insider6

Reaktor 6 arrives today, and it’s the most significant update to Native Instruments’ deep modular environment in years. Blocks, which we cover separately, are clearly the banner feature. But there’s a lot of new functionality both apart from Blocks and underlying it. Let’s take a tour.

First, it’s worth saying: Reaktor is a vital part of NI’s DNA. It’s the software that really launched the company (as Generator, back in 1996). And Reaktor is a prototyping and development tool for the company. Of course, the flipside would be, if NI weren’t taking care of Reaktor, you should fear for the health and soul of the company. So that means Reaktor 6 is one to watch even if you never intend to connect a patch cord.

The bird’s eye view:

  • Blocks, bringing a hardware modular-style paradigm to builders and users, and a bunch of useful objects to play with.
  • Aggressive pricing: $199 / 199 € / ¥ 22,800 / £169 / $AU 279. (If you’re a student or are upgrading, that drops to US$99, etc.)
  • A new, cleaner UI.
  • Improvements for builders, including sample loading improvements, new granular powers, and patching enhancements.

Let’s look closer:

The user interface will look familiar to Reaktor users, but it’s both aesthetically a lot more attractive, and more functional. It’s far easier to navigate structure and panel, and to use the browser.

userinterface

The navigation makes a huge difference. For advanced users, it’s a big time saver and a whole heck of a lot more pleasant. But I think maybe even more importantly, it means for those of us who are more casual users or interested in Reaktor after playing with pre-built instruments, we can now dive in without feeling like we’re going to drown in the deep end of the pool. Honestly, I opened patches I’d already seen and suddenly they felt accessible for the first time – just because of aesthetic and structural changes, not anything else.

Instead of hiding things in dialogs and seemingly-random parts of the interface, everything is now organized by tabs in the upper left-hand corner. This is familiar from other NI products like Maschine, but it actually seems to work better in Reaktor than anything I’ve used yet. Ah, OSC! (Hey, Reaktor has been doing some work over the past years. The brilliant OSC implementation is one example.)

navigation

Navigating different levels of the structure is clearer, too, working nicely with the updated paned interface:

structurenav

Inside, patches look different, too. There are new color schemes (I like the new dark one seen here), and wires are both color-coded and anti-aliased. Everything is more readable and appealing.

newpatching

There’s a new, much better Inspector. Inside, you’ll find loads of options for making the innards of your patch more visually usable.

inspector

You can also see previews for panels, if you choose. That really helps the modular/rack feel. You can also edit names inside the panels. It’s the little things.

inside

Panel makers can finally choose 1-pixel accuracy, not just the 4-pixel grid. And that joins lots of other improvements: font options, width and height output ports on key modules, and the like. And yes, if you’ve noticed things suddenly looking better…

snaptogrid

Table data structures are a new type that give you long-needed 2-dimensional arrays. They also connect to a new sample lookup object. You’ll need to be fairly deep in Reaktor patching to know why this is important, but – it’s a good thing. And figuring out how to handle data structures has long been the biggest challenge (or opportunity, if you like) faced by visual patching environments.

tables

Also clever: new ways of patching, especially useful in Core, and the ability to bundle cables.

Now, of course, there’s a lot that isn’t here. A scripting paradigm (for instance, something relating to what’s in Kontakt) is sorely missing. And there are plenty of reasons to use competing tools – Max/MSP’s much broader feature set and visual support and Ableton integration, SuperCollider’s massive sonic powers, or Pd’s ability to work with mobile apps, for instance. But I think some subtle changes here reinvigorate not just Reaktor but the whole patching scene, alongside other formidable tools like those. We’ll look more soon.

The best way to learn more may be to see how expert patchers are using Reaktor and what we can learn from them. If there are stories you’d like to see on CDM, let us know. And if you discover something yourself, do get in touch.

More:
www.native-instruments.com/reaktor

And here’s another hands-on take from our friend (and once CDM contributor) Peter Dines:
Reaktor 6: The Next Tick of The Future of Sound Arrives – both what he likes and what he wishes were in there

  • heinrichz

    Great new for this Reaktor user since the days of Generator/Transformator.

