A Thanksgiving cornucopia of sound, made cheap. Photo (CC) Lawrence OP.

Winter is coming. If you had to hole up with just one instrument, getting deep into programming sounds while venturing out of your abode only for essential supplies, any one of these instruments would easily fit the bill. Yes, Native Instruments bundles (nearly) everything they make into the Komplete bundle. But truly, any one of these creations would be a sonic rabbit hole into which you could climb. In ascending order of rabbit-hole-ness:

Massive: Drag-and-drop modulation, rich wavetables, and an emphasis on bass and leads make this a sonic favorite.

FM8: There’s simply no deeper frequency modulation instrument on the market.

Absynth 5: This instrument’s presets alone can be heard in scores for games and film, but those willing to brave its atmospheric sound mangling features and become ninjas with its envelope could wind up making it their only instrument if they had to.

Reaktor 5: The patching environment allows custom synths, effects, sequencers, and other tools; its granular sound engine and DSP programming stand apart.

All are now US$ / EUR 99, but only through the weekend.

Reaktor in particular is an incredible deal – you get a huge library of instruments, effects, sequencers, noisemakers, and unusual sonic creations, plus access to the User Library and all the Reaktor community has done. That’s even before you delve into one of the deepest sound development tools on the planet.

Now, of course, this prompted one reader to ask if NI were clearing out Reaktor inventory prior to releasing a new upgrade.

Reaktor is certainly long overdue for an upgrade; as other NI software has gotten repeat, ground-up rebuilds, Reaktor 5 is now a number of years old. That’s not to say you’ll run out of capabilities in Reaktor – it could take a lifetime to do that. But loyal Reaktor fans understandably want improvements, especially as they’ve watched rival commercial patcher Max get an entirely new UI and now a version integrated with Ableton Live. (Reaktor, for its part, is still a candidate for Live users, as Reaktor owners can run their creations as plug-ins.)

Whatever the status of the next Reaktor, though, this is a download version, so there’s no inventory, period. And Absynth 5 is a brand new piece of software. The good news here is, any of these purchases should qualify you for the upgrade path.

Any one of these could make a good deal.

Synthsgiving Special

Incidentally, I have the same complaint about Reaktor that I do about Max for Live – creators need a run-time to distribute their work. It’d be fantastic if a future Reaktor could make instruments playable in NI’s free Kore Player. And it seems like that would be the perfect compromise between allowing distribution of Reaktor creations and protecting the value of the Reaktor crown jewels. But when it comes to making things for yourself, these are all great choices. Let us know if you spring for one.

  • Even for the Australians, without our killer exchange rate, that is a great price for Reaktor. Given that this gives access to a user library on the NI site that is literally bursting with ensembles of every type, this could even be "the only VST you need to buy this year" for many producers. Certainly if you were starting out, this would be a killer option to get your hands on some truly incredible user-made synths in Reaktor, and grow into all the sound warping, sample mangling and sequencing aspects.

    Also the d16 sale is tempting! Nithonat is cheap, Nepheton is cheaper than before and Phoscyon is reminding you that it really is so much more than "another 303 clone".

    In short… even Non-Americans are winning during Thanksgiving. Especially us Australians and our great exchange rate.

  • NI Komplete 6 is 500 dollars, while 5 was $1000? Please correct when wrong. And on top of that there seems to be some kind of student discount. So also be sure to keep that in mind!

  • This got me thinking about getting Reaktor 5, I've been eyeing that one since it came out years ago…

    However, I'm also planning to build a Windows 7 64-bit system, and there is no official word from NI on compatibility. Any first-hand experiences from fellow readers?

  • Michael Coelho

    @Rutger, I believe you are correct. I got Komplete 5 + Kore 2 hardware for US $1,000 about a year and a half ago. It's a great package which I'm still exploring. I think Reaktor 5 is an incredible deal for $99. I love NI's stuff.

  • Partagas

    I couldn't pass up Reaktor 5 for €99/$99. Now, resurrect kore @ cdm, please! 😉

  • Joc

    Reaktor 5 at £90, after the exchange rates, has definitely got to be deal of the year. Had been umming and arring over Max or Reaktor for ages but this sealed the deal.

  • S Ford

    I was the reader who asked! Thanks for publishing my concerns.

    Nonetheless it is such a great deal, I don't think even if a new version of Reaktor comes out it will probably be a lot more expensive than this deal on right now! So I will go ahead and get R5!

  • Angstrom

    yep, I bought Reaktor.

    As a long-time AbletonLive user there was a nagging sense that if I was buying a modular environment it probably ought to be M4L. But where Max makes me think of long hours trying to find out what a ~pat_r is and whether I actually need it to debug my sibling crawling API function logger.

    With Reaktor I can treat it simply as a big fat synth library. It takes the pressure off.

    Plus, I now have money left over for a Launchpad. Bonus!

  • dirk

    Although its a bargain price, I don't like the dollar/Euro parity. €99 is nearly $150. And $99 is equal to around €66. Don't mean to make a big deal of a bargain price but it still niggles with me. We should pay the same, no problem if they let you pay in dollars but usually they don't.

  • I'm not sure I've actually ever seen a Reaktor versus Max/MSP comparison. (It'd be a big project.) Technical differences aside, the feeling of patching is really different in each.

    It's actually easier now to use Reaktor in Live thanks to Ableton changing the way automation parameters are working. We're really spoiled for choice with both Reaktor and Max/MSP; even given the price disparity with these deal on, I think it ultimately comes down to preference.

  • golden master

    amazing deal! I'll have to pick something up here.

  • just picked up M4L but might have to grab reaktor too.

    the deals keep coming.

