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Developers & Technology => Software => Topic started by: Marc JX8P on November 13, 2007, 08:44:18 PM

Title: NI Kontakt 3 - Part 1 & 2
Post by: Marc JX8P on November 13, 2007, 08:44:18 PM
Well, let me open this forum... Throughout the years I have used some software more than others. One of the stables of my music making has been NI Kontakt, ever since it's first version. Since I have recently gotten the version 3 update I thought I'd let you know a little bit about this VSTi. Since I only have it a short while, I thought I'd build this review up one bit at a time, starting with first impressions and then going into more detail over the coming weeks. Anyhow, let's begin.

Part 1: Kontakt 3 - first impressions
Installing Kontakt 3 was a simple procedure that installs both the stand alone and the VSTi (as well as the other plugin formats Kontakt supports if you desire). The service centre - NI's own authorization application - takes care of a quick and efficient authorization and off you go... Well, off you go installing the library content. Kontakt 3's standard library is absolutely HUGE, about 34 GB of sample data, basically half what was in Kontakt 2 and half new. It's divided into several sub libraries with distinct themes, such as 'band instruments' (eg. piano, guitar, organ), 'orchestral' , 'synths', 'world' and 'urban beats'. While installing this takes hours, you do have the option to only install selected packs if you don't use all of them. In any case, while the update from Kontakt 2 to Kontakt 3 isn't that big in terms of functionality, the scope of this library certainly was one of the major reasons I upgraded. And I wasn't dissapointed.
The library is fantastic. I'm currently only scratching the surface, but I've already heard some amazing sounds. Some fantastic lush string sections, a great distorted guitar that I just have to use in a rhythm guitar part on one of my tracks and I really love the synth sounds. The pads (well, everyone who has heard my tracks until now will probably know I've got a weakness for synth pads) are fantastic and very expressive. With its modular structure and all the filters and effects and stuff there's no mistaking that Kontakt 3 is a very effective synthesizer as well as a sampler and this version of the library has better sounds than previous libraries had in that regard, at least to me. What is also very cool is that nearly all the instruments (and certainly the new stuff) have gotten special 'front panels' with controls for the most important settings of each instrument. This makes it much easier to quickly modify for example the filter settings of a synth sound without diving into the edit mode.

Part 2: In Use
I have been playing around a bit more with Kontakt 3 and there are some observations to make. First of all, the interface has been redesigned aesthetically and while everything is still basically where you'd expect it to be, it does look a lot cleaner and more stylish than version 2. Tastes very of course, but I find this a very beautiful program to look at which is is not unimportant, seeing how it's one of the main workhorses in my arsenal. Another important point to mention is that I have found it very stable and quick in use until now (both the VSTi plugin version and the standalone version) and it had no trouble loading some libraries which were in Kontakt 2 format. You wouldn't expect that - but it's still nice to know. In any case, Kontakt 2 hasn't been active since I have Kontakt 3.
What I have never liked in previous versions and what I still don't like in version 3 is the way that patches/multis are managed. Basically you have the choice between using a filebrowser like system and a database system. The first one does give you the best overview when you more or less know where your favourite patches are, the second one has nice stuff like searching for text strings in the available patch names. What I miss (and I had expected this to be in this one) is a Kore 2 style patch management where you could assign tags to patches so you could, for example, call forth all patches with tags 'synth', 'pad' and 'digital'. I also use Kore and I really like this system but alas, it's not in Kontakt 3. You do get the option of creating quicklinks to certain folders with patches and you can create quicklinks for your favourite instruments so it's not that the current system isn't flexible, I guess it's down to how I expected it to work and how it actually works. It's certainly workable anyway.

That's it for now, until next time when I've had more time to explore the library and Kontakt 3's inner workings!

Title: Re: NI Kontakt 3 - A Review in progress
Post by: kara on November 14, 2007, 08:23:41 AM
Interesting Marc,
34 GB !! that's some library, I suppose it does stream directly from disk ?


Title: Re: NI Kontakt 3 - A Review in progress
Post by: Marc JX8P on November 14, 2007, 08:44:49 AM
Yes it does, although it has several settings that allow you to force Kontakt to load it all into memory. You can even let it play back a track and then let it 'forget' all unused samples in a track which frees up memory.