Kontakt, Reacktor, Output, Komplete Kontrol

Discuss VST stuff here!
Posts: 7
Joined: 29 Jun 2017

Post 25 Nov 2018

Sooo confusing... or is it just me?
I have no idea what the difference is between those mentioned in the "subject" line. I kind of do but it's foggy knowledge. :)
I just bought Native Instruments Komplete 12 Select and I'm SO overwhelmed! Then, they got this Komplete Kontrol console that displays all the synths and effects but some are WAY too big for my screen (not my resolution; other synths look and fit fine).
I know it's supposed to be "the last cold Coke in the dessert" deal (as they ALL say) but, man, is it confusing.
I'd like to know anybody else's experience with Native Instruments' gear.
I just thought that making music wouldn't have to involve so much technology... I know I'm being utopic but... it's tiresome to learn all this.
Anyways, thanks for listening and I welcome any comments/suggestions/tutorials that might help.

Posts: 1568
Joined: 14 Sep 2015
Location: Paris, France

Post 26 Nov 2018

Kontakt is a sampler, much like NNXT. A sampler uses prerecorded sounds and stretches them across the keyboard, so it's primarily used to reproduce real-world instruments, like pianos, guitars, bouzoukis, tablas, or even choirs, and also reproduce the sound of old synths. It can do much more than that obviously, but that's the gist of it.

Reaktor is a modular/programmable synth. There are dozens upon dozens of small modules, each dedicated to one single function, much like Eurorack if you've ever heard of that. For instance, there are sound generators (oscillators), sampling units, filters, LFO, and other more arcane modules. The user can then chain them together to create their own synth, which they can distribute on the Native website, where you can in turn download them for your own use. There are thousands of already available user-made devices, ranging from the most mundane to the utterly inexplicable, be it synths, samplers, effects, glitchers, utilities and so on. Using those pre-made devices is quite easy (you just have to download them on the website, then load them into Reaktor), creating them is a bit more difficult and requires some knowledge about the inner workings of audio devices.

Komplete Kontrol is simply a utility that allows you to browse patches from all Komplete devices in one place, without having to load each one separately (thanks QV!). If you load it and search for "piano" for instance, it will find Kontakt pianos, Reaktor pianos, and all patches related to pianos, whatever device they're for. It's just a centralized access to all Native devices.

Output isn't part of Komplete: if you have it, you purchased it separately. And it isn't an instrument, it's a developer. You probably have either Rev, or Exhale, or Movement, or any other of their products, which are mostly hybrid synths/samplers. Or maybe one of their instruments is included in Kontakt? In which case, you can use it like any other Kontakt instrument.

You also have Massive and Monark (synths), Drumlab and Retro Machines (drum machines), Phasis, Replika and Solid Bus Comp (effects), and The Gentleman, West Africa, Scarbee Rickenbacker, Scarbee Mark 1 and Vintage Organs (sampled instruments).

Regarding Komplete Kontrol, I would say it's kind of a "power user" thing, you don't really need it, it's not an instrument per se, just a utility. You can leave that for later. Most of the rest is just like any other device in Reason: check the presets, find one you like, and play with it. Don't worry about what category it belongs to or how it works under the hood, that'll come easily with practice!

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