A Kore + Massive laptop rig, (CC) by Marin Kikolov aka |submarin|, via Flickr.

To really work with music software as an instrument, you have to focus on a set of tools and get deep into what they can do. Today, we’re launching the first of a limited series of minisites that lets us do that. It’s called Kore @CDM, devoted to NI’s Kore and Komplete lines. We’ve built a special blog which will feature regular tips on how to work with this set of tools, basic and advanced tutorials, and downloadable content, all free and open. (The contents of the site will be Creative Commons-licensed, so you’re free to share and modify what we do, with credit to the authors.)

Kore Minisite @CDM, http://kore.createdigitalmusic.com

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imageWhy choose this product now?  I’ve felt really strongly, even having been critical of Kore’s first release, that Kore 2 has the potential to live up to its promise of creating a "meta-instrument" for working with sound and effects. Combined with the rest of the Komplete family, including Reaktor’s open-ended patching environment and the scriptable sampler Kontakt, NI has some deep tools — not perfect, not for everyone, but tools that matter to us. We want to really get into how to use them, and to develop a set of techniques and tools for others, both for sound design and live performance, in combination with hosts like Ableton Live. And this means not just doing stuff "by the book," but really seeing how far we can push these tools, sonically and in playability.

Kicking things off is Eoin Rossney, who talks about how to create feedback loops intentionally in Kore for special effects. It’s something mentioned in the manual, but there haven’t been instructions on how to accomplish it until now. Eoin takes that challenge on, and produces some really oddball sounds just by routing effects into themselves. Have a listen to the samples — just be sure to turn your speakers’ volume down first.

How to Route Feedback Loops in Kore – On Purpose [Kore @CDM]

Peter Dines, a Reaktor whiz and author of the Reaktor Tips blog, will also be writing and screencasting for us soon. Both Eoin and Peter have been CDM regulars, so it’s great to have them onboard.

Why we’re partnering with NI: So that we can provide as much content as we can for free, we’ve gotten sponsorship from Native Instruments to produce the site. But that doesn’t mean we want to make an "advertorial." NI has been generous enough to give us full control over the contents, and the goal isn’t a review, or an ad — it’s as much actual knowledge of these tools as we can provide. And, hey, it’s basically our job to demonstrate that by doing as good a job as we can and listening to your feedback. I’m happy to answer questions about why we’re doing things this way and what it means; we can talk in comments or contact the site.

Most of all, though, I hope you’ll check out the site. If you don’t own Kore or the other tools, we’ll still have sound and video samples and will include instructions for trying out projects in the demo, if you just want to kick the tires a bit. And definitely let us know what you think as we roll out more stories, because we want this to be as useful to you as possible.


Oh, yeah, and if you’re wondering about what the "createdigitalmusic.com" thing is about, you’ll be hearing more soon. Suffice to say the Kore site isn’t all we’re working on.

Bonus points to anyone else who had the "opportunity" to see the movie Deep Kore Core.

  • Machines

    Super cool, Peter. I've been on the fence about KORE 2 for quite some time (mainly because of my hardware limitations hearing that a Dual 1.8 G5 may not be the most reliable thing to run it on) but that doesn't mean I want KORE any less. Looking forward to all the updates!

  • sweet…i just got a new box to do sound design and i'm evaluating Reaktor, MAX 5, and PD. thanks.

  • bliss

    Bravo, Peter! Maybe you will partner with Cycling '74 and Celemony as well? I definitely can see CDM having a few minisites that function in the tradition of Sound On Sound Magazine's monthly tutorials. I hope this will be a major success for CDM!

  • Selling us out so soon. . . .

    You know like everyone else that Kore is still not ready for prime time unless you have the NEWEST SUPER COMPUTER .

    Why not Start with the N.I Apps then slowly fade into Kore over weeks. I still dont know a reason to go from Battery 2 to Battery 3.

  • Diggiti,

    Well, hey, I expected someone would raise some concerns.

    Super computer for Kore? I don't really get that sense, no. I have an AMD x2 3800+ Athlon here on my desk as my studio machine — definitely NOT the current top-generation — and it works fine. A $1000 laptop, even from Apple, includes a hefty Core 2 Duo now. I don't think a lack of processing power is going to be a huge issue for most people. Some of Kore's effects are indeed CPU-hungry (granular, reverb) but the same would be true with those kinds of effects on any platform.

    We struggled a bit with what to call this, but I think you'll find a blend of Kore and other apps, so if you're not interested in Kore, I still think we'll have plenty to keep your interest. And as far as those other apps, you won't *necessarily* need the latest version to benefit from tips. I'll be testing on both Komplete 5 and Komplete 3 to get at some of those older releases.

    As for Battery 3 — a fully-customizable matrix, loop import, performance articulations, and the ability to edit waveforms directly graphically are all pretty huge for me. But I know not everybody grabs every update — I still have to catch up with some of what's new in the latest releases — so we'll balance as well as we can.

    Give the site a couple of weeks as we roll out stories, and let us know what you think. And if it's not for you, we'll keep doing the usual thing here on cdm.com.

