One of the most frequently asked questions we get is a deceivingly simple one: “Why is my Kontakt library working in demo mode if it’s free?”
Indeed, using the free Kontakt Player by Native Instruments can cause some confusion, especially if you pair it with free libraries. Sometimes you will see a “demo mode” message even though both the Kontakt Library and Kontakt Player itself are free. So, why is Kontakt running in demo mode?
Allow me to explain.
Kontakt Vs Kontakt Player
Kontakt is the flagship sampler plugin by Native Instruments. It comes in two versions: KONTAKT 6 PLAYER (free) and KONTAKT 6 (€399). If you downloaded Kontakt for free from the Native Instruments website or as a part of the free Komplete Start bundle, then you are using the free Kontakt Player plugin.
If you bought Kontakt from Native Instruments (or a different vendor), you are most certainly using the full version of Kontakt. If you bought Kontakt but you still see the “demo timeout” message when you load a Kontakt library, this means that you haven’t activated your Kontakt installation properly, and it’s operating as Kontakt Player.
Kontakt Player Demo Timeout
So, again, if you see the “demo mode” message in Kontakt, this means that you are using the free Kontakt Player plugin. The majority of free third-party Kontakt libraries will work in “demo mode” in Kontakt Player. The “demo mode” means that you can only use the library for fifteen minutes. After that, there will be no sound on the output, and you won’t be able to access the editing features.
What’s important to understand here is that the Kontakt library you downloaded is free. It will work just fine in the full version of Native Instruments Kontakt. However, the free Kontakt Player plugin can only load these free third-party libraries in demo mode.
BUT… well, there is a but.
Some (only a handful, really) free Kontakt sound libraries can indeed work without interruption in Kontakt Player. One such example is the Kontakt Factory Selection library that is provided by Native Instruments and included in the Komplete Start bundle.
As for third-party libraries, one recent example is The Free Orchestra by ProjectSAM. There’s also the Jay Maas Signature Series Drums Lite Edition by Room Sound. Both are free and both will work in Kontakt Player.
So why do these particular third-party sound libraries work in Kontakt Player?
It is because the company that created the free Kontakt library paid a licensing fee to Native Instruments. The license enables third-party libraries to work in Kontakt Player. The license comes at a cost, though, and for many indie sound designers who make free Kontakt instruments, it doesn’t really make sense to pay the licensing fee.
Kontakt Demo TL;DR
Question: Why do I see the DEMO notification in Kontakt?
Answer: The DEMO button is there because you’re using the free Kontakt Player plugin and not the full version of Kontakt. All Kontakt libraries will work just fine in the full version of Kontakt. The vast majority of free third-party Kontakt libraries will only work in demo mode in the free Kontakt Player plugin. You will need to upgrade to the full version of Kontakt to use the free Kontakt libraries without limitations.
I hope the Kontakt demo mode makes more sense now. If you still have any questions about Kontakt or Kontakt Player, feel free to ask in the comments section below.
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