In this article, we will discuss the best Kontakt libraries for the production and sound design of EDM & House Music in 2023.
The best thing about Kontakt libraries is that they are samples-based, and hence it’s less complicated, as you do not have to spend your time selecting a wavetable position or waveform, setting its harmonic content, and then getting started with the initial sound. Instead, you can easily get started with a pre-recorded sample that is already great in quality, tone, feel, and texture.
However, the downside is that it takes up a lot of space and may load up your CPU. However, that’s not a reason to refrain from the sound libraries we can get in Kontakt, as they can expand our sonic horizon. We have compiled a short list of Kontakt instruments that will take your music production & sound design workflow and scope to the next level. Let’s dive right into it.
Best Kontakt Libraries For EDM & House Music 2023
1. 7 SKIES GETLOW (Synth & Bass Instrument)
GETLOW by 7skies is a sample-based virtual instrument and synth designed for 360 degrees in EDM production and electronic bass lines.
It’s a Kontakt instrument with analog sounds packaged with modern digital controls and sonic flexibilities, with more than 330 built-in presets designed by 7 Skies, a renowned music producer and sound designer. Standalone Music, after five years of research, has recorded high-quality analog synthesizers of different types and times.
Sounds recorded at a high resolution of 24-bit, using the best-graded analog to digital converters and preamps, these samples are aggregated with great detail and precision in a 4GB content library that contains sounds of genres ranging from Progressive, House, Dance, Future Bass, Techno, Trap, and more modern electronic genres. It’s especially a versatile instrument for bass and synth bass sounds for all EDM genres.
Sold primarily as a low-end instrument, the plugin has various sounds, wherein leads, plucks, pads, chords, arp, etc., cover almost half the presets. Hence, you can use this as a reliable and all-rounder EDM plugin for creating drops, buildups, and more.
- Comprehensive Synth Engine
GETLOW has a filter that can be applied as a pre or post-filter, with envelope, key tracking, and velocity controls, alongside the usual frequency, resolution, and drive knobs. It has a separate envelope section with 2 ADSRs, one for the filter and the other for volume. In addition, you can select the LFO in five different shapes, and the section also has a rate, pitch, cutoff, fade-in, volume, and pan knob. On top of that, there are also separate effects and arpeggiator sections. Lastly, there is a layer engine that you can work with for a complete and deep sound.
- Intuitive Interface
The plugin’s interface is easy to use, with straightforward controls and knobs and a signal path that is easy to understand and work with. Effects can be turned on or off. There’s no complicated routing or modulations that you have to set.
- Effects section
The plugin has built-in effects for distortion, called FAT section (with distortion and warm knobs), and separate equalizer, reverb, and delay sections. You can sync the delay to the tempo and set the pre-dealy, size, and return for the reverb effect. EQ is simplified with just two knobs: high and low.
GETLOW is compatible with the free Kontakt Player, and Kontakt 5.7.1 (and above), and requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.11, 10.12 or 10.13, or Windows 7 or higher operating system, with at least 4 GB of RAM, and 5 GB of free hard disk space in the system.
The plugin is probably the last instrument in 2023 that you may need for bass production in EDM and is also compatible with Native Kontrol Standard MIDI devices. The instrument is performable, and the arpeggiator is progressive, enabling you to get creative with your sonic movements.
The sounds can be beefed up using the fat section, and you can find a good collection of versatile EDM sounds as the presets.
2. Output Substance (Bass Synth)
Substance by Output is a bass-focused virtual instrument that uses samples and the Kontakt engine.
The Kontakt library sounds big and impactful, with three different layers, on which you can cover different frequency ranges to make your bass sounds thicker and beefier. The tones that Output has sampled for this are unique and high-quality. Substance can be best described as grand due to its sonic capabilities, as the R&D team of Output has left nothing to complain about.
The plugin could have easily been complicated with so much functionality on a simple bass instrument. However, that’s not the case. Its interface is well-organized, intuitive, and straightforward.
Anyone can learn to use it, and if not used to its full extent, one can easily browse through presets and find some great sounds. It has deep-sounding and well-sampled analog sounds, a live brass section, acoustic bass, huge polysynths, and much more for your sound design needs.
- Synth Engine
It has six different windows, with the main window having just four adjustable knobs to play around with, along with an on/off switch. The edit window allows you to select the sounds on each of these layers, and EQ tab allows you to go deeper into the sonic balance. Filter and fx tabs, as their name suggests, allow you to add different filters and effects to your sounds, along with a separate Rhythm window, to add more movement to your sound.
- Expansive Editing
In the editing window, you can control each layer’s volume and frequency balance, ADSR envelope, pan, spread, tuning, and sample rate. This page also allows you to get into the nitty-gritty of the sounds, like each layer’s key range, glide amount, and velocity sensitivity, in advanced settings.
