No question, Native Instruments Kontakt 6 is not the only software sampler on the market. There are quite a few of them, but Kontakt has not undeserved its hegemonic position. The sound library on offer is really impressive in terms of quality and value for money. And the concept of offering a specialized keyboard, which is tailored to the software, is a huge plus.
Update: Kontakt 7 Player is now available.
Kontakt also comes in a simple Kontakt Free Player version that’s just for playing the factory sounds. As already mentioned, the paid version is a fully-fledged sampler. And even if we can’t write a complete report on this at this point, the most important information is brief: Samples can be imported and edited in a wave editor. The individual samples can then be distributed to the keyboard in a mapping editor, although here a really intelligent solution has been found to do this quickly and efficiently.
This can be combined with an arsenal of effects that can be installed at various points in the signal path. On the Native Instruments website, there are many sounds created by users for free download. If you also have programming knowledge, you can use Lua scripts to automate processes in Kontakt.
There is even a separate development environment because after installation there is a software package on the hard drive that is called Creator Tools. This is a stand-alone application to streamline library and instrument developer workflows and consists of a debugger and an instrument editor.
Kontakt comes with a set of standard sounds from the areas of band, choir, orchestra, synths, urban beats, vintage, and world. In the band section, for example, you will find brass instruments (trumpets, horns, saxophones), acoustic pianos (grand, ragtime, upright), electric pianos (clavinets, Rhodes and Wurlitzer), organs, guitars, basses, and drums. The user manual as a PDF is already 122 pages long, just to list the essential sounds and playing options.
The orchestra samples alone, recorded by the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, are impressive because the quality of the samples and instruments is excellent and would justify the purchase price from Kontakt. But the focus of this review must of course be on the three new libraries that have been added with the update: ANALOG DREAMS focuses on legendary synth sounds, ETHEREAL EARTH combines traditional instruments with digital synthesis and HYBRID KEYS enriches classic keyboard instruments a new variant. The three new libraries are the beginning of a new Play Series that Native Instrument is launching and which are now part of the update as a bonus.
If you are looking for realistic sample libraries, you cannot avoid Native Instruments. The company offers some if not the best, digitized samples of acoustic instruments, and the standard Native Instruments Kontakt 6 instruments alone justify the purchase price. The bottom line is that with the Native Instrument Kontakt 6 you get a fully-fledged sampler with a multitude of effects and an extensive sound library.
Update: Kontakt 7 Free Download
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