How to Use Third-Party Sample Libraries With Native Instruments Kontakt Player

Kontakt Player

Native Instruments’ free Kontakt Player sample playback engine can be used with many third-party sample libraries; here is a selection.

Soniccouture offers music producers a lo-fi tape choir which sounds incredible. Another fantastic option from Heavyocity’s piano library is perfect for creating dramatic transitions in films or videos.

MIDI and Automation Integration

composers will appreciate Kontakt’s versatile MIDI and automation integration. Its advanced features allow for real-time control over almost every aspect of a sampled instrument – perfect for live performances and studio production alike!

Kontakt’s full version comes equipped with an array of effects that give you more control over your instruments and help create unique sounds. Third-party developers offer libraries designed specifically for Kontakt, further expanding its sound palette.

With a MIDI keyboard or controller, you can assign which MIDI channel your instrument will listen to through its front panel – this will determine which parameters’ envelopes appear under VST track automation lane.

Notably, non-Player library instruments – those not authorized with a full Kontakt license – may still be loaded into Kontakt via Library pane and Native Access but will only work in demo mode until purchased.


Numerous third-party libraries that work with Kontakt Player are freely available, and NI’s Komplete Start bundle is an invaluable way to start exploring acoustic instruments. Furthermore, Native offers an amazing selection of free Kontakt library drums, electric pianos and rock guitars that work beautifully as part of its instrument collection.

Heavyocity offers another free piano plugin which sounds cinematic and soft – ideal for emotional sequences. In addition, they have a patch that features incredible pad sounds.

Project SAM’s The Free Orchestra offers an enormous variety of cinematic orchestral sounds – everything from string staccatos and brass clusters, as well as symphonic percussion.

Notably, many third-party libraries require the full version of Kontakt; as its free Kontakt Player only offers limited editing features. However, Native Instruments offers some free libraries for those not ready or willing to invest in a full license version.

Sound Quality

As with traditional samplers, Kontakt uses samples to construct instruments. It has various tools for mapping and manipulating these samples as well as advanced scripting capabilities that enable it to build complex instruments. Many third-party developers create their own libraries of instruments for Kontakt Player versions that only expose controls necessary for controlling them (e.g. mapping samples to different keys or applying effects).

Thrill is an example of a library designed specifically for use with the free Kontakt Player, with its license permitting users to load and use it without needing the full version of Kontakt. Unfortunately, however, large Giga-format drum setups containing multiple keygroups and samples cannot be imported as this will cause crashing – yet Native Instruments provides a crossgrade offer to enable owners of third-party Kontakt Player libraries who wish to upgrade to its full version.

Ease of Use

For expanding your musical palette with third-party instruments, many libraries available through the free Kontakt Player are suitable. Exceptions are those which require full paid version of Kontakt to operate, which typically requires the library developer to pay a one-off programming fee and per-sale license in exchange for using Native Instruments’ sample playback engine.

ProjectSAM’s The Free Orchestra is a 1 GB download that contains fourteen orchestral patches from their best-selling libraries, designed for use with the free Kontakt Player without any workflow limitations or workflow restrictions.

Heavyocity’s Staccato Piano, an emotive piano sound with layers, comes free with Native Access and can then be authorized in Kontakt Player; once authorized they can be used without being limited by a 15-minute demo timeout limit.

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