For many users, Native Instruments Reaktor is still a mystery. The endless possibilities of designing new instruments, effects, tools, and more, coupled with the rather habitual GUI, scare off many people.

However, they miss a lot of interesting and complex ways to design complex sounds relatively easy and adapt to their wishes. In addition, many newcomers overlook the fact that reactor, while providing total control over each parameter of a device and this can also be customized, even completely redesigned, but also working with foreign ensembles can be very fun and creative. But even if you have taken this step, you will be confronted with the large number of product-owned and foreign ensembles. In addition, many of the ensembles appear relatively complex and offer little explanation. Thus, these factors usually prevent a quick and intuitive start.

Through Reaktor it was possible for many artists of the 1990s to explore the worlds of Granular Synthesis for the first time and thus shape a whole genre of music. Even today, the sounds from the reactor universe are still fresh and offer thanks to the large user library almost infinite variety. In this short article, therefore, ten reactor ensembles are presented, which comply with new sound standards and know how to convince through their approach, sound design qualities, structures and complexity as well as creativity.


Nr.1 Metaphysical Function


Metaphysical Function is a very extraordinary ensemble and proves that even the Factory Library houses many treasures. This sound generator produces sound without the input of MIDI notes and is not tied to the host speed, so the sound is generated permanently. The sources are 2×6 OSC and 1 sampler. In addition, the tone generators can be edited with three filters, a distortion unit, a grain delay, a reso chord, and a reverb. In addition, a visual representation of the current sound is available centrally, so that the eye is also addressed.

The complexity of the sound is achieved by individual modulation and the combination of various parameters. The modulations are very intuitive and can be easily adapted to the desired sound flow. The snapshots are great looking, designed by high-quality sound designers (such as Speedy J) and invite you to play straight away. In addition, it should be mentioned that in the User Library is a very good modification for free download.

Main application: pads, soundscapes, sound design many more

Source: Native Instruments Reactor Factory Library / User Library


Nr. 2 S-layer


Ever since the integration of Polyplex into the Komplete Suite from Native Instruments, the manufacturer Twisted Tools has become known to many people. S-Layer follows a similar approach to Polyplex (which focuses more on drums) but offers even more complex possibilities in sound design. In S-layer, up to 8 different samples are layered on top of each other for a more powerful and complex sound. In addition, you can customize the individual sample tracks not only in pitch, volume, start position and pan, but also with effects, granular synthesis and complex modulation individually control and alienate. Also, in S-layer you can get familiar with the included presets very quickly and get an impression of the sound design power of this product.

Main application: sound design, drum design, sound effects and much more

Source: Twisted Tools


Nr. 3 Graincube


The legendary sound designer Richard Devine offers with Grauncube a very complex and at first sight overwhelming ensemble. The sheer variety of parameters quickly overstrains even experienced users. However, it is important not to be intimidated and to recognize the ensemble from its structure.Graincube consists of four identical grain samplers. In addition, this is supplemented by a reverb effects unit (space maestro) and a unit that controls the modulation of the entire sampler parameters (Mission Control). Due to a high degree of random parameter you get a very complex sound very fast.

Grain Cube works similar like other reactor ensembles as a sound generator, so that the instrument is not controlled by MIDI, but produces sound itself. The Grain Sampler can be roughly controlled by their own preset selection in their playback. So is controlled by simple selection, whether you prefer long and dense or short and short and sparse tones. Especially with its own sample banks Graincube unfolds its full effect.Graincube is offered by Richard Devine via their own website as a free download and is therefore freely available to everyone.

Main uses: Sound Design, Pad Sounds, Soundscapes, Sound FX

Source: Richard Devine


Nr. 4 Ultraloop


Another ensemble of twisted tools on this list. Ultraloop is a great tool for rearranging sample loops. Playback speed, play direction, pitch, and effect can be determined for each loop. In addition, the eight different sample loops can be re-sequenced and a separate track sequencer, the sequences can be additionally varied. The same applies to effect sequencing, effect gestures and used samples.Ultraloop offers a powerful tool that makes it very easy to create very complex drum patterns. Twisted Tools also offers many great additions to well-known artists such as Richard Devine, Raoul Funken, Christian Vogel and Balkansky. The enhancements not only offer great new loops, but also very good presets for complex sequences.

Main application: drum sequencing

Source: Twisted Tools


Nr. 5 Spiral


A completely different ensemble is spiral. Spiral is a MIDI sequencer of a different kind. This is how Spiral MIDI generates notes via a rotation of elements within a circle. The notes are triggered at a position of twelve o’clock. The density of the notation can be controlled by the number of elements in Spiral.In order to achieve a suitable harmonization, Spiral has the possibility to set the respective scale with the root key. A control of the velocity is also easily adjustable via this tool.Spiral is the perfect tool for any musician who wants to write melodic content but is curiously inhibited in his search for a melody. The visual presentation and the unusual programming of this MIDI sequencer guarantees Spiral new ideas.

