Native Instruments Absynth Officially Retired

Yesterday, we reported on a statement from developer Brian Clevinger on the the fact that Native Instruments had quietly removed Absynth – the ground-breaking semi-modular software synthesizer – from its lineup.

Today, we received official confirmation that Absynth is retired, from Claire Mouchemore, Communications Manager at Native Instruments.

Here’s what the company has to say about their decision to retire Absynth:

“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.”

Kudos to Native Instruments for sharing the drivers behind their decision.

Absynth’s retirement highlights one of the limitations of software synths – they’ll eventually be rendered obsolete by technological change. Anyone heavily invested in a particular synth could be stuck maintaining a legacy computer system, if they want to continue using the synth. Absynth had a fantastic 22-year run, but its retirement will also affect a lot of people, as the current version is rendered obsolete by the evolution of computer platforms.

This ephemeral nature of software synths has been especially noticeable in the world of iOS synths. The introduction of the iPad led to an explosion of creative development work on synths and sound tools. But many of these have quickly been rendered obsolete by the rapid evolution of iPad OS.

Absynth users should note that you can still download and install the application, it just will not be updated in the future. See the Support section of the NI site.

15 thoughts on “Native Instruments Absynth Officially Retired

  1. As was stated by the creator, if at anytime during the last ten years they had wanted to devote any resources to updating the software he would’ve stopped everything and done it.

    They’re happy to take money every year for flimsier and flimsier updates to their Komplete package which is being diluted in favor of collectors editions and now subscriptions, but they refuse to spend any on the software products that caused people to start doing business with them in the first place.

    Classic business mistakes 101 – they might as well just close up shop if they can’t figure out how to make Reaktor 7 and be less opaque about product roadmaps.

    Doubtful they will open-source Absynth, hopefully they will do the right thing and gift it back to Brian Clevinger since they don’t want it and don’t know what to do with it.

    Meanwhile, we’re all still stuck with ADSR’s on basically every other synth.

    Love NI, ..but oh how the mighty have fallen.

  2. Reading between the lines, I’m wondering if they needed Absynth updated to VST3 to continue to offer it to new users, and they weren’t willing to pay Clevinger to do it. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense that on the one hand they say they couldn’t continue to support it but on the other hand assure current users that is would still work. If it still works then why not offer it? Granted, the synth is long in the tooth but it was a groundbreaking vsti that still has a lot of fans.

    On a related note, it is a little sad for me to see these most recent updates to Komplete from NI. They appear to be moving away from the synth market in general and leaning more towards sample sets. I get they are easier to throw together and to be honest, easier to get usable sounds out of for newer musicians/artists, but they lack the depth of sonic design and exploration that a synth provides. I miss the days when I’d be drooling at whever new synth(s) they were showcasing as part of a release and trying to figure out if my wallet was going to cry if I upgraded. Hopefully they continue to do well. The market has changed a lot over the last few years.

  3. As a company I’ve pretty much been forced to deal with, the best I can say is that I tolerate Native Instruments. I can say I never have really “liked” them, though. While I continue to update Komplete, I do so mostly for Kontakt, which is the only NI app I would be hard pressed to live without. Very little else do I use regularly enough to warrant the updates, yet I do it anyway.

    1. Yea, Kontakt and Reaktor are the only NI products I rely on, but within Kontakt are quite a few essential libraries.

      I’d rather use Kontakt than IK’s sampler. But I do wish there was a good modern sampler, like a Kontakt or EXS24 but with a nicer GUI experience. MachFive? Falcon? Not sure.

  4. this was my go-to synth plug-in for big pads and weird atmospheres for years and years… the patch mutator was great because the random stuff was usually very playable.. always kept things interesting

  5. I have posted before about my issues with NI making older software I purchased unusable after a hard drive crash on my legacy machine. So not a big NI fan. Kontakt and Reactor are excellent.
    I still have the original version of Absynth on an old iMac snow that still runs and I purchased every version since. John at Plug-In Guru really got me to go deeper with his amazing tutorials and I still use Absynth all the time, especially with being able to see it much better on my large monitors.

    IMHO, Brian is a genius and his Plasmonic is brilliant.

    1. I don’t want to open old wounds, but I engaged in similar behavior when Apple bought Alchemy. I must have, at least, 8 copies of the installer and all of the add-on preset banks stored on various computes and archived hard disks. About six months ago, I finally broke down and bought a Mac Mini M1 (the first Mac in my studio since my Mac IIci, sometime in the 90s). One of the reasons I purchased it was to be able to run the new Alchemy in Logic X, even if only as a remote plug-in. Talk about a company that can turn a fine wine into goat piss. Now I don’t know which company to despise more. Apple who totally ruined the best (IMO) virtual synthesizer ever conceived, or Camel Audio who sold it to them.

        1. Well, for starters, they made a mockery of the original’s GUI. Instead of improving on it, they apparently tried to make it “friendly” for Mac users (which isn’t in their bad interest, obviously, but totally ignores people from the Windows side who had come to love it). They made enormous reductions to the available library of presets and samples that were available when Camel was developing it, and for those things they did keep, there is no easy way of finding anything old without hunting for it preset by preset. Then, as far as I can tell, there is no convenient way to get those old preset/sample banks into the new Alchemy. As for substantial changes, I really can’t tell you because I was so disgusted by my initial experience with it that I never went that far. Since I’ve owned the Mac and purchased Logic X, I’ve opened Alchemy as a plugin, maybe three times. On the other hand, on any of my PC platforms, I use Camel Alchemy in almost every thing I do. Not to mention, to use it, even on the Mac, you need Logic X (or maybe Garage Band) to even open it. How really fuc***g dumb is that?

  6. > stuck maintaining a legacy computer system

    *running G4 with OS9 and Oasys PCI* Ok bro, now you can help with another synth.

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