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Is possible to live without Kontakt or Kontakt Player? - Printable Version

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Is possible to live without Kontakt or Kontakt Player? - payoak - 03-07-2020

I mean... Nowadays in the Virtual Orchestration world it seems that everybody has to use the NI software. I don't like to have no alternatives but 99% percent of the commercial sample libraries that I have found are in .nki format or a version for Kontakt Player.
There are tons of SFZ libraries but only a few of professional quality What do you use this days?


RE: Is possible to live without Kontakt or Kontakt Player? - Mattias Westlund - 03-08-2020

I'm in the same boat as you. Kontakt Player doesn't even run very well on my system, so shelling out hundreds of dollars for the full Kontakt isn't exactly an enticing prospect. That said, many sample library developers have moved or will be moving away from Kontakt and creating their own sample player platforms. This is both good and bad. Good, because it breaks up NI's near-monopoly, and bad because say what you will about Kontakt, it allows you to edit and customize patches in a way that other in-house players simply won't (e.g. Spitfire or EW's Play engine).

Personally I'm still using older libraries in TX16Wx and SFZ format. I don't see myself ever scoring any AAA titles so that isn't an issue for me personally, but it would be nice to have some modern stuff that isn't locked into a proprietary format.


RE: Is possible to live without Kontakt or Kontakt Player? - payoak - 03-08-2020

(03-08-2020, 01:41 PM)Mattias Westlund Wrote: I'm in the same boat as you. Kontakt Player doesn't even run very well on my system, so shelling out hundreds of dollars for the full Kontakt isn't exactly an enticing prospect. That said, many sample library developers have moved or will be moving away from Kontakt and creating their own sample player platforms. This is both good and bad. Good, because it breaks up NI's near-monopoly, and bad because say what you will about Kontakt, it allows you to edit and customize patches in a way that other in-house players simply won't (e.g. Spitfire or EW's Play engine).

Personally I'm still using older libraries in TX16Wx and SFZ format. I don't see myself ever scoring any AAA titles so that isn't an issue for me personally, but it would be nice to have some modern stuff that isn't locked into a proprietary format.

Thank you for the answer Mattias,
I am going to clarify that I own a license of Kontakt 5 and I am testing some free libraries with it. It works as expected and there are tons of libraries for the platform, being the cheapest/free the ones for Kontakt full, not "player". The thing is that I know that the Kontakt route is going to be a very expensive one and I hate the monopolistic strategy of NI and their .nki format. 
I am trying to convert myself to TX16Wx also but there are only a few commercial quality libraries in SFZ format and it seems that TX16Wx only has "limited support" for such. I can't even load the Virtual Playing Orchestra correctly with it. No issues with .sf2 soundfonts tough.


RE: Is possible to live without Kontakt or Kontakt Player? - Mattias Westlund - 03-08-2020

TX16Wx is a very powerful sampler, especially v3 (I'm still on v2 though, as v3 has issues with backwards compatibility), but you need to be prepared to put in the work and roll your own patches. It's not meant to be a "player" for any other format, it's meant to be a creative tool. As such, it doesn't have any premade libraries that I'm aware of. Also, since most modern libraries only come with monolithic and/or encrypted sample files, you can't easily import them into TX and make new patches. Happily, most of the libraries I own are provided as separate wave files, or can easily be converted to a non-monolithic format.


RE: Is possible to live without Kontakt or Kontakt Player? - PPH - 03-09-2020

I don't use Kontakt. I have Kontakt Player installed, but there is not one single WIP of mine right now that uses it. I do think I must get Kontakt eventually. But I won't be doing that for the next months. I have used Kontakt Player, but didn't like it. It feels... clunky. But maybe that's just in my current computer (I think it worked better in the previous one). The thing is one thinks one is missing out... You want to get a library, and then you see it's for Kontakt. But there are plenty of libraries out there.


RE: Is possible to live without Kontakt or Kontakt Player? - Samulis - 03-10-2020

SFZ has always been problematic for commercial developers as it rests upon open source foundations that generally make it hard to copy-protect effectively... it's very strength is what makes it a weakness for a commercial creator. Not to mention with SFZ you end up in the exact same issue as you get with NKI's, but instead of Native Instruments, you're licensing ARIA Player from Plogue... and losing out on many of the advanced features that make Kontakt the strong choice it is for devs. I've used SFZ a long time and would be among the first to praise all of its fantastic virtues, but for many commercial devs there's a deal breaker in there somewhere, be it feature set, execution, lacking DRM/encryption, etc. Even the fact that it has such a low adoption rate is itself a contributor to discouraging commercial development.

Now there are some other options such as HISE, and more coming out as time goes on. Of course you can also make your own patches in whatever sampler you choose too, so long as you can find products that you can extract the sample files from, or where they are provided accessible, and have the patience to do so. At the end of the day, I think the reason why many end users are just as happy using Kontakt, or worse, some completely proprietary engine like PLAY, is because in most composition workflows, especially commercial ones, ease of use and speed are the primary concerns, so there's almost no desire to be able to alter patches beyond basic tweaks, and a strong desire for patches to be pre-balanced and calibrated to be highly playable with minimal effort/time involved. Asking the average user to assemble their own sample sets is like asking the average car owner to build their own car. For someone who has already built cars, or builds cars for a living, it is an easy, quick, even enjoyable process. Even offering car owners the ability to disassemble and rebuild their car however they'd like wouldn't go over too well; most folks would rather pay someone else to do it for them. As a result, such 'power user' abilities are often either overlooked or intentionally left out in many proprietary samplers or sample libraries. Kontakt at least holds no punches back on this: you can, aside from source code, modify just about any part of a Kontakt library to your liking.