  • heinrichz

    Great new for this Reaktor user since the days of Generator/Transformator.

  • heinrichz

    Great new for this Reaktor user since the days of Generator/Transformator.

  • Krzysztof Cybulski

    It looks like they didn’t solve the biggest issue in my opinion – unability to export ensembles as standalone apps or free player/runtime version that could read any ensemble… It’s been a deal breaker for me few years ago when I switched to Pd, and it still remains a dealbreaker now. Oh, and I also spent 399$ for reaktor in 2010, and now it’s 50% cheaper… It doesn’t feel like a happy news for me.

    • Christoph Mann

      Maybe Cycling74 does the next step there with Gen~ export to VST-plugin.

    • Shannon

      NI will never do export IMO. How many people buy Reaktor for access to the library?

    • foljs

      “””Oh, and I also spent 399$ for reaktor in 2010, and now it’s 50% cheaper… It doesn’t feel like a happy news for me.”””

      Yeah, products should artifically keep their prices high so people who bought them earlier can retain their investment.

      • Krzysztof Cybulski

        You’re right, it’s always good when prices drop

        • Right, exactly, and the upgrade price is $99.

          Yeah, so far, the whole industry offers either a choice between free software, or proprietary software that requires the tool to use. The good news is, the price drop there means more people are making use of the distribution possibility.

          I don’t disagree, I just haven’t seen anyone solve this the way we’d like. If you want a development tool, you really wind up using an actual development tool. More work, but more freedom to distribute.

  • Krzysztof Cybulski

    It looks like they didn’t solve the biggest issue in my opinion – unability to export ensembles as standalone apps or free player/runtime version that could read any ensemble… It’s been a deal breaker for me few years ago when I switched to Pd, and it still remains a dealbreaker now. Oh, and I also spent 399$ for reaktor in 2010, and now it’s 50% cheaper… It doesn’t feel like a happy news for me.

    • Christoph Mann

      Maybe Cycling74 does the next step there with Gen~ export to VST-plugin.

    • Shannon

      NI will never do export IMO. How many people buy Reaktor for access to the library?

    • foljs

      “””Oh, and I also spent 399$ for reaktor in 2010, and now it’s 50% cheaper… It doesn’t feel like a happy news for me.”””

      Yeah, products should artifically keep their prices high so people who bought them earlier can retain their investment.

      • Krzysztof Cybulski

        You’re right, it’s always good when prices drop

        • Right, exactly, and the upgrade price is $99.

          Yeah, so far, the whole industry offers either a choice between free software, or proprietary software that requires the tool to use. The good news is, the price drop there means more people are making use of the distribution possibility.

          I don’t disagree, I just haven’t seen anyone solve this the way we’d like. If you want a development tool, you really wind up using an actual development tool. More work, but more freedom to distribute.

  • Krzysztof Cybulski

    It looks like they didn’t solve the biggest issue in my opinion – unability to export ensembles as standalone apps or free player/runtime version that could read any ensemble… It’s been a deal breaker for me few years ago when I switched to Pd, and it still remains a dealbreaker now. Oh, and I also spent 399$ for reaktor in 2010, and now it’s 50% cheaper… It doesn’t feel like a happy news for me.

    • Christoph Mann

      Maybe Cycling74 does the next step there with Gen~ export to VST-plugin.

    • Shannon

      NI will never do export IMO. How many people buy Reaktor for access to the library?

    • foljs

      “””Oh, and I also spent 399$ for reaktor in 2010, and now it’s 50% cheaper… It doesn’t feel like a happy news for me.”””

      Yeah, products should artifically keep their prices high so people who bought them earlier can retain their investment.

      • Krzysztof Cybulski

        You’re right, it’s always good when prices drop

        • Right, exactly, and the upgrade price is $99.

