Kontakt Full Vs Kontakt Player
A subject that confuses everyone at the start, this is our ultimate guide to Kontakt.
This webpage was last updated in June 2023. All information accurate to the best of our knowledge, but functionality and information about products that are not our own as well as links to other webpages outside of our own website are not under our control 🙂
1. If you own Kontakt Full, you can use any Kontakt instrument.
2. If you just have Kontakt Player, you can only use Player-compatible instruments.
3. You can not use an instrument which is any version higher than the version of Kontakt you have.
What is Kontakt?
Why do I need Kontakt?
What are the two different variants of Kontakt software?
What are the main differences between to two variants of Kontakt?
Kontakt Player only lets you use Kontakt Player compatible instruments with it. Kontakt Full allows you to use all Kontakt instruments with it.
Kontakt Player is free. Kontakt Full costs money.
You can not build your own your own instruments or edit other people’s instruments in Kontakt Player.
Why should I get Kontakt Full?
Kontakt Full opens up access to thousands of different instruments that aren’t available for Kontakt Player. There are hundreds of developers including smaller, independent developers (like us!) that create all sorts of amazing instruments for Kontakt Full. It also allows you to create your own virtual instruments which is really good fun and a very good way to bring your own sounds to your music. You just need an SM57 and you’re good to go.
Why don't all instruments work in Kontakt Player?
How do I check if the instrument I'm about to buy will work in my version of Kontakt?
Checking compatibility of version numbers
Your version of Kontakt software has to be the same or higher than the Kontakt instrument you’re using.
Each instrument will be developed in a specific version of Kontakt (e.g. 5.6.8), and you will need to use a version of Kontakt that’s the same or higher than that to use it. It simply won’t open if your version of Kontakt is lower than the instrument’s.
You have Kontakt 6.0.4 and the instrument is 5.6.6 – This IS compatible.
You have Kontakt 5.7.1 and the instrument is 5.8.1 – This IS NOT compatible.
This happens because as Native Instruments updates Kontakt with new features, an instrument built in a newer version might have functionality that an older version of Kontakt can’t support.
How can I check if I have Kontakt Full or Kontakt Player?
Check NATIVE ACCESS
Open up Native Access (the program which controls licenses and updates to Native Instrument products).
Click the “Installed products” tab on the left, and you will see a list of all available software and instruments on the right. Your current installed of Kontakt are listed here, along with their current version number and if there is any available updates.
You’ll notice on the screenshot here it mentions either FULL VERSION or PLAYER on the right hand column.
Check the plugin once loaded in your DAW
Once you’ve loaded up Kontakt into a channel strip in your DAW, you can open up the window to check.
It will say KONTAKT PLAYER in the top left of the window if this is what loaded.
You can also click on the KONTAKT Logo which will bring up a dialogue box similar to the ones below which will let you know which type is loaded and you can also check the version number (e.g. 5.8.1 or 6.0.4)
Why do I see DEMO / What is demo mode?
Demo mode is a feature of Kontakt Player, which allows any non-Player/Kontakt Full instrument to be temporarily loaded. It will allow you to use the instrument without any limitations or restrictions for approximately 15 minutes before timing out. It then stops working and you have to re-start your DAW to get going again.
At first it feels like a Demo mode of the instrument which has been programmed by the instrument company/developer. However, this feature automatically engages within Kontakt Player when a non-Player sample library/instrument is loaded into Kontakt.
Where can I buy Kontakt Full?
You can buy a license and download direct from Native Instrument’s website.
Kontakt Full is included with Native Instrument’s “Komplete” and “Komplete Ultimate” packages. Although more expensive to buy, these are really good value considering the dozens of other instruments and sounds included. At the time of writing Kontakt Full is NOT included in “Komplete Start” or “Komplete Select”.