Native Instruments is restructured and will focus on software maintenance

Who does not know NI? Well, September seems like a very important month for this great company.

As I read in a recent article, NI is going to lay off 100 workers, most of whom form the hardware development block and are going to focus on unifying their products and especially on software maintenance in order to “listen to their users” . It seems that they were launching products but then their control software was a bit “abandoned”, ignoring the problems or requests reported by users…

This is somewhat curious and shocking news at the same time. Nobody wants companies that are dedicated to the development of musical products to have serious problems, either because sales do not work as they should, or because the decisions that come from above are not, at times, right.

They seem to want to centralize all their software to be interconnected with the Internet. Maybe so they can have better control over their users and their opinions, suggestions, reports, and probably control piracy more.

Well, you know how these things work. Official statements can make up what really happened. Because the dismissal of a large part of the workforce is something serious. It is not a decision that is taken lightly. It is usually forced for some important reason.

Do you know anything about this subject? Here is a link from a website where real workers of the company give their opinion. Comments are not wasted:

It really seems that the problem has not been economic, but rather a thoughtful decision of restructuring, to unify all its products more. Other companies are already on the hunt for some engineers who are going to be free now.

I don’t know if all this is 100% true. So take this thread delicately. I use NI software. I hope the company is doing well.


I was a bit surprised. Their VSTi:s are very established (and not cheap), and lots of people seem to be happy when other software get NKS support. It seems like they shouldn’t be in much trouble with this kind of market share, unless either 1) bureaucracy and overhead became too much, the company outgrowing itself, and/or 2) investors wanting to ‘streamline’ (maximize profit) with some dubious vision.

Yeah, of course they will be wording it in some way that sounds like the users will benefit.

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Its a weird story - also that beringer tried to employ some of the laid staff - we can only hope that NI will get thru somehow and continu with their topp hardware and software. I do agree that Massiv X is kind off a flopp.

I found lot of stuff NI released in the last years pretty useless. Also I am not a fan of their proprietary hardware controller cosmos. So I think this is deserved.

Now gogogo, design us FM9, Pro-54 and Kontakt X, based on that very nice and high speed code you already have, including proper scalable 4k-guis.

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Looks like Renoise got UI scaling before Kontakt did! Who would have thought? :stuck_out_tongue:


They took a load of VC money so now they can only make shitty, short-term gain business choices.


Whats VC?

Venal Cowardice


Venture Capitalists

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They are supposedly scrapping most hardware projects according to laid of staff… and it shouldn’t be because their business is bad as it’s revenue has been growing year over year, so it sounds just like it’s some kind of new direction they’ve decided to go.

Their new software is said to be released later 2020, I’m in for a Komplete upgrade, now I don’t know when and what to do…

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This is my impression: It makes me feel funny that NI want to look good on the public saying that they will try to relocate (plug) some of their employees into other companies, and that they care about their families. But listen, Mr. Worker, I’ve thrown him out of his job, where you’ve been working for the past few years!!! Fuck a little! It is curious that this happens when, supposedly NI has had good income.

100 workers have been laid off (20% of the workforce). The reason, it seems, changed strategy in a desire to centralize its products. I suppose that basically they will concentrate on taking all the available software from NI and centralizing it so that, finally, the end user, the trusted client of NI, pays more times for a period of time, for that of continuing to maintain the software they are consuming . That is, lower staff of workers but charge more. What is called greed.

This is another example of how a company cares about its workers. Companies are not to give work, they are to make money. This is very unfortunate. Couldn’t they have done the same without throwing so many people out of their work?

I don’t know how the subject is in Germany, which is where it will affect the most. But here in Spain this is very common. It is increasingly difficult to achieve a job, much less a stable job. Companies only look for money, money, and money, and grow. And the big companies, those that monopolize everything, have been the big job destroyers, with their minimum profit margin per unit sale that has destroyed any competition from smaller companies. This market, of always pretending to grow, is destroying the well-being of the people.

