Native Instruments kills Brian Clevinger’s innovative Absynth synth from its portfolio NI Statement

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With the release of KOMPLETE 14, Native Instruments dropped Brian Clevinger’s innovative Synthesizer plugin Absynth from its portfolio without an update. 


NI has published a statement, you can find it in the article.


Article September 8, 2022

Today Native Instruments announced the KOMPLETE 14 bundle with Kontakt 7 and lots of new sound content. It is immediately noticeable that there are no updates for classics again. More precisely, no updates for Absynth 5, FM8, etc.

If you take a closer look, you can see that Native Instruments has kicked Absynth 5 out of its KOMPLETE portfolio. This happened without prior notice or an official statement. Just disappeared from the official store as well as from the Classics bundle that was available from Plugin Boutique.

Native Instruments kills Absynth

RIP Native Instruments Absynth

That’s the official death of the innovative Absynth 5 Synthesizer plugin. This is a reason to look back.

In 2000, American developer Brian Clevinger released Absynth as a download on his own website. At that time it was one of the most innovative Synthesizer plugins because its 3-channel sound engine combined new ideas that have not been seen in such a form. To date, the engine is based on a mix of classic (subtractive) and modern syntheses such as FM, granular, or sampling. Plus, 14 different filter types, ring modulation, FM, and tons of modulation.

Unique at the time was the ability to split the synthesis into three channels, giving each channel a different sound. This made extremely complex sounds possible. In 2001 Brian Clevinger joined forces with Native Instruments. A time when NI was managed by the founder Stephan Schmitt. From then on, Absynth was distributed by Native Instruments and Brian remained the chief developer.

Four more versions followed in the next years, each with new features and more and more new possibilities. The synthesizer plugin quickly became one of the most important products Native Instruments had in its portfolio. Even today it is used by many sound designers and music composers. I’m always amazed at how fat and extraordinary Absynth sounds in 2022. The engine is still full of potential that has not been exhausted.

The NI bosses do not share this opinion. After 21 years under NI’s direction, this is the end for the Absynth 5 synthesizer, Brian Clevinger’s groundbreaking instrument that inspired many musicians and developers.

Brian Clevinger Absynth

NI Statement

After a lot of discussion in the community, Native Instruments has now reacted and published an official statement.

Native Instruments has made the decision to not include Absynth in Komplete 14, and to additionally stop selling it as an individual product. We know that this will be disappointing news for many of you who have been long-time users of the software synthesizer during its 22 years on the market. 

We always aspire to provide the best user experience with each product that we offer in our catalogue. Unfortunately, we must acknowledge that this is sometimes not possible due to constantly evolving user needs and technological standards. Discontinuing Absynth was not an easy decision to make, but the resource required to keep the product in line with modern standards has become too much of a challenge. Absynth has also long been in need of updates and improvements, and we are unfortunately not able to provide the synth with the attention it needs. 

Due to this, we have stopped all sales and development activities effective immediately. Users who already have a license will not be affected, as Absynth will continue to operate normally. All users with a license will still be able to download and use it on current versions of Windows 10/11 or on Intel Macs up to macOS 12.

We want to deeply thank Brian Clevinger for being such a great collaborator and inspiring creators over the years, and thank all of you for loving Absynth as much as we have.

Absynth Death, A Surprise?

Not for me, as you can clearly see that Native Instruments has shown no interest in giving the plugin a major update or a bit of maintenance by offering Apple Silicon Support and VST3 to long-term customers. It’s sad how NI is leaving long-term customers out in the cold with these decisions. Even those who constantly bought the new KOMPLETE versions with the hope of future updates. Sadly the bundle is getting more and more incomplete with such decisions.

It also leaves a bad touch on the Native Instruments company and brand. They let a former “prestige” product die quietly without communicating this big step to the Absynth community. This is anything other than community-friendly.

For me, it remains incomprehensible to this day that NI didn’t put resources into the Absynth development and created a virtual instrument that pushes the whole concept into the future. With Brian Clevinger, they would have the right developer who could implement this again at a high-end level. It would be the competitor product to Pigments, I’m pretty sure. Or do they want to avoid a second Massive X fiasco, who knows?

Absynth Developer Statement

Finally, Brian Clevinger, the developer, and mind behind all Absynths released a video statement on the death of his brilliant synthesizers. He emphasizes that if Native had asked for a major update in the last 10 years, he would have done everything for it. We know what NI hasn’t done in the last 10 years. Very unfortunate and sad at the same time.

This step hurts. Absynth was one of the synthesizer products that made Native Instruments great. It stood for the Sound Of The Future. RIP my good old friend.

More information here: Rhizomatic Software Synthesis

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  1. This is a great shame. NI no longer seem to have innovation in sound as the principal at the heart of their business model. I have been a very committed customer for about 20 years now, but perhaps for the first time I will skip updating to the next version of Komplete…

    • I feel the same way. The new bundle is filled with products I own, products I can’t use and products I don’t care about. I’ve been using it since Komplete 4. Every new product is a meh sample-based synth. I don’t use Kontact. I can’t use Massive on my computer. Too bad. They’ve lost a Kustomer this time around.

  2. I sent them a message via customer support. Letting them know that I will stop my loyal upgrading. I advise you all to do the same!

