electronic instrument questions

I know a lot about mixing, amplification, and live sound reinforcement, but not a lot about actual electronic instruments, especially in a marching band setting.

Obviously one can plug keyboards, guitars, and basses into an amp, or into a mixer which in turn runs to an amp, and achieve decent results. I also understand from reading these forums that it's a relatively simple exercise to connect a MIDI keyboard to a laptop running VDL in standalone mode and perform live using VDL sounds.

What about if one desired to do the same, but use the MIDI keyboard to create piano sounds or synth sounds? Where do these sounds come from - are they included by default in Kontakt Player or does one need to purchase them? What about doing this with more than one keyboard?

Help me fill this gap in my knowledge, please...

I have Kontakt Player 4. Thanks for making me look closely; the application is actually called Kontakt 4.exe, which is why I was confused.

It comes with no sounds, but Native Instruments offers a ";factory selection"; of 550MB or thereabouts of sounds. I'm downloading it now.
Do you have Kontakt 4 or Kontakt Player 4? Kontakt 4 comes with a [url=http://www.native-instruments.com/#/en/products/producer/kontakt-4/?page=970]43GB library[/url] which has a pretty healthy amount of instruments that would probably satisfy most situations as far as I can tell.

I have the full version of Kontakt 4, but haven't loaded the library since I have others that I have always used and wanted to save the space. I can't attest to the quality of the library, but I did install the library when I first got Kontakt 2 and that was pretty solid, for the amount of money you spend on it in the first place.
The synth modules and rack are not an option due to budget, so it's laptop or nothing (nothing for now, hopefully laptop down the road...)

You say Kontakt has some pretty decent sounds. Does that include the free version? I have Kontakt 4 and the only instruments I see are in the VDL library.
Basically, any virtual instrument could be used in the way you describe above. Some people use Mainstage (which comes with Logic Studio) as it gives you more flexibility and ease of use with regards to setting presets and layering sounds. Fortunately, Kontakt does come with some pretty decent sounds out of the box. Most people would run the computer into an audio interface, then to the board.

Many people swear by using laptops/Mac Minis and other computer setups, simply because you aren't pigeon-holed into using the built in sounds in a synth module that comes with something like a Yamaha Motif, Roland Fantom, Korg Triton, etc. The expandability is the biggest plus. The biggest downside is the volatility based on the that it's running on a computer that's not specialized for music performance. Granted, the mentioned volatility is not that great, but with a synthesizer, you're much less likely to have issues with the built in computer system. That being said, it's sort of a ";to each his/her own"; sort of thing.

If I had to set up a system myself, I'd either do the computer set up or get rack mountable synth modules that correspond with the above-mentioned synth models. Going the computer route, you'd only be limited by your computer specs (primarily RAM, HDD space, and Processor speed).

Hope this helps, Joe.
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