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Anyone use kontakt? I was looking for a hurdy gurdy sample and I found it. It's super expensive, but the instrument files are unreal. I'm wondering about user friendliness and whether anyone thinks it's worth maybe saving gig pennies for.

Kontakt is essential to me. It started out infuriating - it's not the most user-friendly interface - but I've gotten better with it over time. And for basic "load an instrument and play," it's actually not that bad (it's only when one starts "peeking behind the curtain" that it gets a bit messy).

Native Instruments (Kontakt's maker) also has its issues - there are lots of complaints about customer service if you need it, and the one time I had to reach out to them it took a long time for them to get back to me with useless information (and by that time, luckily, I'd already fixed the problem myself).

But for all that, as I said above, I find Kontakt and Kontakt libraries to be essential. There's no real competitor out there (in terms of breadth of 3rd party libraries; in terms of features, there are plenty of competitors, including UVI's workstation (or Falcon); Steinberg's Halion, etc). I'd prefer not to be subject to the whims of the monopolistic player in this area, but, for me, better that than not having access to the wealth of Kontakt instruments. And there are lots of very high quality free and super-cheap instruments too (in addition the the super-expensive paid ones)!

I use kontakt and fully agree with @OdilonGreen - it's not the MOST user-friendly thing but the sounds available are superb.

It's worth noting that there are a few legitimate ways to buy it at a discount - they offer "crossgrade" prices from various other products that give a big discount, some of which are very inexpensive (or possibly even free, unless they closed that loophole). Google "cheap kontakt crossgrade" for some tips - I think I managed to get it for less than half price, although it's possible there was a sale on at the time too!

I agree with everything above. One thing I would add is that some Kontakt libraries include their own user interface inside the Kontakt interface. This can add to the confusion (Kinetic Toys) or greatly enhance the usability (West Africa). Sometimes you must use your external keyboard for all controls and music. Some libraries let you accomplish a lot using the built-in soft keyboard or other onscreen controls.

I did a quick search and found a couple of free hurdy gurdy VSTs. Dunno if they are any good.



I use Kontakt a lot. It's probably the best sample library player out there in terms of choice of instruments from 3rd parties - everyone does Kontakt format just because it's the most popular platform.
It's pretty simple to use if you're just loading up sample libraries and playing them or doing some minor tweaking to the sound. That's pretty much how I use it all the time so I'm not bothered about delving deeper into the interface.
Kontakt is definitely an essential plug-in for me

Is it pretty easy to record an instrument in Kontakt and then import that file into another program? I like the logic interface. I still am completely baffled by the idea of tweaking the EQ. I've tried it here and there and I have no clue, so telling me that tweaking the sound is a challenge, well that's like telling me the sky is blue. Cool. I think I'm going to put this on my goals. That drone pack that I listened to was incredible and I could do so much with those sounds. I think I understand how a dragon feels about gold sometimes.

I've never used Logic but you should be able to load Kontakt as a plugin within Logic and use it directly. If you're not bothered about editing the sounds (I've never really done any tweaking myself and it's still hugely powerful) then it's pretty much drag-and-drop from that point on.

@katpiercemusic You can get familiar with Kontakt for free by downloading Kontakt 5 Player, Guitar Rig 5 and Mikro Prism synth and others from Native Instruments page:


There are lots of sounds here to explore and they're free. They should work in Logic just fine.

You don't actually record anything in Kontakt itself. As @VomVorton says you'd load it up within Logic and then record it like any other plugin or VST instrument. If you're already familiar with plugins/VST instruments and recording with MIDI then it's all quite simple. If you're not, then you'll have some homework to do.

Kontakt is great in that it opens up a whole world of instruments that you'd normally have no access to.
On the downside, it opens up temptation to splash out on sample libraries which in some cases can be extremely expensive Wink although there are plenty of freebies out there too

*watching this topic*
I bought my first MIDI controller earlier this year and am slowly learning how to use it. Kontakt Player 5 sounds like a good way to learn a little about this sort of thing to me.

Okay, so last question I think. What's the difference between buying that really expensive software and the free player? Is the software all the instruments and the player just a way to do a la carte? If so, I might do that. I really just want the drones. I love a good drone with a lot of overtones and undertones and I CAN'T replicate that with Logic's instruments.

The free player can only be used with the relatively few “made for Kontakt” libraries, and those tend to be on the expensive side. Anything else - like all the free and cheap libraries, and, indeed, most commercial libraries at any price point - will only work for 15 minutes before “timing out.” To be able to use any library, you need the full Kontakt (which also comes with a decent and sizbale “factory library” - I’m not sure what the free Player comes with).

If you want to share the specific library you’re considering, we may be able to make more specific suggestions.

EDIT: Also, you probably know this, but Logic's built-in EXS24 sampler comes with two different Accordions. I know it's not the same thing, but you could try mimicking a hurdy gurdy drone with some low bass accordion notes and hey, it's free. Bolder Sounds also sells a hurdy gurdy for Logic's EXS 24 (and for Kontakt too) as part of its Early Music set, which is $29.95. Bolder is usually quite good - I have some of their stuff - but the Early Music set is very old, and the Hurdy Gurdy quite small (only 10.5MB total), so I can't vouch for its quality, but there is an audio demo on the website.

Does the full version include all the sounds, or will I still possibly need to buy bundles?

Never mind. Looks like some bundles are extra. Answered my own question.

Yeah, most Kontakt sample instruments - and pretty much any good instruments - are from third parties. As I noted above, some are free or cheap, but they also can be (very) expensive - it really varies.

But the included library that comes with full Kontakt is... serviceable at best. Some decent to good stuff, but nothing like what one can get from third party developers. And no hurdy gurdy at all.

