5 Must-Know Features about Kontakt to Speed Up Your Workflow!
So if you haven’t already known, Kontakt is sort of a big deal. It’s an incredibly easy to use engine that has a LOT of power and flexibility and functionality to make your life easy when you’re on crunch time for a project with a tight deadline. Over the few years of working with Kontakt and STILL discovering fascinating things about it, I wanted to share 5 awesome things that Kontakt does that’ll make composing or sound designing a breeze for you!
This is, first and foremost, THE most important of all the sweet features Kontakt has to offer! It’s a prep phase that’ll take quite a bit of time but the end results are crucial and will figuratively cut your time by in seconds. I kid you not. The prep phase part of this process is Kontakt checking for missing samples, re-saving them, and making sure everything is ok. What this process does is it instantly tells Kontakt to know exactly where to find the samples and loads them up within mere seconds. I dunno how it does it but it’s unbelievable.
The process is rather simple. Go under the ‘File’ tab (Shaped like a floppy disk symbol) and select ‘Batch Re-save’. It’ll give you a warning but rest assure you’ll be fine. Now, select the library you want, in this case we’ll use Spitfire’s Albion Tundra for our test.
Now this is a fairly large library and the process for checking and saving and everything will take longer. It varies by the size of the libraries. Now once it has been completed, go ahead and test out by opening up a patch and you’ll understand why this process is the first and most important as it’ll speed up EVERYTHING! It’s incredible!
Quickloads is a vital part of speeding up your workflow as a composer or sound designer. One of the frustrating and most time-consuming things that one goes through in Kontakt is digging through your library of hundreds or thousands of software instruments. It’s overwhelming and frankly, it’s not efficient. So the guys over at Native Instrument thought it would be wise to have a ‘Favorites’ function similar to PLAY’s. It’s called ‘Quickloads’ and it’s exactly that but it goes much deeper.
There’s not much to it, really. You can create folders, create folders within folders, and it’s as simple as finding your favorite go-to instruments and placing them in the ‘Quickload’ window. This helps you to organize your sounds and instruments and it’s readily available to pull up at an instance as oppose to stumbling through your external hard drive’s folder hierarchy system and digging around through that. Who wants to go through all of that trouble???
NOTE: I should mention, this does take some time as it’s a prepping phase that’ll speed up your efficiency when composing or sound designing. You’ll need to dig through external hard drive and find the software instruments to be placed in the Quickload folders you’ve created. But once it’s done, it’s done. Now the only drawback I’ve seen is I have yet to find a solution to carry that Quickload folder to another computer. So you might need to redo all of this if you upgrade to a new computer or reformat it.
So you’ve uploaded a ton of instruments into your instance of Kontakt and now you gotta go in and change the outputs on each one to match the MIDI CHannel. So Output 1 would match MIDI Channel 1, Output 2 would match MIDI Channel 2 and so forth.
Well that’ll get pretty tedious when you’re uploading over hundreds of instruments… So one trick to resolve this is simply by opening up your ‘Outputs.’ This can be found under the ‘Windows’ tab found right of the ‘Settings’ gear symbol. Clicking this will open up the Outputs sub window below. From there you’ll need to click on the ‘Presets/Batch Configuration’ tab which will have a drop down menu.
You’ll want to go under ‘Batch Functions’ and select ‘Split instruments routed to first output channel to individual outputs’. Reason for this is every output up to this point of the process is set to ‘Output 1’. We want to set them to individual inputs. If you want to double check to make sure your outputs are assigned in ascending order you can click on your preset you created from the previous blog post and see that everything is routed correctly.
And if you need to go further because you’re a thorough individual, create your Aux tracks (if in Logic) or instrument tracks or however it’s done in your DAW of choice, select whatever track and play a note. You should see the output signal playing on both ends - the DAW track and inside Kontakt.
Multi Rack is probably one of the most powerful features about Kontakt. It allows you to simply create a rack of instruments and have it be a simple click to open them all up as oppose to individually clicking on each one and loading them up one by one. We’re all about speed here so this is our best option! This is extremely useful if you have 16 instruments that are your go-to for a particular sound genre whether it be trailer hits, booms, braams, brass, strings, etc.
So to go about doing this, simply go under the ‘File’ tab (Floppy disk symbol) and go to ‘Save multi as…’ You’ll be prompted to save your multi rack. I suggest saving it somewhere you’ll be able to find because the next step is gonna blow your mind.
Now, remember that tip about quickloads for instruments? Well… now you can do that for Multi racks. Open the ‘Quickload’ window and you’ll see there’s a ‘Multi’ button. Here is where you can store your favorite multis. Now, just like finding the instruments you wanted to put in your Quickload, go and find your multi-rack that you just saved and drag that into the ‘Multi’ window. And now, you can quickly access that whenever you want!
Now since you put those in the quick load window you can then click on the ‘Multirack’ near the top and select your quick loads from there! And considering we did the batch re-save at the beginning, these instruments load up incredibly fast! Isn’t that just darn neat?
GLOBAL PURGE/RELOAD/UPDATE POOL SAMPLE
So now you have a ton of instruments loaded up and their eating up your RAM space a little bit. Well, an awesome feature about Kontakt is the ability to purge samples! Sure, you can go in and purge each one individually by clicking on the ‘Purge’ tab on each instrument and select Purge all samples,’ but we don’t want to do that for each and every one! We want to do it across the board! Well… you can!
All you gotta do is click on the floppy disk icon that’s left of the ‘Settings’ gear symbol. There towards the bottom you’ll see something called ‘Global purge’. In here you can globally purge all samples, reload all samples, or update the sample pool of all the instruments. For our purposes we’re gonna just purge everything. Now once selected all the instrument samples are purged which will rid of some RAM usage and will reload up once you start writing with them. Once you’ve written your part out you can then select ‘Update the sample pool’ which will then ONLY use the samples that you’ve inputted in while writing as oppose to loading the ENTIRE sample library. Pretty neat, eh?
Now all of these should work in sequential order to make your life easier. Batch re-save improves on the speed you load up your instruments. Quickloads helps to categorize your instruments and make it simpler to find and load them up. Auto Output helps you reassign all the outputs automatically so you don’t have to. Multi-rack allows you to save your favorite instrument bundles into a nice and neat package that you can load up. And because you batch re-saved, they’ll load up faster AND because you automatically rerouted your outputs and saved it as a Multi, those will now all be taken care of for you. All that’s left to do is what you want to do globally whether it’d be purging them all to save on RAM or compose and update the sample pool.
Anyway you look at it, these 5 incredible features are pretty darn essential in making your life a lot easier so you can enjoy the simpler things like going on walks or reading that novel you’ve been meaning to get to or spending time with loved ones. I just sure hope this helps you guys out like it has for me. Happy composing!