You are on page 1of 25

Vienna Symphonic Library

Kontakt 2 User Manual

Thank you for registering your product and for downloading this manual.

We also offer video tutorials to give you a more personal insight into the abilities of the
Performance Tool that is now integrated in your Kontakt 2 programs.
We would like to thank Josef Natterer ( for developing the scripts to
perfectly fit the needs of our Performance Instruments!

General Information
The Vienna Symphonic Library is a comprehensive sample library, containing thousands of
articulations and playing techniques for all featured instruments.
It is divided into 2 major components:
1. Single Note Samples, featuring playing techniques from staccato to sustained notes,
tremolos, trills, dynamics and much more.
2. Performance Instruments which need the famous Performance Tool to work properly.
The mixture of these 2 components is what makes your music come alive, and it’s up to YOU to
choose the right articulation for your arrangement.

What's new in Kontakt 2:

The scripting features in Kontakt 2 allow us to integrate the functionality of the Performance
Tool into each performance instrument program in Kontakt 2, which means that you can load a
program and you're ready to play – all settings are perfectly preconfigured for every
Of course, there are some additional settings available with each mode which will be explained
in this manual.
Depending on your purchases, you will find the following Performance Tool Modes within your
Kontakt 2 programs:

Horizon Series
OPUS 1&2: Alternation and Legato Mode
Solo Strings: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode
Chamber Strings: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode
Epic Horns: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode
French Oboe: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Woodwind Ensembles: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode
Saxophones 1: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode
Vienna Concert Guitar: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode
Overdrive: Alternation, Legato and Repetition Mode
Mallets: Alternation Mode
Glass & Stones: Alternation Mode
FX Percussion: Alternation Mode 2
Vienna Harps: Alternation Mode

The Performance Tool Scripts in Kontakt 2 re-interpret your MIDI information to give you absolute
authenticity in sound. They basically operate in three Modes chosen according to the selected
Performance instrument: Legato, Repetition, or Alternation Mode. The Performance Tool
script settings of a given instrument are preconfigured for each Performance instrument.
The Performance Tool functionality is intended as a tool for real-time performance of legato,
repetition, and alternation sequences played on the keyboard. If you are editing your MIDI
tracks in your sequencer’s editor, and skipping passages or running loops, the music may not
always sound as originally recorded. Naturally, when you record and playback your completed
sequence, you will hear the intended result.
For best performance control, we recommend using an 88-key master keyboard, so you can
access all preconfigured keyswitch functions while you’re playing. But, of course, you can also
use the sequencer’s matrix editor and enter the notes and functions step by step, or fine-tune
what you’ve recorded.
The instruments and their settings are documented in the Vienna Symphonic Library
manuals, which you can refer to if you’re unsure how to set up a specific performance. You can
also download the Range Finder guide (PDF) from the user area of our website,
which gives brief descriptions of the instruments and their playing ranges.

Attention: When you load a program that features modwheel blends, touch the
modwheel before starting to play. Kontakt needs this activation before it plays back
modwheel blend programs!

First register your Vienna Symphonic Library Horizon Series product and download
the Kontakt 2 Instruments (.nki files) from the User Area of our website
Then double-click on the folder “Exs” on your DVD, open the folder “Samples” and extract the
files to your hard disk.
You do not have to extract the “Sampler Instruments” folder, as this contains only EXS-specific
The files on your DVDs are packed as self-extracting files. To extract them on a PC, simply
double-click on a file and specify the target folder. You can also use WinRar (included on your
DVD) to extract single files.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Data Structure
When we designed our Horizon Series products, it was not clear whether future releases of the
Kontakt sampler would support the mapping structure of our Performance Elements. Therefore,
the data structure contained on your DVDs unfortunately doesn't exactly match the technical
needs of Kontakt. 3
In Kontakt, the .nki files are saved with relative paths. This speeds up the loading
process dramatically, but will only work if you keep the structure we used in our
mapping stations. Each Horizon Series product needs a separate folder, which
contains 2 subfolders:
K2-Instruments (your .nki files; the K2-Instruments folder will be created
automatically) and
Samples (containing ONLY .wav files and articulation folders extracted from
your DVDs).
This is essential, since Kontakt starts searching for the samples it is looking for in the
folders on the same level as the “K2-Instruments” folder!

