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Routing Kontakt Channels in Ableton Live

Ableton Live is a stunning music production software. It’s not only designed for electronic music producers, so I recommend all musicians and producers to check out this remarkable DAW.

Kontakt is a well known Native Instruments sampler, with a vast instrument library and great sampling capacities. It is also multitimbral, meaning that it’s possible to play more than one ‘instrument’ (also known as timbre, sound, patch) at a time. Kontakt is included when purchasing Komplete, but it is also sold separately.

Today we are going to learn how to route Kontakt’s channels into Live. The idea here is to open the vst just one time, instead of opening a new Kontakt plugin over and over. For this job, I’m using Ableton Live 9 and Kontakt 5.

To understand the idea, imagine that you have a wonderful grand piano, great choir samples and a stunning drum kit in your Kontakt Library. You want to use them all in a production. What would you do? Open 3 different Kontakt instances on 3 midi tracks from Live? Well, it could be done, but it would just use up a lot of cpu and memory, that’s all.

There’s a way to enable Kontakt just once, open the 3 mentioned instruments and assign each one to a different midi channel. Then, all you have to do is to create 3 midi tracks in Ableton Live and route the Kontakt’s channels to Live. Let’s see how to do it:

1) On Ableton Live, create a new Live Set and in the Plug-Ins category, open Kontakt on a midi track:

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

2) In Kontakt, load the instruments you’re going to use in your Live Set. In this case I am using Grand Piano, Funk Kit and Pop Bass from the Kontakt Factory Library:

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

3) Now you have to set in Kontakt different midi channels for each instrument; notice in the picture that the Grand Piano is set to midi channel 1, the Funk Kit is set to midi 2 and the Pop Bass is set to midi channel 3:

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

4) In Ableton Live, open 3 new midi tracks to assign the chosen Kontakt instruments;

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

5) Enable the I/O button to view the routing tracks:

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

6) In the Midi To output, choose Kontakt 5:

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

7) In the Track In subcategory, choose the correspondent channel to each instrument. The “3-Kontakt 5” in the picture means ‘midi channel 3 from Kontakt 5’:

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

8) Notice that Live’s channel 2 is assigned to the Kontakt’s midi channel 1, Live’s channel 3, is for the Kontakt’s midi channel 2 and Live’s channel 4 is for Kontakt’s channel 3:

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

Kontakt8

9) Remember that you can rename the Live’s channels as you want.

ROUTING KONTAKT CHANNELS IN ABLETON LIVE

So, with this procedure, you can easily route the midi channels from your multitimbral vst to the Live’s tracks (and save a lot of memory doing this). Unfortunately, not all vsts are multitimbral, so with the ones that aren’t, you will have to open various instances of the same virtual instrument if you want to use more than one patch.
Good productions!

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