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Yes, Kontakt is made of god and win.

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Go ahead. I'm already sort-of convinced that I really should get it (using Reason's NN-19 opened my eyes; no more SCSI Zip drive nightmares or tedious menu labyrinths or dual-function push-rotate buttons - which makes me want to kick myself for not investigating the softsampler option earlier) but I want to hear the stuff that I can't read about in the reviews.

I'm already trying to read all the magazine reviews I can find, but I want user experiences.

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God is full of bugs and very CPU intensive?

Ok, I use Kontakt 2 for most all of my instrumental plug ins. I could probably name more things that annoy me about it than I could things that impress me about it. That having been said, I think it's a very good product and at this moment the best product of it's kind out on the market (imo). I think that the scripting abilities of it alone are worth the price.

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tgfoo is right. K2 is CPU hungry (so are all Kontakt Players), but Halion is not the best way to go either (I speak from experience as longtime and "still"-Halion user). It's more CPU friendly, indeed. But the possibilties are meh.

K2 simply has a broader aproach to different samplepackages, that Halion doesn't have (import functions). Also, if you already use samplepacks like "EWQL Silver" or "Garritan", you can load those packs with K2 easily and you have access to 16 channels rather than 8, the scripting engine (cause Kontakt Player 2 isn't available for most packs, yet), etc.

The bundle deal is also way more slick than Steinberg has to offer. While Halion 3 has some samples from "Halion String" edition, and some random crap (and by crap I mean crap), K2 ships with a rundown version of a VSL samplepackage (an own DVD), the rest are useful single stabs and instruments.

It's up to you, Rob.

Go the "low CPU" way with less possibilities (cause Halion seems to stand still), or get the porsche among samplers (Kontakt 2) but you have to deal with it's consumption (CPU). Both have the same price "new".

Or... do a crossgrade (299USD) if you have a samplepack that uses Kontakt Player.

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One of the reasons Kontakt tends to use more CPU is it's "Direct-from-Disk" feature. You can change the DFD settings, but from what I tell, you can't turn it off as a whole (but you can tell individual instruments not to use it). One thing, though: The less DFD you use, the more RAM you need in your system to load large amounts of samples.

I am a satisfied Kontakt user. The first sampler I ever bought was the 32 voice version of Gigastudio 3.5. It was severely limited and felt like a $150 demo (which was a bank-breaker for me at that time). So that turned me off of Giga.

Libraries themselves can add to CPU overhead. For instance, I use the bass drum from the Kontakt 2 library in my work instead of GPO's bass drum because GPO's uses a lot more CPU.

One beautiful thing about Kontakt, though I'm sure other samplers can do this too, is that it'll open anything. WAV, HALion, Giga, Soundfonts (though I would advice telling SF2 instruments to not use DFD), Akai, etc.

You may want to start off by buying a Kontakt Player or Kompakt library first and see if you like it. (I started into Kontakt with GPO alone, and bought two other KP libraries since before crossgrading).

If you keep your eyes open, you can find a good deal. I grabbed my copy of Kontakt when Audiomidi did a sale. Picked up the crossgrade for $200.

Pick up the demo and eveluate it for yourself. http://www.native-instruments.com/index.php?id=kontakt_us1

It's really up to you. If you want to go Kontakt, Awesome. If you want to use another sampler, that's great too. I've heard great stuff made on all the major sampler formats.

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That's a 4:0 for Kontakt (vs. Halion), I'd say.

God I wish Steinberg would really implement something "useful" into their VSTi's. Halion 3 still is like Halion 1(!), only with a more slicker GUI and finally working "native keyswitches" (for GIGA samples, took them 3 versions! Kontakt could do it since V1).

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Some background:

If it wasn't for the fact that you get a symphonic library with it (which is a novelty for me : I have an orchestral expansion card, but that's on a regular sample-based synth) plus a Rhodes straight from Elektrik Piano (I loooveee a good Rhodes and EVP73 misses the bark and bite a bit), I could've done without the library. I can make my own stuff; it's just that my previous gear gave me a hard time doing so, storing, organisation, whatever. So, if I understand it, the browser's going to solve that problem.

I'd rather not jump from a Kontakt player to the fullblown version - it means paying twice and Kontakt 2.0 is already 385 euros here (that's USD 495).

I have 3 hardware samplers - the venerable E-mu ESI4000, the Yamaha A4000, and the Akai MPC1000. I'm planning on keeping the Akai - it's a lot of fun and has modern storage (e.g. built in laptop drive, USB connection, CF media). It also directly works with .wav files.

I downloaded the Kontakt demo and I had a ball with it. Apart from some stuff I'll probably figure out with the manual (e.g. how to build a drumkit from a crapload of .wav files, how to use an LFO to modulate the filter insert effect) things worked incredibly intuitive and just dragging stuff in there works. Even better than NN-19 (which doesn't do the dragging or the browser).

Thanks for all the replies; it's 99% certain that I'm going to get this.

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YOu're sure you're paying twice? I mean if you already "have" a Kontakt Player powered samplepack, you can go over to the NI page and look for crossgrades. Still cheaper than getting it new (and also fully working).

If I had the money atm, I'd totally hit it, just because of VSL (however, so much stuff coming up this winter... arg!).

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