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Tutorial: Recording seamless loops in Reaktor 3 - exporting audio.

Reaktor 3 interface

Native Instruments Reaktor 3

Native Instruments Reaktor is without question one of the most versatile and powerful music software programs on earth. If you've read our reviews of Reaktor 3 and the previous 2.33, you know that we love the application.

But recently we've been hitting some roadblocks recording audio and getting those wonderful loops out of the software and into a format we could use elsewhere. But we've figured it out and will share our experience with you and hopefully prevent any frustration in your efforts to record seamless loops with Reaktor.

A little background on our problem and then a tutorial on how to record audio.

One of our favorite Reaktor ensembles is the incredible 6-Pack which we will use in our example.


6-Pack features six special samplers as an ideal tool for studio or live.

Here is Native Instrument's description of 6-Pack:

6-Pack combines sequence-controlled sample playback with loop playback based on Granular Synthesis. These words may sound very technical and rather unspectacular, but the possibilities they describe are astonishing: 6-Pack allows you to combine sample loops which are automatically synced - regardless of their original tempo. You can mix, mute and filter these loops, alter their pitch and shift them with beat precision - all in realtime and without affecting their tempo. Two of 6-Pack's samplers are intended to be used with single shot samples. These samplers include a simple 16 step sequencer which allows you to program patterns with the samples being used.

The other four samplers are optimized for loop playback. Precisely edited loops are automatically synced and can be shifted against each other based on a 16th note grid. This works rhythmically correct and absolutely smooth - even under live conditions. In addition, you can alter the pitch of each loop and filter it with separate modulated high-pass and low-passband-pass filters.

Important for live performances: Each of the six samplers has its own presets. This means that you can switch between variations for each sampler while the playback is running. And with the presets of the "6- Pack" module (the one with the scope) you can change the presets of all samplers simultaneously.

An awesome and inspiring ensemble, to say the least. We've had great fun replacing the stock samples and loops (which are very good by the way) and using our very own loops and samples. The results have been spectacular! But unfortunately, using version 3 on the PC, we had difficulties exporting the audio.

In particular the "recorder toolbox" which enables you to record and save audio files, has always confused us. But even beyond the confusion, it just had some issues. For example, it was impossible with Reaktor 3 PC to get the recorder to be triggered by playback as it once allowed us to do in version 2.3.3. That's a drag. Hard to get seamless loops by hand. But fortunately Native Instruments just issued an update (Reaktor 3.0.5) which resolves that issue and others as well.

Info on the update to Reaktor 3.0.5, free to registered users.

So now with the update, the functions of the "recorder toolbox" are all working correctly, and you can get those seamless loops with little effort. But, to guide you along and bypass some frustration learning how, we've set up a mini tutorial to get you looping in 6-Pack as well as other Reaktor ensembles in no time.

Those crazy Germans! They have a strange way of doing things some times! They make great software, but things are not always as intuitive as they should be. Such is the case with Reaktor. If you are used to hitting a button for export and generating the audio, you'll want to pay close attention as Reaktor just doesn't work like that. In our example, our goal is to record a seamless loop we can use in Acid or similar.

To record your audio loop from 6-Pack or other ensembles in Reaktor do the following:

1. Go to VIEW and select SHOW RECORDERBOX. A handy little floating taskbar will now be in the window ready for you to record audio and loops. (You may have the RECORDERBOX in the taskbar at the top already - if so tear it off if you desire, and place where you like on the screen, or leave it).


Recorderbox

2. Select the preset you wish to record, in the case of 6-Pack, pick a preset, hit play and audition the sound. Adjust the master level slider in the ensemble and watch the audio out levels in the upper toolbar (the ensemble's LEVEL METER is not accurate and does not change with adjustment). Adjust the level until the red lights up only occasionally (or as you desire). When satisfied with the level, you are ready to record.

