(musTh625) using kontakt with digital performer

A simple overview of using Kontakt as a virtual instrument in Digital Performer…

kontakt, virtual instruments, plugins

Kontakt, like many virtual (software) instruments, can run as a standalone application or within a DAW host, such as Digital Performer (or Pro Tools, Logic, Ableton Live, etc.). When it is running within a DAW, we refer to Kontakt as an instrument plugin, similar to an effects processor. DAWs handle instruments plugins in slightly varying ways. Digital Performer has a special track type for instrument plugins, called an instrument track. An instrument track in DP accepts MIDI as input, and outputs digital audio directly to an output or bus. Audio from an instrument track is not recorded unless you route the output of the instrument track (using a bus) to an audio track.

preparing a kontakt instrument

It is easier to do initial editing in Kontakt running in standalone mode. You don’t have the added processor overhead and window clutter associated with a running DAW, and MIDI inputs and Audio outputs are setup directly in Kontakt without any other intervention.

Once you have created some individual instruments that you like, you should set up multi-instruments, or racks in Kontakt. A rack of multi-instruments, properly saved, contains any number of instruments (1 – whatever your computer can support) that load together. Given the way that Digital Performer accepts Kontakt audio output, it is best to setup racks containing instruments that you want to play and control as one. You can setup a rack with only one instrument, if that instrument is intended to be played independently. Or you can setup a rack of several instruments if you want to play them together and combine their outputs.

Your instruments in your rack should be set to appropriate MIDI channel inputs. You should not use omni inputs for instruments to use in DP. Even if you want to play multiple instruments at the same time, you may want to keep them on separate MIDI channel inputs, as that will allow to vary the combination of instruments playing at any given time, which can be used to create more compositional variety.

Saving your multi-instruments/racks will save the individual instruments as well, and any output settings. I would recommend saving as monolith, even though this will make yet another copy of your audio samples. Saving as monoliths just makes it easier to transfer files between computers. Also note, that although saving a rack saves all the individual instruments in the rack, to load these instruments individually or in other combinations requires you to save each instrument individually.

loading a kontakt instrument in digital performer

Launch Digital Performer. Open a new project. You can reimport any audio you want to from your previous project.

Create your instrument and MIDI tracks. The easiest way to set these up so that they will be linked (MIDI output to Instrument input) is to select Project > Add Track > Instruments with Options. I normally choose to

  • create 1 instrument,
  • pick Kontakt 5 (Stereo) as the instrument assignment from the drop down menu,
  • create at least 1 MIDI track (I usually create at least 2), and
  • assign all the tracks to a track folder (which keeps them together in any track view, and makes them easier to work with)

When you create an instrument track assigned to Kontakt, it will open an effects window with the complete Kontakt workspace. Load an instrument from the browser or file icon, or load a multi-instrument/rack. Check the MIDI channel assignments for each instrument. You should set each instrument to listen to a specific MIDI channel. Don’t use the Omni setting, which listens to all MIDI channels. You want to have the ability to individually address instruments.

If I have multiple instruments in my rack, I usually assign them each their own MIDI channels. If I want to send commands to all of them, I copy the information to all the tracks. But if I want to send to only a subset, I can.

You can have more than instance of Kontakt loaded in DP. Repeat the above steps as many times as you need different Kontakt instruments.

name your tracks

It really helps to name your DP tracks, especially your instrument and MIDI tracks. Instruments are selected as a source by their track name. MIDI tracks can be individually edited in the MIDI tab view, and you select a track to edit by choosing its name from a drop down menu.

Option-click on any track name (including folder names) to change the track name.

routing MIDI output

Using the Tracks view makes it easy to see audio outputs and inputs, and MIDI outputs and inputs (and to rename your tracks).

By default, MIDI inputs are not shown, because MIDI tracks listen MIDI input from all connected MIDI devices. The output is important. If you followed the instructions for setting up the instrument and MIDI tracks, you should have MIDI tracks that send information to the instrument you want. A MIDI output is listed, in the case of an instrument, as the track name of the instrument, possibly a number denoting the instance of the instrument (1, 2, 3, etc. if you have multiple Kontakt instruments), and the MIDI channel being sent to the instrument. This last number, the MIDI channel output, has to match what your instruments in Kontakt are set to for input.

If you record enable a MIDI track, the incoming MIDI commands from any device are routed to the assigned output of the track. If the instrument is play enabled, you should hear output from Kontakt, via Digital Performer.

multi-record on MIDI tracks

DP typically only allows one MIDI track to be record-enabled at a time. You can change this setting under Studio > Multi Record. With Multi Record enabled, you can select multiple MIDI tracks for recording (record-enable). This feature is intended for multi-keyboard players, and requires you to select a MIDI input for each MIDI track. You can still route one MIDI input to multiple MIDI tracks, and therefore multiple MIDI outputs. You just need to set the inputs of each track to the same MIDI input. I generally select a device (such as the Axiom keyboard) and “all channels.”


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