A year ago Reaktor 2.3 came into my life a like a software messiah (read my review in issue #21). The program has so many mind-blowing features and functions that despite how long I've owned version 2.3 I'm still finding new and remarkable ways to use it. Reaktor is a native synthesis audio program that can emulate everything from the most monstrous retro prog-rock modular synth imaginable, to cutting edge synthesis programs that can create sounds that would be unthinkable with today's hardware. With Reaktor any kind of sampler, audio FX, drum machine, step sequencer, or synthesizer (analog, FM, granular, or any combination) can all be emulated on your computer without the signal chain degradation of hardware and with resolutions up to 96 kHz! But the real dividing line between Reaktor and it's soft-synth contemporaries is the ability to really "get under the hood" and customize instruments, or even create them from scratch. Admittedly, Reaktor is not for the technophobic or faint of heart. In fact, don't even bother reading this review if your computer isn't a G4 or a Pentium 3, because running Reaktor on anything less would be like trying to drive the autobahn in a Pinto. This new version of Reaktor has newly designed audio core which makes it much less processor intensive (i.e. starts up quicker, crashes less, less latency). It also has new VST implementation which makes it much easier to load up as a MIDI instrument within Cubase, Logic or Pro Tools and it now lets you record knob/slider movements (which was a big pain in version 2.3). Probably the best part of version 3.0 are the really, really cool new instruments utilizing new modules (which are incompatible with previous versions) like grain cloud, PCF filters, X/Y control pads (Kaoss pad-style), 8-tap delay, scanning mixers, scratch effect, modules that let you literally draw waveforms and filter shapes, and lots more. Little improvements in version 3 include the ability to drag and drop audio files into sample windows, more precise volume metering, new graphic design (I know it may seem silly, but it really looks much cooler), AKAI sample import, the ability to read/record direct to hard disk with unlimited length, and newly added support for VST 2.0, MAS and FreeMidi (along with preexisting support for ASIO, Sound Manager, and Direct Connect) Reaktor is the cornerstone of my entire rig and should be considered a must-buy for anyone producing electronic music. (www.native-instruments.net)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

Or Learn More