Well, consumer people, let’s keep it up! Keep buying products from those big companies that have a ridiculous margin of unit sales benefits to continue destroying the market, or keep buying from companies that kick out their workers when the company is having good profits.

Let’s keep squeezing the market!

Are you following what AVID has been doing lately?


IMO you can assume that NI lost their passion in the topic, because of the management. If creativity and passion will not be rewarded, and it always is unsure, if you will keep the job, and your team colleagues will switch all the time, I wouldn’t invest any kind of creative thought or extra energy into that company at all.

And maybe this is exactly what we have seen in the last ten years. Good marketing, but products without any idea, slow apps and plugins, outdated guis. I was totally wondering why they seem to started Massive X from ground up - it is an extremely cpu demanding synth, with questionable features (a.k.a. nothing really new). The original Massive was super slick and fast, and aliasing free, it could have been used as coding base. Also their reactor synths do not count as real synthesizers. FM8, Pro-53, Massive 1, Guitar Rig, those are the plugins I am talking about! Why they did not new versions of those all, handcoded and maybe assembler optimizations, with similar guis, but scalable and 4k capable? Because such a level of coding quality needs a lot of passion and is not possible in such a company structure. Maybe it is a general problem of modern bigger companies, due stupid, profit-only oriented tactics. Since you see low quality at Apple, Microsoft etc., too, and a mind-blowing lack of ideas.

The focus is at marketing and selling, creating dependancies for the customer, not development anymore. That’s why I would be ok with it, if NI was dissolving. And I hate their controllers, the hardware itself is quite high quality, but the bundled controller software is a proprietary hell, slow and autistic.

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Dear god I hope not, I never do subscription stuff… OMFG they are going to do that right :frowning:

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That’s how it is now. Luckily, more companies are starting to go with their own sampler, that should teach NI a lesson. Hopefully!

I have the impression Massive X got an undeserved reputation of being cpu heavy by requiring a more recent cpu than most vst’s. This is not for it’s actual use of cpu resources, but for specific requirement of instruction sets.

It’s actually remarkably efficient on cpu usage compared to for example Diva and Repo 5. It’s on par with Sylenth1 and perhaps Serum, but the latter sucks in sound quality (at least to me :wink: ).

Massive X sounds amazing to me, but I suspect a lot of users don’t realize this (anymore), as the difference of improvement has become only noticeable on more high end audio systems. Perhaps to compensate for their lack of audio equipment, some users flee to (discredited) graphical analysis of aliasing, which is a bit disheartening, but perhaps the result of every douch bag that knows how to install a DAW nowadays considering themselves a producer.

That is not to say I think Massive X is a successful product. It’s not. But not because it’s audio engine sucks. That’s not the problem. It’s the gui. To state the obvious, Serum has a much more modern gui (and more and more other VST’s), and really that’s where Massive X has failed.

I think the reason why it fails is perhaps most interesting, and shows where NI really is losing track of their course. Because, and I’m very puzzled by this, but if anything, NI can’t get a basic gui to function properly anymore, anywhere. This seems especially the case when looking into the performance of the gui’s. I have noticed this with older software (for example Maschine, which still renders the gui on the cpu, and very inefficient for some reason). But somehow, incredibly, instead of finally harboring the power of the gpu, Massive X makes the same mistake of inefficient graphics performance, but on the gpu. In fact, this seems to be the second cause of the reputation of Massive X to be ‘cpu’ heavy. When monitoring the resources Massive X uses, it turns out it mostly sucks up gpu resources (especially on retina displays), while cpu usage is nothing above average. Why is a mystery to me, but a recent update that includes a ‘gpu light’ mode hints at some awfully inefficient (and useless) use of gpu rendering: the biggest apparent difference when turning on this mode is the disabling of ‘shadows’ underneath all the knobs and sliders. I’m not sure what kind of shadows they are trying to render, but it appears to be total waste of gpu resources to start with for a 2 dimensional gui of an audio synthesizer.