          Yeah, so far, the whole industry offers either a choice between free software, or proprietary software that requires the tool to use. The good news is, the price drop there means more people are making use of the distribution possibility.

          I don’t disagree, I just haven’t seen anyone solve this the way we’d like. If you want a development tool, you really wind up using an actual development tool. More work, but more freedom to distribute.

  • David Rothenberg

    Have they added any new Ensembles or Instruments? Doesn’t look like it, but I imagine they are coming…

  • David Rothenberg

    Have they added any new Ensembles or Instruments? Doesn’t look like it, but I imagine they are coming…

  • David Rothenberg

    Have they added any new Ensembles or Instruments? Doesn’t look like it, but I imagine they are coming…

  • genjutsushi

    why the heck is the upgrade $99 in the US, but I’m seeing £89 in the UK. That is a significant price hike for UK users to upgrade. Similar to the differential on their keyboards too.

    • pola

      Seems like it might be the usual pricing for the US, i.e. 99 USD excluding VAT (hence final price subject to change depending on your state) – while it will be 89 GBP tax included for you britons or 99 EUR VAT included for the frenchies and germans.
      Not 100% sure on this, but it might explain a lot on the differences in prices.

  • genjutsushi

    why the heck is the upgrade $99 in the US, but I’m seeing £89 in the UK. That is a significant price hike for UK users to upgrade. Similar to the differential on their keyboards too.

    • pola

      Seems like it might be the usual pricing for the US, i.e. 99 USD excluding VAT (hence final price subject to change depending on your state) – while it will be 89 GBP tax included for you britons or 99 EUR VAT included for the frenchies and germans.
      Not 100% sure on this, but it might explain a lot on the differences in prices.

  • genjutsushi

    why the heck is the upgrade $99 in the US, but I’m seeing £89 in the UK. That is a significant price hike for UK users to upgrade. Similar to the differential on their keyboards too.

    • pola

      Seems like it might be the usual pricing for the US, i.e. 99 USD excluding VAT (hence final price subject to change depending on your state) – while it will be 89 GBP tax included for you britons or 99 EUR VAT included for the frenchies and germans.
      Not 100% sure on this, but it might explain a lot on the differences in prices.

  • From your screenshots it doesn’t look like they’ve added Retina support?

    • signalarchive

      No it doesn’t have retina support, I just updated this weekend.

      A big company like NI, they spend so much money on promotion/marketing but don’t bother to update the UI in 2015. Maybe next year!

      When you take a look at small companies like Cytomic, Valhalla, Sinevibes … They all have retina versions of there software. And often sound better.

      There is probably a fair share of users who are working on retina displays and I think it’s just lame from NI to not ship a new major update with retina support.

  • From your screenshots it doesn’t look like they’ve added Retina support?

    • signalarchive

      No it doesn’t have retina support, I just updated this weekend.

      A big company like NI, they spend so much money on promotion/marketing but don’t bother to update the UI in 2015. Maybe next year!

      When you take a look at small companies like Cytomic, Valhalla, Sinevibes … They all have retina versions of there software. And often sound better.

      There is probably a fair share of users who are working on retina displays and I think it’s just lame from NI to not ship a new major update with retina support.

  • From your screenshots it doesn’t look like they’ve added Retina support?

    • signalarchive

      No it doesn’t have retina support, I just updated this weekend.

      A big company like NI, they spend so much money on promotion/marketing but don’t bother to update the UI in 2015. Maybe next year!

      When you take a look at small companies like Cytomic, Valhalla, Sinevibes … They all have retina versions of there software. And often sound better.

      There is probably a fair share of users who are working on retina displays and I think it’s just lame from NI to not ship a new major update with retina support.

  • leonw

    For people (like me) who are just learning how to use Reaktor, the FREE “Sound Synthesis Using Reaktor” course on Kadenze is now online (well, Session 1 is, anyway). They appear to be using Reaktor 6 in the tutorial videos.