Below, you will find a list of the Horizon Edition’s collections. Pick out your collection and click
on the image to go to the Appendix page where the necessary data structure for the product is
shown and explained.
Please organize your samples and programs exactly as shown in the image –
otherwise, Kontakt will have to go on a long search to find the correct samples.

OPUS 1 Opus 2

Solo Strings Chamber Strings

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14


Epic Horns French Oboe Woodwind Ensembles

Saxophones 1 Vienna Concert Guitar Overdrive

Mallets Glass & Stones FX Percussion

Vienna Harps

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Kontakt 2 – modes overview
User interface in Kontakt 2
To open the interface of each mode, please click on the “Tool” icon of your loaded program:

This will open your interface with your additional settings. Each element will be explained in
detail farther below.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Legato Mode

Loading instruments
The Legato Mode enables you to perform authentic monophonic legato lines on your keyboard.
Specific Legato instruments have been created that work in Legato Mode. Legato instrument
files will always have “PERF-LEG” in their name, e.g., “VI-14_PERF-LEG_F+F_PORTA“ from
OPUS 1, containing violin ensemble Performance Legatos. The instruments themselves are
named “perf-leg”, so “VI-14_PERF-LEG_F+F_PORTA“ will be a forte legato, played by the
violin ensemble, which you can switch with the ModWheel to play a portamento effect.
To load an instrument, scroll through the sampler’s instrument browser and select the legato
performance of your choice. Please see the printed manual that comes with your Horizon Series
product for a detailed description of each program.
The Performance Tool scripts will take care of the complex keyswitching for you to create a
perfect legato performance as you play.

The settings of a Legato Instrument

The script editor of the “VI-14_PERF-LEG_F+F_PORTA” will look like this:

User settings
All settings have been optimized to fit the needs of each instrument.

IMPORTANT: If you decide to change the settings of an instrument, you need to save
the new instrument (preferably under a new name, so that you can always go back to
the factory settings).

Let’s go through the settings in the script editor (the grey area) from left to right:
Leg_time: When you play legato, you should always connect one note with the following one.
The leg_time function can do that for you. The higher the setting, the less you will have to
manually connect the notes. Still, there will never be an unwanted “overlap” of notes, because
legato instruments are monophonic, so that the next note will automatically sound as you strike
it. It’s best to experiment with the leg_time to find the settings that suit you best.
You can transpose the position of each instrument on your keyboard in octave steps by using the
Octave Offset (it is always set to position each instrument in its corresponding range on the keyboard).

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Function Keys: Ghost, Release Trigger, Repetition Trigger
With the help of function keys, you can access special functions directly on your MIDI keyboard,
or insert them in your recorded MIDI track to make your performance even more realistic. By
clicking within the appropriate fields, you can set the trigger notes for the function keys. How-
ever, please make sure that the trigger notes are not set inside your instrument’s playing
range. Please remember that the Vienna Symphonic Library always uses C4=middle C on your 7

Ghost: Press this key to have the next starting note muted. For instance, you could later copy
these muted notes to another track to have them played in another technique of your choice.
The Ghost function makes it possible to start a legato passage from any other starting note
(from another MIDI track), e.g., from a crescendo, a diminuendo, a sforzato.
An example: In your sequencer, you record a three bar legato passage in piano (soft),
using legato performances. But you want a strong accent on the first note of this
passage, instead of the now recorded piano tone. So you decide you want to use a
fortepiano tone from the "Special Dynamics".
In this case you put a ghost function key prior to the first note. Now the first note
won't be played, but the second note still will have the right legato transition from the
ending of the (now silent) first note to the second note.
Now you copy this first note to the MIDI track that is to play the fortepiano note.
(Leave the muted note in the legato track, as the second legato note still needs to
know where the transition comes from!) Playing both MIDI tracks, you will get the
authentic transition from the fortepiano note to the legato passage.
Release trigger: Use this if you want to have the last note of a sequence end with a special
release sample for increased authenticity. To activate this function, press the trigger note after
pressing the last note of a sequence and keep the Release Trigger pressed until you release
the last note.

Attention: if you hold a note too long, the release sample will still be triggered after
the natural duration of the note, and you will hear the sample as a distinct extra tone.
The notes of legato performances are quite long, of course, but for the sake of your
computer’s memory they are far from endless. If you need longer notes for your
Legato instrument, please make use of the programs contained in “Sus-Blend” that
lets you fade each legato note into a long sustaining note.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Repetition trigger: This key has the function of providing a legato repetition instead of a fresh
starting note. Press it right before the repetition note when it should be part of a continuing
legato sequence rather than the beginning of a new one.

