Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Sampler and Sampling discussion (techniques, tips and tricks, etc.)
Kiiryu
KVRist
54 posts since 21 May, 2018

Post Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:05 am

On one hand, realistic sounding instruments can absolutely blow small samples out of the water. Just simple legato notes can sound amazing. Orchestral sounds, there's just no contest.

Yet, it seems like it also slows down the process a lot. You can't just lay down notes, they often have to be offset on a per-note basis (since samples and transitions are all different.) And once you use one amazing real sounding instrument, anything that "doesn't" sound amazingly real is going to stick out like a sore thumb in the same track, and in some cases a kontakt instrument just doesn't exist for the instrument or type of sound you're looking for.

Where do you draw the line? Have you ever used Kontakt a lot and then just ran out of steam and switched back to less realistic sounding stuff?

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Jace-BeOS
KVRAF
5755 posts since 7 Jan, 2005 from Corporate States of America

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:45 am

I barely use it. I only upgraded because there was a sale and I needed 64-bit support to port projects using orchestral strings (very subtly) from Logic 9 to X.

That said...

Depending on the songs, I think “realistic” sounds mixed with “less realistic” sounds can work if the “less realistic” ones are less realistic because of tech limitations that give them their own unique synth-like character (like ancient samplers). Using samples to create synthesis works better for me than many sample players that try so hard to reproduce acoustic instruments with few resources (short samples).

I think it started to be a problem when ROMplers got to be “close but not quite”. When PC sound cards moved to what they called “wave table synthesis” (which was the wrong term), and General MIDI proliferated. There’s a kind of “uncanny valley” effect with these products, where sampled instruments seem wrong because they’re actually much closer to being right. What’s wrong stands out more. Then there is the disconcerting “tiny sustain loops” problem (resulting in an off-pitch buzzy synth sound), and the “too much / too perfect vibrato” problems.

As a result, I avoid such sounds (close enough to sound wrong) and prefer sounds that are interesting, regardless of whether they’re natural or not. This may be why I don’t use samplers much. It’s so easy to fall into the uncanny valley with either bad samples, bad sample-player patches, or just the incorrect usage of them (and with all the articulation functions, not hard to mess up). I also am not fond of how SAMEY most soundtracks sound today, and the orchestral sound libraries (and human behavior of copying each other endlessly) have caused soundtracks to all sound the same.
Last edited by Jace-BeOS on Sat Jan 25, 2020 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Kiiryu
KVRist
54 posts since 21 May, 2018

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 5:45 am

I'd say it also depends on how the instruments are used. If you have a rompler sounding backing track it's generally going to sound fine with a lead kontakt instrument. But If you use a lead kontakt instrument, and then a lead rompler, (like a realistic violin followed by a rompler trumpet) the lack of true legato and sample size is probably going to stick out. In that situation it's like you said; generally better to use something that sounds interesting and isn't trying to just be a real trumpet.

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kevvvvv
vvvvvvv
2387 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from skelmersdale, west lancs, uk

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:48 am

Agree with OP

2 years ago I used all Kontakt samples

Now I use "synth substitutes" a lot.

It's so much quicker

And still sounds good if the arrangement is good, and the synth sounds selected create the right feeling level.

Often synths have to be tweaked to make them more dynamically responsive, then they're fine.
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SLiC
KVRAF
4418 posts since 2 Dec, 2004 from North Wales

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 6:58 am

I find the interface to small and the entire GUI quite dated (as with most NI stuff). I still use it for Output instruments, but that's about it, I use UVI Falcon for most of what I used to use Kontakt for.
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kevvvvv
vvvvvvv
2387 posts since 24 Oct, 2000 from skelmersdale, west lancs, uk

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 8:31 am

slic
I find the interface to small and the entire GUI quite dated
+1
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Mr Arkadin
KVRAF
1581 posts since 11 Mar, 2003

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:05 am

I have never used it as a sampler, purely as a sample player. I think that's down to the interface and architecture. I use it a lot though, but never change any settings or what not.

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McLilith
KVRAF
2056 posts since 7 Jul, 2003 from Huntington, WV

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:50 pm

I've personally never had that problem. I use Kontakt for both realistic and synthetic sounds. I also use traditional synths, both analog and digital.

I don't know what type of music you tend to work with, but there are multiple genres of music which mix synthetic and acoustic instruments—Pop, Rock, some dance genres, and modern cinematic soundtracks immediately come to mind, but there are definitely others.
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Kiiryu
KVRist
54 posts since 21 May, 2018

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Fri Jan 24, 2020 2:00 pm

McLilith wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2020 1:50 pm
I don't know what type of music you tend to work with, but there are multiple genres of music which mix synthetic and acoustic instruments—Pop, Rock, some dance genres, and modern cinematic soundtracks immediately come to mind, but there are definitely others.
The problem isn't mixing synthetic and acoustic, so much as it's mixing two instruments that are both trying to sound real, when one sounds significantly less real.

