In this document we'll describe the general concepts as well as how to use the kits. Consider it an owner's manual. Please note, that not all features are available in all the kits. Some features may also be named slightly differently from one kit to another.
Beaotic kits only work in full versions of Kontakt from Native Instruments. If you don't have this product, you will not be able to make any use of the Beaotic kits. You can use any full version of Kontakt since version 4.2 - including Kontakt 5 and 6 - on either Mac or Windows.
To get the best experience, we recommend a fairly modern computer with a fast audio interface, but in practice, the Beaotic kits are not very demanding on your computer. Also, by today's standards it does not require an insane amount of memory. We recommend that you always load all samples into memory - as most Beaotic kits are less than 300MB.
Beaotic kits are distributed as zip files. The zip file includes a number of files that make up the kit, It may vary which files are included with each kit, but the most important files are these:
- The NKI file
- The Samples folder
- The Resource files
In addition your kit may contain some additional files.
If you did already unpack the zip file, you may do so using the built-in zip file utility on your system. Both macOS and Windows are able to extract zip files without the need for any third-party software.
Storing the unpacked files
You can move the unpacked files aound, pretty much as you like. We recommend that you save the files in a dedicated 'Beaotic' folder on your computer's hard drive - and that the Beaotic-folder is stored in the same place as any other sound libraries you may have. Just create a new folder and name it 'Beaotic'. Copy or move the extracted files from the zip-file into the 'Beaotic' folder.
Loading the kit into Kontakt
In Kontakt, the kit must be loaded via the 'File' menu or the File browser. It is not possible to get Beaotic kits to show up under 'Libraries' since this requires another form of distribution and licensing. Use either File -Open or the File browser to locate the Beaotic folder, and load the Kit (it's the file ending with .nki).
Before using the kit for the first time, it is possible that you may need to authorize it on your computer. This is not the case for all Beaotic kits, but if it is for your kit, then this is how it works:
- Along with the download link you've received an authorization key. Enter the key into the 'Authorization key' field, and click 'Authorize'.
- That's it - you're good to go!
Playing the kit
Load the kit as described above, and make sure you have Kontakt set up, so it's ready to receive MIDI and can play back sound. These steps are different depending on whether you use Kontakt as a stand-alone application or as a plug-in in a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
As you will quickly find out, the sounds are laid out nicely across your keyboard, starting from C1 with 6 kicks, then 6 snares, then 6 more snares, hi-hats, toms, claps and so on. 58 keys altogether, each with their own sound - with and without accent (a few kits may not have accent, though). While editing sounds, it is usually a great help to enable 'MIDI Select', as it will load up the editing panels for the sounds you are playing, while you are playing. Once you're done editing, we recommend switching 'MIDI Select' off. Note, that you can always use MIDI controllers to tweak most parameters in real-time, and every single parameter can also be automated via host-automation.
Find the MIDI key map here
The accent variant of each sound is triggered when the key is hit with a velocity of 85 or higher. By default the accent variant is not louder than the non-accent variant. You can determine the volume difference by adjusting the Accent fader. The Accent setting is global, meaning that it affects all the sounds in the kit.
Beaotic kits are made up of 13 groups, each representing a set of similar sounds and with a number of shared parameters. To adjust these shared parameters, make sure 'Note edit' is not activated. Then click on the group's button and make your adjustments using the knobs. The shared parameters vary depending on the type of sounds that are in the group. They all have Level and Pan though, as well as switches for 'Velocity to VCA', 'Pitch drift' and 'Velocity to Sample start' (we'll talk about each of these features in more detail later).
Each group may be muted individually. It might be more correct to refer to this feature as 'Ignore MIDI'. When activated, any sound that is still playing will continue to play, but no new events will be triggered while the group is muted.
In Beaotic Kits, you can edit each sound on two levels. There's the Group Edit level, where all the sounds in the selected group will be affected by the changes you make. Parameters differ from group to group, and they're not exactly the same from one kit to another, but we'll describe the concepts here, and you should be able to figure out how it applies to your kit. There's also the Note Edit level, where you can make a few changes to the individual sound within the group. These parameters are always the same: Pitch, Pan, Level and Output assign. They will be explained in more detail below.
Group Edit is the default edit mode. It is active, when the 'Note Edit' is not lit up. Just click the group you wish to edit (or select it via your MIDI keyboard if MIDI Select is enabled), for example SD2, and make sure 'Note Edit' is not lit (click it to turn it on/off).
The parameters are usually self-explanatory, such as Pitch, Decay, Level and Pan, but some may require a little explanation.
Adjust the entire group approx 18 semitones up/down. Note that if a sound in the Note Edit panel is set to 'ABS', the pitch of that specific sound will not follow the group's pitch setting.
This adjusts the amp envelope hold time. Useful, for example, to create a gate effect by setting it to a somewhat high value in combination with a very short decay value.
This adjusts the amp decay (or release) time. Use it to determine how fast the sounds should fade out.
Some groups may have two Decay knobs, because the sounds in the group consist of two layers. For example the XT-808 SD2 snares have a 'tone' layer and a 'snappy' layer. The additional decay knob (which is called 'Snappy Decay' in the case of the XT-808 SD2 snares) is a separate decay adjustment for the snappy layer. It is usually possible to link the two decay settings by enabling 'Link Decays'.
