My hardware is a PC with: Windows 7 (64bit), 64MBRam, 2Xssd disks, 3Xhard disks, Akai EIE Pro sound card, NI Komplete Kontrol s-61, 2XE-mu precision monitors, Steinberg Cubase 8Pro (64bit), Wave lab 8. Basically I bought this gear in order to use it with the NI komplete10 ultimate. I used a very nice promo that NI stressed for a couple weeks in order to attract the customers who had the ultimate 9. I am working especially for my school and I like to produce some music for myself. At the beginning you have to follow the NI instructions in order to install and enable a Mackie Control through the Devices of Cubase 8. The collaboration with the NI Komplete 10 is excellent. The same applies and for the other VST instruments that I have (Dune2, UVI, Arturia, Tone 2 etc.). The assembling quality is fine and everything works as expected.
Above the keys are the controls. There are not at all pads. This lack does not bother me due to the fact that I am using them very rarely but if you intend to use a lot of pads then you must take this under consideration. When I need some pads I plug the AKAI 25 MPK and I do my job. The idea of replacing both the pitch wheel and the modulation wheel with a touchpad is great. Especially when you are using some VST synths like Arturia’s CS80 V. On the left side of the instrument and above the keys are the transport panel which has not the signs of play, stop, record forward, rewind AND loop, but only written. On the other side are located the knobs of the “Browser” who is responsible for browsing you through the vst instruments of NI Komplete 10. It works fine in Cubase 8. On the middle of the upper side you can find the 8 knobs with an individual small panel bellow them. You can change parameters in the NI instruments but they did nothing in my Cubase environment. The lights and the “light show”, that many people claimed, are very helpful, especially in environments like Scarbee Funk Guitarist were they can prove very helpful. I did not used it, until now, for a life performance so I cannot expand on this issue.
As a pianist, I have to tell that I miss the piano touch of my previous midi keyboard (Axiom Air). The S61 has a pure feeling of a synth clavier without the touch of a piano. The opposite of Axiom Air. It is far from getting the sense of piano due to the fact that the keys are not semi-waited. To tell the truth Native never said that it is a piano. If you want a controller with a piano feel then you should probably see the Arturia Keylab88, or, if you do not want to spend much money, the Axiom Air is perfect and very fair for the money you spend. Finally I have the sense that I am very happy with my products but I spend more than enough money.
Pros: Excellent collaboration with NI Ultimate 10, many capabilities, ease of use, collaboration with Cubase 8 without problems, very quick support with deep knowledge of any issue (I had to ask them twice for problems of my setting and errors that I caused), light guide (or Xmas tree if you prefer).