As explained in that article, the majority of third-party Kontakt libraries will only work in demo mode in the free Kontakt Player. However, there are a few free Kontakt libraries that are fully compatible with Kontakt Player. All of those libraries are listed here for your convenience. There are eight of them in total – three from Native Instruments and five from third-party vendors.
If you’ve just installed Kontakt Player, this page is the best place to find free libraries to download. The Kontakt libraries listed here will not work in demo mode in Kontakt Player and there is no fifteen-minute time limit. You can use them for as long as you need, completely free of charge.
Free Kontakt Libraries
Here is the list of free libraries for Kontakt Player:
- Kontakt Factory Selection by Native Instruments
- Play Series Selection by Native Instruments
- Kinetic Treats by Native Instruments
- The Free Orchestra by ProjectSAM
- Free Stuff by Soniccouture
DrumMic’a by Sennheiser(no longer available) Jay Maas Signature Series Drums LEby Room Sound (no longer available)
- Ferrum – Free Edition by Keepforest
- Arcane by Embertone
Kontakt Factory Selection (Native Instruments)
I’m stating the obvious here, but you can’t write an article about free Kontakt Player libraries without mentioning the Kontakt Factory Selection. If you’re just starting out with music production, this (in tandem with the Kontakt Player plugin) is one of the first things to add to your digital audio workstation. Available for free download from Native Instruments as part of the Komplete Start bundle, it delivers a surprisingly versatile set of sampled instrument sounds.
Kontakt Factory Selection provides a great starter kit of acoustic and electronic instruments. Of course, there’s the bread and butter stuff like acoustic pianos, organs, acoustic drums, electric guitars, and even some pretty decent sounding bass guitars. You’ll also find a handy set of synthesizer samples, drum machine loops, electric pianos, as well as a collection of sampled world and ethnic instruments. Actually, my favorite part of the Kontakt Factory Selection is the African percussion patch that is perfect for building percussive loops.
To get your free copy of the Kontakt Factory Selection library, simply add Komplete Start to your Native Instruments account. The free Komplete Start bundle contains Kontakt Player, Kontakt Factory Selection, Play Series Selection, and several other music production software goodies.
More info: Komplete Start
Kontakt Play Selection (Native Instruments)
Kontakt Play Selection is another free Kontakt Player library from Native Instruments. It is based on a selection of presets from three different libraries: Analog Dreams, Ethereal Earth, and Hybrid Keys. Kontakt Play Selection contains 10 presets from each library.
As we already mentioned, the easiest way to get Kontakt Play Selection is to add the Komplete Start bundle to your Native Instruments account. You can then use the Native Access license manager to download and install the library.
More info: Komplete Start
Kinetic Treats (Native Instruments)
The third free Kontakt library by Native Instruments is called Kinetic Treats. It is based on a collection of toy samples. The sampled source sounds were used to create more complex instruments, with the help of some clever processing powered by the Kontakt engine. The product page on Native Instruments’ website it as a tool to “Create evolving sounds and textures from a library of carefully sampled children’s toys.”
Kinetic Treats comes with three instrument patches: Electric Train Set, Record Player Music Box, and Xylo Polyphones. It is included in the Komplete Start bundle, along with Kontakt Player, Kontakt Factory Selection, and Kontakt Play Selection.
More info: Komplete Start
The Free Orchestra (ProjectSAM)
The Free Orchestra is a collection of cinematic orchestral samples for the free Kontakt Player plugin. The sounds were handpicked directly from ProjectSAM’s best-selling orchestra libraries.
The free library includes fourteen patches packed into a 1 GB download. It covers a range of orchestra sounds, from string staccatos to brass clusters and symphonic percussion. The library was offered as a freebie for a while, but a recent update introduced Kontakt Player compatibility. This means that you can simply install it and use it with the free Kontakt Player plugin without any workflow restrictions. ProjectSAM states that composers are welcome to use The Free Orchestra in commercial projects, too.
The Free Orchestra comes with a customized user interface for Kontakt Player. It provides a limited set of on-screen controls for the most essential sound engine parameters and performance options. You can quickly fine-tune the volume envelope, the filter, sample reverse, and the built-in effects. The user can also choose whether the dynamics are controlled by the modulation wheel or note velocity.
More info: The Free Orchestra
Free Stuff (Soniccouture)
Soniccouture is offering a selection of free Kontakt Player libraries in the Free Stuff section of their website. After signing up for a free Soniccouture account, new users will receive the serial numbers required for library activation in Native Access.
At the moment, Sonniccouture is offering six free Kontakt libraries: Choir Horns, RMI Rocksichord, Thunder Drum, Music Boxes, Tube Drum, and Tape Choir. Each library comes with a customized interface for fine-tuning and manipulating the sampled sounds.
The cool thing about Soniccouture freebies for Kontakt Player is that they are based on rare and unusual sound sources. The sampled instruments sound very musical, but also quite odd and original. Soniccouture’s free Kontakt Player libraries are a great way to expand your existing sonic arsenal with unique and inspiring new sounds.
More info: Soniccouture
DrumMic’a is a free acoustic drum kit library for Kontakt Player. The library contains over 13,000 individual drum kits, with multiple round-robin variations and dynamic layers for each sampled drum. You also get a fully customized user interface for Kontakt Player. The interface features a fully-fledged virtual mixer with volume, pan, and FX controls for each drum channel. Additionally, the user can customize the instrument’s velocity response and the MIDI mapping for easy integration into any controller setup.
