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By: bruce
Computer software that can create sounds or music is not new technology, however further advancements in the audio industry have allowed producers and musicians an accessible and vast library of digital instruments to provide unlimited potential for audio creativity. In today’s music and sound productions the music you hear may not actually be recorded with real instruments in a studio, but rather a compilation of digitally recorded/sampled sounds. These sounds are created with Kontakt Instruments.

What are Kontakt Instruments?

A Kontakt Instrument is a high quality digitally sampled sound. These sounds become playable instruments, that when used in a sampler, can create music and sound productions. The word Kontakt is a brand name and requires their software to use the instruments. There are over 1,000 sampled Kontakt instruments in their library, ranging from world music instruments to the latest hip-hop and choir collections.

How do they work?

Since these instruments are software based, it’s quite simple to access them. You would need to purchase or download the desired Kontakt Instruments and/or libraries onto your system. As Kontakt is a brand name, you will need to download a free version of the Kontakt 5 or Kontakt Player to run the instruments with your program.

It is important to note that there are two different formats of Kontakt Instruments and each require their own program specifications. First, there are Kontakt libraries; libraries are locked and require additional activation codes once they are added, which are received in an email. These can run in the free version of the software. Only Kontakt libraries can run within the Kontakt player. Second, there are Kontakt formatted files (for example, file extensions of ‘.nki’ and ‘.nkm’ cannot be added like a library and the full version of the player is required.). However the samples of these formatted files (WAV/AIFF) can be used in the free program.

Also depending on the sampler program you are using, there is also the capability to sample/record your own sounds to create your own Kontakt instruments.

Who uses them?

Kontakt Instruments are used in a variety of applications. A common use of these instruments is in the sound design of movie productions and scores. They can be used solely to create an audio track or used in conjunction with an orchestra, for example. Also these digital instruments can easily be played in reverse speed to create a multitude of new sounds to create different and unique sounds.

Another obvious industry that uses Kontakt instruments is music production. Composers, DJ’s, sound designers, song writers and artists all utilize these digital tools to fuel their creativity to create new and innovative sounds.

Where can you find them?

There are a variety of places online where you can download individual instrument plug-ins. A simple Google search can provide you with some options. Alternatively if you have purchased a sampler program, these often come with their own library of Kontakt instruments.

As varied as the applications are, the use of Kontakt instruments allows greater ease of use and manipulation of audio, which is fuelling creativity that is creating a new paradigm of sound in today’s world.

If you want to learn more about Kontakt Instruments ( ), sampling, and virtual instruments in general, check us out at Output Sounds today. For more information on native instruments, you may also visit Wikipedia ( ).

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