Native Instruments has been a pioneer in making tools like Reaktor that employ unique synthesis techniques. But more recently, that power has found its way to self-contained instruments.

Tucked into the release announcement of Komplete 11 comes some very big news for lovers of creative sound design and synthesis. It’s a new instrument called Form. It’s powered by Reaktor, but it’s been built from the ground up, according to NI. And it lets you drag and drop sounds to manipulate them into playable instruments.

Form is a hybrid sample-based synthesizer. Drag and drop a file onto the interface, and then play them back using granular techniques to manipulating pitch and time and “track” through the sample at different speeds and with different gestures.

That’s nothing new in and of itself, as a fundamental idea. But Form is all a matter of implementation. It combines adjustable playback and otion with an additive synthesizer, sample manipulation with rich modulation.

You can combine the additive oscillator with the sampled oscillator using frequency manipulation. (If you’re thinking that allows for some mind-blowing results, you’re right – and NI have somehow tuned this instrument so that you can wrap your head around producing some nice results.)

You can modulate just about everything, but you can also easily combine parameters into macro controls (perfect, of course, for NI’s own keyboard line, but also your favorite controller, too). There’s a set of performance tools for saving and recalling snapshots quickly, as well.

And there are a bunch of effects.

If you want to stay shallow, there are the prerequisite presets, of course. But things get interesting with various motion curves, which you can also edit in order to create unique movements through morphing sounds.

And because it’s powered in Reaktor, you can also go a lot deeper if you have a Reaktor license handy. In fact, this really shows us some of the fruits of what was developed for Reaktor 6 – regular readers will recall I was particularly interested in granular and sampling possibilities the moment I heard about new drag-and-drop file handling and table facilities. Here we are.

I’ve just started playing with an early build, and … uh, wow. More on that soon in our exclusive hands-on. But holy crap, it sounds good and goes deep – and the demos here are just the start.

NI has provided us with some genre-particular demos showing off the sound results. I’ll have more once I’ve had more time with the build.

And here’s a look at the UI:

Drag and drop your own samples to create new sounds, with waveform selection tools at the ready. Monophonic pitched sounds work especially well with this technique.

Drag and drop your own samples to create new sounds, with waveform selection tools at the ready. Monophonic pitched sounds work especially well with this technique.

The Movement page lets you traverse that sound content.

The Movement page lets you traverse that sound content.

Curve presets give you the ability to shape sounds in time.

Curve presets give you the ability to shape sounds in time.

There are preset curves for controlling movement and modulation, but you can also design your own curves (whoa).

There are preset curves for controlling movement and modulation, but you can also design your own curves (whoa).

The sound page gives you more options, and reveals the instrument's hybrid synthesis - granular playback approach.

The sound page gives you more options, and reveals the instrument’s hybrid synthesis – granular playback approach.

There are deep effects, too.

There are deep effects, too.

Watch (and listen to) this space. I’m pretty excited about this one, as I’m sure some of you are, too.

Form will be US$99/99€ on its own, or is available as part of Komplete 11. It is a Reaktor ensemble, so for the most part you’ll be able to see and edit the underlying structure. That really magnifies the values for existing Reaktor users, because you can learn from what NI have done.

  • Will

    Will you need Komplete for this?

  • Robin Parmar

    Those SoundCloud demos are not coming through in your post, at least not on FireFox/Win10.

    • That’s a SoundCloud issue, not ours. 🙂

      Seems to work fine with the HTML5 player here…

    • LLCoolJeans

      Sometimes adblock programs or tracking protection programs (disconect, ghostery) can block soundcloud embeds. try disabling those if you have them.

  • Klemen Kotar

    It looks to me kinda like Iris 2 from iZotope – not the GUI but the way it produces sound (load sample, mangle on). Am I right (or close)?

    • Polite Society

      I have and love Iris 2. I can certainly see a lot of overlap, though i’m not seeing any of the spectral selection tools that iris has, and this looks like it might be better as a granular instrument, iris is more of a specialised sample player than a granular synth.

  • Polite Society

    Interested! I kind of bought reaktor with the mindset of getting deeper into granular sampling stuff. If it’s unlockable in reaktor, the entry price might be worth being able to pull it apart to use some of those beautiful interface. Any way to confirm that this is definitely the case?

    Also wouldn’t mind some video demonstrating some of the interface, and how smoothly or not it works from a sampling/sound design workflow.

    • Abyss

      Well it’s Reaktor based, so yes you will be able to go under the hood and do what you wish with it.

      • Polite Society

        Do they never lock any of the paid reaktor ensembles? I haven’t been a reaktor user that long.

        • Abyss

          If you own Reaktor 5 or Reaktor 6 you can edit anything. The only restrictions are with the free Reaktor player.

          • Andrei

            All recent commercially released Reaktor instruments are very much complicated and advanced builds made with it’s low level Core shell. Unlike what was in the early days when everything was much more “reverse engineering” friendly. So if you are not a really power user I doubt that you can easily grab stuff from it. Also, to be absolutely exact, some Core macros could be dead locked, as they do it with other instruments in some rare cases.

          • Andrei

            To run Form you need the Reaktor or Reaktor Player version 6.0.3 (or higher).

  • praveensharma

    Excited but i’m bummed that it doesn’t seem like it has live input. I’ve been looking for an alternative to AudioEase’s “RiverRun” for a few years now. Ever since they decided to drop support for it (still 32 Bit). If anyone has a suggestion I’d love to hear it so I can ditch my 32-62 bit wrapper. Crashes all the time. Also – I hate audio samples like this where you don’t even know what is being run through the plugin. I far prefer “original sample” -> “effected sample” audio examples :

  • abluesky

    Roland V-Synth….

  • MarleyMarx

    Sounds similar to Expert Sleepers Crossfade Loop Synth.

    I wonder how NI implements sync between the sample loop and the additive oscillator? Or do I have to tune it manually?

  • Great concept, looking forward to some in depth demos.

  • Robert Jackson

    I’m with this