It is not a secret anymore that the REAKTOR User Library is the go-to spot for a lot of producers and musicians looking for something different, unique, abstract or simply creative to add to their collection of digital instruments.
Check out our coverage from Native Session x ADE here, where several leading artists show how they use ensembles in their work.
Providing thousands of free effects, instruments, blocks, and multiple other ensembles, it’s easy to get lost in a sonic wormhole of amazing sound generators, all created by avid REAKTOR users and contributors worldwide.
To make navigation easier, we sat down and listed the ten most downloaded ensembles from the REAKTOR User Library, including applications for audio degradation and tape delays, to full-blown digital modular synth flagships.
Semi-random texture generator
lifeforms03 literally brings your sound to life, from insect-like chirping sounds, airy swooshes and noise blow-outs to granular glitches and bleeps this ensemble covers all the good parts of weird sonic environment design. An additional randomize button lets you create new interesting soundscapes with just a push of a button. An instant idea generator.
Check out lifeforms03 here.
Droning bass notes
Pretty much self-explanatory, but no less of a fun toy, is the contemplative soundscapes ensemble created by Eser Karaca. You can use this ensemble very subtle as a background noise generator or also as main instrument to create eery, drone-like soundscapes and spheres with additional hisses and noise effects.
Check out contemplative soundscapes here.
The ambient machine
Next in line of the most popular ensembles is the Space and Time Generator. Impressively, it was a first attempt creation from community member P W after purchasing REAKTOR. Space and Time Generator offers three individual sound generators with additional ADSR sections, a filter section, stereo field generator, a Phase section, and a great sounding Space (reverb) effect.
Check out Space and Time Generator here.
The metaphysical update
Christian Kjeldsen’s Metaphysical Fabrications is an updated version of the classic REAKTOR Factory Library instrument Metaphysical Function, which he was also responsible for.
“New features include the ability to play the Resochord like a musical instrument via MIDI note input, providing faster and engaging control of each comb filter’s pitch; the ability to create chord progressions, with the Resochord via Metaphysical Function’s slider automation or via MIDI note input; Oscillator trim; Stereo input toggle; Sample vs Input crossfade ; Pitch bend and Mod Wheel control; and re-triggering of Sampler and Slider Automation via MIDI note input.“
Check out Metaphysical Fabrications here.
Tapes of Canada
The Tape Mate is a simple and authentic sounding way to warm up or saturate your sounds. Created by Stephen Reid, the ensemble doesn’t offer any preset settings, but due to its self-explanatory structure, it is very easy to use.
“A lot of tape emulations I have found are aimed at simulating high-quality tape recorders that are well set up and maintained. This is designed to do the exact opposite!”
Check out Tape Mate here.
The dream state
Vintage tape and vinyl simulation
Some might say this ensemble is a one trick pony. Even if so, it does the trick pretty damn well! If you are looking for an effect to crunch up your sounds or simply want to increase lo-fi levels of your master bus, this is the go-to tool right here. Be warned, it’s not at all that subtle, but who needs subtle when you have grunge.
Check out Grungelator here.
Re-discovering the Buchla principles
Cloudlab 200t V2’s structure and build-up is heavily inspired by Buchla 200 and 200a modular systems. It’s not supposed to be a Buchla clone or simulation in any way but resembles the classic Buchla modular style workflow.
The ensemble’s demo song was recorded and performed by Trevor Gavilan using only a single instance of Cloudlab.
Check out Cloudlab 200t V2 here.
All in one wonderland
This ensemble download is, in fact, a whole pack of Blocks covering effects, oscillators, modulators, filters, sound processors, and more, making it possible to build your own modular like super-instrument. Needless to mention the superb quality of each individual Block!
This sound clip uses one instance of Akkord and just the effect section of The Infinite Phi Collection. The first bar is dry oscillator chord from Akkord and then the effects are added for comparison.
Check out Blocks – The Infinite Phi Collection here.
The ‘I can’t believe it’s free’
This ensemble, created by James Peck, is somewhat of a legend now and well-known beyond the REAKTOR User Library spheres. Having been downloaded more than 11.800 times in 2018 it is also the most popular ensemble. Rightly so, it sounds amazing and for a degradation effect it offers almost endless possibilities in sound shaping, from subtle lo-fi’esque esthetics to ultra damaged 80s cassette tapes, it does it and it does it authentically well.
Check out the VHS Audio Degradation Suite here.