For example DX/FM sounds work with a lot of stuff because it doesn't sound real at all. And stuff like the wavestation sounds good alongside real instruments since a lot of the instruments are layered and a bit more complex than a basic sample.

Sparky77
KVRian
929 posts since 29 Sep, 2006

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Sat Jan 25, 2020 1:17 pm

I like to use it to work with my own samples.
It has tons of useful features for this as long as you have them in one of the supported formats.

Now there are several good samplers that output to Kontakt so that's also a plus.
(avoid Chicken Systems - Translator, absolutely horrible).

You can make some very cool custom sounds with all the features that Kontakt has.
I also use Falcon for this but like the filters in Kontakt better.
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dune_rave
KVRAF
1523 posts since 23 Jun, 2006 from Hungary

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Sat Jan 25, 2020 3:12 pm

i dont think kontakt is too much trouble.
the ni guis are small, thats right, but
kontakt is perfect for playing and layering samples and sample based instruments.
I don't want perfect realistic stuff so the current libraries are ok for me. nowadays i compared kontakt with the triton vst and it made me think i dont need triton when i have kontakt.
imho somewhere ni will update the kontakt gui, until that day we have to accept the current old gui.
plus the 3rd party libraries of kontakt are fantastic, for example realitone or soniccouture have nice libraries , just to name two vendor.

DSmolken
KVRAF
1662 posts since 20 Sep, 2013 from Poland

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Sun Jan 26, 2020 12:22 am

I go to the trouble of spending 100+ hours making my own sampled instruments for Sforzando, so using existing ones for Kontakt or other big samplers isn't too much trouble for me, no. Some of them are too much diskspace and RAM, though, so I'm holding off on buying them until I replace my computer.

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AngelCityOutlaw
KVRist
182 posts since 4 Dec, 2017

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Sun Jan 26, 2020 8:24 pm

I don't know that this question has so much to do with Kontakt specifically. I think it's a more so another iteration of "how much do you care about realism?" and "is the work worth it?"

There are two types of "realism" that exist in computer music that tries to emulate acoustic instruments.

The first is a great composition that's lines could be played by real players and sounds authentic to the music typically played by that ensemble or instrument, but the sound of the performance itself is not terribly realistic.

The second is a weaker composition, and much less musical, but the performance sounds authentic (because it is limited in articulation) and the samples excel in that regard.

The former is absolutely more important if you want to improve your craft as a songwriter or composer.

Unfortunately, getting both a musical composition and a realistic performance with samples (particularly where the orchestra is concerned) is often quite difficult and time-consuming at best, outright-impossible in certain situations, especially "out of the box". The biggest reason for this is that many companies do not sample the different articulations in context to each other; a real horn player can play all manner of long and short notes, ornamentation, etc. in a single phrase and it will all sound like a cohesive performance. This kind of fluidity is vital in acoustic music, but many sample libraries will instead have large dynamic and timbral differences between articulations that instantly wrecks the illusion and sounds faker in the process than using a more homogeneous "cheap" patch with a fast attack.

I don't think it matters whether you're using Kontakt or any other sampler, though. If you are trying to get a realistic and musical performance with samples, it's going to take a lot of work, what with keyswitches, CC data, and all that. Sure, it can sound fantastic in the end, but I must be honest: I do often lament how many hours I've spent just to make a single line of music sound good with samples. Time is the most valuable resource any of us can ever have.

But, as Noteperformer is proof of, AI and machine-learning reading scores will help reduce the workload in the future. I'm looking forward to it.

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donkey tugger
Boss Lovin' DR
6592 posts since 15 Mar, 2002 from the grimness of yorkshire

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Sun Jan 26, 2020 9:33 pm

Johnny average listener really doesn't care a lot of the time, as long as the composition is good;

"Oh, I really liked the harpsichord on that one"

"Thanks, err, it was my 12 string guitar.." :hihi:

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Forgotten
KVRAF
8728 posts since 15 Apr, 2019 from Nowhere

Re: Do you ever find Kontakt instruments to be too much trouble?

Post Sun Jan 26, 2020 10:01 pm

:lol:

The recent one I got was my 10 year old daughter going to check that the cat was alright because he was making strange noises. Turns out it was the sound of me tuning two sinthesizers to each other...

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