Main application: MIDI sequencing

Source: Native Instruments User Library


Nr. 6 Dron-e


Dron-e is an ensemble of the legendary designer Antonio Blanca. With the help of granular synthesis several layers are layered, and complex drones are created. With the help of four voices (Sample and OSC) complex and deep sounds can be created. The result is vivid surfaces and drones through changing sample selection and countless modulation options as well as a special reverb for each track. Especially the change of the sample selection and the speed bring life into the standing soundscapes.The attached sample bank consists of various sounds of acoustic and synthetic instruments as well as various field recordings. Of course, it is still possible to load your own samples into the samplers of the instrument. The high sample quality of the included samples and the complexity of this ensemble make it even more extreme that Antonio Blanca offers Dron-e completely free of charge on his website for download.

Main application: Pad Sounds, Soundscapes

Source: Antonio Blanca


Nr. 7 Aralsk


Aralsk is a cinematic synth that conjures true dark and gloomy soundscapes. With its industrial charm, Aralsk supplies top notch sound that could have come from a factory building. The synth has two Oscs, which also have an FM mode. With the help of the filters, proper volume modulations and the extensive modulation options complex tones can be created. Aralsk also offers an intuitive Latinum sequencer and a Frequency Shifter, which provides further control over the frequency spectrum. In addition, the Aralsk provides a very powerful reverb / delay section. The entire sound spectrum is not limited to pad sounds and soundscapes, but also offers brute and industrial percussion sounds. This ensures an ideal industrial character. Especially when you combine both sides of this evil twin of Kantubek (also a reactor ensemble of the same creator), very complex sequences or atmospheres can be created.

Main Uses: Pad Sounds, Soundscapes, FX Sounds, Percussion, Sequences

Source: Native Instruments User Library


Nr. 8 Krypt


Crypt has long existed in the User Library of the Reaktor Suite. Kypt is a very complex drum machine that consists of several components. So Krypt consists of a sequencer. Modulation and effects generator, a pattern generator and a drum sampler. Within the drum sampler you can select your own samples as well as the various drum samples included. These can then be controlled via the complex sequencer on six tracks. In addition, in the sequencer also play direction and the like can be controlled. There are two groups of modulation sources available. The so-called static modulation sources (found below the waveform representation) are in principle master modulations and affect the overall output of all 6 sampler voices. With “Sampler Control” the position in the sample map, pitch, playback speed and the grain size can be influenced. Effect control modulations target panning, filter cutoff, grain size, and effect return. For each of these parameters, the modulation of the modulation via the range / phase controller can be set additionally.

Krypt is an experimental instrument, with which you can have a lot of fun and be a source of inspiration for complex drumlines. Often you should, however, edit the output of the instrument again in retrospect and rearrange, as many Drumpatterns not completely in the original state can be used.

Main application: percussion, sequences, experimental drum sequencing

Source: Native Instruments Reactor Factory Library


Nr. 9 Nod-e


Another extraordinary ensemble of Antonio Blanca is Nod-e. Nod-e has a lot of similarities to Native Instruments Spiral. Within the MIDI sequencer you can control the pitch, key as well as the trigger behavior of the notes. In Nod-e the notes are triggered by a kind of rotating band. If this touches the corners of a defined area, the respective notes of the band are controlled, so that a midi signal with the information is sent to the source. The movement of the tape (speed, direction of movement) can be controlled by vectors.With the help of Nod-e not only very own melody runs, but also drum sequences can be achieved. Nod-e is e.g. ideal to play complex polyrhythms for various instruments intuitively. Thus, the opportunity is offered to overcome creative blocks with a playfulness and interesting results are achieved.

Main application: MIDI sequencing

Source: Antonio Blanca


Nr. 10 Vectory


The last ensemble in this series is Vectory. Vectory is a complex drum sequencer that, in addition to its multitude of slicing options, also allows complete destruction of the sampled material. Within the ensemble, both sequences and samples from various banks can be selected. Once selected, the sequences can be rearranged, reversed, pitched, or varied in attack strength. In addition, by means of the morph fader, the sound settings can be distorted beyond recognition. Also, for these sample modulation settings, presets are provided by the ensemble. The whole thing is complemented by a general possibility to distort the output again extra. Especially with the Snapper Tool Vectory offers very good possibilities to achieve very complex and varied drum loops, which can range from clean to abstract. For those who do not like boring drum sequences, the ensemble pays off!

Main application: percussion, sequences, experimental drum sequencing

Source: Native Instruments Reactor Factory Library