Wednesday, July 14

Reaktor 5.5 Public Beta!

Today we are happy to announce the next version of Reaktor, and make it available to you as a public beta version at the same time: Reaktor 5.5

Version 5.5 will be a free update, and it is based on many improvements that we have made to Reaktor recently. It also has significant new synthesis capabilities that can literally take a lifetime to explore - both conceptually as a builder, and sonically as a sound designer and musician.

It has been quite a long while since we have released the last "big" update of Reaktor, but it has always remained a very central part of the NI instrument range. Last year it was the platform for some very well-received and successful instruments: the Spiral sequencer by Lazyfish, my own Spark synthesizer and Tim Exile's "Finger". The new Reaktor version will be the basis for even more of these instrument releases from us in the future.

If you have a look at the attached screenshot of Reaktor 5.5, you will see that the user interface of Reaktor has received a major facelift. The new version not only looks "modern" again, the new single-window interface with its different split views and many GUI optimizations also improves the handling in many areas.

The screenshot also displays Mike Daliot's new "Lazerbass" additive synth that is a new addition to the factory library in 5.5. This instrument is based on the new "Sine Bank" module. The sound quality of the additive synthesis in Reaktor 5.5 is quite outstanding, as you will see from extremely detailled, brilliant, aliasing-free sounds that Lazerbass can generate.

The "Modal Bank" module is another major addition in the Reaktor 5.5 arsenal. Modal synthesis can produce a wide range of complex, organic timbres with tremendous depth and dynamic range, especially in the physical-modelling domain. The Modal Bank is also the basis for a new synthesizer that I am currently working on, which we will release in the near future as a separate instrument, but also as an ensemble for use in Reaktor 5.5.

In Reaktor 5.5 we have also improved various crucial areas like the snapshot management, the way how send/receive modules work, and the auto-save function in plugin mode. Also, ensembles and instruments are now interchangeable in how they can be loaded into Reaktor.

Some of the most important improvements in Reaktor 5.5 are "under the surface", more than 30% of the code is new. The new version is based on our latest GUI and audio bridge frameworks, so it has a more flexible and robust technological basis. This also brings advantages like a full-screen GUI mode, higher quality of sample rate conversion, and up to 40 audio channels in standalone mode.

Another important focus for Reaktor 5.5 for us was the documentation. The "application reference" manual has been completely rewritten, and it now also includes a lot of tutorial-style parts. We are also working on a similar new version of the "module reference" manual that will be made available together with the next upcoming Reaktor update that will bring full 64bit compatibility.

You can find a detailed list of the improvements in the 5.5 version below.

I invite you to download the public beta version and take a close look at Reaktor 5.5. By testing it, you can help us to finish it with the best possible quality for the official release in September.

Starting in a few days, we will also invite all public beta participants to an online survey to get your feedback about the new version.

We also want to engage the ambitious Reaktor designers here in the forum with a new community project that we have planned for quite a while. We hope that we can also start this in time for the Reaktor 5.5 release.

Thank you to all of you for all the interest and dedication that you have put into Reaktor over the years. I hope that version 5.5 will inspire you for even more building and music making.

The update is currently in this phase:
beta testing
public beta testing
For an explanation of the different phases, please see the section below.


The update will include the following improvements:

New and improved features:
Additive synthesis capabilities (based on new "Sine Bank" module)
Modal synthesis capabilities (based on new "Modal Bank" module)
Instruments can now be loaded as ensembles and vice versa
Revised one-window GUI with flexible "split" view
Unified interface layout for standalone and plugin operation
New full-screen view in standalone mode
New "structure bookmarks" feature
Improved instrument header, properties and sample map editor
Improved audio player with browser integration, drag&drop and auto-mode
Improved preset handling with bank list and "snapshot master" function
Global master volume controls for audio input and output
Improved functionality of send/receive modules
Audio I/O channels increased to 40 in standalone mode
Improved handling of audio I/Os and ports
Improved auto-save in plugin mode
Improved sample rate conversion
New "Lazerbass" monophonic additive synthesizer by Mike Daliot
All ensembles from Electronic Instruments I + II now included
Additional keyboard shortcuts
New "application reference" manual with integrated tutorials

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