Native Instruments keeps adding to Reaktor Blocks, the patch-and-play toolkit they’ve built atop Reaktor. And… it’s turning into kind of an awesome product in its own right. Reaktor Blocks 1.2 adds a bunch of the sort of stuff I think you or I would add to it were we in charge of the product. It’s suddenly got drums. It’s got a new sequencer that you can power with Maschine. It’s connecting via MIDI and CV to outboard gear and analog modular. In short, it’s something you actually want to play with.

1.2 adds a pretty significant set of functionality for free.

Connect analog hardware. If you have compatible gear (you need a DC-coupled converter of some kind, possibly via your audio interface), you can send CV right out of Reaktor to analog hardware like modulars and the like. You can even auto-calibrate and save those calibrations with snapshots.

You can also generate gates and triggers from incoming signals, so that you can integrate modular/analog devices with Reaktor (see the tutorial below). That opens up clock, filter, pitch, envelope, and other applications.

Connect MIDI. You can also convert pitch and gate information to MIDI – which means Reaktor is a CV to MIDI converter if you like (again, once you’ve got the required hardware).


Drum modules! Drums are a new addition – the free Niji Drums give you a mess of drum modules you can add via Blocks.


Play with Maschine

The Maschine sequencer is designed to work with a MK2 controller (not sure how this maps to Maschine Studio). It’s a simple, patchable step sequencer mapped to the 4×4 pad layout of your Maschine hardware – cleverly giving you some easy hands-on control. (It should be short order mapping this to other gear, too, if you desire.)

I’ll be interested to see if there’s other Maschine/Reaktor integration.

The sequencer and modules are downloadable separately, but were developed by NI. (It’s confusing that these aren’t in Service Center, but they’re free – so no complaints.)


The Blocks revolution is on

Native Instruments said they hoped they’d motivate the Reaktor user community to make their own Blocks and – wow, have they ever. There are already over 300 User Library Blocks additions. I’m just starting to mess around with them, but my mind is already boggled at the quantity and variety in there. As if the User Library weren’t already a great reason to delve into Reaktor, Blocks seems to have set the whole community on fire. And once you’ve got a patch as a Block, it’s also easier to work with – combining with other tools is the whole point, and it’s much easier than it had been with traditional Reaktor blocks.

Have a look. Rainy days at the beach, here’s your vacation (you can choose to look at Blocks exclusively if you like):

Softube recently showed off their upcoming Eurorack emulation tools. That looks really cool, too – near replicas of modular gear will soon be available in plug-in form – and I look forward to trying it. But Reaktor’s approach is unique. It represents the modular, patching paradigm presented in a way that allows for computer-centric experimentation and new creations that wouldn’t necessarily be possible or practical as outboard gear. And the User Library interaction I think is likely to set Reaktor apart. (Of course, these are both reasonable affordable tools, so you might just wind up getting both.)

Learn how to use it

The key to getting started with Blocks is really … getting started with Blocks. Friend of the site Owen Vallis from Kadenze has done just that with a series of how-to’s looking at the hardware integration. Watch:

Also, there are a bunch of insightful videos from the Reaktor Sessions series of events – mixing how-to info with details of how artists are working.

Check those out here:

(And yeah, I’m in some of them, from the edition in Berlin!)

For instance, I really enjoyed learning how Paula Temple works. (I watched a bit of our friend Dasha Rush over her shoulder, which was also impressive!)

And if Paula is inspiring you to take on your own techno DIY endeavors, making your own 909 kick is a great place to start.

With that 909 kick in mind, you can return to our own discussion of generative sequencers. Previously, Nadine showed us how to make a quick mod to get started:

In just a few minutes, mod a Euclidean Sequencer in Reaktor

And now, of course, you can take these Reaktor creations and map them to other controller hardware in Ableton.

It all comes together. Good times.

  • ARI

    Great update 😎
    Does anybody know if i could use my Analog Four to controll my BLOCKS ? As i have not updated yet, i can not test it myself. Or do i need an interface (Expert SleepersMOTU) to use the CV out? Thank you in advance

    • Freeks

      You need interface with DC coupled inputs to use CV signals with computers. Only audio interface know is MOTU. Or ES module.

      • ARI

        Thanks for the info. Iam going to update now. Maybe there is a workaround with if i use Overbridge and a DAW.

        • oh/ex/oh

          I’d be interested to know how it goes re: A4/AK/OB. Otherwise, until major sound card manufacturers catch on, this is limited to the few.

      • sak

        this is wrong information I believe. a dc-coupled interaface provides cv outputs, not inputs..

    • Owen

      I think the Analog Keys will do the CV out, but the Analog Four doesn’t currently send CV out if I remember correctly. However, Expert Sleepers has a bunch of VSTs that can help all this to work with non DC coupled inputs/outputs. Also, If you already have a EuroRack setup, then I would look at the Expert Sleepers stuff. They support both output and inputs and also output a hotter +/- 10V signal.

      • ARI

        Sorry but the A4 and AK can send CV/Gate out
        2 × 1/4″ dual CV/Gate outputs can be found on both units. But as far i can tell there are no DC coupled audio ins/outs on A4/AK. I will have a look into Expert Sleepers. Thanks for the info.

      • ARI

        Ouups, like genjutsushi said allready 😅

    • genjutsushi

      I have used my A4 to send CV in to a MOTU interface (with DC coupled inputs). Works absolutely fine. The Analog Four DOES send out CV.

      • Owen

        Ahhh, you’re totally right, the Analog Four sends CV. I was mixing up the A4 with the Analog Rytm.

  • Freeks

    I hope someone in user library hacks Maschine seq to work with MK1.

    • ARI

      This would make my MK1 not as obsolet as it is now 😎

      • Freeks

        What’s obsolete in MK1? Mine run’s just fine. There is MK1 version in the making. Takes probably few days that is fully functional.

        • ARI

          No,not obsolete per se, sorry for my bad wording. I am really happy i can use it now more specialist/specific for BLOCKS & don´t need to move my MK2 back and forth.

  • Charlie Cowper

    Does the community think this is something that could find its way onto IOS eventually?

    • Robin Parmar

      No, IOS is nowhere near powerful enough to run multiple streams of audio at this quality.

      • iOS remote for Blocks could be cool though.

        • Robin Parmar

          Reaktor fully supports MIDI and OSC. So just use an OSC app and you are good to go!

          • Karl Sander

            yeah someone even made touchOSC templates for all the factory blocks in the UL and its cool, but a no setup/pretty graphics remote from NI would be another level.

  • Robin Parmar

    The rebirth of Reaktor through Blocks is something no-one could have foreseen. Those magicians at NI… you never know what they are up to!

  • Mmv

    Hmm – I may actually have to update my komplete version 5….. When is the next NI sale scheduled for?

    • Robin Parmar

      How about…. right now! Update to Komplete 10 is 200 Euro. Considering I paid 100 clams just to update Reaktor, that seems like an insane deal.

  • Certainly what makes Reaktor appart is its openness : everybody including Eurorack software renditions editors can join the party. Whereas with Softube offering it seems to be restreined to Softube bizness (no “sdk” in sight). However we still have no “software companies except NI” Blocks and no “store” (well, perhaps it’s better !)

  • AS

    isn’t it a little odd that Maschine Studio support, the NI’s flagship model, is not implemented?