    • StopScammingThanx;)

      sorry pal… but that’s NOT at all “free”… a $600 price tag is absolutely NOT worth it. There are PLENTY of ACTUALLY FREE and complete courses on how to use NI’s Reaktor out there…. nice try though 😉

      • leonw

        Sorry that my post came across that way. I have absolutely no affiliation with that site or the course. I am just a computer music hobbyist and beginner with Reaktor who was trying to share a possible resource that I only learned about recently, myself (when the site was featured here on CDM). Also, the price tag you mentioned is for people who want to get grades and credit – just watching videos doesn’t cost anything.
        If you don’t mind, could you share the courses you mentioned?

      • lnikj

        As Leonw states, it is free. If you pay $7 a month you can join at the same level as a $600 member (but not get credit that you can use towards a degree). This means you can participate in the community and get your work marked and graded. Huge value IMHO – learning by doing is vastly better than learning by watching.. I have been doing their Ableton course and it is way better than MPV or Groove3 courses.

  • leonw

    For people (like me) who are just learning how to use Reaktor, the FREE “Sound Synthesis Using Reaktor” course on Kadenze is now online (well, Session 1 is, anyway). They appear to be using Reaktor 6 in the tutorial videos.

    • StopScammingThanx;)

      sorry pal… but that’s NOT at all “free”… a $600 price tag is absolutely NOT worth it. There are PLENTY of ACTUALLY FREE and complete courses on how to use NI’s Reaktor out there…. nice try though 😉

      • leonw

        Sorry that my post came across that way. I have absolutely no affiliation with that site or the course. I am just a computer music hobbyist and beginner with Reaktor who was trying to share a possible resource that I only learned about recently, myself (when the site was featured here on CDM). Also, the price tag you mentioned is for people who want to get grades and credit – just watching videos doesn’t cost anything.
        If you don’t mind, could you share the courses you mentioned?

      • lnikj

        As Leonw states, it is free. If you pay $7 a month you can join at the same level as a $600 member (but not get credit that you can use towards a degree). This means you can participate in the community and get your work marked and graded. Huge value IMHO – learning by doing is vastly better than learning by watching.. I have been doing their Ableton course and it is way better than MPV or Groove3 courses.

  • leonw

    For people (like me) who are just learning how to use Reaktor, the FREE “Sound Synthesis Using Reaktor” course on Kadenze is now online (well, Session 1 is, anyway). They appear to be using Reaktor 6 in the tutorial videos.

    • StopScammingThanx;)

      sorry pal… but that’s NOT at all “free”… a $600 price tag is absolutely NOT worth it. There are PLENTY of ACTUALLY FREE and complete courses on how to use NI’s Reaktor out there…. nice try though 😉

      • leonw

        Sorry that my post came across that way. I have absolutely no affiliation with that site or the course. I am just a computer music hobbyist and beginner with Reaktor who was trying to share a possible resource that I only learned about recently, myself (when the site was featured here on CDM). Also, the price tag you mentioned is for people who want to get grades and credit – just watching videos doesn’t cost anything.
        If you don’t mind, could you share the courses you mentioned?

      • lnikj

        As Leonw states, it is free. If you pay $7 a month you can join at the same level as a $600 member (but not get credit that you can use towards a degree). This means you can participate in the community and get your work marked and graded. Huge value IMHO – learning by doing is vastly better than learning by watching.. I have been doing their Ableton course and it is way better than MPV or Groove3 courses.

  • djkm

    It does look like a great upgrade for people (like myself) got Reaktor as part of a komplete pack, but never really knew what to do with it. Was umming and aahing about Oscillot ,but really, I may as well just get this now.

  • djkm

    It does look like a great upgrade for people (like myself) got Reaktor as part of a komplete pack, but never really knew what to do with it. Was umming and aahing about Oscillot ,but really, I may as well just get this now.

  • djkm

    It does look like a great upgrade for people (like myself) got Reaktor as part of a komplete pack, but never really knew what to do with it. Was umming and aahing about Oscillot ,but really, I may as well just get this now.

