NI provides Kontakt Player 3.5 for free at download (375 Mb). It is based on the Kontakt 3.5 engine (that was released recently) and even offers the full editing features for 30mn sessions. In the Player mode we still keep the Library Browser feature (introduced in Kontakt 3), that allows to browse and combine in one place libraries in Kontakt format, the new convolution based effects, and a better management for libraries that were based on the old Intakt (better slice management – was problematic in Kontakt 2) and Kompakt.
Finally we can expand the libraries by buying new content through download. A 650Mb demo library, KONTAKT FACTORY SELECTION, is available for free (brings sounds from the full Kontakt 3.5 library).
A 1,8 Ghz G5 or Intel is stated as minimum requirement (on OSX 10.4 or 10.5), but finally it works fine on a G4. However on that configuration only two convolution reverbs are provided (the whole were available in Kontakt 2, despite many leaded to latency problem/distorted sound).
Note : the Kontakt 2 library isn’t listed in found libraries, and adding it manually through Add Library button does not work (No Library Found message).
Update : Kontakt 2 library indeed can’t appear as a library tab in Kontakt 3.5 Player (it seems it can be converted to K3 format using the Batch Resave option in Load/Save menu), however we can load individual .nki instruments from that library using the disk icon, LOAD option (browse to the nki file).
The performance of Kontakt 3.5 (and then Player) seems greatly better, and even more if using Logic 9 :
Let me tell you that K35 works great in Logic8 , as well as in L7.
The overall performance has incredibly improved compared to any former version, including K2 .
We highly recommend to upgrade to Logic 9.
We can confirm that the mixer sluggishness and key focus issues have been addressed by apple.
To balance load among available cores we have to use several Kontakt plugin instances and assign each to a separate channel strip (run in a separate thread, and threads are distributed among cores).