Maybe you’ve heard people talking about KONTANT but are unsure exactly what it is?
Well, Kontakt is one of the flagship, most iconic and widely used products from Berlin based Native Instruments.
The very first version was released 20 years ago in 2002 and quickly established itself as an industry standard.
So what is it then?
Kontakt is a software application for PC and Mac. It can run as a VST plugin or as a standalone app on your PC. Kontakt is a very sophisticated sampler and is very popular for playing back and creating sampled sound libraries.
Some of the core features of the Kontakt engine are streaming samples directly from disk for massively multi-sampled instruments, sample manipulation such as time-stretching and slicing.
Does anybody remember the ground-breaking Nemesys GigaSampler with its amazing gigabyte piano? Well, a Kontakt instrument can easily exceed 50GB. The only limit is the size of your SSD.
Kontakt has a powerful synthesis engine and a staggering variety of built-in effects, ranging from reverb to guitar amp simulation.
The most popular use of Kontakt is to play commercial sample libraries from NI themselves or third-party library developers. Kontakt is commonly used for orchestral instruments, pianos, synths, guitars, drums as well as more ethereal sounds and effects.
Third-party developers use Kontakt to create and distribute their own sound libraries and due to the wide adoption and being a de-facto standard there are hundreds, if not thousands of available libraries free and paid.
The main interface consists of a browser from which libraries are selected and loaded. Multiple instruments can be loaded into a single instance of Kontakt and played multi-timbrally on different midi channels with the outputs routed to separate audio tracks in your DAW.
The developer of a sound library will import their own samples and use the Kontakt scripting language and tools to manipulate and sculpt the sounds. Developers are able to fully design their own GUI.
Two versions are available. There is the full version, and a free Player version which as the name suggests is only capable for playback of existing sound libraries.
Whilst the Free Player is generally capable of playing the Native Instrument sound libraries, it is not always compatible with 3rd party libraries where the full version may be required. Make sure to check the system requirements when purchasing any Kontakt library.
Talking of libraries, Kontakt comes with its own bundled factory library with 5GB of sounds, the Player version of course has a cut-down library.
Just to let you know, the full version has regular sales on special occasions throughout the year so you can make some big savings if you are patient. Or just try out the Player version to get a feel for the Kontakt ecosystem and enjoy the bundled factory library.
Well now you know what Kontakt is. You’ve probably already heard it a thousand times on countless hits and soundtracks.