  • jphwacheski

    As an alternative to this,. . SunVox is a powerful Modular Tracker; free for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Maemo, Raspberry Pi, Windows Mobile, PalmOS and MeeGo,. it is constantly updated and sounds amazing.

    • Chris Catalano

      I have it on my older MacBook Pro, but took it off the new one…Hmmm. Also love his Virtual ANS on the iPad at least. Too bad stand alone only, though…Sunvox is pretty Deep on the Pad.

  • jphwacheski

    As an alternative to this,. . SunVox is a powerful Modular Tracker; free for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Maemo, Raspberry Pi, Windows Mobile, PalmOS and MeeGo,. it is constantly updated and sounds amazing.

    • Chris Catalano

      I have it on my older MacBook Pro, but took it off the new one…Hmmm. Also love his Virtual ANS on the iPad at least. Too bad stand alone only, though…Sunvox is pretty Deep on the Pad.

  • jphwacheski

    As an alternative to this,. . SunVox is a powerful Modular Tracker; free for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Maemo, Raspberry Pi, Windows Mobile, PalmOS and MeeGo,. it is constantly updated and sounds amazing.

    • Chris Catalano

      I have it on my older MacBook Pro, but took it off the new one…Hmmm. Also love his Virtual ANS on the iPad at least. Too bad stand alone only, though…Sunvox is pretty Deep on the Pad.

  • Dave

    What are the “new granular powers?”

  • Dave

    What are the “new granular powers?”

  • Dave

    What are the “new granular powers?”

  • Richard Garside

    Oscilllot is not that good. Some of the modules sound great and others not so much so. I used it on version one on the first week, updated it when they released an update and lost all my custom modules. It all runs real slow, cripples CPU and is generally buggy. To be honest i have never been impressed with either the sound or performance of any synth in Max. Beep sound like dog dirt and is a pain in the ass to use. Crunches CPU as well. This new Reaktor looks like in terms of closed systems to be the bomb. Obviously Max is more flexible but for me its about the music and Max has never given me that.

    • estevan

      I somewhat agree. The DSP, the actual math, seems much better in Reaktor. I would guess the flexibility of Max also causes CPU and efficiency problems. I consider Max superior with compositional issues (algorithmic and generative processes). Problematic with DSP.

  • Richard Garside

    Oscilllot is not that good. Some of the modules sound great and others not so much so. I used it on version one on the first week, updated it when they released an update and lost all my custom modules. It all runs real slow, cripples CPU and is generally buggy. To be honest i have never been impressed with either the sound or performance of any synth in Max. Beep sound like dog dirt and is a pain in the ass to use. Crunches CPU as well. This new Reaktor looks like in terms of closed systems to be the bomb. Obviously Max is more flexible but for me its about the music and Max has never given me that.

    • estevan

      I somewhat agree. The DSP, the actual math, seems much better in Reaktor. I would guess the flexibility of Max also causes CPU and efficiency problems. I consider Max superior with compositional issues (algorithmic and generative processes). Problematic with DSP.

  • Richard Garside

    Oscilllot is not that good. Some of the modules sound great and others not so much so. I used it on version one on the first week, updated it when they released an update and lost all my custom modules. It all runs real slow, cripples CPU and is generally buggy. To be honest i have never been impressed with either the sound or performance of any synth in Max. Beep sound like dog dirt and is a pain in the ass to use. Crunches CPU as well. This new Reaktor looks like in terms of closed systems to be the bomb. Obviously Max is more flexible but for me its about the music and Max has never given me that.

    • estevan

      I somewhat agree. The DSP, the actual math, seems much better in Reaktor. I would guess the flexibility of Max also causes CPU and efficiency problems. I consider Max superior with compositional issues (algorithmic and generative processes). Problematic with DSP.

  • CaptainHowdy3

    You neglected to mention that Blocks are monophonic. They are just Instrument (ism files) files that are linked together so I think it’s a limitation of how Instruments work. They also consume absurd amounts of CPU with just basic configurations. This update seems shockingly lame, especially since it’s been 10 years since 5.0 was released. Looks like they put very minimal effort into it strictly as a quick cash grab.

