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Posted by on Jan 10, 2012 | 4 comments

Design Toolbox #2 – Kontakt

For this second post of the Design Toolbox series, I thought it would be nice to explore a sampler and it’s application in sound design. Kontakt has been around for a long time and is widely used by musicians, and lately amongst more sound designers too. I haven’t used it since version 2 (years ago), and my MIDI editing skills in Pro Tools are not the best. I thought it would be a good idea to get René Coronado to collaborate, especially since his recent independent sound effects libraries also include Kontakt instruments.

I had a Pro Tools session setup with an instance of Kontakt that had some of the Echo Collective samples installed. I was connected to René through iChat with screen sharing enabled so he could give me feedback in real time. More on how this was done at the end of this post.

Simon Bronson was very kind to provide us with a video. Go to his Vimeo page and look at his awesome work!

Design Toolbox #2 – Kontakt – Screencast on Vimeo.

The designed video, with some volume/pan automation and master EQ & gain:

Design Toolbox #2 – Kontakt – Finished Clip
on Vimeo.

If you are new to sampling in Kontakt, this video tutorial by DubSpot is worth looking at.

About iChat & screen recording:

As I’ve mentioned in the video, René and I were connected over iChat. I used a microphone for my voice which was connected to my Sound Devices USBPre2 and was made audible in Pro Tools through an Aux channel. The USBPre2 was used as the common output for Pro Tools (which included my voice+Kontakt outputs) and iChat. The optical outs from the USBPre2 were connected to the optical input of the MacBookPro (loop back), which was used as the audio input for Quick Time X (for screen capture) and the input for iChat, so René could hear the same mix as I.

While Quick Time X has lost the editing (cut/copy/paste) features that were present in Quick Time 7, it works great as a free screen recording software. File > New Screen Recording.

My original plan was to use Soundflower for routing audio internally, but unfortunately it isn’t compatible with Lion yet.

Triggering MIDI:

I didn’t have a hardware MIDI controller around with me so I used a little app I developed in Max/MSP that converts the computer keyboard in to a MIDI interface. It is inspired by Logic’s Caps-Lock keyboard and is useful for software like Pro Tools. You can read more about it and download it here.

Visit René’s blog and bookmark it/add it to your reader: The Sound My Head Makes


  1. the sounds..very gritty…well sampled. Anyways keep em coming. Also, from where did you get that video from Varun?.

  2. I love this little KeyD app. Very useful for laptop work when no keyboard is around. Any chance to see OSC communication implemented soon?

  3. @Zohran: As mentioned in the post, it’s by Simon Bronson. Check his Vimeo page here: He's got lots of cool videos and was kind enough to give us permission to use this one.

    @Jed: Great idea! Will implement it ASAP! 

  4. Varun the KeyD app rocks so much!!! 


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