners of previous Komplete bundles can update for USD$169 / €149 and, for a limited time only, owners of Kontakt or Reaktor can upgrade to Komplete 6 for the special price of USD$339 / €299 (offer ends at the end of December 2009).

Should you decide to add a Rig Kontroller for the Guitar Rig 4 Pro part of Komplete 6 then it'll cost you $449 / €399. Adding the Kore 2 with controller will cost you a further USD$449 / €399 (USD$229 / €199 without controller).

Despite maybe having to find the money to pay for additional hardware and software, Komplete 6 offers the professional musician, seasoned bedroom recording artist or studio professional about as much digital music production and performance manipulation and control as could possibly be squeezed into a seven tooled box.

The following video overview could help with any purchasing decision you might be considering:

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