Welcome to Part 3 of our Kontakt Workflow series! This post will cover additional ways you can optimize CPU and RAM usage within Kontakt, as well as features such as RAM Purge, batch resaving and NCW compression.
CPU Usage Revisited
You may recall from our previous guide that Kontakt can eat up a lot of CPU with high polyphony and disk streaming (DFD). You already know that tweaking disk streaming, audio interface buffer length, and multicore options can help improve performance. However, there are other factors that can eat up CPU as well.
Generic Warning: When editing any of your Kontakt instruments, be sure to save your edited versions as NEW copies so you can always return to or restore the original library versions!
Welcome to Part 2 of our Kontakt Workflow series! This post will focus on ways you can get Kontakt running more smoothly in your DAW and operating system of choice.
Computer Spec Check
Whether you’re on Windows or Mac OSX, Kontakt is a fairly efficient piece of software, refined through years of development and updates. That being said, before we delve into Kontakt and your DAW, it’s important to take stock of the machine you’re running it on. Setting aside the operating system, consider your available CPU (processing power), RAM (memory), hard drive space, and your audio interface.
The Kontakt sampler plugin by Native Instruments has come a long way since it was first released in 2002; it went from being the underdog (compared with Tascam’s Gigastudio) to the most dominant sample editing and playback software in the industry. Though we’ve only been developing commercial Kontakt libraries since 2007, we’ve been using it since the very beginning. In this series, we’ll help you optimize your workflow and make the most of Kontakt, no matter what DAW or platform you’re using.
If you’ve only used Kontakt Player libraries, you’re likely used to the convenience of the Libraries tab. Just hit “Add Library”, add an instrument like Archtop or Juggernaut, register it in Service Center, and you’re good to go. However, the majority of our catalog – indeed, the majority of all Kontakt patches out there – are not Kontakt Player compatible and cannot be loaded this way.
To date, our rock/metal-focused electric guitar libraries Shreddage and Shreddage 2 have been the most popular instruments in the Impact Soundworks family. We’re extremely proud of these releases, particularly Shreddage 2, which pushes the limits of how realistic a virtual guitar can be. But while we’re thrilled with the aggressive, heavy tone of these libraries and how well they handle rock/metal music, we’ve always wanted to explore the softer, more dynamic side of the 6-stringed spectrum.
Enter Archtop: Hollowbody Electric Guitar, our upcoming release. We’ve collaborated with virtuoso guitarist and session musician Josh Workman to produce an incredibly detailed library capturing the sounds of a Sadowsky Jim Hall Model archtop hollowbody guitar. This gorgeous instrument is one of the world’s finest guitars, particularly for clean styles like jazz, pop, R&B. It’s also quite capable for many rock and alternative genres as well.
What’s in a name? With so many virtual instruments and sample libraries available for composers and producers today, it’s important to pick a name that is both descriptive and memorable. We decided to switch the name of the library previously known as “Cinematic Synthetic Drums PRO” to JUGGERNAUT: Cinematic Electronic Scoring Tools. Why the change, and what’s the difference?
- JUGGERNAUT truly communicates the size and impact of this flagship instrument.
- Cinematic Synthetic Drums did not do justice to all of the non-percussive samples in the library.
- Scoring Tools best describes the range and purpose of all the sounds included.
Creating a modern virtual instrument requires more than just great recordings, editing, and programming – the user interface and layout of the instrument can make the difference between a great library and an unusable one. This is especially true with libraries that have a great variety of sounds, such as Cinematic Synthetic Drums PRO. Together with Constructive Stumblings, we’ve been building, testing, and iterating on an intuitive and powerful UI for CSD PRO, and we’d like to talk about that process here.
One of the first questions we had to address was how to make it as easy as possible for composers to pull up ready-made presets. There are two distinct approaches to this: one is to have each patch (in this case, a drum/FX kit) as a separate .NKI file on the hard drive. The other approach is to have presets switchable within the instrument interface. We decided to use a hybrid of these two options to get the best of both worlds. From the main patch, you can easily switch presets using up/down arrows and thus audition sounds very rapidly…
In our first blog post, we talked about some of the high-level concepts involved in making a single sound for a library like our upcoming Cinematic Synthetic Drums PRO. Now, we’d like to give you an introduction to some of the very talented and creative sound designers involved in crafting this behemoth.
Jordan’s talent for creating fantastic sonic worlds is evident in the high praise for titles like Super Meat Boy, Donkey Kong Country Returns, Hotline Miami, The Binding of Isaac, Jamestown, Wind-Up Knight, and 20+ other film & game credits. An experienced sound designer, foley artist, and sound mixer (among other things), Jordan brings his skill and passion to the table and has already designed over 60 sounds for CSD Pro, primarily trailer-inspired FX such as impacts, slams, reverses, sweeps and textures.
Welcome to the first post of the official Impact Soundworks blog! We hope to give you insight into the process of designing, recording, and editing sample libraries and virtual instruments.
The idea for the Cinematic Synthetic Drums (CSD) library was perhaps originally inspired by the soundtrack to Tron Legacy by Daft Punk. As an electronic musician myself, I found the blend of grand orchestral elements with highly electronic synths and drums to be very interesting and effective. What pushed me to actually construct and release thsi collection was the free, high-quality work of people like Blake Robinson (Blakus) on VI-Control who deserve great respect for their contributions to the TV/game/film music community!