Although Kontakt 6 is not a DAW - it is the sample player engine used within the DAW's (ie Logic and Cubase) that will be playing most of the instrument samples if you wish to use the Spitfire Audio Orchestral samples,Swing More jazz samples and, Vox Epic Choir sample libraries)
Kontakt 6 can opened by itself if you just wish to listen to the sounds and experiment with playing them through the keyboard - but Kontakt 6 must be opened from within a DAW in order to record those sounds.
Note: many of the Spitfire Libraries walk-through tutorials feature the use of Kontakt 6, so you can learn a lot from watching those as well.
If you want to use the sample libraries named above - as you compose – you need to open Kontakt from within whichever DAW you are using (go to the Logic Pro or Cubase tabs for those instructions) - These are instructions for testing or experimenting with Kontakt 6 as a stand-alone (without DAW's)
Once Kontakt is open in either stand-alone mode - or - inside a DAW... Make sure “Libraries” is selected (Do not use – Files, Database, Expert or Automation)
Click on the “Instruments” bar below the library you want to open
Double click on an instrument to load it into the sample player
In order to load a new sound - you must first close the loaded sound window first (small x – top right). Then load a new sound. When closing a window – Kontakt will ask if you want to save changes. Answer “NO” or “Do Not Save”
The “Wrench” icon will open additional functionality. You can click and drag the small keys icon onto the larger keyboard below and position them where you want. These are the “key Switches” that you can use to trigger the different articulation samples “on-the-fly" as you play.
As well, you can right click on any of the controllers and assign a control slider on the Korg nanoKontroller to that effect. Hint: choose to remove any cc controllers first and then add it. When adding – simply move the physical slider on the nanoKontroller and it will be automatically assigned.
Hint: The default setting cc for dynamics is the modulation wheel on the keyboard.
Hint: The Dynamics cc controller is what controls the cross fades between quiet/lightly played sample and full strength legato playing – in other articulations (such as staccato – dynamics are controlled by the velocity that keys are depressed.
The Expression cccontroller is nothing more than volume control. It does not affect the timbre of the sound like the dynamics controller. It works well to assign the dynamics and vibrato to sliders 1 and 2 on the Korg nanoKontroller. This can be done by hovering the mouse over the control sliders - right clicking - and then wiggling the slider that you want to assign it to.
The different articulations can be played by clicking on the corresponding button. The default articulation is often Legato. The natural concert pitch range of the instrument is indicated on the keyboard on the screen. Playing outside this range will not be possible.
Kontakt 6 training videos
This is a great introduction to Kontakt 6 from Guy Michelmore and ThinkSpace Education. Not too long and somewhat fun.
This is one of the most useful and succinct Kontakt 6 tutorials - especially for those just starting out with it, but valuable for more advanced users as well.
This is a very in-depth tutorial – very good but perhaps a bit daunting for beginners.
Use Kontakt 6 outside DAWs
If you simply want to listen to sounds and experiment (without recording in a DAW) you can do so by opening the Kontakt icon at the bottom of the screen. (Otherwise... open Kontakt from inside the DAWs)