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The Group Editor

Abstract

Groups are the primary tool for manipulating batches of samples. Learn how to manage groups with the Group Editor.

Groups are perhaps the most prominent entity of a KONTAKT Instrument. In addition to providing a way to combine and use a common signal path for any number of Zones in your Instrument, Groups allow you to define conditions on which Zones will be played, adjust how the voice allocation for the contained Zones will be handled, and provide a selection mechanism that lets you change parameters in unison across groups. What’s more, you can export and import Groups to and from your hard disk, which is the most convenient way to copy parts of one Instrument to another.

Generally, when you create your own Instruments, you should find a consistent way to distribute your Zones into Groups. This can be a common aspect of the Zones that serves as an attribute for dividing them into categories; for instance, if you create a chromatically sampled Instrument with four velocity layers, you could distribute the Zones on each layer across four Groups named “vel 0-31”, “vel 32-63”, “vel 64-95” and “vel 96-127”. This way, should you decide later that the highest velocity layer needs some additional “sparkle” to cut through your mix, you can simply select the respective Group for editing and add a EQ with a treble boost to its Group Insert Effects chain.

As another example, if you want to add release samples, you’ll need to move them into a separate Group, as the required Release Trigger parameter always acts upon a whole Group.

Once you’ve gotten the hang of how the Group concept works, you’ll need a convenient way to create, delete, access, name, and manage the Groups in your Instrument; this functionality is provided by the Group Editor.

  • When you’re in Instrument Edit mode, click the button labeled GroupEditor at the top of the Instrument Edit view

    The Group Editor will appear in the Rack.

The Group Editor, opened on an Instrument which contains 3 Groups. The “Bass” Group is currently selected both for display and for editing.

The Group Editor, opened on an Instrument which contains 3 Groups. Only the “Bass” Group is currently selected both for display and for editing.

The Group Editor is divided into four sections:

  • At its top, a control header provides several buttons and drop-down menus.

  • The largest amount of space is taken up by the Groups list below, which will display all Groups in your Instruments as a scrollable list.

  • At the bottom of the editor, you’ll find a row of several parameters that pertain to the assignment of Voice Groups

  • The Group Start Options button in the lower left corner will show or hide an additional set of rows which contain the Group start conditions.

Let’s take a look at what each of these elements does.

Control Header

This row of buttons and drop-down menus at the top of the Group Editor provides common utility functions for easy Group management. The following sections will explain each of these elements, from left to right, in detail.

The header of the Group Editor including options and utility functions.

The header of the Group Editor contains a number of options and utility functions.

Edit All Groups

If this button is activated, all parameters that you adjust on the Group level from that point on will affect all Groups in the currently edited Instrument. This button is just a convenient shortcut for checking all edit boxes in the Group list; the same function is also available via a button located in the Rack header when you’re in Instrument Edit mode.

As an example, suppose you have three Groups with a modulation assignment for each, which assigns an LFO to their pitch in order to create a vibrato effect. If you decide now that the vibrato effect is a little too strong across all Groups, you don’t need to change the respective modulation intensity in each Group. Just activate the Edit All Groups button and decrease the respective Intensity parameter in one of the Groups; the respective parameters in all other Groups will change with it.

We recommend that you always switch this feature off right after you’ve used it. If you leave it on and make any adjustments to Group parameters later without keeping it in mind, you’ll potentially destroy carefully tweaked parameter settings in other Groups.

You can find more information on how to change parameters across Groups in section Group List.

Group Selector

Next to the Edit All Groups button, you’ll notice a label that indicates the currently selected Group, as well as the total number of Groups in your Instrument. Clicking on it opens a drop-down menu that allows you to select another Group; clicking on the Group name that’s displayed in the Rack header when you’re in Instrument Edit mode will do the same. In contrast to clicking on a name in the Group list, however, this action won’t enable the selected Group for editing at the same time, which makes it the preferred way of selecting Groups if you just want to check out their contents without editing them.

Edit

This drop-down menu contains a number of utility functions, most of which act on all Groups that are currently selected in the Group list. Note that this selection is different from enabling Groups for editing; selected Groups will be indicated with a filled or hollow rectangle around their name in the Group list, while Groups that are activated for editing will be indicated with a checked box in front of their name.

The Edit drop down Menu expanded.

The Edit menu contains editing commands that operate on the currently selected Group(s).

The Edit menu is also available as a right-click context menu both inside the Group Editor and the Groups tab of the Monitor.

Let’s take a look at each function in this menu:

  • Set Edit flag for selected groups(s): This option checks the Edit Flag for all Groups that are currently selected in the Groups List. This allows you to check multiple Groups for editing quickly, without using the EditAllGroups option, which only allows an all or one mode of editing Groups.

  • Delete selected group(s): Deletes any selected Groups. If any of the Groups still contain Zones, they will be deleted as well; in such cases, you’ll be asked if you’re sure about this.

  • Purge empty groups: Deletes all Groups that don’t contain any Zones.

  • Copy selected group(s): Copies the selected Groups to the clipboard.

  • Cut selected groups(s): Moves the selected Group and its Zones to the clipboard for later use, removing the Group from the Group list in the process.