I’m not a professional graphics programmer, so maybe I’m missing something though, but I suspect, if anything, they need to hire a couple of proper graphics programmers to offload the bullocks that is now thrown into the gpu (and cpu in older software), so their audio engines can truly show their true potential again. But somewhere I suspect there are a couple of managers walking around that say to the developers “we’re an audio company, we don’t need dedicated programmers for graphics, just make it yourself!” Which would perhaps be fine if the developers could decide their own deadlines and take the time to actually learn the skills of the trade while upgrading the gui besides delivering a state of the art audio engine. But for a company of this size, that seems like a very unrealistic approach.

It’s a pity, because they have made some awesome products, and underneath the surface their current products are still filled with awesome features and capabilities if one dives into them. I’d hate to see this all go to waste in a pool of misappropriated venture capitalist money and higher management levels that only look at spreadsheets and don’t know how to care about actual long term product quality, and the people that make and use them.

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To each their own – I personally love the Massive X GUI. I think it’s sleek, easy to understand, fun to use. The new ‘dark’ theme looks fantastic. I have zero complaints about it – except that I wish modulations were visualized like in Serum.

Obviously I’m not going to change your mind on this, you’ve dedicated paragraphs to your opposite view. I’m just pointing out: this is a matter of taste and opinion, nothing more. RE: the GPU stuff, I haven’t had any issues with it. I’m not even sure what ‘issues’ you are having? It’s smooth, no glitches; when you write “turns out it mostly sucks up gpu resources (especially on retina displays)” – what does this even mean, in terms of the user-side performance? I have a retina display (two, in fact) and again, I’ve seen no issues, so why does this matter?

Actually, this is interesting: I had been using Massive X in Ableton 10, where it runs smoothly without any glitches. But I just loaded it up in Renoise, and in there, it’s a different story: the knob animations are not smooth, most notably when there is audio output from the synth playing back. If I hold a key on my controller, then tweak e.g. the filter cutoff, the animation is janky / not-smooth. Lame!

What’s weird is this seems Renoise specific. Back in Ableton, there is not a single hiccup in the graphic performance, during playback or otherwise. So then I loaded it up in Reason 11 – totally smooth there, as well.

So the issue seems to have something to do with graphics performance specifically inside Renoise, oddly (and unfortunately) enough.

Well, sure, it might be a good synth. I was aiming more for their whole software product palette now, mostly consisting of reaktor 6 patches. Also they missed a lot of actual technological progress, e.g. VST3 standard, support for nvidia under macos/proper driver support, MPE. Then Massive X might be nicely useable, but still it eats a lot of CPU and the GUI obiviously doesn’t run as it should for all users - in the end, it just is a VST gui, not a 10 million polygon 3d engine.

This is ridiculous, if you look at the size of the company. So obviously, like even the developers themselves stated, it is a management problem. A good VST requires real nerds. To get real nerds, you have to provide them good, stable circumstances, and you should listen to them. As said, the management does not even care for product quality anymore, and instead bombs the customer with shady sales offers and bundles.

In the end, I just miss the old nerdy NI, their products really often defined standards back in the days. But these times are over, it seems. You need to grow a relationship with your employees and also your customers, so it becomes a supportive system. A full exchange of the management would be required to change this. This never happens in capitalism.

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I find Komplete Ultimate amazing, I have very few issues and the sounds are great so really no real complaints from me, but I suspect that will change next year, i fear a subscription model so I just updated to version 12 with their 50% promotion and will be fine with that for years. If there’s a company I hate then that would be Waves, I have one of their bundles but can’t use it on windows as I use Hyper-V…

The sound of Massive X is amazing, but I have to agree with you that it’s wonky, the GUI is indeed messing things up, I believe it even messes with the Renoise GUI resolution when starting up a song that use it and it’s slow to change preset, not sure if that’s the GUI or the sound engine.