The current holy grail of sampling seems to be getting at more memory by providing 64-bit memory addressing, as I said this morning. With Tascam’s Giga out of the picture, it’s up to competing sampler products to deliver. Cakewalk’s Dimension Pro is already 64-bit support, as is their host, SONAR. Native Instruments points out that their flagship sampler Kontakt is on track to be 64-bit soon.

Kontakt 3 does support disk streaming now, but it can’t yet do 64-bit memory addressing. With 32-bit memory addressing, you’re limited to around a couple of gigs of available RAM. That should change soon for Kontakt, with a cross-platform release supporting as much RAM as your machine and OS can handle in the works.

The official announcement was made back in January; I think I missed it amidst the NAMM hoopla. It’ll be a free update for existing Kontakt 3 users. NI’s forum admin Thomas wrote then:

I want to bring you the good news that NI has started development on a Kontakt version that supports 64-bit memory addressing for Mac OS X 10.5 and Windows Vista 64.
This will be a free update for Kontakt 3, and will allow to go beyond the 32-bit memory addressing limit and utilize as much RAM as your operating system or host makes available.
This version of Kontakt 3 will also run as a VST plugin under 64-bit hosts in Windows Vista 64 (Windows XP 64 will likely not be supported; standalone and 32-bit plugin operation under Vista 64bit are already possible with Kontakt 3.0.1).
No specific info on the release date yet, but you can expect it sometime in the second half of 2008. It is a substantial development effort and requires a lot of testing and optimization.

Details of the update and a thread you can follow for further news is available on the NI forum:

Official update status – Kontakt 3

I expect, with the release of greater 64-bit support in Mac OS X Leopard, other cross-platform sampling solutions are likely to go 64-bit, too; any vendors with news, we’re happy to run it.

See also:

Cakewalk has a 64-bit Computing for Musicians site that talks more about what 64-bit means; their SONAR host would also provide access to 128GB of RAM for Kontakt 3.1 for 64-bit Windows, when it becomes available, so this is information that’s important across vendors.

Disclosure: CDM writes about Kontakt on our Kore minisite, which is sponsored by Native Instruments.