Tip

Using the cut, copy, and paste commands in the Group Editor, you can move and copy Groups between Instruments. This even works across multiple KONTAKT instances and sessions.

  • Duplicate groups(s): Creates identical copies of the selected Groups.

  • Paste group(s) with samples: Inserts the contents of the Group clipboard into the Group list, leaving their Zones and referenced Sample information intact. Note that if you copied the respective Group(s) beforehand, therefore creating duplicates by pasting them, the Zones will be duplicated along with the Groups, so later changes to the Zone parameters in one Group won’t affect the Zones of its copy.

  • Paste group(s) w/o samples: Inserts the contents of the Group clipboard into the Group list, omitting any Zones in the process. This way, you’ll get empty Groups that replicate the settings of a previously copied or cut Group.

  • Export edited group: This function allows you to save the currently selected Group to an .nkg file on your hard disk, which you can re-use in other Instruments. In contrast to other commands that act on all selected Groups, this one doesn’t handle multiple selections; only the currently displayed Group, which will be indicated in the Group list with a filled rectangle around its name, will be saved. When you click this function, a pop-up dialog will ask you to specify a location and name for the file. In addition, you can also choose between different ways of how the referenced Samples in this Group should be handled:

    • PatchOnly won’t save the Samples, but reference them at their original positions in the Group file.

    • Patch + Samples will save the Samples along with the Group file in a definable location

    • Monolith will combine both Group data and its referenced Samples into one large file.

  • Import Group: Load a Group in .nkg format and add it to your Instrument, along with all of its contained Zones. This command also allows you to import BATTERY 3 Cells.

Group Solo

If this button is activated, all Groups except the currently selected one will be muted. This lets you conveniently check out the contents of a Group when working with multiple Groups, whose Zones may overlap.

Select by MIDI

If this button is activated, you can select Groups by playing notes on your keyboard. When KONTAKT receives a MIDI note, it checks all Groups for Zones that match its note number and velocity, and selects any Groups that contain such Zones in the Group list. This makes for a very intuitive way to quickly switch between Groups; suppose you’re working on a drum set with every instrument being assigned to a separate Group. Instead of locating the bass drum Group within the Group list and clicking on its name, you just play a bass drum note on your keyboard, and the corresponding Group will be automatically selected.

Group List

This pane displays a list of all Groups in your currently edited Instrument. If the number of Groups won’t fit into the window, a scroll bar will appear on its right side. Here you can select Groups and enable them for editing.

In order to select a Group for viewing, just click its name; it will be highlighted with a filled rectangle, and all currently visible controls on the Group level will now show the parameters of this Group. Any command you select from the Edit menu of the Group Editor will now operate on this Group only. Double-clicking an entry allows you to change its name.

While only one Group can be displayed at any time (which will always be indicated with a filled rectangle in the Group list), you can select multiple Groups by holding the [Ctrl] key ([Cmd] on OS X) while clicking on separate Groups to add them to your selection, or holding the [Shift] key while clicking on a second entry to include all Groups between the first and the last one in your selection. This selection affects only upon which Groups the commands in the Edit menus will act; to find out how to change parameters across multiple Groups, read on.

You will notice a small check box next to each Group name in the Group list, which will always be activated on the list entry on which you clicked last.

A Group with a checkbox indicating its selection for editing.

The check box next to a Group name indicates whether this Group is selected for editing.

It indicates whether the parameters of the respective Group will be changed along when you do any adjustments. In other words, when you enable the check boxes next to multiple Groups and then move any controls of the currently displayed Group (such as the Volume or Pan knob of the Amplifier Module), the parameters of the other Groups will be affected as well.

This transfer happens in an absolute fashion; settings in the other Groups will simply be replaced with the new ones. This can easily result in unintentional changes to parameters in other Groups than the currently visible one, so be sure to check whether other Groups are currently activated for editing before you do any adjustments on Group level modules. This is made easier by a text indicator in the Rack header: as long as you’re in Instrument Edit mode, it will indicate how many and which Groups are currently activated for editing.

Note that the Monitor tab in the Side pane offers you alternate views for the functions described in this section. These can greatly simplify managing Groups and changing parameters across Groups; depending on your preference, you might want to use them instead of the Group list for some operations. The Monitor tab is described in detail in section Monitor Tab.

Voice Groups

The concept of Voice Groups allows you to fine-tune the way in which KONTAKT allocates audio voices to Groups. Please don’t confuse Voice Groups with Groups; in spite of the similar names, they’re entirely different concepts. To understand Voice Groups, let’s begin with an example.

A typical sampler program of a drum set contains at least one sample of a closed hi-hat and one of an opened hi-hat. As the ringing sound of an opened hi-hat will be immediately cut off when the drummer closes it, we can conclude that these sounds never occur at the same time; therefore, we could simulate this behavior by limiting the maximum voice count of the hi-hat to one. As each played Sample will take one voice, and the last played Sample will have priority over any Samples that were triggered before by default, playing the closed hi-hat Sample will cut a still ringing open hi-hat Sample off.

How can we accomplish this? You can adjust the maximum number of voices to be used for an Instrument in the Instrument Header, but this would restrict all other parts of the drum kit to one voice as well. A more practical way would be to make use of the Voice Group concept: it allows you to create a voice allocation setting and apply it to any number of Groups in your Instrument.

