by Native Instruments

Why upgrade to KONTAKT 7? Here’s what’s new

Take a closer look at all the new features in the latest
version of our flagship instrument platform.

It’s fair to say that when KONTAKT launched in 2002, nobody could have predicted its impact on the world of music production. At that time, it’s also fair to say that it was a sampler. Two decades, countless blockbuster film scores, hundreds of chart hits, and thousands of incredible instruments later, we can confidently update that description. Today, KONTAKT 7 is our flagship, do-it-all instrument platform. It’s effectively whatever you want it to be. 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 have made it the platform of choice for virtual symphony orchestras, unusual acoustic instruments, unobtainable synthesizers, and everything in between. Many of you already have entire drives full of these instruments, collected and curated over a period of years, and all of these libraries still work. That’s been a core feature since the earliest updates to the platform – the guarantee that libraries will work with your current version of KONTAKT, the next version, and the version after that. This approach makes updating the core KONTAKT experience a delicate endeavor, but it’s one of the key factors that have allowed the KONTAKT community to grow beyond anything we could have imagined back in 2002.

While we’re excited to announce a host of new features and content worth upgrading for in KONTAKT 7, we’re perhaps most excited by the work we’ve done in the background for this release. What you’re seeing today are the first glimpses into a new chapter for the platform. For example, to bring KONTAKT fully up to date and ensure your existing libraries aren’t left behind, we transitioned 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 disrupting KONTAKT’s existing users, we’ll update other key parts of the software incrementally, upgrading each underlying workflow as we go.

To start, let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest improvements that are visible in KONTAKT 7 today.




What’s new?

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, like having to hunt too hard for the perfect sound. If you own any version of KOMPLETE from recent years, you may be familiar with the double-edged 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, in case you’ve grown attached). The new browsing experience allows you to search, filter, and audition individual sounds from across your collection. You can also view preset properties, edit tags, and import your indie libraries and homemade instruments.

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). Want 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 importing all of your libraries and editing tags possible. Libraries from indie developers, freebies, and homemade instruments can now show up alongside libraries from Spitfire Audio, Heavyocity, Output, et al.


Kontrol S-Series MK3 integration

Kontrol S-Series keyboard, working together with KONTAKT.

With the release of Native Instruments’ Kontrol S-Series MK3 keyboards, using Kontakt is now more tactile and easier than ever. The Kontrol S-Series is the intuitive physical extension of your software instruments, featuring an immersive high-res screen, intelligent auto-mapping, and all your key switches and zones helpfully laid out on a Light Guide. Seamlessly dive into thousands of sounds, instruments, and effects with next-generation NKS technology. Use Kontakt with Maschine groove boxes and earlier generations of Kontrol keyboards to browse and preview sounds directly from your hardware. Control key parameters with dedicated knobs and much more.


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 genres – 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, 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 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 rhythms with a keyboard or pad. 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 is a range of high-quality patches that include the vowels Aah, Eh, I, Ooh, Uh, and Mmm and 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 and 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.


Learn more

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.



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