As I wrote on my website Elliott Clarke Drums, I’ve recently been using some of Native Instruments free products. Having previewed Komplete 8 I just wasn’t happy with the stock sounds I had available, and so I went searching for some pro alternatives.
What I found was NI Komplete Players. The line includes Guitar Rig 5, Kontakt 5, Reaktor 5, and powered-by-reaktor Mikro Prism. The “player” tags on all of these denote free download, and limited stock sounds. They are all expandable with paid upgrades from the Komplete library, and run fully for an unlimited time period.
1. Kontakt 5 Player
Kontakt 5 Player is a compact version of the premium sample player. The technology is pretty much the same, and the free Factory Selection sound library provides access to a small selection of Kontakt Band, Synth, Urban Beats, Vintage and World libraries. On the face of it these seem quite small – one bass, two pianos, one organ, etc. – but fiddle with the “tone” control and you’ll find vast differences in the professional sounds available.
2. Reaktor 5 Player
Reaktor 5 player is altogether more powerful. As you’d expect with a synthesis-based sound engine, the sound design capabilities run pretty deep. If you’re more of a head-full-of-ideas type, the preset patches will get you on your way to making music instantly. As with Kontakt, the Reaktor player is easily expandable with The Finger, Reaktor Spark, Reaktor Prism, The Mouth, and the infamous Razor.
3. Guitar Rig 5 Player
Guitar Rig 5 needs no introduction. The “player” version allows you to load 17 cabinet emulations, and 13 effects and sound modifiers on top of the included amp simulation. The factory selection includes Skreamer distortion, a number of reverbs & delays, and tube compression – which I haven’t yet played with, but can’t wait to try on vocals! Expansion options include Rammfire, Traktor’s 12, Reflektor, Vintage Compressors, Transient Master, and Solid Mix Series effects.
4. Powered-by-Reaktor Mikro Prism
Last but not least, Mikro Prism is a recent addition to the free instrument list, based on the Reaktor Prism sound engine. With 70 presets, the built-in cabinet simulation, filter, flanger, echo and reverb effects provide a wealth of sounds out-of-the-box. Mikro Prism isn’t expandable, but when you upgrade to Reaktor Prism a whole new world of possibilities opens up.
Native Instruments free Player software runs in AU, RTAS, and VST formats, so you’re not limited by your DAW!