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Spitfire dropping Kontakt for HZ Strings

thesteelydane

Senior Member
Frankly, NI need a bit of a kick in the pants - they seem to have become complacent.

The ridiculous situation where you have to re-download all your NI libraries again if you have to re-install your software or move to a new computer has been known for months and nothing has been done.

I recently moved to a new windows laptop, and the installer can't even install products on Windows 10 by itself, and had to do them one by one manually.

Simple workflow stuff like being able to group collections of libraries to make the library window manageable can't be that much of a programming mega job.

Some of their latest updates seem to have made things more awkward rather than better.

I am happy to see Spitfire's new engine - and trialing it through labs instruments is an inspired idea. I wish them all the best with it.
I did the same recently, and found there is a fix for that by temporarily downgrading to Kontakt 5.6.6, adding all your NI libraries, upgrade back up to the newest Kontakt, open Native Access and it automatically authorizes all your NI libraries. A pain in the ass, and it shouldn’t be necessary but it only takes 10 minutes and that’s a lot better than having to re-download everything. I’m on a Mac though.

Now about the new SF engine, I don’t think its a bad thing to give Kontakt some competition, but the one thing Kontakt has going for it is years and years of refinement and bug fixes, and a scripting language that lets devs do amazing things - and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want: Effeciency, stability, capability and Kontakt has all that. I’m slightly worried, but will withhold judgement til we see how it works.

One essential feature that I cant find anything in manual about is the ability to purge samples, and load the ones you need in on the fly. I do hope they will add this, for those of us on resource challenged systems, that’s a pretty essential thing.
 
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JohnG

Senior Member
It's a risk to buy a new player, I guess, but I assume part of the motivation is sound and part may be security. Kontakt libraries have hacked versions all over the internet.

I haven't seen PLAY libraries hacked and they have a proprietary player. Some people complained about PLAY but I've had just as many problems with Kontakt as PLAY over the years. Our job is difficult; it's not the tools that hold me back.

Already have so many string libraries it seems crazy to buy another one, but whatever.
 
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benmrx

Senior Member
I don't know...., for me, one the main benefits of Kontakt is that it is so widely used. IMO, standards are a good thing. In my eyes, it's similar to the use of Pro Tools for audio post. One of the biggest things that makes PT so great for post, is that it's what nearly everyone uses. That in itself is a feature you simply can't implement from a developers stance. And it's a feature that's arguably the most important.

I'm personally not looking forward to a day when all these developers have their own playback engines. The idea of making sure that your Spitfire player, OT player, Sonokinetic player, Project Sam player, etc. are all up to date, and all working well with each other seems to just add more variables. The fact that (they're currently) all under the Kontakt umbrella makes it more streamlined, and universal. Unless there were some truly groundbreaking new features, then it's a different story.

I'm in the camp of thinking that this is a pretty ballsy move by Spitfire. I can't imagine it was cheap to go the route of a bespoke player, and I can't imagine them crawling back to Kontakt (for this new HZS library) if things don't go smoothly. I can only speak for myself, but I would absolutely wait until this has been out in the wild and truly field tested before even thinking about making a purchase.
 

Michael Antrum

Only the good die young....
I did the same recently, and found there is a fix for that by temporarily downgrading to Kontakt 5.6.6, adding all your NI libraries, upgrade back up to the newest Kontakt, open Native Access and it automatically authorizes all your NI libraries. A pain in the ass, and it shouldn’t be necessary but it only takes 10 minutes and that’s a lot better than having to re-download everything. I’m on a Mac though.
That doesn't work with newer libraries (such as the NI Symphony Series) as they require 5.7 or just crash the program. (I'm on a Mac too).
 
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Daniel James

Daniel James

Senior Member
It's a risk to buy a new player, I guess, but I assume part of the motivation is sound and part may be security. Kontakt libraries have hacked versions all over the internet.

I haven't seen PLAY libraries hacked and they have a proprietary player. Some people complained about PLAY but I've had just as many problems with Kontakt as PLAY over the years. Our job is difficult; it's not the tools that hold me back.

