Sonic State Studio / Virtual/Soft synths / NATIVE INSTRUMENTS Reaktor 3

Average rating: 7.7/10 out of 10

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EXFiles writes:
I tend to agree with the last reviewer. The R3 is very very slow particularly when you try to run some more complicated patches (I use P4-2GHZ and R3 still crashes from time to time). I haven't tried R4, but hopefully it's better than this one. I have been using Reaktor since it's initial release (then called Generator v1) and do see a lot of improvement and effort the NI-folks put into it, but Reaktor is still not able to compete with real analog modular (or even VA like Nord Modular). I guess, the technology is not there yet... Oh, and one thing that I can't seem to understand... Why doesn't the Reaktor have user interface similar to Nord Modular editor???? I really think that UE (those silly diagrams that look like MS-DOS graphics and are not easy to read) should have been replaced with something more appealing (like the Nord Mod. Editor, for example). So as it is, Reaktor gets two thumbs down (for instability and bad user interface) and only one thumb up for sound! PEACE!

Rating: 3 out of 10 posted Thursday, 20-Nov-03 at 12:5
not real name a part-timer user from usa writes:
I'm using Reaktor version 3.0.5, in the standalone version, without external MIDI software, using Windows 98. I’d summarize it as buggy, slow, frustrating and badly documented … and I regret buying it. Hopefully, version 4, which should be released in a few months, will be a MAJOR improvement.

I was really psyched when I bought Reaktor, but after several months of owning it, my opinion has soured. Although you can theoretically do many things in Reaktor, it’s just not worth the effort. I have not used Reaktor since last month, because I have too many bad memories. Reaktor has turned my synthesis hobby into work.

Reaktor uses a dongle, and I SWEAR I will never use a program with a dongle again. The dongle wreaks havoc with my file system; making it hard to tell when a file is actually saved so that I know I can continue using my computer. It's really irritating to have to wait for 5 to 30 seconds for the dongle to do it's thing every time I want to save an ensemble.

Reaktor frequently soft-crashes (about once every 30 minutes), and often requires that I re-enter my MIDI ports and MIDI filename after a crash. Reaktor occasionally hard-crashes (about once every 2 hours), requiring a complete computer reboot. Since Reaktor crashes frequently, I defensively save my ensembles frequently, but everytime I give the ensemble a new name (for example, I was working on MyEnsemble2 but saved the updated ensemble as MyEnsemble3), Reaktor requires me to re-enter the name of the MIDI file that I want to continue to use. For some inexplicable reason, Reaktor assumes that you’ll always use a MIDI file that’s the same name as the ensemble; you know what they say about assumptions.

Reaktor is so badly documented that I'm frequently stymied. I even bought the Wizoo book, which was helpful, but frankly this software is just not ready for prime time. There is no online documentation, which is unthinkable in this day and age, so you have to (try to) find info in the paper manual. I like to work in a darkened studio, with the only light coming from the computer monitor, so I have to go into another room to read the paper manual. In modern software, when you move your cursor over an toolbar icon, a hint appears that tells what the icon does. Not in Reaktor.

I understand that music software is something of a cottage industry, with small profit margins, and I certainly don't advocate pirating music software. But I'm peeved that Native Instruments seems to have the attitude that they will go to extreme lengths to prevent software piracy. First there is the dongle, which screws up my file system's performance ... and supposedly there is a cracked Reaktor version floating around the internet, so the dongle just irritates real paying customers like myself. Second, the paper documentation is minimal, and there is no online documentation AT ALL. NI’s attitude seems to be that only the real customers will have the paper documentation ... in other words, let's inconvienence our real customers so we can make our product less valuable to software pirates. Heads up to NI: I recently saw a html version of your paper documentation on the internet, apparently it had been OCR’d. This is further proof that your copy protection irritates your real customers but is only a speed bump for software pirates. I respectfully suggest that the best way to sell more copies of Reaktor is to make Reaktor worth the price.

I mastered Reaktor's basics, after wasting many hours learning to work around it's flaws and crashes, and I even created an ensemble from the ground up. But the experience has made me shy away from ever using Reaktor again.

I would not buy this software again. The only people that should buy this software are extreme synth tweakers with huge amounts of spare time. People who need results quickly or have a day job should use other software.

Rating: 2 out of 10 posted Friday, 07-Feb-03 at 18:54
Post 97 IDM whiteboy a Professional user from USA writes:
For myself Reaktor is liberating. It has everything I need for synths, and I say this as a person who has owned lots of hardware. From Drum Machines, to Analog emulation; FM synthesis to granular-- reaktor can do it all. And, with its modular design it can do it your way. However, doing all of this at once as a vst plug in may be asking a bit much, it depends though.