In contrast to Groups, you don’t have to create or manage Voice Groups; instead, 128 of them are pre-defined in every Instrument. By default, Groups are not assigned to any Voice Group, which means they will share the pool of voices as defined in the Instrument Header with all other Groups. By assigning some of your Groups to one of the 128 Voice Groups and adjusting this Voice Group’s parameters, you can define a new set of voice allocation rules for these Groups. For instance, you could solve the hi-hat problem by assigning the closed and open hi-hat Groups to Voice Group 1, then set the voice count of this Voice Group to one. There are more parameters to a Voice Group than its maximum voice count; these will be explained later.

The 128 Voice Groups can be assigned and edited in the strip below the Group list of the Group Editor. Selecting a Voice Group from the drop-down menu at its left will assign all currently selected Groups to this Voice Group, and display its parameters in the fields to the right.

The row of parameters below the Group list allows you to assign and adjust Voice Groups.

The row of parameters below the Group list allows you to assign and adjust Voice Groups.

Here’s a run-down of these parameters, from left to right:

  • Voices: Adjusts the maximum number of voices that can be used by the Groups in this Voice Group. If a Sample is triggered and the maximum voice count has already been reached, voices of Samples that would otherwise still sound will be “sacrificed” and recycled.

  • Mode: This setting decides which of the currently allocated voices will be sacrificed and recycled if a newly triggered Sample would otherwise exceed the maximum voice count for this Voice Group:

    • Kill Any: Let KONTAKT decide what to do.

    • Kill Oldest: The oldest, still playing Sample will be cut off.

    • Kill Newest: The most recently triggered Sample will be cut off.

    • Kill Highest: The note with the highest pitch will be cut off.

    • Kill Lowest: The note with the lowest pitch will be cut off.

  • Pref.Rel: If this button is activated and the Voice Group runs out of voices, KONTAKT will give already released notes a higher priority when it decides which voices to keep.

  • FadeTime: Adjusts how long a sacrificed voice will fade out before it disappears. The fadeout length is specified in milliseconds. This may cause the overall number of voices to temporarily exceed the maximum value.

  • Excl.Grp: This drop-down menu allows you to assign the current Voice Group to one of 16 Exclusive Groups. Assigning two or more Voice Groups to the same Exclusive Group will cause Samples from one Voice Group to cut off all still-sounding Samples from the other Voice Groups assigned to the Exclusive Group. When you re-consider our hi-hat example, you’ll notice that an alternative solution would be keeping the samples in separate Groups and assigning them to the same Exclusive Group. This has the added benefit that you can edit the Group-level signal processing of both samples separately.

Group Start Options

By default, each Zone in a Group will always play its assigned Sample when a note is received that matches its keyboard and velocity range. However, there are applications that demand for more control about when the Zones in a Group will come active. Some examples include:

  • When you sample an acoustic Instrument, you might want to provide multiple, slightly different Samples for each note and velocity range, then have KONTAKT cycle between them in a round-robin fashion when note repetitions are played; this eliminates the dreaded “machine gun effect”, which is a giveaway of sampled instruments. For this, you need a way to make each Group wait for its turn before it sounds.

  • With the advent of large, modern sample libraries, it has become customary to let the user switch between different articulations with keys on his master keyboard that are unused by the Instrument’s Zones; these so-called keyswitches require a way to make Groups only come active when their respective keyswitch was the last received one.

  • You might want to switch between Groups depending on the value of a MIDI controller; for instance, lots of modern piano libraries use separate sample sets for notes which are played with the sustain pedal depressed and released.

The Group Start Options allow you to define a range of conditions that have to be met before the respective Group will become active and can output any sound. The list of these conditions is hidden from the Group Editor view by default; you can show it by clicking on the Group Start Options button in the lower left corner of the Group Editor.

Three group start conditions combined together with the logical And operator.

Multiple Group start conditions, combined with “and” operators. This means that all specified conditions must be met before the Group becomes active.

Each row of this list has a drop-down menu at its left side.

  • To add a condition to the list, select its general type from this menu.

To the right of the menu, KONTAKT will then show the respective parameters that belong to the respective condition along with explanatory labels, as well as an operator drop-down menu that logically combines this entry with the next one.

The Group Start Options list includes the following types of conditions:

  • Always: This is a no-operation value. If it’s is the only value in the list, the selected Group will always be active. In lists with more than one row, this value serves as a marker for the last row in the list, as well as an entry that deletes rows from the list when you choose it.

  • Start on Key: This condition lets you define keyswitches. A Group with this condition will be deactivated until a trigger note within the defined range is received; it will be deactivated again when another Group in your Instrument with a Start on Key condition will come active, so that you can switch between Groups with single key strokes.

  • Start on Controller: The Group will come active when KONTAKT receives a MIDI controller within a specific range. It will be deactivated again when a controller value outside the range is received.

  • Cycle Round Robin: All Groups that have this condition in their Group Start Options will be cycled in a round-robin fashion on each note. Among other things, you can use this feature to add realistic variations to note repetitions, or automatically alternate between left and right strokes on percussion instruments.

