Great Free Reaktor Ensembles for New Users

Update: the mysterious and inimitable Len9 has updated the excellent Mortmain Reaktor Resource page with fresh links to ensembles, tutorials, general information and utilities. His page has been around since I first took an interest in Reaktor years ago and with this update it’s still the best one page overview of everything Reaktoriffic on the net.

click the logo to go to Len9’s resource page

Now that the great Reaktor $99 sale of 2013 is over we have a nest of new Reaktor hatchlings that require feeding! This is a couple of pointers to great ensembles in the user library.

Synth in a case: you know you want it

Your first stop should be the all time top 100, where you’ll find goodies like ZooTook’s Synth In A Case, the venerable but still worthy 3X by James Walker Hall, and the Morphing Minimal Drum Machine by Martin Brinkmann. When you’re on the page of a particularly good ensemble, make sure to click on the author’s name for a list of everything they’ve done in the library, and don’t just sort by user rating – Martin Brinkmann in particular has a lot of really interesting ideas implemented in older ensembles that aren’t highly rated. Do get MadPad.

You will want to collect the ensembles of Rick Scott and Dieter Zobel. It’s awesome how much the character of the builder can come through in Reaktor ensembles and they offer many examples of this. Especially check out some of the older Zobel contraptions, like Pole-Onaise which I remixed into Dubby Red Planet. Another gorgeous Zobel joint is Locutus II and don’t forget Haemotherapy (both versions). Locutus and Haemotherapy are in my top 5 Reaktor ensembles of all time for their weirdness and individuality.

A whole whack of great uploads can be yours free, courtesy of Sonictwist! (who went on to found Twisted Tools). Get’em all!

Intermediate to advanced builders will appreciate the ability to build their own modulars with click-to-connect front panels courtesy of Hervig Krass. Noobs can enjoy his finished instruments and example modulars.

Around the net, don’t miss the great instruments and effects of Boscomac.

Finally, when you’re looking for a simple and direct granular sampler that cuts through the usual bells and whistles, check out my own Frame 3.

This is a quickie thumbnail sketch of a few ensembles that stand out in my mind but there are many, many more… I know I’ve neglected many great builders, and if you have favorites of your own I haven’t mentioned, please leave a link in the comments!

Happy exploring, downloading, building and music making.

Update: bftucker from the KVR forums provided a link to this PDF from Simon Hunt that describes a wide range of user ensembles classified by type – granular, effect, beat sequencer, etc. A little old but that’s cool because it probably has a lot of stuff that’s slipped off the radar by 2013.

Update 2: Can’t believe I forgot Antonio Blanca’s superb Dron-e. 

Update 3: Oh and also Blanca’s Nod-e. (Hat tip: David DeLizza)

Update 4: Thanks to Ronnie from Rekkerd, three more suggestions: Rubiter Ate, Concept X and Fourious plus Fourious 2000. To which I will add, check out the other synths by Paul Woodroffe and Stephan Becker too. Soon you’ll have a formidable armada of great sounding and unique synths.

  • JT

    Great post. Thanks Pete

  • Dave DeLizza

    Thanks PD i’m a total ensemble junkie and there’s still some stuff that I haven’t even heard of in here.

    • You probably know some that we don’t – have you found any hidden jewels?

      • Dave DeLizza

        I was the one who posted on the ni boards about boscomac and a bunch of us flocked over there, I’m not sure when you heard of him though. The others that I found that are great are from NeedAName (formerly the colourspace) here http://www.needanamemusic.com/site/?page_id=148 Also don’t forget about Antonio’s Nod-E sequencer. Guy is on another planet man.

        • Aw yeah, thanks for reminding me about Nod-e. Antonio has pretty much the same thing available as a Lemur template, sequencing and everything. I haven’t checked out the need a name instruments yet, will have a look.

  • Octopus Empire

    Hey thanks heaps for this, I’m one of the legions of ‘hatchlings’ finally tempted by the crazy price drop. I’m mainly interested in building things myself but so cool to play with the products of other programmers twisted imaginations. All the best. Greg.

    • Building from scratch is great but do some dissecting and Frankensteining too. Zobel’s stuff is great for that because while it’s super original it’s not too difficult to trace out in the structure.

      • Octopus Empire

        cool, thanks Peter I will do. Starting from scratch is pretty overwhelming with the sheer number of options. Many long evenings ahead with the manual I think. Bit disappointed that the majority of “tutorials” I’ve found so far don’t go much further than loading up Ensembles. Cheers for the advice.

  • Some of my favorites (also in the top 100 no doubt): Rubiter Ate, Foorius & Foorius 2000, Concept-X.

    • Those are great, especially Foorius and all of Paul Woodroffe’s other synths, actually. He didn’t upload a lot of stuff but what he did share was high quality and very unique sounding. Thanks for the reminders – I tend to overlook straight synths in the user library and focus on samplers and noisemaking contraptions.

  • jeye_musik

    Another great set of ensembles that I really enjoy are those by Adam Hanley. Seems to explore a lot of very digital and/or lo-fi ‘chip’ spaces. His more recent commercial endeavours are as Icebreaker Audio and I’d recommend those also.

  • David Coffin

    If you like plucked, metallic clangor, there’s always Steampipe of course. But don’t overlook Acoustring (http://goo.gl/YHfzJA), which has a great random note generator, too, like its wonderful cousin Auralis (http://goo.gl/b2nFT6) both by Kristian Thom, and the magnificent TwanGer by Rick Scott (http://tinyurl.com/mulv5j8). RNP – FM v2.0 by Don Dailey (http://tinyurl.com/lrrrpjm) is a source for another neat random note sequencer, plus cool fx, all easy pickings for reassembly with other synths. MF Auralis 3.3.2 v3.5 by Jim Hurley (http://tinyurl.com/moffnlg) puts a waveset of Auralis sounds inside Metaphysical Function and it is sweet.

    • David Coffin

      And HOW could I have forgotten ReZone!! IT’s a splendid little string-plucker. I just posted an update to it with lots of snaps, here: http://tinyurl.com/lphyhl2

      The original (reZone v0.1 by bubu from bubuland, last revised by the author in 2003) is here:
      http://tinyurl.com/k45heby

      I couldn’t load my old snap set into this without crashing 5.8, so I took the liberty to post my own version. Either way, this is a monster clanger/twanger.

      • David Coffin

        As I rummage through my old downloads and User library links…..Oh yeah! ANOTHER great string plucking machine: Resonoid (http://goo.gl/zdtWa8). Truly fine stuff. I put these things in an ensemble with Dailey’s RNP or similar and it’s the best minimalist radio I know.

  • Adam McClure

    Wealth of new information for new Reaktor users like myself. Thanks for the this post!