Attention: please keep in mind that Legato Mode is monophonic, meaning that you can
only play one note at a time. If you want to have the violin ensemble play legato chord notes
in a sequence, you will either have to set up as many legato channels as you have notes in 8
the chords, or play the chord notes from a “normal” track with, e.g., VI-14_mV_sus loaded.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Repetition Mode
The purpose of Repetition Mode is to enable you to create realistic sounding repeated notes.
We created specific Repetition Instruments to work in this Mode, using a variety of articulations
and tempos to achieve the most natural performance.
Attention: This mode is not used in OPUS 1&2, Mallets, Glass&Stones, and
Vienna Harps!

In the Vienna Symphonic Library, instruments for use with Repetition Mode have the designation
“PERF-REP” included in the file name. These are the only instruments that will work in Repetition
Mode. The file name also provides information about the number of repeated notes played by that
instrument, plus the tempo and articulation used. For a start, let’s select “VI-6_LEG-REP5_4-50_P”
contained in the Chamber Strings folder “21 VI-6_PERF-REP_LEG_4-50”, and load it into
Kontakt 2. The instrument contains a chamber violin ensemble with 5 portato repetitions, played in
4ths at 50 BPM (beats per minute).

Using Performance Repetitions

When you click on the “Tool” button in Kontakt 2, the script editor now will look like this:

The Style Display

Within Repetition Mode, you will find a matrix containing 12 matrix lines (on the left side, please
use the scroll bar to see the first matrix lines) and a style display (the LineNr.: showing which
line in the matrix is active). Next to the style display you see the selected line_nr.
Underneath the line_nr. there are 3,4,5 or 9 yellow icons (depending on the Performance
Repetition) that represent the active repetition notes. To edit a given matrix line, simply click on
the icons to activate / deactivate this repetition note.
Please don’t forget to save the instrument under a new filename after editing the

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Now, let’s have a look at the basic settings again:


The Base Function Key for switching matrix lines is set to C1 (MIDI: 24) by default so as not
to interfere with the play zone. Depending on the Base Function Key setting, the settings for
Jump to Last and Skip First will also change. The function of these keys will be described
Release Time defines the time you have to play the next tone of the repetition (your NOTE OFF
Event is being delayed). It can be set roughly to the time of the first keyswitch delay (see below)
or a bit higher to get good results. If it is too long, you will get unwanted repetitions, whereas if
it is too short, the performance may not sound very natural. It is best to experiment to find the
settings you’re comfortable with.
Another important setting is the First Keyswitch Delay. This assures that your performance
will be aligned with the meter you’re in, and that the repetitions don’t lag behind the tempo of
your piece. For our current instrument, it is set to 40 ms.

IMPORTANT: To get the timing of your repetition track right, set the MIDI delay of
your sequencer track to the negative amount of the First Keyswitch Delay (in this
case, -40 ms). This will compensate the delay that is needed to connect the repetition
tones correctly.

The Matrix
The matrix displays 12 lines of repetition sequences with 3,4,5 or 9 entries each, which you
can configure according to your needs. The first entry shows the keyswitch of the currently
selected matrix line, the second displays the number of repetitions, which should always
correspond with the number of repetitions the instrument has. As our current instrument has
five repetitions, the basic patterns are all set to five entries.
Each matrix line now has five entries. The sequence of “1s” and “0s” defines which of the
instrument’s repetitions are to be played; a sequence of “1–0–1–0–1” will play the first, third,
and fifth note. You can now configure the lines for the repetitions you have in mind.
Please note that it is not possible to have a matrix line without repetitions – you will not be able
to toggle the last “1” in a repetition sequence.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Make sure that you select the proper instrument for your purposes. You can always play faster
than the designated speed of a repetition instrument – 150 BPM repetitions can easily be
stepped up to 200–250, but you cannot go below 150 without unwanted glitches and artifacts
being heard, as a sample’s next repetition tone would start before the next sample is triggered.
As a general rule for repetition “speed limits”:
The slower the recorded tempo of the repetition, the higher the possible factor of acceleration 11
(you can easily speed up legato repetitions of 4ths at 60 BPM (4_60) to at least 120 BPM!).