  • Cycle Random: Like Cycle Round Robin, but notes will be cycled randomly instead of sequentially.

  • Slice Trigger: This option was used by slice Groups in KONTAKT 2. It is provided for backwards compatibility and should not be used explicitly.

By adding multiple conditions to the list and connecting them with the logical operators you’ll find in the drop-down menu at the right side, you can create very complex combinations of conditions. Note that the last entry of the list (which will be an always condition) won’t be taken into account when your list contains at least another condition entry.

The Mapping Editor

Samples, which are essentially audio files by another name, are made playable in KONTAKT by creating Zones that reference these files. A Zone is a kind of container that holds information in order to tell KONTAKT which Sample to play when a specific note is received. A Zone needs to specify a range of note and velocity values that it should respond to. In addition, a Zone can contain other values, like volume, pan, and tune adjustments.

All of the facilities required to specify the parameters of a Zone (and a few more) are provided in the Mapping Editor.

  • Click on the Mapping Editor button just below the Instrument Header to toggle the Mapping Editor view on and off.

The Mapping Editor, displaying the Zones of an Instrument which contains 3-layer velocity switches throughout its playable range.

The Mapping Editor, displaying the Zones of an Instrument which contains 3-layer velocity switches throughout its playable range.

The Mapping Editor consists of three parts:

  • At the top, a control strip with two rows of buttons and menus provides access to a number of utility functions that operate on your selected Zones.

  • A status line displays the parameters of the currently selected Zone and allows you to change it.

  • The largest space is taken up by the Zone grid, a two-dimensional panel with a keyboard at its bottom. It displays and lets you change the key range (horizontal axis) and velocity range (vertical axis) of each Zone in an intuitive, graphical way. Scroll bars at the right and lower border allow you to move the view around, as well as zoom vertically and horizontally by clicking the “-” and “+” buttons; the “-” and “+” keys on the number pad of your keyboard will do the same. Alternatively, you can quickly zoom into a specific region by holding the Alt key while clicking and dragging the mouse on the grid; this will open a “rubber band” selection frame, which will fill up the whole view with its selected area when you release the mouse button. To zoom out again, just click somewhere on the grid while holding the Alt key. When you play a note on your MIDI keyboard, a small red marker should appear above the corresponding key of the on-screen keyboard, with higher velocities being indicated with a higher position in the grid.

Mapping Samples Manually

You can manually create Zones by dragging one or multiple Samples from the Side pane or your desktop into the Zone grid of the Mapping Editor. While dragging, a highlighted region will tell you where KONTAKT would place the Zone(s) on the keyboard. When you release the mouse button, the Zones will be created; if you change your mind and don’t want to add new Zones, just move your mouse outside the Mapping Editor and release the button.

The Mapping Editor. The mouse is dragging numerous samples and a highlighted region in the editor is indicating where contact will map the zones to the keys.

While you keep your mouse button depressed, KONTAKT will highlight the pattern in which it would map new Zones to the keyboard.

The way KONTAKT will distribute the new Zone(s) depends on your mouse position and whether you’re dragging one or multiple Samples:

  • Dragging a single Sample into the Zone grid will create a Zone that spans the entire velocity range, and will be placed on one or several adjacent keys. When you move the mouse all the way to the bottom of the grid, the Zone will be assigned to a single key; moving the mouse upwards will gradually enlarge the keyboard range of the Zone, until it spans the entire keyboard when you’re at the top of the grid.

  • Dragging multiple Samples into the Zone grid will create a corresponding number of adjacent, non-overlapping Zones, starting with the key at your horizontal mouse position. Just like when you drag single Samples, the vertical mouse position will adjust the size of each Zone’s key range. When you move your mouse all the way to the top of the grid, all Samples will be layered in overlapping Zones that span the whole key range.

  • Dragging multiple Samples onto a key of the keyboard below the grid will create a corresponding number of Zones that evenly divide the velocity range on that key. This makes for a convenient way to quickly create velocity switches.

Note that when you drag multiple samples from the Side pane into the Mapping Editor, the sort order in which they appeared in the Side pane will also determine the order in which the corresponding Zones will be placed. For instance, if you’d like to create an eight-way velocity switch out of samples named “Piano-C3-1.wav” through “Piano-C3-8.wav”, you should make sure that the Samples list in the Side pane is sorted by name in ascending order before you select and drag the Samples into the Mapping Editor.

In addition to Samples, you can also drag one or multiple sliced loops into the Mapping Editor to place them on the keyboard. In this case, the newly created Zones won’t belong to the currently selected Group; instead, a new Group will be created for each Loop with its Source Module set to Beat Machine mode.

Mapping Samples Automatically

Placing Zones manually by dragging Samples from the Side pane into the Zone grid works well if your Instrument won’t contain a lot of Zones, or if your Samples are conveniently named in a way that makes it possible to pre-sort them in the Side pane before you create Zones out of them. But what if the samples of your violin set are not named “Violin-1.wav” through “Violin-14.wav”, but instead “Violin-G2-A2” through “Violin-A#5-C6”? There’s no way to get the Side pane to sort them in any meaningful way.

