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28 August 2005

Reaktor 5 review — Computer Music

Filed under: Music software at 7:43 pm Comments Off on Reaktor 5 review — Computer Music

Reaktor 5, the latest version of Native Instruments’ flagship soft synth, gets an excellent review in the July issue of Computer Music magazine. In fact, they give it top marks for both Value for Money and Performance, and make it an Editor’s Choice. They say “it’s absolutely loaded with powerful new features that are guaranteed to keep you busy for aeons.”

Reaktor is more than just a synth — it’s a construction kit that lets you create your own synths, samplers and effects. You can build components by wiring together the included modules and saving them for later use. You can save combinations of instruments and effects into a single Ensemble. According to the review, this is “an elegant design that allows users to share creations at verying level of completion and complexity. It’s also surprisingly easy to use”. Fortunately, there is a degree of forward-compatibility; Ensembles built for the previous version will also work in Reaktor 5, which is important if you already own a previous version and are thinking of upgrading.

Of course, it comes with enough presets to make it useful right out of the box too: “NI have, as you’d expect, included a more than respectable selection of new Instruments, effects, sampler transformers, beatboxes and sequencers that make use of Reaktor 5’s improved feature set.” They describe many of them in some detail, before concluding that “the new Ensembles open up plenty of new sonic territories and sound fantastic.”

Reaktor 5 includes a new concept called Core Technologies, which they say “is undoubtedly among the most powerful of the new features.” This allows much nore low-level programming of sound modules and effects. Unless you’re already into computer programming, you may not use this, but it does mean that there will be a lot of interesting third-party add-ons for Reaktor 5.

In the end they give it a solid 9 out of ten. “Reaktor remains a great deal. Add to that its incredible versatility, and it really could be the only plug-in you’ll ever need.”

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