Now, Reaktor does things a little differently than most other programs, so observe carefully:

3. BEFORE RECORDING your audio loop, make the following settings after clicking on the WHITE FOLDER in the RECORDERBOX (photo above) right next to the file name:


Recorder settings dialog window

The box above will pop up where you can select your settings. Here we opted to use CLOCK START with a START OFFSET of 4 bars and a LOOP LENGTH of 8. This way the loop will play for 4 bars and recording will then automatically begin on the 5th BAR. Using a START OFFSET allows the effects to get rolling and makes the start of your loop blend in better with the TAIL. Now hold on a minute, because here is the lowdown on how to get your audio out of Reaktor. Normally, we'd expect to record our loop first and then save it... NOT SO with Reaktor.

4. FIRST - you must NAME YOUR FILE, but not so fast, what you need to do is click on the little RED FOLDER in the top left of the RECORDERBOX. A dialog window will pop up where you name your file and select the destination, then click SAVE. You'll notice that the name in the recorderbox is now your new file name you just saved in the dialog box.

NOW YOU CAN RECORD IT!

5. Go to the RECORDERBOX and press RECORD (the red circle all the way to the left) which will engage the RECORDER into STANDBY ready to record. You'll note the PAUSE button is now highlighted as well. Then go to the TASK BAR at the top of Reaktor and PRESS PLAY. It looks like nothing is happening, but after the first 4 BARS go by, it will start recording on the 5th BAR and do so for 8 BARS at which time it will go back into PAUSE MODE.

VERY IMPORTANT! Hit the STOP BUTTON. It will now show the length of the file and your file is updated on your drive and saved automatically. You can now press PLAY in the recorderbox to audition what you just recorded. If you don't like it, simply adjust and repeat (it will overwrite the previous version to the same file name).

6. Now here is the tricky part - you do not have to save that file. It is recorded and waiting in the directory you set up the SAVE AS in earlier.

7. Before you record your next loop you must now go back to STEP 4 and SAVE AS/NAME the next file you wish to record before doing anything else. Otherwise you will overwrite the same file. Then repeat the steps after and your second audio file will be in the same folder with the name you gave it.

SAVE FIRST - RECORD after. Odd, don't you agree???

Don't ask us why, but those crazy Germans (I'm of German descent by the way) set it up this way. We had a hell of a time grasping the concept of naming your file first (thereby saving it) and when you play the loop it RECORDS it.

Otherwise, you would be recording over the previous file as we did over and over. And that's no fun. Take our word for it!

So, we hope we saved you a little frustration, or solved your seamless loop recording dilemma with our step by step example of how to record audio in Reaktor.

Now.... if we could just get some seamless loops out of Reaktor in Cubase VST... We've given up trying, as Cubase seems to have a mind of it's own and changes the preset, volume etc. and has an annoying bump at the beginning of the exported audio resulting in a not so perfect loop. A workaround is to record DOUBLE the length of the loop and chop it in half, but that involves extra work. We'll work on that one though and hopefully have a fix for that as well.

Unfortunately, the loops from Reaktor standalone are only 16 bit. That's a bummer. Exporting in Cubase would result in a higher quality file, if desired. Hopefully Native Instruments will realize we want the highest quality possible and allow 24 bit exports in future releases. Until then, at least we can get great seamless loops in 16 bit.

While we're at it, how about being able to export the seperate decks output in seperate files??? That'd be cool. Anyone at Native Instruments listening???

Best wishes for some cool looping with Reaktor!

We set up an mp3.com music station with some songs that use Reaktor. Check it out!

If you have any Reaktor tunes, or just wanna communicate - let us know and we'll add them to the list! Send your suggestions to us at reaktormusic@beatmode.com.

See the Beat Mode review of Reaktor 3

Check out our free Atmospheric Samples - recorded using Reaktor!

Native Instruments releases Reaktor 3.0.4 update to their flagship sampling, synthesis & effects software.

Check out our review of Native Instruments Reaktor 2.3

DashSynthesis - VirtualSynthDesigners - unique ensembles for Reaktor!

What's In A Synth - how to article using Reaktor as example to build synths

Beat Mode Tech Article - MSVRCT error problem with Reaktor - Rebirth

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