As for the sampled drum kit, it’s a highly versatile acoustic drum that can be used for various styles of rock and pop music. The drums were recorded using state-of-the-art studio gear, including a range of Neumann microphones. Some of the drum elements offer a choice between multiple microphone models. Hover the mouse over the drum kit photo on the interface to access the microphone selection menu.
In addition to the single drum hits, DrumMic’a also offers a selection of recorded drum grooves. The instrument comes with over 1,300 original drum grooves, including a range of rhythms, fills, and intros. The drum loops are organized into music genre categories for easy browsing.
UPDATE: DrumMic’a is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
More info: DrumMic’a
Jay Maas Signature Series Drums LE (Room Audio)
Another free drum kit for Kontakt Player comes from Room Audio. Maas Signature Series Drums LE is the free, lightweight version of Room Audio’s premium acoustic drum collection. Thanks to its modern sound, the recorded drum kit is perfect for use in pop-rock tracks.
The free library contains seven kit pieces (one kick, one snare, two toms, one crash, one ride, and one pair of hats) from the full version of the product. The Kontakt interface features a twelve-channel virtual mixer with a selection of audio effects. Also, the user can adjust the individual kit piece tunings, sustain, volume envelopes, MIDI mappings, and several other performance controls.
Keep in mind that the free version of the Jay Maas signature kit only features seven drum kit pieces from the full library. The kit elements that aren’t included are greyed out on the interface. You get one kick, one snare, two toms, and three cymbals. The free library also doesn’t include multi-out support, microphone bleed, and the groove library that comes with the full version of the kit.
UPDATE: The free LE version of Jay Maas Signature Series Drums is NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
More info: Jay Maas Signature Series Drums LE
Ferrum – Free Edition (Keepforest)
Ferrum – Free Edition is the freely downloadable version of Keepforests epic Ferrum sound library. It features a collection of modern trailer percussion sounds, including impacts, metal foley, cymbals, and more. It is a great instrument for creating cinematic percussion loops.
Even though the free edition of Ferrum contains a smaller set of samples compared to the full library, it’s still worth the download. You’re getting six octaves of free cinematic percussion sounds and a bunch of tools to help you create trailer percussion loops with ease.
One of Ferrum’s coolest features is the built-in step sequencer. It can be used to modulate the filter, pan, and pitch for each note, adding interest and groove to the generated loops.
More info: Ferrum – Free Edition
Arcane by Embertone is both a game and a sound library. Fully compatible with Kontakt Player, Arcane will require you to play a puzzle game before accessing its sounds. There are five instruments to unlock and one bonus instrument that is offered as a prize after all the puzzles have been solved. This bonus instrument is a beautiful alto vocal legato patch that is well worth unlocking.
Don’t be discouraged by Arcane’s unconventional interface design. While it doesn’t look like an instrument on the inside, the library actually features a massive 2 GB+ collection of high-quality samples. Some of the sounds were sourced from Embertone’s commercial products, and some aren’t available anywhere else. Also, register Arcane to your Native Instruments account, and you will qualify for the Kontakt crossgrade offer (more on later in this article).
SPOILER ALERT: The entire game segment of Arcane can be bypassed by accessing the Individual Patches folder from the Library browser.
More info: Arcane
Installing Third-Party Kontakt Libraries
Here’s a step by step guide on how to install Kontakt libraries. The process will vary depending on the library vendor. Regardless you should be able to add free libraries to Kontakt Player by following the steps listed below.
- Download the Kontakt Player installation files (valid email address required).
- Run the Kontakt Player installer. During the installation process, you will also download the Native Access license manager.
- Download any third-party Kontakt library you’d like to install. Extract the contents to a folder on your hard drive.
- The third-party library vendor will also provide a serial number. Copy that serial number to the clipboard.
- Launch the Native Access license manager. Log in to your Native Instruments user account.
- Click the Add A Serial button.
- Paste the serial number in the box and click Add Serial. Wait for the registration process to complete.
- Locate the library in the Not Instaled tab and click the Add Library button.
- Navigate to the downloaded Kontakt library folder (the folder containing the .NICNT file) and select it.
- Click the Install button to complete the installation process.
- Return to step 3 to install and activate additional libraries.
You’re good to go! The installed library should be activated and ready for use in Kontakt Player.
Kontakt Crossgrade Offer Instructions
We’ve listed the free Kontakt Player libraries on this page, but there are many other libraries that you can use with the full version of Kontakt. However, many users stick to the free Kontakt Player because the full version of the software is expensive. Kontakt is priced at €399, and you can usually get a 50% OFF deal during Native Instruments’ annual sales (usually around Christmas and during summer).
Luckily, there’s a way to save even more cash when purchasing the full version of Kontakt. Native Instruments have a Kontakt crossgrade offer in place for users who own a third-party Kontakt library in their account. The crossgrade price is €249, and that can be combined with the 50% OFF deal during a sale. So, with the crossgrade offer and the 50% OFF discount combined, you can get a sweet €125 deal. And yes, free third-party libraries also qualify for the crossgrade offer, as long as the library is registered correctly and activated using a valid serial number.
The crossgrade method reportedly works with the Arcane library by Embertone. Multiple users have reported that they were able to access the Kontakt crossgrade offer as soon as Arcane was added to their Native Instruments account. That said, the crossgrade should work, in theory, when you register and activate any of the third-party libraries listed on this page. To check if your Native Instrument account qualifies for the Kontakt crossgrade offer, visit the Kontakt 6 pricing page and verify the price.