Already have so many string libraries it seems crazy to buy another one, but whatever.
Heh I forgot because my dongles are always in....isnt PLAY a dongle protected engine? They seem to be the only thing that pirates struggle to hack. VST's however seem to be a matter of weeks or days in most cases unfortunately.

-DJ
 

ironbut

Active Member
If this is a ground up sampler (and not just an existing one with some lipstick) I would guess that it's something that Spitfire (or someone they contracted) has been working on for a while.
Maybe the difficulties of the scope of HZ Strings made the introduction a no brainer?
I do wonder why there wasn't more fanfare about it at the Event?

I started out using the VSL engine and now I never use those libraries. Like someone else in this thread mentioned, it's so deep that I have to take time to remember how to use it.
Is it a sampler or a DAW? Probably the ultimate rabbit hole for a sample library developer!
Anyway, I'm glad to see Spitfire doing this and I hope they keep it simple.
It's a natural business decision IMHO and a great luxury for a company to be able to experiment this way.
I believe it's up to us to help guide them in further refinement of the interface (which is a great luxury they seem to have afforded us).
 
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Daniel James

Daniel James

Senior Member
I believe it's up to us to help guide them in further refinement of the interface (which is a great luxury they seem to have afforded us).
Exactly this. Thats why we debate it openly like this. Hopefully they take the concerns on board and end up making a better end product. Everyone wins :)

-DJ
 

EvilDragon

KSP Wizard
Why do DAWs or VEP have to save the whole patches (x100 MBs) with the project files rather than just the setup description which can be loaded when needed?
Because this is absolutely not a good idea and not how pretty much any plugin works. They all store their current state chunk in your DAW project. This is the safest way to contain the data so that it doesn't depend on changing drive paths, drives going bad, etc etc etc. Also, let's assume that NKI file changes, in an update or something. Let's say that developer wasn't particularly thoughtful when doing that update, so script variables don't have the same order, and automation parameters don't have the same order as well. ALL your projects linking to this NKI would be messed up then!

This is why NKIs are all stored as plugin state chunk in DAW project file. It's simply the way things are done and a good programming practice (TM).

Why is there no option to load all tracks purged (except for the main configuration)?
Agreed there. It was available in K3 then was just removed.

Why can't I purge all instruments on demand (i.e. via MIDI signal)
Because MIDI data can be sent at unknown rates and doing disk access directly on MIDI events is not a good idea, and not a good programming practice. This is why for DFD to work you need to have initial chunks of samples loaded into RAM, since it's the fastest way to access that data (short of CPU cache). Also if you notice, on u-he plugins for example, you CAN change presets via MIDI program change messages, but you need to put them in MIDI Programs folder so that they are preloaded into RAM when instantiating, i.e. Zebra. See the common pattern here? :)

Why does the GUI consume so much RAM (bitmaps) while it is most often only needed during initial setup - load it when required, get rid of it when not?
Because it's bitmaps. Again loading when required and getting rid of it when not would make the Kontakt GUI very slow to respond when you hide/show a Kontakt instance in your DAW. Also GUI is actually not the part which consumes the most RAM in an instrument! Depending on size of the instrument, number of groups and zones in it, number of modulators and effects used, and max polyphony, this can sometimes take more RAM than samples that are loaded itself (good example: OT and Output libraries).

Agreed with you on batch resave. There's a one byte difference in NKC files between PC and Mac and this triggers recreating NKC files on first load of the NKI, which makes the initial load a bit slower.


Does this answer all your questions? :) There are all very good programming reasons why things are as they are.
 

storyteller

Senior Member
Even if it just lights a fire under NI to grind out the updates that take so long, that's a good thing! Plus, I have to say that the HZ UI does look sleek indeed.
 

mouse

Active Member
I wonder is the Native Instruments announcement about lower fees and an "ecosystem" because of the Spitfire new player? I wonder are they both linked... Spitfire dropped Ni because of high fees and Ni changed their fee structure because they need to make up the massive amount Spitfire were paying them. Seems likely interesting timing for the both to happen at the same time
 

JohnG

Senior Member
isnt PLAY a dongle protected engine? They seem to be the only thing that pirates struggle to hack. VST's however seem to be a matter of weeks or days in most cases unfortunately.
The PLAY libraries are dongle-protected, though I am not sure PLAY itself is; either way I agree with you Daniel that it is shameful how quickly libraries are hacked.
 