For scenarios like this, the Mapping Editor includes an Auto-Mapping feature. It consists of a customizable filename scanner that first attempts to determine which parts of your Sample’s filenames could contain valuable information, then lets you assign to which Zone parameters these parts should be mapped.

To use the Auto-Mapping feature, you’ll have to create Zones out of your Samples first by dragging them into the Mapping Editor as described above. While doing this, you won’t have to care about aspects that can be derived from the Sample filenames later. For instance, if your filenames contain the key range, you don’t need to place the Zones anywhere particular; they will be moved to their correct destinations by the Auto-Mapping feature anyway.

In the next step, mark all Zones in the Mapping Editor upon which you want the Auto-Mapping feature to act. You can select multiple Zones either by holding the [Shift] key while clicking on them, or by clicking on the grid background and dragging the mouse to open a “rubber band” selection frame. When all Zones you want to process are selected, open the Edit drop-down menu at the top of the Mapping Editor and choose Auto Map — Setup. A dialog window will appear that displays the result of the filename scanning process.

The Auto Mapping dialog, displaying a filename that has been split up into four tokens.​

The Auto Mapping dialog, displaying a filename that has been split up into four tokens.

At the top of this dialog, you can see which filename has been used to determine where the interesting parts of the filename could be. These so-called “tokens” are any strings that appear in the filename and are separated from each other with non-alphanumeric characters like spaces, dashes, or underscores. Below, the filename is displayed again, this time split up into its determined tokens, with a drop-down menu below each of them. These menus allow you to specify for each token whether it shall be ignored or used to derive any Zone information. For example, if your Samples are named similar to “Trumpet-f-C1-D#1.wav”, with the “f” indicating the dynamic layer and the notes representing the low and high endpoints of the key range, you can leave the drop-down menu of the first token (“Trumpet”) at its Ignore Me entry, while setting the menus of the second, third and fourth tokens (“f”, “C1” and “D#1”) to Make Group Name, Make Low Key, Make High Key and Set to Single Key respectively.

The auto mapping dialog with the first token being selected as "ignore me".

Tokens marked “Ignore me” won’t be used for any automatic Zone adjustment.

Of course, this applies only if you want to separate multiple dynamic layers into Groups, otherwise you can leave the second menu set to Ignore Me as well.

When you enable the Read root key from sample metadata if possible option at the bottom of the dialog, KONTAKT will read and use the root key information that’s embedded in some WAV and AIFF files, if available, instead of trying to get it from the filename. Once the settings accurately reflect the information contained in your filenames, click the Close button at the bottom of the dialog.

Now, with the Zones still selected, choose the Auto map selected command from the Edit menu at the top of the Mapping Editor, or use the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl] + T ([Cmd] + T on Mac OS X). If you correctly identified all filename tokens in the previous step, KONTAKT will now automatically arrange and place the Zones according to the information it gets from the filenames of their referenced Samples.

Managing Zones

Once you’ve created Zones for your Samples, you can take care of adjusting their parameters to your needs. Each Zone carries the following parameters with it:

  • K.Range: This is the range of notes on your keyboard to which the Zone will respond. For instance, a keyboard range of “C3–D#3” tells KONTAKT that the respective Zone shall be played when a C3, C#3, D3, or D#3 note is received. If a Zone is being assigned to a single key (as it’s the case with chromatically sampled Instruments), the keyboard range will look similar to “C3–C3”.

  • Velocity: The values here specify the lowest and highest velocity values the Zone will respond. A Zone that will be triggered regardless of the velocity will have a velocity range of “0–127”.

  • Root: This is the pitch at which the sample was originally recorded. When the Zone is being played at this key, no transposition will take place. Note that an incorrect root key value will result in a transposition offset of the whole Zone, as KONTAKT will transpose Zones based on the distance between their root key and the actual received note. Also, for any transposition to occur at all, the Tracking parameter of the respective Group’s Source Module needs to be activated.

  • Volume: This parameter lets you specify a volume offset for each Zone. The default volume setting of all Zones is 0 dB.

  • Pan: This parameter allows you to place each Zone independently within the stereo panorama.

  • Tune: This parameter lets you change the tuning of a Zone within a range of +/- 36 semitones.

Note that the last three parameters are mainly intended for a non-destructive correction of Samples which deviate in volume, panorama position, or tuning. They work in combination with the identically named parameters of the Source and Amplifier modules. If you want to modulate these parameters on a per-Zone basis, read about Zone Envelopes in section Zone Envelopes.

Editing Parameters in the Status Bar

In order to view and change the parameters of a Zone, first select it in the Zone grid of the Mapping Editor by clicking on it. All parameters of the currently selected Zone will now be displayed in the status bar above the Zone grid. You can change a parameter by clicking on its value and dragging your mouse upwards or downwards. While this is the only way to change the volume, pan and tune parameters of a Zone, there are several alternate ways to adjust its keyboard range, velocity range, or root key.

Editing Parameters Graphically

You can change the keyboard and velocity range of a Zone, as well as its root key, graphically within the Zone grid of the Mapping Editor:

  • Clicking into a Zone and moving the mouse horizontally will move the whole Zone across the keyboard. Using the left and right cursor keys while holding [Ctrl] ([Cmd] on Mac OS X) will move the currently selected Zone(s) across the keyboard.

