Reaktor 5.1.2 Review

There’s a huge number of software synthesizers, samplers and effects devices available for the Mac, so you’re not stuck for choice when devising new timbres for tunes. But how about building your own virtual orchestra? While the thought of coding software may send many scurrying away, you don’t have to be a code-head in order to construct custom music-making devices.

Native Instruments’ Reaktor is a toolkit for creating custom software gadgets and features pre-fabricated elements that can be bolted together to build tone sources, sequencers and signal processors. Music-tech watchers may remember it as Generator, launched more than 10 years ago, but in its latest incarnation, Reaktor is a Universal Binary and so can take advantage of the extra power offered by modern Macs. Some of the ensembles created in Reaktor do need that power – it’s possible to construct monstrous music manglers that’ll not only work alone, but also as MIDI plug-ins.

While improvements have been made to Reaktor’s ease of use over the versions, it’s still a challenging piece of software to master. The key concepts are that a Reaktor device is an Ensemble which comprises a basic structure of modules that can be linked to create macros. Link macros together to create sound, then place controls on top in order to manipulate the Ensemble’s performance. Even the modules can be edited thanks to Core-Cell technology, but that’s where we hit deep code.

If you’re thinking this is all a bit much in order to make noise, fear not. The latest version of Reaktor offers 63 pre-built synths, samplers, drum machines and effects.

OUR VERDICT

Reaktor is a toughie if you plan on building your own instruments and requires time to get beyond basics. However, if you want access to a host of original Ensembles in one package it’s well worth the price.

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