Reaktor is an incredibly powerful digital semi-modular by Native Instruments. A lot of producers might have it as part of the Komplete bundle, but few I’ve spoken to have even scratched the surface of its potential.
Admittedly the interface can be a little overwhelming: although I purchased it as a standalone many years ago, it wasn’t until after a few years that I really began to become acquainted with it and a few years more before I began to be happy with what I was building.
One of Reaktor’s strengths is that the synths, drum machines, effects and sequencers it comes bundled with are incredibly powerful, esoteric creations – even blindly noodling with them can produce some really quite quirky results – but this is really just the tip of the iceberg of what the synths can do.
As I mentioned before, Reaktor is a digital semi-modular – but what does this mean? Modular means that the individual components that make up the synths/drum machines/effects/sequencers in Reaktor can be hooked up however you like. Well, sort of: there are some restrictions and this is why it’s really a semi-modular.
One of the beauties of Reaktor is that everything is editable and can be customised and tweaked to an extremely high degree but before getting on to anything this complex, it’s worth getting your head around the basics. I’m going to show you how you can put together a simple one-voice mono synth and hopefully inspire you develop it further and learn about the architecture of some of the more exotic things in Reaktor.
I’m going to assume that if you’ve read this far you’ve probably opened Reaktor up once or twice and at least dicked around with some of the factory content. If you’ve not, it’s certainly worth exploring what it has to offer: Lazerbass, Carbon2 and OkiComputer are some of my favourite synths while SpaceDrone, Vectory, Space Master 2 and Fast FX are all worth exploring, too. What’s great is that loads of other Reaktor users have built their own machines and uploaded them to NI’s website for free download, so check them out too.