  • Clicking on the left or right border of a Zone (the mouse cursor will change when it’s right on the border) and dragging it horizontally, thereby changing the horizontal size of the Zone, will change that Zone’s keyboard range. Using the left and right cursor keys while holding [Shift] and [Ctrl] ([Cmd] on Mac OS X) will adjust the high key limit of the selected Zone’s key range.

  • Clicking on the upper or lower border of a Zone and dragging it vertically will change this Zone’s velocity range. Using the up and down cursor keys while holding [Ctrl] ([Cmd] on Mac OS X) will move the velocity range of the currently selected Zone(s) by two velocity steps; holding [Shift] and [Ctrl] will change their upper velocity limits.

  • Clicking on the yellow key on the keyboard below the Zone grid and dragging it horizontally will change the Zone’s root key.

  • [Ctrl]-clicking and dragging while your mouse is on the left or right border of a Zone will create a Zone crossfade. This function will be explained below.

  • Alt-clicking and dragging will open a “rubber band” zoom frame; when you release the mouse button, the contents inside the selection frame will zoom in to fill the whole pane. To zoom out again, just Alt-click somewhere on the grid.

You can select multiple Zones by clicking on them while holding the [Shift] key, or clicking on an empty space of the grid and dragging the mouse to open a “rubber band” selection (when you hold [Shift], you can open the selection frame at any point, also on Zones).

Tip

If multiple Zones overlap and you can’t reach one that’s hidden behind another, try holding the [Ctrl] key ([Cmd] on Mac OS X) while clicking inside them repeatedly; this will cycle through all Zones you’re pointing at.

By using the cursor keys while holding [Shift], you can add adjacent Zones to your current selection. This way, you can use the described methods to move or modify the Zones in unison; the status bar, however, will only show values that are identical across all selected Zones when multiple Zones are selected.

Editing Parameters via MIDI

A third alternative that lets you change the keyboard and velocity ranges of a Zone in an intuitive way is using your MIDI keyboard. After you’ve selected a Zone in the Zone grid of the Mapping Editor, enable one of the buttons depicted with a small MIDI jack and a double arrow in the control strip, or both.

The Control Strip of the Mapping Editor. The mouse cursor is hovering over a button with a Midi icon.

Enabling MIDI Mapping

The button with a horizontal arrow lets you change the keyboard range, the one with a vertical arrow lets you change the velocity range.

When these are active, play two keys on your keyboard; it doesn’t matter whether you play them at the same time or in succession. Depending which of the two buttons you have activated, KONTAKT will use the note numbers and the velocity of both notes as endpoints for the Zone’s new keyboard and/or velocity range.

Control Strip

The control strip is located at the top of the Mapping Editor and consists of two rows of controls. This is where you can find most utility functions for managing and editing your Zones.

The Control Strip of the Mapping Editor.

The Control Strip of the Mapping Editor provides a number of options and utility functions.

Let’s take a look at the elements of the control strip:

Edit menu: This button opens a drop-down menu with utility functions that operate on all currently selected Zones, such as clipboard operations, functions for assigning Zones to Groups, and batch processes. You can find a thorough explanation of all entries in this menu in the next section of this chapter.

List View: This button switches the Zone grid to an alternate view mode that displays all Groups and their contained Zones in a hierarchical list structure at the left side.

Tip

When you’re in list view, you can expand or collapse all Groups at once by holding [Shift] when you click an expand/collapse button.

This mode is especially handy when you’re working with lots of Zones that overlap in large areas, as Zones that are hidden behind others can be difficult to select and edit in the normal, flat view. The downside of the list view is that it doesn’t convey any information about the velocity ranges; the only way to modify these is by editing them numerically in the status bar after you have selected a Zone. Just like the default view, the list view can be moved around with the scrollbars and zoomed with either the zoom buttons or by clicking and dragging a “rubber band” zoom frame while holding the Alt key.

Select Zone via Midi: If this button is activated, any incoming MIDI note will automatically select any Zone(s) that match its note number and velocity. The function works similarly to the Select by MIDI feature of the Group Editor.

Auto-Spread Zone Key Ranges: This function automatically fills “holes” in your key mapping by successively extending the key range of each selected Zone to both sides until it “touches” its neighbors. The algorithm ignores the root keys of the selected Zones; it simply uses the current key range as a starting point for extension. If you want the root keys to be accounted for, use the Auto-Spread Key Ranges via Root Key function instead. The Auto-Spread Zone Key Ranges function is also available in the Edit menu.

Auto-SpreadVelocity Ranges: This function works similarly to Auto-Spread Zone Key Ranges, but operates on the velocity range of each selected Zone instead of the key range. This function is also available in the Edit menu.

Auto-Map Selected: When you click the Auto button, the Auto-Mapping feature will change the parameters and placement of each selected Zone according to information it has derived from its Sample’s filename. This function is also available in the Edit menu. The Auto-Mapping feature is explained in detail in the previous section of this chapter.

Auto-Spread Key Ranges via Root Key (Root): This function works similarly to the Auto-Spread Zone Key Ranges command; however, it aims for the smallest possible maximum transposition that can occur in each Zone by accounting for the root keys and trying to keep them in the center of their respective Zone. This function is also available in the Edit menu.