Function keys: Jump to Last, Skip First

These function keys provide special functions that will make your performance even more
realistic. The function key settings depend on the Base Function Key setting, taking up the
three notes preceding the Base Function Key. Please take care that they do not overlap the
Play Zone in case you set the Base Function Key too close to it.
Jump to Last: If you press this key, the next sample played will be the last active entry in the
matrix line. Normally, this will also be the finishing note of the sampled repetition sequence, so
you can place the end of your repetition sequence at will. The next sample played after that will
be the first active entry of the matrix line (normally the starting note).
Skip First On/Off: To play long repetition sequences without employing “chain Mode” (see
below), you can use these switches. Pressing the key assigned to Skip First On will cause the
tool to skip the starting note of the repetition line until you hit the Skip First Off key. Thus, your
initial number of repetitions can easily be increased to any amount you like.

Chain Mode
Chain Mode links the matrix lines so that you will get a sequence of repetitions consisting of all
the matrix lines – in sequence! This allows you to create long repetition sequences with a fair
amount of variation (even five or nine repetitions tend to become boring if they’re always in the
same order). You can still switch matrix lines while Chain Mode is activated; the Tool simply will
jump to the selected line and continue from there.

Attention: please remember that you have to play a separate note for every
repetition! If you just hold the key, you will also hear a sequence of repetitions, but it
will be played as recorded, so that you won’t be able to influence the repetition speed!

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Since all repetitions were recorded with straight beats (4 or 8 notes and an end note), setting
them up for triplets initially may cause a bit of confusion. However, it’s not as difficult as it may
seem at first. Here’s some suggestions for programming triplets in Repetition Mode, using
“_rep9” files. (For better understanding, the accents in the examples are marked in boldface.)
1. 2x3 triplets + final note: "1:1:0:1:1:1:0:1:1" or "1:0:1:1:1:0:1:1:1" 12
2. for longer repetitions you can use a simple single note staccato or 0'3s note as starting
note and combine it with the following repetition: "0:0:1:1:1:0:1:1:1" or
"0:1:0:1:1:1:0:1:1" Here, the separate starting note makes the first accent, so that you
can play through the repetition sequence as often as necessary for your piece.
Most important to get a triplet feeling is the groove/timing and the accents.
3. Sometimes it's good to have longer notes for the accents. For this, you also can combine
single notes with the repetitions: "0:0:0:0:0:0:0:1:1". Naturally, you could also select two
repetitions out of the middle. In that case, you will have to take care not to trigger a third
note. An example: "0:0:0:0:0:1:1:0:0"
4. Yet another solution for longer triplet repetitions is a more intricate combination with single
notes. Set up the tool like this: "0:1:1:1:1:1:1:1:1" This way, you have no starting note in
the repetitions.
The combination should work like this:
stac – rep2 – rep3 – stac – rep4 – rep5 –stac – rep6 – rep7 – stac – rep8 – rep9
To create a more random effect on the accents, you can use a stac1+2 combination with
Alternation mode. For our repetition example, this would be “VC-8_stac_1+2”.
5. If you combine with single notes, we also suggest playing your repetition phrase first only
with single notes, recording it on one track. Afterwards, you can split it into a repetition
track and a single note track, and move the notes accordingly. Every third note then would
remain in the single note track, playing normal staccato notes. The other notes would be
transferred to the repetition track.

Attention: The delay offset of the Midi track should work in time with the repetition
track. This means that you have to set it up to the same First Keyswitch Delay as that
of the repetition track. However, sometimes it helps to set this offset a little "off" to
get the right shuffle rhythm.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Alternation Mode

Loading instruments
The purpose of Alternation Mode is to manage the keyswitches of a combination instrument
that contains two versions of one tone (_1+2). We had to restrict the functionality of the
Alternation Mode in Kontakt 2 to alternating between 2 recorded variations. If you want to make
use of the more advanced features contained in the Performance Tool, please learn more in the
Performance Tool manual and make use of the original Performance Tool.
You can simply load an alternation instrument and then make use of the different alternation
matrices available.
The script editor will look like this:

The Style Display

The style display (Line:) shows the selected matrix line and the alternation entries themselves.
All of the included Alternation Settings are perfectly preconfigured.
“1” always represents the first recorded variation of a tone, “2” represents the second

The Matrix
The matrix is where you can set up your individual alternations. There are 12 lines with 12
sequence entries each, so you can have 12 different alternation sequences in one setup, giving
you a lot of possibilities.
The first entry of a matrix line shows the number of alternations it contains. The contents of the
active matrix line are also shown underneath the style display, so once you’ve selected a line
you can change the settings here. Changes you make in the style display will always be
reflected in the active matrix line, and vice versa.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Remember, the Vienna Symphonic Library uses C4 as Middle C, so you may have to subtract
an octave for calculations with your sequencer. Most sequencers, however, allow you to put an
initial transposition on a track, so that you can set your tracks up to show the note pitches
exactly as they are played with the Vienna Symphonic Library. If your sequencer uses C3 as
Middle C, simply have your VSL tracks transposed down an octave.

