Using Kontakt with Sonar.

Using Kontakt Page Navigation:

How to display Kontakt Instruments names in Sonar.

This tutorial explains how to use Kontakt 3.x with Sonar.
A tutorial for Kontat 5 is under construction.

When using Kontakt with Sonar, opening 1 instance in the Synth Rack, Sonar pulls out the Instruments names from the “Default Outputs names” of Kontakt. (Depending on the last “Make Default” you made.)
This is the reason to use “Make Default” in the Outputs section of Kontakt.

Using Kontakt Outputs

The annoying thing is that the result is a very long string.
In order to see the instrument’s name, we have to hover the track name or to expand the tracks names witch is not very convenient.

Using Kontakt Drums


Using Kontakt : Sonar Folder

One simple option is to edit the track name, removing the “Kontakt 3 16out 1 Kt.”

There is a way to reduce this string by simply renaming Kontakt in “Cakewalk Plug-in Manager”

Sonar Plug-in Manager

Sonat VST Config

Select VST instruments(VSTI), Select Kontakt (3 or 4) then click “Plug-in Properties”

Rename it to K32 or just K (Knowing that K would mean 32 outs).

Kontakt Plug-in Properties


Sonar Plug-in Manager

Select Kontakt (3 or 4 or 5) 16out Click “Plug-in Properties”
Rename it to K16.
Do the same for the 8out.

The result will be that the next time you insert an instance of Kontakt in the synth rack, it will look like this:

Sonar Soft Synth Rack

Using Kontakt: Insert

After Inserting K16:



Using Kontakt: Rename

The folder then can be renamed to K16-Drums.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t help much in the Console view.

Sonar Console View

Sonar Console View

NOTE: When using multiple outputs from the synth, “Simple Instrument Track” cannot be used.

Sonar Synth Options
It is of course best to use the “Synth Track Folder” for easier tracks management.


Using Kontakt: Single or Multiple Instances ?

Definitely several instances.

The main reason why using multiple instances of Kontakt in a DAW was recommended, is that the CPU load is distributed more evenly through the CPU cores than only 1 instance.

I’m saying “was”, because I’m still using Kontakt 3.5 and I don’t know if things have changed with Kontakt 4, or if it is a Kontakt thing at all.

Memory Cost:

Each instance of Kontakt (3.5) eats up around 30 MB of memory.
It’s not a lot but I wouldn’t of course use 1 instance for each Instrument. This would be a waist of memory and difficult to manage.

CPU Cost:

On a Core2 Duo E6750 2.66 GHz, 3 instances of Kontakt = CPU Load between 2 & 3%.
This wouldn’t even tickle an I5 or I7.

What I think is best, is to divide your project instruments into sections like: Rhythm section, keyboards, horns, Synths, whatever your project needs …
Use 1 instance of Kontakt 16 out per section. Save each instance as a multi (*nkm).
The output configuration is saved with the multi.


Using Kontakt : Sonar track Names.

How do we get Sonar to show kontakt track names for our different sections ?

Well this is a bit of a juggle! But doable.

It seems like a lot of work but remember.
If you plan your things right, you might have to do this only once.

That’s what Templates are for.

Once all your Kontakt instances are inserted with their corresponding tracks properly named, with or without loaded sounds, just save the Sonar file as a template that you can load at the beginning of your project then tweak to taste.

When we open 1 instance of Kontakt in Sonar’s Synth Rack, Sonar pulls out the Instruments names from the last “Make Default”

In this case the K16 Drums.

!! IMPORTANT !! The K(32), K16, and K8 have each, their own default output settings. Doing a “Make Default” in a K16 instance, will have no effect on a K(32) or a K8, but will have an effect on the next K16 insert.
!! Loading a K32 multi in a K16 instance, would leave half the tracks unconnected.

We have inserted our 1st K16 (the K16 Drums)

Multi Drum-Kit Multi Drum-Kit

Using Kontakt Reset Multi

Note: We could load our drums instruments at this point and save the multi properly named. If we do, it is best to Reset the multi.

Now we want to open another instance of K16 for Pianos Bass …..

We could simply replace the names of our 1st K16 with relevant ones or load in Kontakt a previously saved empty multi with relevant names and click “Make Default”.

(I’m including at the bottom of this page, several empty multis that you can download)

Using Kontakt Load Multi

With the 1st Kontakt instance open, we load “Piano Bass Guitar Keyboards K16 TPL.nkm”.
In the dialog Click “Yes”.

Using Kontakt Load Multi

Using Kontakt Make Default

Click “Make Default”

Then insert another K16.

Using Kontakt Folders

Repeat the process for the other sections your project needs.

Using Kontakt Folders

!! IMPORTANT !! In the Synth Rack, it is best to name the Kontakt instances like the corresponding folders in the tracks view for easy management.

Using Kontakt Synth Rack

This will leave no doubt of what multi they should contain.

If by mistake you have added an instance and it has the same instruments names as the previous one, it is probably because you might have forgotten to click “Make Default” after loading the new “*.nkm”. In that case, just remove the instance from the Synth Rack, delete the corresponding folder an reinsert the instance.
!!! I suggest to try all this on an empty test project file until you are familiar with this process.
If you are using Kontakt 3, you can use the “Kontakt Test.cwp” downloadable at the bottom this page.
If you are using Kontakt 4 or 5 you have to create a new test project.

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Using Kontakt Individual Outputs

How to assign individual outputs from a Drum Kit using Kontakt single MIDI channel.

In this example we are going to use the “Pop Kit.nki” from the Kontakt library > Band > Drum Kits. Enter Edit Mode and click “Group Editor”.

Make sure “edit All Groups” is NOT highlighted.

Using Kontakt Drums Outputs

Select “Bass Drum2″ and “Bass Drum”
Bottom right, click “output Default”

Using Kontakt Drums Outputs

Then select “BD” or whatever name you gave it.

Now select the snares and sticks (Making sure that no other group is selected.)

Using Kontakt Drum Outputs

- Repeat the process until all groups are assigned to their correspondent outputs.

- Save the instrument as a new name.

- Save the multi to preserve the outputs names.



These empty multis contain only instruments names.
(right click and Save as)