Resolve Overlapping Key Ranges: This function eliminates key range overlaps between the selected Zones by successively shrinking the key range of each Zone until it doesn’t overlap its neighbor anymore. It aims for optimal utilization of root keys (and consequently, the smallest possible amount of transposition). This function is also available in the Edit menu and via the keyboard shortcut [Ctrl]-R ([Cmd]-R on Mac OS X).

Resolve Overlapping Velocity Ranges: This function works similarly to the Resolve Overlapping Key Ranges command, but operates on the velocity ranges of the selected Zones. It’s also available in the Edit menu and via the keyboard shortcut [Shift] + [Ctrl] + [R] ([Shift] + [Cmd] + [R] on Mac OS X).

Set Key Range via MIDI: If this button is activated and a Zone is selected, KONTAKT will use the next two incoming MIDI notes as the endpoints of a new key range for the selected Zone. This function is described in the previous section.

Set Velocity Range via MIDI: If this button is activated and a Zone is selected, KONTAKT will use the velocities of the next two incoming MIDI notes as the endpoints of a new velocity range for the selected Zone. This function is described in the previous section.

Lock Zones: When this button is activated, the key and velocity ranges of all Zones will be protected from being changed graphically inside the Zone grid. This can be handy when you’re doing editing tasks that require you to switch between Zones a lot, and want to avoid accidentally moving one of them or changing its key or velocity ranges.

Solo Zone: This button will mute all Zones in your Instrument except of the currently selected one(s). Once activated, the solo function will follow your selection, so you can quickly check out the contents of specific Zones acoustically.

Select. Groups Only: When this button is activated, the Mapping Editor will only show Zones that belong to the currently selected Group. To help you keep the overview, other Zones will be displayed dimly in the background, but won’t be able for selection or editing.

AutoSel. Grp: When this button is activated, the Group selection will follow your Zone selection. In other words, selecting a Zone will automatically select the respective Group to which it belongs in the Group Editor.

Sample Field: This text field displays the filename of the Sample that’s assigned to the currently selected Zone. When you hover the mouse pointer over this field, KONTAKT will additionally display the full path to the Sample file. Using the arrow buttons on the right side of the field, you can assign a new Sample to the selected Zone; the buttons will switch to the previous or next Sample within the folder of the current one.

Edit Menu

This drop-down menu contains utility functions that operate on your currently selected Zones. In addition to clipboard commands and functions that allow you to re-assign Zones to different Groups, it also contains a range of batch functions that are designed to operate on multiple Zones, commands for controlling the Authentic Expression Technology (as described in section AET Filter), and some options that affect the display and editing behavior of the Mapping Editor. Let’s have a look at what you can find in the Edit menu, from top to bottom:

  • Cut zone(s): Moves the selected Zones to the clipboard for later use, removing them from the Zone grid in the process. Using the clipboard, you can move Zones from one Instrument to another, even across different KONTAKT instances.

  • Copy zone(s): Copies the selected Zones to the clipboard.

  • Duplicate zone(s): Creates identical copies of the selected Zones. These copies will be placed on top of the originals and will be selected after the process, so you can move them to a different place right away if you wish. The keyboard shortcut for this function is [Ctrl]-D ([Cmd]-D on Mac OS X).

  • Paste zone(s): Inserts the contents of the Zone clipboard into the Mapping Editor. The Zones will appear in the same place they were cut or copied from.

  • Delete zone(s): Removes the selected Zones from the Mapping Editor.

  • ExchangeSample: Opens a file chooser dialog that lets you assign a new Sample to the selected Zone. This operation will keep the other Zone parameters, such as key and velocity ranges, intact.

  • Select all zones: Selects all Zones in your Instrument, including those in other Groups than the currently selected one, even if the Select. Groups Only button is activated.

  • Deselect all zones: Clears all active Zone selections, if any.

  • Move zone(s) to new empty group: Creates a new Group with default settings and re-assigns all currently selected Zones to it. Use this function if you want to separate a number of Zones from your current Group and use them to build a new Group from scratch.

  • Move zone(s) to new clone group: Creates a new Group that replicates the settings of the Group to which the first selected Zone is assigned, then re-assigns all currently selected Zones to it. This process won’t change the functionality of your Instrument, as the new Group will behave exactly as the old one did; however, it allows you to change parameters of the new Group separately from the original Group.

  • Move to Existing Group: This entry opens a sub-menu that contains a list of all Groups in your current Instrument; by selecting one of them, all currently selected Zones will be moved to this Group.

  • Move each zone to its own group (empty): This function works similarly to the Move zone(s) to new empty group command, but instead of creating a single Group and moving all selected Zones into it, it will create a separate, empty Group for each Zone.

  • Move each zone to its own group (clone): This function works similarly to the Move zone(s) to new clone group command, but will create a separate Group for each Zone, which replicates the settings of the original Group.

  • Batch tools: This entry opens a sub-menu with utility functions designed to operate on multiple Zones. Its contents will be described in the next section of this chapter.

