As many of you may know, Kontakt is the industry standard sampler, and thousands of libraries use this format. It’s probably the most common cause of confusion with those who are new to virtual instruments and sample libraries, so today I want to give a quick run down of the differences between Kontakt 5 Full and Kontakt Player, and also throw in the newer Kontakt 6 for good measure.
Kontakt 5 Full – This is the currently the most common version. This is the paid full version of the Kontakt sampler. Kontakt 5 Full is capable of loading Kontakt and Kontakt Player libraries, and many libraries require this full version.
Kontakt Player – This is the free version of Kontakt 5, basically a slightly stripped down version. It will NOT be able to load libraries that are made for the full version. While there are a lot of libraries available for the free Kontakt Player, you will not be able to have access to all of the content available, simple because many libraries require Kontakt Full.
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Kontakt 6 – This is the newest version of the Kontakt sampler, and it’s the latest and greatest, yet it’s benefits and features are yet to be fully taken advantage of, simply because it’s still so new on the market. Many of us are able to get by just fine by still using Kontakt 5, however that will not always be the case, as developers take advantage of the new features and begin to release libraries that are only compatible with Kontakt 6. It will be a mandatory upgrade, just not yet.
The biggest thing to remember: anytime you see mention of Kontakt Player, this simply refers to the free version. It can be confusing, because essentially, all versions of Kontakt are “players” of sample content. Since Kontakt Player is free, it will have slightly limited functionality and content compared to the full version, but many users make do just fine with the free version, especially if you aren’t heavy into composing for an orchestra full time.
ALWAYS remember to check for compatibility when purchasing a new library, as it can sometimes be hard to find in all the fine print. Tip: do a search function on the web page (ctrl+F on PC) and type in the word “Kontakt”. This will ensure that you don’t end up spending a lot of money on a library that isn’t compatible with your version of Kontakt!
-Brian Freeland, APD