It’s fair to say that when KONTAKT launched in 2002, nobody could have predicted its impact on the world of music production. It’s also fair to say, at that time, that it was “a sampler”. Two decades, countless blockbuster film scores, hundreds of chart hits, and literally thousands of incredible instruments later, we can confidently update that description. Today, KONTAKT 7 is our flagship, do-it-all instrument platform. It’s whatever you want it to be, effectively. If it makes a sound, you can turn it into a KONTAKT instrument. What that instrument looks like, how complex it is, and how you play it is entirely up to you.
It’s that flexibility that has caught the imagination of a whole industry of pro and hobbyist creators, who in turn have made it the platform of choice for virtual symphony orchestras, unusual acoustic instruments, unobtainable synthesisers, and everything in between. Many of you will already have entire hard drives full of these instruments, collected and curated over a period of years. And it all still just works. That’s been a core feature since the earliest updates to the platform – the guarantee that when you invest in a new library, it’ll work on this version of KONTAKT, the next one, and even the one after that. This approach makes updating the core KONTAKT experience a delicate endeavour, but it’s one of the key factors that have allowed the community around KONTAKT to grow beyond anything we could have imagined back in 2002.
So, while we’re excited to announce a host of new features and content that are worth upgrading for right now, we’re perhaps most excited by the work we’ve done in the background for KONTAKT 7. What you’re seeing today are the first glimpses into a new chapter for the platform. For example, in order to bring KONTAKT fully up to date – and make sure your existing libraries aren’t left behind – we’ve had to transition to a new graphics rendering technology. A particular benefit of this is the possibility of full Hi-DPI support, which we’ve kicked off with the new browsing experience and a rebooted Factory Library. To avoid disruption for KONTAKT’s existing users, we’ll be updating other key parts of the software incrementally, upgrading each underlying workflow as we go.
Right now, though, let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest improvements that are visible in KONTAKT 7 today.
Watch composer and NI product expert Reuben Cornell dig into some of KONTAKT’s new features in the above video, then read-on for the full run-down.
The new browsing experience
When it comes to making music, staying in the flow is the name of the game. And nothing gets in the way of that quite like having to hunt too hard for the perfect sound. If you own any version of KOMPLETE from recent years, for example, you may be familiar with the double-edged-sword nature of having so many sounds to choose from. To make things easier, we’ve completely rebuilt the browser for KONTAKT 7 (the old one’s still there too, in case you’ve grown attached).
Aside from looking a whole lot better – especially on Hi-DPI screens, the new browser exposes your individual sounds, as opposed to just instruments, and makes them easy to find with filtering, search, and even audio previews (if you’re familiar with the browser in KOMPLETE KONTROL, this feature works similarly). Wan to see all your violin sounds in one place, regardless of which product they’re from or which developer made them? Now you can.
We’ve also made it possible to import all of your libraries, and edit tags. Libraries from indie developers, freebies, and home-made instruments can now show up alongside libraries from Spitfire Audio, Heavyocity, and Output, et al.
The new Factory Library
The KONTAKT Factory Library has held a special place in many musicians’ creative toolkits for a long time now. For those just getting started with KONTAKT, it’s the perfect introduction, containing a wide variety of essentials for most any genre – from classical to rock and hip hop. Even if you own all the latest, greatest libraries, there’s always that one part of that one cue or track that needs that one particular instrument – and often you’ll find it in the Library.
The original is a tough act to follow, then, so we’ve gone all out. Aside from the returning ANALOG DREAMS, ETHEREAL EARTH, HYBRID KEYS, and RETRO MACHINES, KONTAKT 7 ships with seven brand new collections, spanning nearly 900 instruments in total, all presented via stunning Hi-DPI interfaces with intuitive controls (pre-mapped when used with KOMPLETE KONTROL or MASCHINE, naturally).
Completely overhauled in KONTAKT 7 by Orchestral Tools, the comprehensive, integrated collection of sampled string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments in the Orchestral collection are all taken from OT’s flagship product range, The Berlin Series. Recorded with the finest musicians, in situ, on the same Teldex Scoring Stage in Berlin, these libraries are used by AAA-list film, media, and game composers.
Flutes, dulcimers, recorders, bagpipes, fiddles, plus a brand-new hurdy gurdy, and a range of gongs and percussion sounds with editable MIDI patterns. The Acoustic collection packs 60 meticulously recorded instruments that let you add layers of unique character to tracks. Cross borders and continents to tap into distinctive, authentic sounds from a huge range of locations, including Ireland, Turkey, Japan, Cuba, Armenia, and beyond.
Whether it’s rock, funk, jazz, or soul, you can find the authentic sounds you need in the Band collection with a range of acoustic and electric sounds – newly added guitars, plus basses, organs, horns, and e-pianos. The collection also has a range of drum kits, which come with preset grooves that can be exported with MIDI drag and drop. Choose from different articulations and playing styles, and dial in extra character with a range of controls, including vibrato and sustain.
Find your flow and lay down rhythmic patterns fast – the Beats collection is totally overhauled for Factory Library 2. Choose from 288 pre-made Grooves across 90 kits, or free-play your own rhythms with a keyboard or pads. You can also use MIDI drag and drop to export the Groove patterns into your DAW for editing, and further customize your drum sounds with a range of studio-grade effects including chorus, flanger, reverb, and delay.
The Choir collection delivers choral vocals that span the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass pitch ranges. New in KONTAKT 7 are a range of high-quality patches that include the vowels Aah, Eh, I, Ooh, Uh, and Mmm, as well as sustain, marcato, staccato, and staccatissimo articulations.
All the pads, leads, arps, and basses you could ever need, including a freshly added Soundscapes category for evolving, cinematic textures. From the earliest vintage gear to sci-fi-ready FM and modular rigs, the Synths collection contains a huge range of electronic sounds, along with high-grade effects that let you dial in sweeping filters, echoing delays, roomy reverbs, and more.
A collection of 292 deep-sampled electronic instruments that deliver the rich, timeless warmth of analog synthesis, tube compression, and tape saturation. Draw from the sounds of some of the most priceless, sought-after synths, drum machines, and classic gear, ready to add the highest quality textures and timbres to any production in any genre.
Under the hood
As alluded to earlier, there’s even more to KONTAKT 7 than meets the eye, but there are a couple of particularly handy updates that deserve a mention here – especially if you’re building or editing your own instruments.
The first is an update to our time-stretching algorithms. This can be useful in lots of situations but it’s likely to be of greatest benefit when working with tempo-based patches – think ACTION STRINGS 2’s looped phrases for example.
Second, and third, we’ve added two new effects from the GUITAR RIG 6 stable (this is also where KONTAKT’s fantastic amplifier sims come from ). The first is the Psyche Delay, which gives you bucket-brigade-style analog echoes, with useful additional options, like stereo, reverse, two different feedback options, and a detune control. There’s also the new Ring Modulator, which brings frequency-modulated weirdness to any signal you pass through it. Like the Psyche Delay, it comes with apple controls to tweak, tame, or exaggerate the effect to your liking.
KONTAKT 7 is out now. Get the full rundown, check out your upgrade price, and hear the new Factory Library in action over on the product page now.