  • Create AET morph layer: Opens a dialog that lets you analyze the Samples of the selected Zones and save them to a new Morph Layer. These layers constitute the basic building blocks of the Authentic Expression Technology introduced in KONTAKT 4. Please refer to section AET Filter for a thorough description of AET.

  • Open AET morph map editor: Opens a dialog that lets you combine one or more Morph Layers into a Morph Map.

  • Auto add AET velocity morph: This is a convenient function that carries out all necessary steps of building a standard velocity morph across the selected Zones for you. Please refer to section Creating a Velocity Morph to find out how to use this feature.

The following seven entries are options that affect the operation of the Mapping Editor. You can toggle them by choosing them from the menu; if an option is currently active, this is indicated with a small diamond icon next to it.

  • Auto move root key: When activated, moving a Zone will move its root key along with it. This way, the pitch of the Zone will stay the same when it’s being moved.

  • Show sample names: If activated, the filenames of the assigned Samples will be displayed within the rectangles that represent each Zone in the Zone grid. Note that the name will be hidden when a Zone rectangle is too small; if you’d still like to see it, try zooming in until the name appears.

  • Map mode: These five settings affect how the Mapping Editor will behave when you drag multiple Samples from the Side pane into the Zone grid:

    • Chromatic: This is the default setting. The Mapping Editor will create adjacent Zones across both black and white keys, with the vertical mouse position adjusting the size of each Zone.

    • White Keys Only: New Zones will be assigned to single, adjacent white keys.

    • Black Keys Only: New Zones will be assigned to single, adjacent black keys.

    • Snap to White Keys: This mode works similarly to Chromatic, but the Mapping Editor will place the low key of each Zone on a white key.

    • Snap to Black Keys: The low key of each Zone will be placed on a black key.

Auto map – Setup: Opens the setup dialog that lets you identify the tokens of Sample filenames for later Auto-Mapping. The Auto-Mapping feature is described in detail in section Mapping Samples Automatically.

Auto map functions: Contains a number of entries that replicate the functions of the corresponding buttons which you can find in the control strip; they are explained in detail in the previous section of this chapter.

Batch Tools

You can find these tools in the Batch Tools submenu of the Edit menu. In addition to functions that place root keys in relation to the respective Zone borders, the menu includes several utility operations that let you create crossfades between Zones, which needs a brief introduction.

When you create Sample sets of tonal instruments that don’t include a Sample for each note, the notes that haven’t been sampled need to derive their signal from the Samples of nearby notes. This is usually done by transposing these “native” Samples upwards or downwards. This method has a downside — the necessary re-sampling process can “skew” the sound character of your instrument, especially when transposition over a wider note range is required. Consequentially, this means that two consecutive notes on a scale which happen to cross the “border” between two Zones, and thus are both transposed versions of different Samples, can sound dissimilar.

The same problem can arise with velocity switched Sample sets; suppose you’re using four Samples per note, each assigned to one of four equally large velocity ranges. Especially when you’re sampling an acoustic instrument, it can easily happen that two consecutive notes with only marginally different velocity values still happen to fall into two different velocity ranges, thus resulting in noticeably different timbres.

Crossfades provide a way to counteract these effects. The basic idea is that overlapping your Zones and creating a crossfade between them, thus making them blend into each other within the overlapping parts, will mask the difference in sound for notes that fall “between” them.

The Mapping Editor with various zones depicted in yellow. The yellow has a gradient indicating cross fades between zones.

Crossfades are being depicted with colored gradients.

Consider this example: You’re sampling an instrument in minor thirds and have just sampled D and F. You create two Zones out of the Samples and extend them a major second to both sides. Now, Zone 1 covers the key range between C and E, with its root key being D. Zone 2 has its root key on F and covers the key range between D# and G. Notice that the Zones overlap on D# and E, where both will be transposed. Now you create a key crossfade on both Zones; as a result, D# and E notes will play a blend of both Zones, with the D Zone’s Sample being predominant on D# notes, and the F Zone’s Sample being predominant on E notes. Of course, this method works just as well with larger sampling intervals. Just make sure that your Zones overlap in ranges you’d like to be crossfaded, whether in key (horizontal) or velocity (vertical) direction.

With this knowledge, let’s get back to the contents of the Batch Tools sub-menu:

  • Auto-Apply X-Fades (Key): Creates crossfades between all selected Zones whose key ranges overlap to some extent. Active crossfades will be indicated with a shaded area between Zones; if this makes your Zone grid look too cluttered, try zooming in or switching into List View.

Tip

You can manually create crossfades by [Ctrl]-clicking and dragging the left or right border of a Zone.

  • Auto-Apply X-Fades (Velocity): Creates crossfades between all selected Zones whose velocity ranges overlap to some extent.

  • Remove X-Fades (Key): Removes all key range crossfades from the selected Zones, if any, which reverts them to normal overlapped Zones.

  • Remove X-Fades (Velocity): Removes all velocity range crossfades from the selected Zones, if any.

  • Move Root Key(s) to Lower Border: Moves the root key of each selected Zone to the lowest note in the key range.

  • Move Root Key(s) to Center: Moves the root key of each selected Zone to the center of the Zone’s key range.

  • Move Root Key(s) to Upper Border: Moves the root key of each selected Zone to the highest note in the key range.