Layer 1/2 Balance
Groups with 2-layer sounds have this knob. It's a balance adjustment of the two layers.
Layer 2 Color
Some groups with 2-layer sounds have this knob. The term 'Color' may mean slightly different things, depending on the kit. For example in the XT-808 BD and SD2, it switches between a number of different cutoff frequencies of an analog filter, making the sonic experience much closer to that of real hardware. In other kits, the Color-knob might be used for different amounts of analog overdrive or something completely different.
A few select groups have an Attack knob, to adjust the time it takes for the sounds to reach their maximum level.
While we mostly use Decay to set the fade-out time, you may find a Release knob in a few groups. This is the case if the sounds are sustained, such as some of the Sound FX groups.
Level and Pan
As you probably expected, these knobs adjusts the overall level and pan position of the sounds in the group.
When enabled, the pitch will be slightly randomized, to simulate the nuances found in any non-digital instrument - be it it analog drum machines or acoustic sound sources.
Use this switch to let the velocity of each played note affect the start position of the underlying samples. When enabled, softly played notes will skip the very beginning of the underlying samples, while harder played notes will start closer to the beginning of the sample. When hitting a note with a velocity value of 127, the playback will start exactly at the beginning of the sample, just as if the button was not enabled.
By default, the Beaotic kits behave like classic drum machines, and do not use velocity to control the output level of the played sounds. Although it is possible to control the output volume in other ways, it is, of course, also possible to use velocity to control the output volume of each sound. That's what this switch takes care of.
In groups with a Color-knob it is also possible to control the color with velocity. Just enable it! Hitting the keys harder results in a higher color value.
Groups with two decay knobs will typically have the option to link the decay values together - using this switch.
By default the second layer in two-layer groups is not affected by the pitch knob. If you want the pitch of the second layer to follow along as you turn the pitch knob, just switch this one on.
You can take a deeper dive into each group's individual sounds by enabling the Note Edit panel. From within this panel, you can further adjust each individual sound's pitch, level and pan position.
In general, values in this panel are added to or subtracted from the group's overall values, but it's actually possible to detach the Pitch-knob from the group's pitch. Simply select between Absolute (ABS) and Relative (REL) pitch. You'll get the maximum pitch range by selecting relative pitch, in which case the pitch may reach as far as plus/minus 3 octaves.
The Note Edit panel is also equipped with an output selector for each individual sound. Use this in combination with Kontakt's output configuration to enable processing of sounds separately. You can either use Kontakt's built-in effects, or route the sounds through plugins in your DAW, or take them all the way to the outside world of hardware signal processors.
Using the NKM files for easy output assignment
Assigning any sound to its own audio channel in your DAW should be as easy as possible. That's why we've included a few NKM files for different configurations. For example, in Logic, you could do something like this:
- Create a new software instrument track
- Choose Kontakt -> Multi output (16xStereo )
- Load the NKM file "16 Stereo outputs" from the Beaotic kit download
- Load the Beaotic kit, e.g. XT-808
- Go to any Note Edit page in the Beaotic kit and assign any sound to any of the 16 outputs
- Click the "Plus" button in the Logic Mixer Kontakt channel (it's just above the "Solo" button) to add up to 15 additional channels
- The outputs in the Beaotic kit will now be routed to the corresponding channel in Logic, so you can add effects from your entire AU collection
FAQ - Frequently asked questions
Q: Why is there no manual or documentation?
A: There is. It's included in the download, and it's also available under documentation on the website: https://beaotic.com/pages/beaotic-kits
Q: How does the 'Accent' slider work?
A: Every sound has a no-accent and an accent variation. When playing any sound with a velocity value of 85 or above, the accent variation is heard. The global Accent slider determines how much louder the accent variations should be compared to the no-accent variation.
Q: What are the group edit buttons, such as Vel->Start etc used for?
A: It's all explained in the docs, but here's a short round-up of some of them:
- Vel->Start: This enables velocity to determine the sample start point. Lower velocity means start later. The harder you hit the sound, the closer to the actual start you will get. Velocity 127 means play right from the start. Try it out - it's a great way to achieve a very vivid playing style.
- OSC-Drift: Adds a subtle randomization of the pitch.
- Vel->VCA: The usual velocity to loudness feature.
- VEL->Color: Let the velocity determine the value of the color setting
- Pitch->Impact / Pitch->Snappy: BD and SD2 are dual layer sound groups. When enabled, the pitch setting will affect both layers of these sound groups.
A: We wanted to support older versions of Kontakt, and decided to go for version 4.2.4. which does not support coloring of the Kontakt keyboard.
Q: Why aren't there any global Pitch / Volume / Pan knobs?
A: Because these are already present in the Kontakt instrument header - you can even automate them from your DAW!
Q: Why didn't you add FX such as filters. EQ's, reverb etc?
A: We find that it is more valuable to be able to easily route each sound to its own DAW channel. We've included the NKM files with outputs configured to make this an easy process. The output channels also provide an easy way to add Kontakt's own effects, if desired.
Q: Why didn't you include a sequencer or some patterns?
A: We find it safe to assume that our users already have a DAW or some other kind of sequencer available, so as a sequencer would have required a lot of programming effort, we left it out and focused entirely on the sound editing features.