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User Review

Innovative Sampler - Reviews Native Instruments Kontakt 5

Kontakt is a software application and plug-in that can be used as a stand-alone software instrument, or as a plug-in inside a DAW. It is primarily a 'sample playback' engine and comes with a decent library. Kontakt can be expanded by purchasing more individual sound libraries with more sounds. You can also also create your own sound libraries in Kontakt with your own samples if desired.
The software can be purchased as an individual software application, however I received it as part of the Native Instruments Komplete Bundle. It can be downloaded off the NI website and installed. Authorization is completed using the NI Service Center application.


Kontakt is really easy to get started with. The libraries are easy to use - just drag and drop and play your keyboard. However, Kontakt also allows for deep editing for the experienced user. I am not an expert user by any means, because there is a whole scripting language that can be used for users that really want to program kontakt. I have created sampled drum libraries as Kontakt instruments. The round-robin and velocity layer sample playback is easy to set up, but it might take looking through the manual to understand. My recommendation is to experiment.


There are many sample-playback applications on the market. Kontakt comes out ahead in my mind because of the amount of libraries available in the Kontakt format, the innovative user interface, the flexibility of use, and the constant addition of new features.
The sample libraries from NI for Kontakt are a bit hit-and-miss. There are a few that stand out in my mind - Damage, Alicia's Keys, Session Strings Pro, etc. There are a few that I don't like - Balinese, George Duke, etc. And a bunch that are average, Studio Drummer, Classic Pianos, etc.
There are also a bunch of third part sound libraries to consider. I used Steven Slate Drums 3 in Kontakt for a long time before he released his own stand-alone application.
Serious composers should probably look at EastWest libraries rather than Kontakt. If you are looking to just do some general propose music producing/mixing, Kontakt is the way to go.