  • Who else would give a great reesponse like that?thx

  • This is great. I literally just finally bit the bullet and bought Komplete 5 last night. My old copy of Absynth 2 was looking like it could use freshening up, and then there's Massive. That's got to be one of my favorite new tools.

    So, good timing! I'll definitely be keeping tabs.

  • bliss

    My main reason of interest is that I don't know anything about Reaktor except the Reaktor user Library. So, a regular tutorial would be great for users like me who never look under the hood and only exploit the work of others. And it might help to explain why an investment in KORE could be a good idea. Because, so far, NI haven't really sold me on it themselves. At any rate, there's definitely nothing wrong with a regular feature focusing on sound design. So, this latest development is all good, imo! πŸ˜‰

  • gbsr

    ohyeah and btw, if you do partner up with cycling74, try to press some info on what the hell theyre doing with ableton, besides painting offices πŸ˜‰

    very good choice on the sound design blog, another daily read.

  • We'll definitely be looking under the hood of Reaktor, as well as Kore.

    C74 + Ableton … well, once we can talk about that, we will.

  • ccc

    Anybody knows if there's going to be a new big update to Reaktor???

  • Flash Freddy

    That's great news. I'm more into sound design than preset tweaking so maybe Kore is not aimed at me but still I hope you come up woth some cool stuff.

    There are 2 issues that maybe you could help me with.

    Does the controller work in a specifically unique way or is it just a dumb MIDI controller. It is a pity they did not include an XY control like a joystick or pad. Maybe even a ribbon strip or a DBeam light sensor. As it is it is difficult to get excited by 8 rotary encoders and a jogwheel. It would have been good if the buttons were backlit drumpads. Maybe I am missing something.

    The other is the software. Although it is very easy to call up presets and tweak them once you go beyond this you seem to be adding another layer of complexity rather than making things simpler. For example layering, adding effects etc are just as easily achieved in Ableton. It would be good to know if the user can move through the morph patches randomly, or stepped, or by LFO or by ENV. Are there any Global synthesis parameters than can be applied easily to all layered patches or all morph patches.

    So they are my main two issues. Does the controller offer anything unique and does the software allow for easy high level manipulation of control parameters using thing like ADSRs, LFO, Sequences etc.

    Hope you don't mind Peter. It's an honest question.

  • gbsr

    afaik you cant step through kore sounds that easily, but you can save your own kore sounds and set them up on the 8 morph presets to switch between them by fiddling with the knobs. apparently the knobs have a higher resolution then an ordinary midi controller which is nice, but on the – side you cant use the kore controller as a controller to other midi software, unless its contained inside kore. it might be possible using something like glovepie or the hid object with maxmsp perhaps though. the only thing that really got me excited about kore was the resolution and settings of the knobs, and the fact that you could save 8 morph presets and morph between them at your wish, which is quite nice depending on what youre gonna use it for *cough effectbox cough*.

  • gbsr

    i meant stepping through them with an lfo or similar, ofcourse. πŸ˜‰

  • @Flash Freddy:

    Well, you've given me an idea for building a Kore Plus controller with those extra sensors. πŸ™‚ But, as far as what's unique, the 8 encoders transmit high-res data rather than standard MIDI control changes, and the on-screen LCD gives you touch feedback. There are also the eight assignable buttons. I think the idea is to do something simple that can complement your existing controllers.

    As for sounds, the software and hardware do, I think, make it easier to navigate different sounds. One reason I've started using Kore instead of Live's racks for setting up performance setups is that the ability to morph and switch presets with the Kore controller is very nice, and not possible in the same way in Live. But some of the other things you're asking about aren't *as* obvious, so that's definitely on our list to work through those issues and come up with some ideas.

  • matt

    Wait till they get to the Performance Preset option in Kore. That is when everyone's socks should get knocked off!

    Imagine loading every configuration of plugins and settings you need for a specific song and then switching through those parts with a touch of a button. All without any strain on your cpu other than the plugins that are active at the time.

    Kore 2 + Live 7 = an amazing live performance tool.

  • Matt

    Interesting timing – I actually *just* bit the bullet and bought Kore 2 + Komplete 5 about a week ago and have been blown away by the tools so far – I'm definitely stoked to see how deep you guys go and will be following closely along. Being involved in software development professionally, I will be very interested to see where the edges of these tools are – I'm already looking for them myself…


  • nkem

    I also have kore and was disappointed by not being able to use it as a controller outside of kore. I haven't had the time or inclination to look into kore 2.

    I kinda feel kinda over it after dumping so much time & energy into learning one only to have it not fit into my work-flow at all… and then up & changing the unit, UI & so on for round 2.

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  • Fauve

    Unless you have a brand new computer, Kore is very very slow and CPU hungry… That's my experience, anyway. I used it for a while, but was disappointed by the time it took to switch from one configuration to the next in a live setting. Going back to individual instruments (Kontakt for instance) made me realize how heavy the whole Kore engine was… Great in a few years time, but for people who are not ready to invest 3000 dollars in a new laptop, well…