The hurdy gurdy is part of a $25 bundle and includes Swedish bagpipes (which I love) and humming into a tin whistle. I think I'm going for it. The Sam Ash near me carries it, though I forgot to specify that I was looking for the insanely expensive, not the "this month's mortgage" expensive. I've got a bonus coming for participating in summer professional development though that usually goes straight to savings, maybe it's okay if I spend it this once.

Sam Ash sells Kontakt as a stand-alone (as opposed to the multi-instrument and effect Komplete)? Or are you getting Komplete?

In either event, if you’re buying from a general music retailer like Sam Ash, make sure they’re selling the latest version; it always annoys me that my local Guitar Center continues to sell a two-version-old release to the present day, for full price!

I second @OdilonGreen's points! I would never buy software like this at a music store. It will be an old version! Buy direct from NI. And be sure you are buying Kontakt and not Komplete. Komplete includes Kontakt and a lot more but is more expensive.


It's the latest and it's Complete and I know Sam Ash well enough to go in with their online pricing so I don't get totally ripped off, and holy crap this is going to take me forever to learn!

@katpiercemusic, I apologize in advance if I am providing info you already know but when you said it is "Complete" I couldn't help but wonder if you were making a joke or if you are unaware they sell a product called Komplete that includes Kontakt! Smile The products from Native Instruments (Kontakt and Komplete) are notoriously difficult to figure out during the ordering process (at least for me they are!)

I own Komplete 9 which includes Kontakt 5. You can buy Kontakt separately. But, why would you?

First, I went to Sam Ash online and they do not seem to sell Kontakt anyway so who knows whether or not the local store will sell it. I compared their prices to buying directly from Native Instruments and both are offering the same discounts on Komplete 11. Here is what I found,

Sam Ash
KOMPLETE 11 $449 (regular price $599)
KOMPLETE 11 Ultimate $899 (regular price $1199)
KONTAKT 5 not available AFAIK

direct from Native Instruments
KOMPLETE 11 $449 (regular price $599)
KOMPLETE 11 Ultimate $899 (regular price $1199)
KONTAKT 5 $399

So, the best price I could find Kontakt 5 was direct from NI at $399. But you can buy Komplete 11 for only $50 more and you get the complete Kontakt plus a ton of other instruments and synthesizers and fx. Honestly, the value in that additional $50 is just amazing!

So, buy Komplete 11 from Sam Ash or wherever and you are gonna be overwhelmed for the next year with amazing stuff to work with!

Final thought...don't buy Komplete 11 Select since it does NOT include the full Kontakt!

Already bought it. Didn't buy select. That looked more like that free download thing, but costing money. I was sad at how much ultimate had. Maybe someday I'll upgrade. Mostly I just want the cinematic orchestra stuff. Holy crap! It's hard for me to hear that they're not live even knowing that they aren't live (well maybe I can tell with the brass). Tutorials skip steps that they think are obvious, so this is going to take a long time to figure out. Like how when you're opening up a software instrument track it has to be set to empty channel strip, and not default. That took going to bed and looking at it fresh this morning to figure out. Maybe after work today I can try something small.

@katpiercemusic - I'll be interested to hear how you get on. I'm sorely tempted, but can't really justify the expense at the moment.

Have fun with it @katpiercemusic; Kontakt is a world of musical fun! (I actually don’t have the rest of Komplete - just Reaktor in addition to Kontakt - but I know it’s a veritable smorgasbord of music goodness!)

yes, @katpiercemusic . you can upgrade to ultimate later. i started on a low-level komplete, and have a download of 11 komplete ultimate waiting on me, when i update my soundcard. it won't even download without my system being compliant, and i can't afford to get the sound card until i start back to work after recovering from the surgery. but i got a good deal on the ultimate upgrade because they have deals throughout the year, usually only as a download. all my other komplete levels i got the physical disc form, but i added internal hard discs to my computer to lessen the load on my computer and eliminate the latency that was introduced from storing sound banks on external hard drives since they were too big to put on my computer's singular drive.
so take heart that you might could update for a cheaper price down the line. it really is a great sample set. the drum machine is far less intuitive than i am accustomed to with reason, so i often bring up reason as my drum machine, and choose my sounds from reason, komplete, or even the sounds in the pro tools sound bank. i have huge RAM, so i can pull up multiple instances if i wish. i actually compose electronic music as well as write songs, so i like having the choices. have fun!

Be sure to check memory requirements. Kontakt has a huge appetite if you want all those instruments. However, I think it can be installed on a usb drive.

It can indeed, I have all the Komplete sample libraries installed on an external drive and it works fine. I just made sure to get one with a good transfer rate.

If you buy Komplete 11, it comes on a USB 3.0 hard disk drive. Which is just as well, because there's something like 155 Gb of samples to download otherwise...

So I ended up getting it and getting frustrated because I couldn't get it to work with my midi controller. I'm home sick today (but definitely on the getting better end) and I tried it with a seriously cheap controller I got to lend my middle school students. It works just fine (for a POS controller). I'll be purchasing a decent half sized keyboard with the money I made working at renaissance faires this summer. I've been working off my Artiphon controller for a couple of years now and it's great for certain things, but a pain in the ass for straightforward stuff.

PS, I can't wait to start using this, and I'm going to have to get more gigs so I can afford the orchestral packages, because holy crap!

@katpiercemusic - Would be interested to see how you get on with it. I've recently watched an interview with the guy from Vienna Symphonic Library and nearly had a "shut up and take my money" moment, but managed to temper myself. I suspect I'll either be getting that or Komplete fairly soon.