What’s the difference between the Kontakt Player and “the full version” of Kontakt?

The difference between Kontakt (sometimes called “Full Kontakt”) and the free Kontakt Player can be confusing, so it’s smart of you to ask this!

Kontakt (often called “full Kontakt,” or “the full version of Kontakt”) is a full fledged sampler that you can create your instruments with, and more importantly, you can load instruments that other people created with Kontakt. (RealiBanjo, etc.) Most Kontakt libraries require the “full version” of Kontakt. Kontakt costs $399.

Kontakt Player is a free version of Kontakt. You can’t create your own instruments with it, but you can load instruments if that instrument is an official “Kontakt Player Library.” To become a Kontakt Player library, we (developers like Realitone) pay a fee to Native Instruments, who then sprinkle magic fairy dust on our library, and then it will work in the free Kontakt Player.

For Realivox Blue, as well as Realivox – The Ladies, we paid this fee, so they will work in the free Kontakt Player. It adds to our costs, of course, but it’s worth it because this fee is proportionately not very significant compared to the cost of the library.

For RealiBanjo (or RealiWhistle or Acoustic Lite,) paying that fee would add $10 to $20 to the price. That additional cost would be too much extra cost for many customers. Going from $29 to over $40 (for example) would scare a lot of people off. More importantly, Native Instruments doesn’t allow libraries that cost under $100 to be Kontakt Player libraries ($100 minimum price required), so even if I thought customers would pay the extra $10 to $20, it still isn’t an option.

Now, here’s something interesting: Even though instruments like RealiBanjo require the full version of Kontakt, they will still work in the free Kontakt Player, although only for 15 minutes at a time in “Demo Mode.” A surprisingly large number of our customers actually use RealiBanjo in exactly this way. Seriously! They have to restart Kontakt every 15 minutes to reset the demo timer, but it’s worth it to them. Given the choice between using Realivox and dealing with “Demo Mode” . . . or no RealiBanjo at all, they choose to accept the minor inconvenience.

If you’ve never played with Kontakt at all, you can download the free Kontakt Player here:

The download is free and they even include some free instruments, so you can get a feel for it. If you then pay Native Instruments $399, then the free Kontakt Player becomes the “full” version of Kontakt.

But wait!!! If you buy a qualifying Kontakt Player library (like Realivox,) then they give you a “Crossgrade” discount, so you would only pay $249. A pretty deep discount! Funny thing about that is that if someone wanted to buy Kontakt, they might as well buy Realivox Blue first, because they’ll save more money than the price of Realivox Blue! In other words, it’s like getting Blue for free. ($149 + $249 < $399)