  3. I just buy the bundle with FM8 at the end of august for just about $25/$30, I was sure it was last chance to get it. No editor cut so much a price for a product that will still be alive. At its normal price it was not a good deal, but about $30 for Massive, FM8 et Absynth, it was more than a bargain, even if it’s the end of the products. They still make very good sounds…

  4. slowly crowding out the independent developers, I see this trend happening with other companies as well, Just dropping a still quite viable product, without even showing the courtesy of contacting the original developer is just cowardly in my book.

  5. This is not a great way to behave, as it has me looking round for alternatives to their other instruments. Razor being the main one I’d miss right now. I know I could carry on using it all the time it’s still installed, but once you’ve gone you’ve gone.

  6. In all the years I have been an NI customer, I am not surprised by this. Remember KORE? My Maschine hardware, and Guitar Rig hardware are sitting in a closet. Their hardware designs couldn’t be updated as the computers they attach to did. I didn’t feel like buying the same thing over again. Guitar Rig hardware just disappeared. Though I have had Komplete up to version 8, I only now update Reaktor and Kontakt. The other things I use like FM8 and Absynth haven’t been updated. I no longer trust this company and do like to continue investing in their products. Over the past few years I moved my loyalty over to Arturia. Their whole portfolio keeps being updated. So as far as NI goes I have to keep my Intel Mac running a soon to be obsolete OS to continue using NI. I hate computers.

    • I LOVED Kore and what it could do. They touted that as the Future of NI and dropped it several years after leaving us with a very expensive doorstop. I still use my Maschine Micro frequently but the software is mess. I only use it to sketch out and then finish in Ableton.

  7. Again and unsurprisingly, Native Instruments keep threading on with their race to the bottom. Once, I used to be a loyal customer with great pride on having Maschine, Komplete Kontrol, Komplete Audio 6 and the Traktor S4 MK1. Slowly but steadily, Native Instruments began a rapid and unnecessary (only to their bottom line) planned obsolescence of their products (Kore, S4 MK1, S5 etc) to just introduce minor updates for which small driver updates would give several more years of support and their base happy their investment was kept alive.

    Nowadays Native Instruments has been plagued with problems like Serato and Pioneer eating their lunch in the DJ space, introducing products without relevant features (traktor MK1 vs MK2 vs MK3, Komplete Kontrol Mk1 vs MK2, Komplete audio 6 mk1 vs mk2) including a LOT of fodder to Komplete 14 like maschine expansions and too many orchestral sounds, more irrelevant updates to Kontakt and way too many preset packages… a very lazy way to do a full version of Komplete if you ask me.

    This was when I was starting to delve from DJ to producing (about a decade ago) and Native Instruments sure helped gap that bridge (I used Maschine along Komplete Kontrol) and it was great for a while… Then they dropped the ball with the DJ line, then dropped the ball with Maschine, then dropped the ball with Komplete to the point OF REMOVING useful and iconic synths such as Absynth.

    I remember the golden years of NI (decades ago) where Google top heads (iirc) Larry Page and Sergey Brin visited NI in Berlin when (iirc) Köhncke and Linke where top dogs and NI was THE company to emulate… well, they only got to emulate Apple in their planned obsolescence BS of bringing half baked produtcs and killing “old” one to quick. A very Apple move.

    NI failed to deliver a full DAW, they just jumbled Maschine software into a ‘throw my hands in the air’ affair of back and forth confusing BS app.
    NI failed to keep up to Serato and Pioneer officially supporting other mixers and controllers
    NI failed the race in streaming from Beatport and others, only catching up WAY WAY late in the race.
    NI failed to support older hardware (s5, Kore, etc) with Apple quick MacOS adoption just delegating it to compatibility settings and good luck to you!
    NI failed to develop interesting, innovative and creative VSTs for the last 10 years with a few exceptions like Playbox, Reaktor 6 (the block eurorack thing) and Massive X. The rest is just iterative things not worth of a full version number but a X.1 version.

    It’s a real shame, surprising and interesting how Native Instruments, even after the merger with Izotope (thus inflating Komplete 14 with stuff that is always on sale in Plugin Boutique) is always just dropping the ball and looking worse and worse. A real fall from grace peppered with too many Maschine Expansions and Massive X preset packs to boot. A ton of talented developers and creatives maimed by horrible, dumb, clueless and backwards greedy management.

    Native Instruments, the greatest has been company of all times.

  8. I was with NI since Generator and Dynamo, sadly a lot has changed at NI since then.This is only a follow up to where they went in the last years. For me the company lost a lot of its soul. For me i feel that they are only another Soundpack seller. Had the Collectors Bundle in my cart, when i realised that i do not want to support that anymore. Bye Bye NI.
    P.S. Stephan i miss you and your team! I thank you and Brian!

  9. Why put the name Komplete when it’s not complete anymore. Stop upgrading Komplete guys, it’s inkomplete recycled products from other company

  10. I’ll also add that Apple doing whatever the hell they want with their hardware & OS is not helping anyone. Do they ever consult with developers or end-users before changing everything?

  11. Just recently bought Komplete 13 at a discount and realized there’s still compatibility issues with Monterey and M1 MacBooks. I just forgot to check before buying so that’s on me but I’m 100% sure they aren’t looking to update it now that Komplete 14 has surfaced with realtor and battery needing for time to be compatible. I mean, almost every other plug-in I own is compatible at this point. So I can’t use Form, Prism, Super 8 and pretty much all the synths I wanted to dive in to. BUT, the free holiday plug-in Yaquin is compatible. I don’t get it.

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