    • Rulgert

      well i don’t know exactly, but the enhancements in visual organization would seem to me to be worth being able to quickly mentally digest and assess, so that tweeks are not so convoluted to execution….and i think modular monophonicity is what blocks was intended to be about…i mean most true modulars are, and have been, monophonic for reason that the signal can get so wild that if your reaching for a totally modular tool, your probably not thinking about polyphony to begin with….and i am certain there where CPU demand considerations along the course….but as with anything you pretty much get what your CPU pays for for the most part..

      i have 5.0 and might hold out for a bit, but 6.0 sure sounds and looks tasty to me.

  • CaptainHowdy3

    You neglected to mention that Blocks are monophonic. They are just Instrument (ism files) files that are linked together so I think it’s a limitation of how Instruments work. They also consume absurd amounts of CPU with just basic configurations. This update seems shockingly lame, especially since it’s been 10 years since 5.0 was released. Looks like they put very minimal effort into it strictly as a quick cash grab.

    • Rulgert

      well i don’t know exactly, but the enhancements in visual organization would seem to me to be worth being able to quickly mentally digest and assess, so that tweeks are not so convoluted to execution….and i think modular monophonicity is what blocks was intended to be about…i mean most true modulars are, and have been, monophonic for reason that the signal can get so wild that if your reaching for a totally modular tool, your probably not thinking about polyphony to begin with….and i am certain there where CPU demand considerations along the course….but as with anything you pretty much get what your CPU pays for for the most part..

      i have 5.0 and might hold out for a bit, but 6.0 sure sounds and looks tasty to me.

  • CaptainHowdy3

    You neglected to mention that Blocks are monophonic. They are just Instrument (ism files) files that are linked together so I think it’s a limitation of how Instruments work. They also consume absurd amounts of CPU with just basic configurations. This update seems shockingly lame, especially since it’s been 10 years since 5.0 was released. Looks like they put very minimal effort into it strictly as a quick cash grab.

    • Rulgert

      well i don’t know exactly, but the enhancements in visual organization would seem to me to be worth being able to quickly mentally digest and assess, so that tweeks are not so convoluted to execution….and i think modular monophonicity is what blocks was intended to be about…i mean most true modulars are, and have been, monophonic for reason that the signal can get so wild that if your reaching for a totally modular tool, your probably not thinking about polyphony to begin with….and i am certain there where CPU demand considerations along the course….but as with anything you pretty much get what your CPU pays for for the most part..

      i have 5.0 and might hold out for a bit, but 6.0 sure sounds and looks tasty to me.

  • Emmanuel SILVA

    I always read in the comments people complaining about paid tutorials because they want all free, i wonder what would you consider a good price for tutorials and what should it include?

    Im uf for paying around 40 bucks for a nice tutorial like a whole tutorial on a particular technique, and full deep explanation of everything we are doing, i understand people spend hours creating tutorial so cant be free is a job as everyone else they need to pay bills and stuff, What is a fair price for you guys?. Cheers

  • Emmanuel SILVA

    I always read in the comments people complaining about paid tutorials because they want all free, i wonder what would you consider a good price for tutorials and what should it include?

    Im uf for paying around 40 bucks for a nice tutorial like a whole tutorial on a particular technique, and full deep explanation of everything we are doing, i understand people spend hours creating tutorial so cant be free is a job as everyone else they need to pay bills and stuff, What is a fair price for you guys?. Cheers

  • Emmanuel SILVA

    I always read in the comments people complaining about paid tutorials because they want all free, i wonder what would you consider a good price for tutorials and what should it include?

    Im uf for paying around 40 bucks for a nice tutorial like a whole tutorial on a particular technique, and full deep explanation of everything we are doing, i understand people spend hours creating tutorial so cant be free is a job as everyone else they need to pay bills and stuff, What is a fair price for you guys?. Cheers