One thing I notice(as has been alluded to) is that this software kind of lowers the bar which you must overcome to break into the music biz. There are lots of little tricks when programming beats which are made far less mysterious with this program. But, those tricks still have to have some intelligent design to them, which requires at least a little knowledge of music theory. If you are going to do extended instrumental pieces it helps to know that kind of stuff. Maybe this means there will be some crappy music at the local fern bar. But, there's enough cool stuff going on where reaktor is involved that you can't just blame the software.

This program can't do everything in every which way-- Its finite set of algorithms means it does have something of an identifiable sound. Still, if you aren't getting good results you probably are not working hard enough at your music. Whether you like the Reaktor sound or not is a matter of taste. It does everything I ask of it except grab a beer from the fridge. I am told it will do that by rev. 4. Do yourself a favor and download the demo today. Try it for your own damn self, but understand reaktors true power is only maximised when you start making your own ensembles(or find the better ensembles available on the net).

Rating: 10 out of 10 posted Sunday, 08-Dec-02 at 18:26
Wonderbred a Professional user from USA writes:
I remember getting the 411 that some tech guys in some far off country were working on this lil' software synth and that I should check it out. I did, and was blown away, a couple of years later, and Reaktor is still one of the most amazing tools out there. It replaces the need for so many EXPENSIVE hardware/software synthes, I'm surprised it hasn't completely destroyed the synth market.

Latency? Live Performances?

I wouldn't know, I hardly use computers in my music making, my Mac is simply there to run Programs like Rebirth/Reaktor/B4, and only run one at a time.

Is it great? Yeah. Worth the money? Well, it's expensive, but compared to everything else...YEAH.

CONS?

POST 97' IDM Whiteboys from the North Side (chitown). Seriously, they're all running these programs doing nothing but running boring sound patterns on their laptops in front of sleeping bar patrons. Yes, everything has it's place...but electronic music (much like the "underground" hip hop scene) seems to be suffering thanks to all this new technology....you'd think things would be getting better, eh?

Whatever, this ain't about the current state of gimmicky noodlings, it's about REAKTOR. It's a great tool. Does it add anything new? I don't know, I don't care. I just know that it provides what would normaly cost thousands of dollars spent on a plethora of hardware synths...most of which are getting old and quite rusty.

Look, do you see Herbie Hancock lugging around a handfull of out of tune arps? Nah, he carrys around a couple of digital keyboards that cover all the bases.

Now, sure, his old synths did sound cooler than the cheesy keys he's playing these days (of course, he busts out the good ol' piano now and then...thank god)....

Wait a minute! Reaktor is the best of both worlds!

Quit bitching.

posted Monday, 03-Jun-02 at 16:1
Wonderbred a Professional user from USA writes:
I remember getting the 411 that some tech guys in some far off country were working on this lil' software synth and that I should check it out. I did, and was blown away, a couple of years later, and Reaktor is still one of the most amazing tools out there. It replaces the need for so many EXPENSIVE hardware/software synthes, I'm surprised it hasn't completely destroyed the synth market.

Latency? Live Performances?

I wouldn't know, I hardly use computers in my music making, my Mac is simply there to run Programs like Rebirth/Reaktor/B4, and only run one at a time.

Is it great? Yeah. Worth the money? Well, it's expensive, but compared to everything else...YEAH.

CONS?

POST 97' IDM Whiteboys from the North Side (chitown). Seriously, they're all running these programs doing nothing but running boring sound patterns on their laptops in front of sleeping bar patrons. Yes, everything has it's place...but electronic music (much like the "underground" hip hop scene) seems to be suffering thanks to all this new technology....you'd think things would be getting better, eh?

Whatever, this ain't about the current state of gimmicky noodlings, it's about REAKTOR. It's a great tool. Does it add anything new? I don't know, I don't care. I just know that it provides what would normaly cost thousands of dollars spent on a plethora of hardware synths...most of which are getting old and quite rusty.

Look, do you see Herbie Hancock lugging around a handfull of out of tune arps? Nah, he carrys around a couple of digital keyboards that cover all the bases.

Now, sure, his old synths did sound cooler than the cheesy keys he's playing these days (of course, he busts out the good ol' piano now and then...thank god)....

Wait a minute! Having Reaktor is the same concept....except it does sound like all those old keyboards!

Quit Bitching.

posted Monday, 03-Jun-02 at 16:1
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