Recently announced by Native Instruments, Kontakt 5 is the latest version of what has become the industry standard software sampler. According to Native Instruments Kontakt 5 offers “profoundly enhanced sound shaping through new high quality filters and studio-grade effect algorithms” which seem to be the major new features amongst a host of other improvements and new functionality.
Of course Kontakt has not always been an industry standard and this announcement reminded us of how the software sampler landscape has changed in the past decade. Many of you will remember the legendary Nemesys Gigasampler which became Tascam Gigastudio and unfortunately was allowed to stagnate and became a relic of the past. If stable VST/AU/RTAS support for and a fully working mac version could have been released in a timely fashion, would Giga still be a going concern?
Other companies have also had contenders to try and take up where Gigasampler left off but none have been able to establish themselves and create a solid user base. Steinberg HALion tried and for a while seemed a worthy candidate, MOTU Mach 5 is worth a mention and if EXS24 had not become locked inside Logic perhaps it would now be the choice of the majority across all platforms.
So how did Native Instruments come up trumps? A key factor has to be third party support and the number of independent developers that released products specifically for Kontakt. Also, licensing a player version did the job of introducing the interface and basic functions to a wider audience. In addition, Kontakt was able to do a very good job of importing older formats so users could breathe new life into their existing sample collections. This was especially important for all the orphaned Giga users that needed to move to a supported solution when Tascam pulled the plug.
Feel free to comment if you have any experiences to share regarding any software sampler, even if it is to reminisce over the golden days of Giga!
Kontakt 5 will be available from September 1st and there is an upgrade path for existing users.