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Letting Percussion Instruments Decay Naturally in Kontakt 2

In the case of most sample sets, you want the sound to decay quickly to silence once a note has been released. On an organ patch, it would be instantaneous, while a piano continues to resonate a little after you lift up your finger. One family of instruments – percussion – requires that a sample play all the way through to its very end. This is best illustrated by a crash cymbal. In the real world, a drummer hits the cymbal and then moves on, yet the cymbal continues to decay in volume over time. This is true of all percussion, though in most cases, the decay is rather short – a conga for instance.

Let’s say you have imported a drum kit into Kontakt 2 and now will be programming a natural decay from within the Instrument Edit Mode. We want the natural decay to apply to all the percussion; that is, we let the sounds play all the way to the end of each sample, regardless of whether it may be a short decay (a snare, for example) or a very long decay (a gong maybe). In that case, we’ll be using the Group Edit function, which is the second of the five buttons across the top of the Instrument Edit mode screen. Clicking on it brings up the Group Editor. There are a number of parameters which can be accessed here, but the one we’re looking for is “Preferred Release” (or “Pref. Rel.” on the screen). Simply by selecting “Yes” here, all the released notes will play for their entire duration.

Hint: When editing each sample, make sure that you fade the end of the sample to silence, otherwise you’ll find that accumulated noise (even if it’s relatively low in level on each sample) will become very distracting if you’re playing a dense arrangement.

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