The Future of Sound: Visiting Native Instruments

31st January 2018


Fourteen BIMM Berlin students had the chance to visit a place where music history was, and still is, being written and created recently: the sound laboratory and offices of Native Instruments – one of the world’s leading companies in digital music tools.

In 1996, a charming yet run-down warehouse in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin became the birthplace of the first software-based modular synthesiser, named ‘Generator’. Engineer and musician Stephan Schmitt was looking for a solution to make synthesisers lighter. The result of his work made music history. The level of interest in this new and groundbreaking technology was very high… and Native Instruments as a company was born. But it was only the beginning. New computer-based music production solutions followed and revolutionised the way people create and perform music – especially the technology’s real-time sound synthesiser, which would change the music world as we know it. Native Instruments had led the way in the democratisation of music production and anyone could now produce music from anywhere in the world.

Today – over 20 years later – Native Instruments is a global company with headquarters in Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Shenzhen and Tokyo, and 400 staff members. The creations of Native Instruments are more than virtual Instruments – they represent a liberation of instruments and sound design. The range of products is large: ‘Maschine’ helps to create beat-oriented music, ‘Komplete’ provides a number of software instruments and effects, and the widespread DJing tool ‘Traktor’ has become a standard tool for club music worldwide.

During the industry visit to the world headquarters of Native Instruments, BIMM students got an insight into the company’s development from two of their top managers – Chief Legal Officer, Tom Kurth, and Head of Education, Alexander Stamm. The pair gave a quick journey through the company’s history and spoke about the philosophy behind their products. The students then had the chance to visit one of the state-of-the-art Native Instruments sound studios – a studio which probably every producer and creator of electronic music wants to see at least once in their lifetime! Sound Designer, Antonio de Spirt, provided some insights about his work, and showed the group that the Native Instruments studio allowed for every little detail of a music piece to be processed, with even the smallest changes and differences able to be perceived.

BIMM students learned not only about the company’s impressive history, but also about the pioneering spirit which is still the philosophy and mission of Native Instruments. The tour showed our students that they need the courage to try new things and to turn them upside down too. They’re now very much looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Native Instruments and what new sounds they’ll create which will go on to conquer the world.

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Anna Jakisch

This article was written by Anna Jakisch, Communications & Project Manager at Buero-Doering