Attention: When polyphony is switched on (which it is by default), you have to release 14

all keys to access the next programmed playing technique! With every MIDI “Note-Off”
your next playing technique becomes available!

Base Function Key

The base function key sets the first keyswitch for the alternation matrix. As the matrix has 12
keys, you have to take care that they don’t overlap with your instrument’s play zone. For example,
the contrabass ensemble’s play zone is B0–D4, its keyswitch start key is C6 (MIDI: 84).
Therefore, you can place your base function key anywhere starting from E4 without overlapping.

The polyphony selector is on by default. If you do not activate polyphony, Alternation Mode will
let you play monophonic lines, but each note you play will automatically be the next variation,
regardless of Note-Off events!

Chain Mode
The last item in our alternation setup is Chain Mode. This feature allows you to link the matrix lines so
that you will get one alternation sequence consisting of all the matrix lines – in sequence! This is
especially useful for long sequences consisting of the same articulations. Also, you can still use the
function keys to switch to a specific matrix line. The tool will simply continue the chain starting with the
line you selected.

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Appendix – Data Structure

Opus 1
Create the following folder structure and extract the archives from the DVDs into the 15
“Samples” folder according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Opus 2


© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Chamber Strings
Create the following folder structure and extract the archives from the DVDs into the
"Samples” folder according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Solo Strings
Create the following folder structure and extract the archives from the DVDs into the
"Samples” folder according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Epic Horns
Create a “Samples” folder within the product folder
and move the articulation folders into the “Samples”
folder according to the image:

French Oboe
Create the following folder structure and extract
the archives from the DVDs into the “Samples” folder
according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Woodwind Ensembles
Create the following folder structure and extract
the archives from the DVDs into the “Samples” folder
according to the image:

Saxophones I
Create the following folder structure and extract
the archives from the DVDs into the "Samples” folder
according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Vienna Harps
Create the following folder structure and extract
the archives from the DVDs into the "Samples” folder
according to the image:

Vienna Concert Guitar

Create a “Samples” folder within the product folder
and move the articulation folders into
the “Samples” folder according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Create a folder named after the product and extract the archives from the DVD into that
folder to get a structure according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

Glass & Stones
Create the following folder structure and extract
the archives from the DVDs into the "Samples” folder
according to the image:

Create the following folder structure and extract
the archives from the DVDs into the “Samples” folder
according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

FX Percussion
Create a “Samples” folder within the product folder and move the articulation folders into
the “Samples” folder according to the image:

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14

We hope that you are satisfied with this brief introduction to the intricacies of using our
Performance Instruments with Kontakt 2, and wish you a successful and fulfilling creative
experience with the Vienna Symphonic Library.
Please visit our Website regularly for new Performance Tool tutorials and
for additional files. If you want to know more about the instruments of the Vienna Symphonic
Library, check out Instruments Online.
We'd also like to invite you to visit our forum to meet fellow-users of the Vienna Symphonic
Library and to share questions and answers about our library. Most technical support questions
can be answered by simply browsing this forum, not to mention lots of user tips, advice, and
inside information from the creators of the library.

Copyright Notice
Information in this training guide, including URL and other Web site references is subject to
change without notice. Without limiting the rights under copyright, no part of this document
may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted in any
form, or by any means, or for any purpose, without the express written permission of the
Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH.
Vienna Symphonic Library may have patents, patent applications, trademarks, or other
intellectual property rights covering subject matter in this document. Except as expressly
provided in any written license agreement from Vienna Symphonic Library, the furnishing of
this document does not give you any license to these patents, trademarks, copyrights or
any intellectual property.
Copyright © 2005 All rights reserved.
Vienna Symphonic Library GmbH.
Draschestrasse 89, A–1230 Wien, Austria

© 2005 Vienna Symphonic Library Date: 2005-11-14