How to Install 3rd-Party Kontakt Instruments

One of the best things about Kontakt is how many instruments you can use with it. Downloading Native Instruments products is easy enough thanks to Native Access. But what about 3rd-party sample libraries?

This post will give you step-by-step instructions on how to install instruments for both Kontakt Player and the full version of Kontakt. If you’re not sure what the differences are, you can check out this guide comparing Kontakt and Kontakt Player.

What You Need Before Installing

While the instruments only require Kontakt to run in your DAW, you may need additional software to download and activate them. Here’s everything you need:

  • Either Kontakt or Kontakt Player to use the instrument (obviously).
  • Whatever download software the product developer requires (if any).
  • Native Access to activate certain licensed products.
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How to Install Kontakt Player Instruments

Some licensed products only require the free version of Kontakt Player to run. That said, you’ll need to activate them within Native Access before using them.

Once you have all the necessary software, here’s what you do:

  1. Download your product. Check with the product developer for any additional download instructions.
  2. Find the product code or serial number for your purchase. You may have received in an email after buying the product. You can probably also find it in the account page from the site you bought it from.
  3. Then, in Native Access, click “Add a Serial” and enter the product code. This will activate the instrument in Kontakt.
  4. Once activated, click on “View Products Not Installed” and find your instrument. Click “Add Library” and select the folder where you downloaded it.

Once you’ve completed the installation, you should be able to see the instrument in the Libraries tab within Kontakt.

How to Install Non-Player Kontakt Instruments

You’ll need the full version of Kontakt to run most other instruments. These won’t appear within Kontakt’s libraries tab. Instead, you’ll manually load them through your file browser.

The installation process is mostly the same for unlicensed Kontakt instruments. The main difference is you won’t need to activate them in Native Access.

Once you have all the necessary software, here’s what you do:

  1. Download your product. Check with the product developer for any additional download instructions.
  2. Find the instrument within the Files tab of Kontakt. This should be the file location where you downloaded the instrument.
  3. Double-click the instrument to open, or drag and drop it into Kontakt.

You can also open an instrument by double-clicking the .nki file within your computer’s file browser. Doing that will automatically open up Kontakt.

A view of the Files tab within Kontakt. To open an instrument, click the Files tab, select a folder, and choose your .nki instrument.

How Do I Know If I Need Kontakt Player or the Full Version?

Most stores will explicitly tell you which version of Kontakt is required for the instrument you’re buying. Oftentimes, they’ll have a logo prominently displayed somewhere on the product page. These logos usually let you know which version of Kontakt you need. Here’s an example:

A product page from Impact Soundworks' website. It shows a graphic

Discover More Instruments for Kontakt and Kontakt Player

If you want more out of Kontakt, you should explore the instruments from these sample library companies. All these brands offer amazing Kontakt instruments and other standalone plugins that take your music to new heights.