  • Angstrom


    yes the style of things is very much a user preference. My personal choice is actually the way that SynthMaker operates. You type code into a window and you get some output compiled JIT. It keeps complex operations tidy and readable.

    I've never liked the Reaktor 'core' methodology, or the Max ~cycle method. They make realatively simple processes into multi-level nests of tiny-block-programming.

    Give me either typing, or big blocks which read "filter cut-off input", but not something in between. That seems daft.

    Well, personal preference, of course.

    One day the demo of M4L will be released and I'll check out the JS implementation in there. Perhaps that's what I am looking for.

    /end internal dialogue

  • Jimi

    At this price, Reaktor seems worth it just for the bundle of built in instruments and effects. I hear it's a CPU hog, though…

  • griotspeak


    there is already a demo of max4Live…just download it! 30 days!

  • Angstrom


    surely that's the demo of Max, of which my time has expired. I need to wait until Max 6 before I get another go of the standalone.

    The official word on an M4L demo (on the 24th Nov) was there's no demo of M4L


  • dirk-just put your address down as USA and pay be paypal-you get the dollar price.

  • @dirk: I agree totally your words but even 99 € is killer prize imho.

    May be Ni release a Reaktor 6 in the next months ?

  • Apologize, before i missed that yesterday i'dve buyed Reaktor

  • @Angstrom

    I am currently using M4L in Demo mode. Just make sure you make Live show you the Licensing options on startup and pick the "Suite" version when you start Live.

    I already own Reaktor although I'm considering picking up M4L. The synths on M4L don't seem as good as in Reaktor, but the integration of M4L is just outstanding. One of the reasons for me to use Live is because of the workflow and it always feels awkward to edit a plugin or a parameter on a completely different interface. That problem is gone with M4L. Also I'm a programmer, and I saw that you can use Javascript on Max patches, which would make life easier for me down the line.

  • I just bought Reaktor too. I've used Pure Data quite a bit, so i'm interested in seeing how this compares.

  • infradead


  • I used Csound for some years, but started studying reaktor a couple of months. This is the my first work in Reaktor. It's simple, but, making this, i could confirm the practicality and power of the tool. I think the price is fair.

  • I got Massive. I think, as far as new synths go, that Massive and Circle are the finest, and leave the idea of merely recreating an analog synth behind. I really think it will take me a bit to really "get it" though. Does anyone have a good Massive learning resource?

  • If i buy this version which is download only. Do NI do a similar thing to ableton and allow me to buy the box and manual.

    I'd love to get my nahds on reaktor 5 but would like to have the manual.

  • Keddy

    @Minuek, I looked yesterday and it is possible to purchase the manual for Reaktor online. I, of course, cannot find the link as of right now, but it's out there.

    I would also like to point out that purchasing this version of Reaktor DOES allow for the upgrade path, which, as of right now, can be had for as little as $299 on audiomidi.com until December 31st.

    So, purchasing Reaktor 5 for $99, then the Komplete 6 for $299, saves you a hundred off of the full version of Komplete 6….

  • Ernie Jackson

    @Keddy, that's a great tip, thanks a lot.

  • Yep, I'd be down for doing some new tutorials on Massive, Circle.

  • Jordaan

    @ Keddy, good to know that. Being a newbie Max user, I was sceptical of learning a new programing language but was curious to see what Reaktor had to offer. It is not a programming language at all. In fact, I found Reaktor much easier to program. However, from my initial assessment it does not appear to be as deep as MaxMSP (though on a macro level it might get more in depth).

    I like the module format in Reaktor for generic tasks like building an oscillator or envelop but I also like the blank slate that Max provides. Hell I copy so much from the help file you'd think I would just prefer a module setup.

    Anyway, I have one annoying question to ask. After downloading the demo I cannot find the vaunted stock library of presets that everyone is talking about. Sure there is the user forum but I can't find those that should be included in the installation. I have two directories in the program directory of Ensembles titled "New additions" and "Tutorial Ensembles" – the latter of which is not very useful. Am I missing something here? The NI website shows many screen shots of presets that are included but they don't appear to be anywhere on my hard drive.

    Thanks for letting me pick at your ears.


  • Hmm.. this is really not such a great deal. If i purchase Native Instruments Massive 6, I can get a better bang for the buck, as you get many more instruments (Massive, FM8, Absynth 5Reaktor 5, Kontakt 4, Elektric Piano, Battery 3, Guitar Rig, etc) for way under $99 each!

    If you are just looking to purchase ONE item for $99, the easiest and most flexible synth in the line-up is Absynth.

    The best bang for the buck is Reaktor, as i can do pretty much everything that FM8, Absynth and Massive can do and much, much more. The only problem with Reaktor is that is not exactly user friendly.

  • infradead

    Reaktor for 99 and the manuals for 30? i don't think i could beat that. gotta love having manuals, make for some great commode reading.

  • Angstrom


    right click in the ensemble and choose 'insert instrument' you will see a lot of different toys to choose from 🙂

    Try Carbon2 for example. The presets for each synth are accessed via the 'snapshots' window. You can morph between them.

  • Jake


    sounds like you're also missing the classic ensembles which are those that came with reaktor 4 and are also part of reaktor 5 as they form the bulk of the included library.

    To anyone else starting out like myself can I just recommend the reaktor forum on NI's website, full of useful info and a really friendly atmosphere from what I can see so far…

  • @Jake / @Jordaan: yes, definitely. The Classic Ensembles are I believe an optional install, so you just need to run the installer again!

  • Joshua Boden

    SO SO annoyed that I missed this! UGH!

  • Winnie Norton

    I've been waiting it for a long time and now I have my Reaktor 5

  • Aiki

    Dammit I cant believe I missed this. Anyone know where I can get massive this cheap or near to it now?

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