Native Instruments has been making quality products since 1996. Their latest is the Komplete Kontrol M32 mini MIDI controller. I am quite fond of smaller controllers because I really like the portability and being able to write while traveling.
It is my opinion that the Komplete Kontrol M32 is a good look at a mini MIDI controller and you will like it if you are a fan of Native Instruments. This is very similar to the Komplete Kontrol A series, which is basically their stripped-down series. Below, I will get into the specifics on this keyboard.
The first thing that comes to mind with this keyboard is the portability. We are starting to see more microcontrollers because of the way the music industry is. Artists find themselves working at the most inopportune times and having something small like the M32 is a great idea.
To be honest, I’ve kinda been waiting for Native Instruments to drop a mini controller for about a year or so. All of the major companies have come out with theirs, so it really makes sense for them to answer with their own.
Are you a fan of smaller MIDI controllers? Check out my guide on the best mini MIDI controllers at this link here.
Portability & Design
This is a very portable controller that has a sleek design. It is extremely light and it is built for traveling musicians and producers. I think Native Instruments did a good job designing this personally. It looks sort of like the A series, just compact.
If you like portable options, here are some more portable keyboards I recommend.
The keys feel nice on the M32, but they are compact. Remember, these are meant to be extremely small, so you’re not going to get full-size keys here.
The one knock on the key department with the M32 is the fact that it doesn’t have aftertouch. I am a huge fan of this feature as it allows you to be much more dynamic when playing parts. This to me isn’t a dealbreaker, but it’s definitely something that’s worth mentioning.
This is a relatively new feature for keyboards and basically what it does is appeals to beginners. It makes it super easy for you to map the M32 to chords, scales or arpeggios that you may not know how to play yet.
To me, this is a smart idea since not all music producers are keyboard players. With electronic music and keyboards being so prevalent in modern production, companies are adding features like this to help even the playing field.
On the bottom left of the keyboard, we have some nice features. The M32 allows you to stay focused on the idea you’re creating since it has record, play, loop, quantize, and pause buttons at your disposal.
This basically makes it so you don’t have to use your DAW and you can stay focused on the task at hand, which is creating a song.
Native Instruments has included some great software that is really appealing for producers. You get Ableton Live Lite 10, Maschine Essentials, Komplete Kontrol Software, Monark, Reaktor Prism, Scarbee Mark I, Komplete Start, and a $25 E-voucher that you can use.
This is a ton of high-end software that is used by many producers today. The Scarbee Mark I is a great electric piano VST that I personally really enjoy using.
The M32 works great with all of the major DAW’s that are currently on the market and you shouldn’t find yourself having any mapping problems. One of the big differences between newer controllers and older ones is the mapping.
You can run into problems when you’re using new software with older controllers as sometimes controllers aren’t fully up to date with every DAW. This is the main reason why I recommend getting something current.
If you are curious about controllers that are about 32-37 keys big, check out my guide on the best 37 key MIDI controllers.
While the Kontrol M32 has some nice features and included software, it doesn’t have pads. To some producers and musicians, this is a turn-off. I personally think it’s a turn off because it becomes less useful in a live environment.
You can use these pads to switch patches easily while performing live or just even in the studio, this limits the ability to have tons of different synths instantly available.
The easiest way to break this down is by the company. If you like Native Instruments products and VST’s, you will love this controller. If you aren’t a huge fan and desire something that has aftertouch on the keys and pads, this isn’t for you.
I personally think this is a great value as it is rather cheap and is of high-quality. However, I miss the aftertouch and the pads that other controllers provide me.
If you’re a fan of portable options, but looking for something a bit bigger, check out my review on the Novation SL MKIII.
What are your thoughts on the Komplete Kontrol M32? Let me know below!