EvilDragon

KSP Wizard
I wonder is the Native Instruments announcement about lower fees and an "ecosystem" because of the Spitfire new player? I wonder are they both linked... Spitfire dropped Ni because of high fees and Ni changed their fee structure because they need to make up the massive amount Spitfire were paying them. Seems likely interesting timing for the both to happen at the same time
Nope.

Also Spitfire didn't drop NI, they will continue making libraries for Kontakt for some more time. Also Spitfire gets enough profit that NI fees aren't a problem for them.
 

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
This was one of my first thoughts too. No doubt multitimbral support can be added, but if it isnt there at launch thats a negative compared to Kontakt. I get the feeling there will be a few things here or there we take for granted that we will be like "oh fuck it doesnt do that?" like when Phobos couldnt 'Next' through presets. Things you wouldnt even think about!

-DJ
ooooohhh the step sequencer/arp that was on their kontakt instruments. i love using that, so much fun.
yep , another thing. oh well. hopefully itll be added... classic zimmer spiccs!
 

gsilbers

Part of Pulsesetter-Sounds.com
another thing to take account is that its 2018. maybe for many it woudnt resonate but remeber the 32 to 64 bit transition.? thats where one of the flaws with play and kontakt happened. other players had issues with proper streaming that woudlnt suck. a lot of the pre conceptions we have about sample players comes from that era. play issues, g player issues, giga issues, etc. etc. thats over a decade ago. We judge tings now based on those past issues and still some issues with play (circa 2005? i believe). I think nowadays it wouldnt be such a hassle to make some nice playback engines that did many of kontakt fucntions or most samplers and still have it be very efficient. its just that sample players is not a very huge market in the software world when you compare industries for a lot of competition so we have been used to kontakt. and we like it and move on.
 

mouse

Active Member
Nope.

Also Spitfire didn't drop NI, they will continue making libraries for Kontakt for some more time. Also Spitfire gets enough profit that NI fees aren't a problem for them.
Stop it with your sense God damn it. We love a good conspiracy theory here!
 

Blakus

Midi Magician
I'm totally speculating here, but creating a new engine is a massive feat. If I were Paul/Christian, I wouldn't be able to shut up about it, I would be talking about its features, its design, its current shortcomings, their plans for its future, the things that make it different etc. However, there's been not a word, apart from focusing on the bitmap files that some company created for the GUI

Again, total speculation, but this would point to one of two things for me.
1. This engine has huge flaws. (Let's not draw attention to it)
2. This engine is not something they created. (Rebadged from somewhere else).

TBH I am cheering Spitfire (and any other devs) on if they are willing to have a stab at creating a new engine. Native Instruments have become so complacent with Kontakt, new legitimate options might be exactly what the market needs to breathe life into it. I'm not sure if this new Spitfire offering is the answer, (and I wish they'd let us have the choice of a kontakt option for HZ Strings), but good on them all the same.
 
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jamwerks

Senior Member
Yes making their own engin must have been a massive undertaking. Hope the gui is as customisable as their Kontakt gui. Very strange they aren't speaking about it (or given it a name).
 

Ryan

Senior Member
I'm totally speculating here, but creating a new engine is a massive feat. If I were Paul/Christian, I wouldn't be able to shut up about it, I would be talking about its features, its design, its current shortcomings, their plans for its future, the things that make it different etc. However, there's been not a word, apart from focusing on the bitmap files that some company created for the GUI

Again, total speculation, but this would point to one of two things for me.
1. This engine has huge flaws. (Let's not draw attention to it)
2. This engine is not something they created. (Rebadged from somewhere else).

TBH I am cheering Spitfire (and any other devs) on if they are willing to have a stab at creating a new engine. Native Instruments have become so complacent with Kontakt, new legitimate options might be exactly what the market needs to breathe life into it. I'm not sure if this new Spitfire offering is the answer, (and I wish they'd let us have the choice of a kontakt option for HZ Strings), but good on them all the same.
Exactly what I've been thinking. Maybe they have licensed some of the coding used in HZ own sampler?
 
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