Native Instruments Kontakt

Slice and extract timing data from sampled loops
Publish date:
Updated on

By John Krogh
Objective: Use Kontakt's new Beat Machine sampling mode to divide a loop into individual hits and generate a MIDI file of the groove, which can be used to create a MIDI groove template.

Background: Kontakt version 1.5.3 includes a new beat sampling mode that offers loop slicing features similar to Propellerhead ReCycle, where a loop can be automatically divided into separate hits (commonly called "slices") and mapped across the keyboard. Additionally, a MIDI file can be generated that recreates the exact timing of each hit. You can trigger the loop by playing the MIDI file from your sequencer, giving you control over the tempo and timing. Or, you can use the MIDI file to create a groove template for use with other MIDI parts.

1. Load a loop into Kontakt - the quickest method is to drag and drop a loop from the browser into Kontakt's rack.

2. Optional: If you want to combine several loops in one instrument, create a new instrument, then drag and drop samples into the Mapping Editor.

3. For now, let's just work with a single loop. Click Edit, then choose Beat Machine from the Source module. The loop waveform will automatically be displayed in the Loop Editor.

4. To divide the sample based on transients, increase the transient detection sensitivity with the Slicer Sens. slider. Kontakt might not find all the hit points. In that case, you'll need to place them manually by clicking the Add button, then positioning the cursor where you want the marker(s) to be.

5. Once you've fine-tuned the marker locations, click Close from the Loop Editor, then choose Expand Slices to Groups from the Commands menu. The Slice Expand window will appear.

6. From the Slice Expand window, enable Save MIDI Timing Template and set the time signature information for your MIDI file, then click Expand. You'll be asked to save your MIDI file to the hard drive. When you've finished, the slices will be mapped across the keyboard, and you'll have a MIDI file that can be loaded into your DAW of choice.

• Kontakt supports REX2 files as well - the Loop Editor will recognize slice markers from ReCycle. I've found that because of Kontakt's relatively small waveform display, it's often easier and quicker to load a loop in ReCycle, chop it up, and then blow it into Kontakt.
• If the feel isn't exactly what you'd like, you can always quantize the MIDI file to add more swing or make it more metronomic.