Kontakt Player vs Kontakt 6 (Full Version) – Comparison

People are often confused between Kontakt Player compared and the full version of Kontakt. We explain it in simple terms!

  • Kontakt (the full version) is an industry-standard sampler by Native Instruments. It is most often run as a plugin inside a DAW (such as Ableton Live, Logic, etc). It’s a professional software sampler that comes at a pretty premium price.
  • Kontakt Player is available for free. It’s a “lite” or much more limited version of Kontakt Full. However, it is still very much worth it for those that can’t afford the full version, or for those that want to get a demo of some of the features of Kontakt Full.

The full version of Kontakt offers a very large amount of libraries and sounds, whereas Kontakt Player is far more limited.

You may also find many third-party sound-sets and libraries online that are advertised for Kontakt. The vast majority of these will only work on the full version of Kontakt.

Main Differences Between Kontakt Full And Kontakt Player

Kontakt is a highly innovative and detailed sampler created by Native Instruments. It is an industry-standard sampler that was used to create some of the most innovative instruments on the market.

Kontakt Player is the name of a free application also created by Native Instruments. Basically, it is what hosts the sample-based instruments, which includes third-party products. All the instruments that were designed for Kontakt Player can run in Kontakt Full.

Kontakt Full has now reached version 6, and the obvious difference between it and Kontakt Player is that Kontakt Player is completely free. This does come with a few noteworthy differences.

For starters, in Kontakt Player, you only get access to 50 instruments. This offers you a sound library of around 500 MB. With Kontakt Full, you receive over 1,000 instruments, making up 55 GB of sounds.

Another major difference between the two is visible when you compare the creator tools included. In Kontakt 6, there is an extra standalone application added that you can use to streamline the instrument creation process.

Also, you gain full access to extensive instrument editing, an integrated sample editor, several standalone high-end effects, Kontakt Script Processor Editing, and 57 high-quality filters.

What Are the Limitations of the Free Kontakt Player?

In order to promote Kontakt Full, when you download and start using Kontakt Player, the main features of the industry-leading software are activated. However, you can only use them with limitations. The limitations you should be aware of are the following:

  • Extensive Instrument Editing – Only available for 15 minutes in demo mode
  • Integrated Sample Editor – Only available for 15 minutes in demo mode
  • 33 High-End Effects – Can only be used in the master section for 15 minutes
  • 57 High-Quality Filters – Can only be used in the master section for 15 minutes
  • Kontakt Script Processor Editing – 15 minutes available in demo mode

Where Can I Get Free Kontakt Player Libraries?

When you want to use Kontakt Player, it is recommended to take advantage of the Komplete Start option by Native Instruments. This is because it gives you access to 9 sampled instruments for free:

  • Play Series Selection – 3 hybrid instruments: Analog Dreams, Ethereal Earth, and Hybrid Keys
  • Kinetic Treats – Textures and sounds from sampled children’s toys
  • Expansions Selection – A collection of 1,500 samples and loops
  • World – 6 instruments, including reed instruments, flutes, plucked instruments, percussion, and bagpipes
  • Band – 13 pop and rock instruments, including acoustic drum kits, e-guitars, and organs
  • Synth – Several contemporary synth leads, drum kits, basses, and pads
  • Vintage – 13 instruments (resembling analog keyboards and synthesizers)
  • Urban Beats – A drum loop production kit with 5 instruments

Besides these, you can find some free Kontakt Player libraries. However, they are more difficult to locate because they would need to be approved by Native Instruments, which is only possible when the creator pays for it. Some examples of such libraries are:

Arcane – A collection of esoteric and mysterious sounds. Half of them are available for free.

Soniccouture – Several Kontakt Player products are available for free, including piano, drums, and rocksichord.

How Much Does Kontakt Full Cost?

Kontakt 6 is now available for 399 EUR. If you already own another version of Kontakt (1 to 5), you only need to pay 99 EUR. Crossgrade deals are also available when you own third-party products that are Kontakt-based. In this case, you would need to pay 249 EUR.

What Is Included in Kontakt Full?

The differences between what is available in the Kontakt Player and Kontakt 6 become visible when looking at the full version. Some of the main included things that are of interest are:

Factory Library

This is one reason why many music producers buy the software without mentioning anything else—Kontakt Full features over 55 GB of creative, detailed, and expressive instruments.

You can also drag and drop the samples you get into an interface of your own choice. This includes over 1,000 instruments, ranging from symphony instruments to retro tribal drums.

Hardware Integration

This includes both Native Instruments products and instruments developed by partners. However, hardware created by third-party developers that are not approved by Native Instruments is not supported.

Extended Functionality

NKS (Native Kontrol Standard) is used by Kontakt instruments. This is the extended plugin format that is used by virtual instrument developers. As a result, there is a seamless and intuitive interaction between Komplete Kontrol, Maschine hardware, and plugin instruments. This includes key control pre-mapping and instant audio previews. Music producers can take advantage of this interaction to quickly edit samples or music.

Retro Machines MK2

This is a collection of 16 classic keyboards and synthesizers, including a chord generator and an arpeggiator.

Kontakt Play Series

3 Play Series instruments are available: Hybrid Keys, Ethereal Earth, and Analog Dreams. They were introduced in Kontakt 6.

Besides all these, it is worth mentioning that you can build your own musical instruments with the Full version. This is possible through several instrument-building and sample-editing options. For instance, you can take a collection of piano samples, add them to the interface, and edit them so that the sound is as desired. Music producers can thus create their instruments and edit them without leaving the software used for composing music.

Should You Buy Kontakt Full?

If you are a beginner and you’re only now learning how to make music, there is a strong possibility that Kontakt Full would be too much. Obviously, you would need to take into account whether or not the price is affordable in your case.

If you are a professional, Kontakt Full has to be seriously considered because it is a very affordable option, given all that is included.

Is Kontakt a VST?

Kontakt can be used as a standalone app or as a plugin in your preferred DAW (formats supported: VST, AU, or AAX.)

Is Kontakt a DAW?

Kontakt is not a DAW. It’s a sampler, albeit a very powerful one! You use it to edit or use samples inside your music production software.

However, Kontakt can be used as a plugin WITHIN your DAW.

DAW applications are used to edit, record, arrange, produce, work with MIDI, and output audio files (among many other features!).

Summary

Both Kontakt Full and Kontakt Player are very useful for composers and even music production professionals. Choosing between the two is all about your needs and current skill level.

However, we have to highlight the fact that Kontakt Full is superior. If you are serious about making music and you can afford it, the investment is more than worth it.

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