- Sonic Flexibility
In the EQ window, you can EQ each layer separately and as a whole using the global eq, as it allows you to select the curve, q-value, and gain of the curve. Similarly, the filter page allows you to select different types of filters, the frequency on which they act, ADSR, velocity sensitivity, and more. Lastly, the effect section allows you to add a huge range of effects like distortion, pitch, motion, reverb, delay, compression, etc., as global or layer-based FX.
- Rhythm Page
That is where the fun begins, as you can find a modulation editor, a modulation matrix, flux (step sequencer as a step editor), and a retrigger section. You can create some innovative movements using this, and on top of it, you also get an arpeggiator (above the rhythm window), wherein you can create ramping upwards, downwards, chords, zig-zags, and many more movements.
The plugin works with the free version of Kontakt, or a Kontakt 5.8 (or higher), and is 5 GB in size. It requires a minimum of Mac OS X 10.12 or higher, Windows 7 or later operating system, and at least 4 GB of RAM.
Substance also gives you MACRO controls, using which you can control multiple parameters at once and get hands-on with the modulations and processing of bass. There are loads of presets from different genres like hip-hop, trap, house, dubstep, bass, and more, making it the ultimate bass virtual instrument.
In addition, the sounds are massive and will give your unique music tones and allow your songs/soundtracks to stand out, especially on big stages.
3. Output Exhale (Vocal Engine)
Exhale is a dedicated vocal engine, primarily for creating interesting and unique vocal chops but can be used in various other ways.
The sounds that Output has sampled for this are of great quality and are divided into categories like dirty, airy, one-shot, electro, creative, pure, war, pad, tape loop, complex, and user. The main window allows you to browse through these sounds and its set of well-designed and organized presets. The main window also has the following sliders: filter, spread, wet, and pitch.
That makes its interface easy to use and navigate through, and you can tweak sounds in an uncomplicated manner. Then there is the sound engine, where you can get into every little detail of your sounds and tweak it to your taste and sensibilities. Lastly, there are three different playing modes: Notes, Loops, and Slices.
- Note Mode
In the note mode, you have two different sound sources, both of which can be edited, timed, and stacked. You can also select the sample in both sources, their types like tape, pads, solo, gender, group, and one-shots, along with their movements like scoop up or down.
- Common synth engine
Then, there’s a rhythm section with different patterns you could choose and a step editor with an adjustable number of steps, mod sends, and rate. There’s also an FX engine and a FLUX tab with editable amount and switch. On top of that, there are filters and ADSRs, and effects like phasers, reverb, delays, and saturators.
- Loops Mode
This mode allows you to choose from forty different Loop banks with thirteen loops in each bank, within which each loop is synced to the master tempo and mapped across the octave C2-C3 on the keyboard. You can also adjust the volume, formant shift, Playback Speed, Four-band EQ, Envelope (ADSR), and Advanced (Velocity Sensitivity, Monophonic Mode) Settings.
- Slice Mode
Here, you can choose from forty different vocal phrases and can also edit these phrases. Slice Mode is the best for creating vocal chops.
Output Exhale requires the free version of Kontakt, or a Kontakt 5.8 (or higher), and its sample library is 8 GB in size. In addition, it demands at least a Mac OS X 10.12 or Windows 7 operating system and 4 GB of RAM.
The sound design capabilities of Exhale are insane, and you can create anything from an ambient sonic scape to an atonal and daunting background score to a bright and beautiful vocal chop for a commercial pop song.
In addition, the plugin takes vocal synthesis to the next level, using its well-recorded and high-grade samples and its expansive yet uncomplicated synthesis engine.
Kontakt is a great sampling and sound synthesis engine and has evolved greatly due to its ability to run different types and styles of virtual instruments. Usually, EDM producers prefer to do their sound design work on independent synthesizers like Serum, Massive, and Diva or samples-based hybrid synth instruments like Omnisphere and Nexus.
But some Kontakt libraries can take your EDM and House production uphill. The three libraries mentioned in the post are great for covering almost every genre of EDM. Since EDM is bass-heavy, Output Substance is the perfect instrument for it and is probably the best bass instrument in the virtual instruments/soft-synth market.
Exhale is great for creating dynamic ambient effects, catchy vocal chops, and even interesting lead sounds. I hope these Kontakt libraries take your production game for dance music up a notch and introduce you to an inspiring world of sound design. Thank you for reading.
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Shaurya Bhatia, is an Indian Music Producer, Composer, Rapper & Performer, who goes by the stage name MC SNUB, and is also 1/2 of the Indian pop music duo, called “babyface”. A certified Audio Engineer & Music Producer, and a practicing musician & rapper for more than 6 years, Shaurya has worked on projects of various genres and has also been a teaching faculty at Spin Gurus DJ Academy.