Music-boxing in NI Kontakt from Create Digital Media on Vimeo.

You know the stereotype. “Synths” are expressive. “Samplers” are those things relegated to playing fake instruments.

But what makes synths fun to play as an instrument is the power they have over your sound, and the interactivity they provide. Peter Dines did a series for our Kore+CDM minisite at the end of last year that I think really illustrated how Native Instruments’ sampler Kontakt can be made a powerful performance tool – something that’s really fun to play. In doing so, he gets into the “s word” – scripting. When you hear “scripting,” I expect a lot of you run and hide, or wonder why the heck you’d want to write scripts when working on your music. The answer is, thanks to content that’s out there, you can make use of scripts for Kontakt without ever having to muck with code yourself. And if you do want to create your own scripts, a lot of the things you might like to do turn out to be quite simple.

What might a musical workflow look like with Kontakt? Peter answers that question with a beautiful, delicate-sounding music box patch. In this example, working directly in Kontakt allows him to start with a recorded sound and get into the manipulation phase very quickly. I know many folks use Ableton Live for the purpose, and Live is itself essentially a sampler turned into a host. But if you’re comfortable with that method, you may find the addition of something like Kontakt is all the more useful.

In the music box example, Peter looks at:

  • Turning a recording into a sample
  • Slicing and dicing with the Wave Editor
  • Making use of presets in the Script Editor to get powerful features, then making quick modifications – no need to script from scratch

Slicing, Dicing, and Scripting a Music Box with Kontakt; Free Download

That’s a specific example. With Performance View, you can turn your sampled sounds into something that could work really well live – again, using scripts without scripting:

Learning Kontakt: Performance View and Scripting Power, Hidden in Presets

Finally, when you are ready for the power of scripts, Peter can get you started with that. With a couple of lines, you can retune, resequence, constrain to scale, pan, and randomize. That makes Kontakt a powerful compositional and performance tool.
Dive into Kontakt Scripting: A Gentle Introduction, plus Script Downloads

I hope we see scripting show up in more tools. (I’d lose my mind – in a good way – to see it in a future version of Maschine.) In the meantime, this gets you rolling.

And really, you don’t have to be an advanced sampler / sound designer / Kontakt user. I think you’ll find these tutorials to be exceedingly beginner-friendly. In fact, samplers have often gotten underused by us mere mortals. Sure, you probably don’t have time to do a massive, multisampled grand piano patch – and someone else has already done it for you. But to take a quick field recording and mangle it, samplers can be fantastic.

If you come up with anything based on these tutorials, we’d love to hear it.

Previously: Kontakt Creative Abuse and Scripting, Modular Reaktor Goodness, More On Kore@CDM

(Side note: yes, the Kore+CDM site has sprung back to life, on a new server. Enjoy!)

Looks intimidating. Actually doesn’t have to be – and you don’t necessarily even have to write your own code! But then, you can always impress your friends by initimidating them instead.
  • http://snapshotintime.blogspot.com/ wi_ngo

    One of my first 'real' electronic instruments was an Akai hardware sampler. I absolutely approached it in a similar way – as an unlimited and exotic instrument.

    Samplers then quickly became notorious because of hip hop and the MPC, and are now viewed by most as glorified drum machines or loopers.

    I get a ton of mileage out of the Sampler upgrade for Ableton. Yeah, it is a bit redundant, because it is true that Live is basically one giant sampler, but I enjoy the interface and modulation routing capabilities. It's nearly identical in operation to the old hardware Akai and is very familiar to me. Except now I can have a dozen of them playing side-by-side, and I'm not maxing out the 16 megs of ram. ;)

  • http://www.myspace.com/ellulband theGeneral

    awesome tutorial. really useful and easy to understand. thanks!

  • http://seguesound.com Dri

    I really appreciate this video. I've been getting back into Kontakt, processing the Arturia Origin multi-sample packs from the patches i created doing the review, and was reminded how much i used to love the creative outlets of Kontakt.

    This video sums it up perfectly (and amusingly!). Peter D and Peter K, you've outdone youselves again.

  • A

    I was distracted by the cat.

  • http://andrew.hicox.com plurgid

    hoooolllly crap!

    kontakt looks like the bomb!

    scripts? really? wow.

  • http://www.modulatethis.com Mark Mosher

    Great tutorial. Great explanation. I like your choice of a music box for your source.

  • Kechuan

    very good tutorial. looking forward to more.

    btw, is it just me or does he kinda sound like agent smith from the matrix – 'mr anderson'..! :)

  • http://soundcloud.com/cynic Cynic

    really like these kontakt tutorials. more!

  • Demian

    Hey! awesome! there are not too many tutorials out there , not this quality,, thanks a lot! just a question..where can i find more Kontakt stuff like this?? :( really need a hand with that.