Native Instruments' sampler Kontakt just got a whole lot deeper
maybe not revolutionary in a "redefining a sampler" sort of way so much
as more profoundly sophisticated in that "how advanced can this get?"
way. Here are the new features that get my attention, listed in the
order in which I think they're significant to most people:

  • Universal Compatibility: Virtually every sample file format is
    support, not to mention full slice information from REX and even Apple
  • Scriptable, Filterable Insanity: Analog-style filter?
    Check. Step-ladder filter? Check. Impulse Response Effects (for IR
    reverbs or wild soundscaping)? Check. Custom modules, filters, and
    effects with script processing (5 per patch)? But of course.
  • Surround Sound: Better go out and buy those extra
    monitors, because both Kontakt and Absynth let you create complex
    surround patches for your sound. 16-channel, no less, because all of us
    have 15.1 surround setups.
  • Beyond Polyphony: Unlimited voices and 64-fold
    multitimbrality. Finally, your next hour-long surround soundscape can
    all fit into a single patch. Except your CPU will get toasted. Okay, I
    wasn't meant to have a sampler this powerful.

So, let's review: You can open and edit any sample. You've got enough
custom filtering and module/effect scripting that just feeding a sine
wave through the thing should be sufficient. And all of this is
surround with unlimited polyphony.

But the good news isn't the ridiculous amount of power that you
probably don't need anyway — it's that finally the interface is really
usable, logical and easy to read. Evolutionary release? Yes. So was T.
Rex. More on this when I've seen it first-hand.