Ongoing DAW freeze since 7.4, and an open letter to support/development

jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer
edited November 16 in Kontakt

I'm using Pro Tools 2023.9 and Kontakt 7.7.0. When I insert Kontakt in a session, everything is fine - until I close the session and attempt to reopen it - then Pro Tools will freeze/SWOD if Kontakt was active in the session.

I've tried all of the steps listed in the 115004169849-KONTAKT-Crashes support article. I've also reported this issue on multiple occasions; back when the 7.4 update was released (#3973742), and again when 7.6 came out (#4063148), and so far the "support" I've received does falls far below what I would expect from an industry-leading software developer. 

The only fix so far has been to deactivate Kontakt in my Pro Tools session every single time I close/quit, and then when I re-open I have to copy the Kontakt instance to a new insert, drag it over the original insert to replace it, and then re-assign all of my instrument channels.

I understand the way that software development works, and pressure that product managers feel to make the decisions they make. But let's face it, anyone who reviews the severity of this bug knows intuitively it's a blocker. And I guess that's what upsets me the most - support should be a customer advocate, raising our voices above the din of procedural updates and minor features when we are in pain. I think it's fair to say that the Kontakt roadmap hasn't been "on the pulse" of the customer for some time - we want stability, for our production environments and our fleeting muses. 

So if you're a Native Instruments employee, please, please - all I can ask is that you escalate this to the Kontakt Product Manager and/or lead developer, advise them of the severity of this issue (and any others that have been confounding customers for months or years), and spend a development cycle doing some housekeeping. Your customers will love you for it far more than if you spent your time crafting some shiny new widget or store tie-in. Contrary to what you might think, we value seeing release notes that actually address issues.

I encourage the community to chime in here with a "+1" for anyone who thinks this sounds like their issue. From the research I've done, there are several potential other reports here on the forums, but no one has collectively brought attention to this in an organized way (see above support responses for an indication as to why). Here are some of those threads:



  • Voiceman
    Voiceman Member Posts: 8 Newcomer

    Yeah, this happens also to me (in PT)

    Right now, Kontakt is very stable. There seems to be more than one issue.

  • Voiceman
    Voiceman Member Posts: 8 Newcomer

    Oh, what a typo. I ment, Kontakt is NOT stable....

  • nzih
    nzih Member Posts: 5 Newcomer

    "Due to a high amount of incoming requests"

    Why is there a high amount? Sounds like there's real problems.

    In my DAW forum, there are currently quite a few complaints about the latest Kontakt releases.

    Seems to be a common theme here.

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer
    edited November 10

    Here is the response I received after submitting a support request similar to the original post:


    Thanks for reaching out. I am sorry to hear you are experiencing issues with our products.

    I did a few tests, this is what I am doing on an M1 Mac all app versions are up-to-date: 

    Do I have something different than you?

    For now, all my tests have been successful.

    I need a repro scenario in order to get the attention of the developers :-(

    To which I responded:

    Here is a full recording of the steps to make this occur. I even

    started with the Kontakt crash support article so you have a starting

    point: [too new to forum to post links - see image below]

    100% repro case, as I mentioned in my last support ticket. Happy to provide whatever information you need to get it fixed.

    1.) Clear databases & prefs

    2.) Launch Kontakt 7.7

    3.) Set the default output configuration to anything other than the default. In this case, I used 32 outs, no auxes. Save as the default setting for all plugin formats.

    4.) Launch Pro Tools and insert Kontakt.

    5.) Load an instrument that has direct output capability. I'm using MAD Rockscore drums from Handheld Sound, but the same occurs for any instrument library. Sonic Couture, 8Dio, even NI's own instruments.

    6.) Set some individual outputs of the instrument to multiple plugin outputs.

    7.) Add some instrument tracks in Pro Tools and set those to the additional Kontakt outputs.

    8.) Save and close Pro Tools.

    9.) ReOpen Pro Tools and your session. 

    10.) SWOD.

    This morning, I received the following response. Feels like déjà vu.

    Again, I reiterate - this is not the level of support I expect from an industry leader. I've bought or upgraded Komplete every year since Komplete 2. I've sunk thousands into a sample library. Kontakt is the cornerstone of my workflow. And still, I'm considering other options because of your lack of interest in helping me resolve my issue. You're dangerously close to breaching the "trust thermocline."

    Further, it was mentioned in the 7.7 Release Update thread by one of the mods that my issue - KT-6215 - the one that Sebastian clearly thinks is the cause of this issue as he dismissed my complaint without any diagnosis back in September - was supposedly fixed in 7.6.1.

    Given the fact that the major update in 7.7 is a feature that has been widely panned (the "new to you" section), I stand by my statement that NI development and product managers do not have their finger on the pulse of their customer base. I implore you to fix what's broken first, and then you can afford to spend some well-earned customer loyalty capital on features like store links in your software.

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer

    Today, I tried rolling back to 7.3 as I still have an installer. Prior to install, I deleted the Kontakt databases and preferences. When I load a previous session with Kontakt 7.7, I get this error:

    Even though the instance loads in the DAW, I get this error when I open the Kontakt plugin window:

    It also does not load with any of the previous instruments or routing, but it does let me set everything up again. I bring this up because going back to a previous version no longer seems like a viable workaround, unless I want to lose all my previous saved Kontakt data and start all over on tracks that are not finished.

    The good news is that I can verify that the freeze bug DOES NOT OCCUR in 7.3, but this no longer matters because of the issue above, meaning I'm now completely stuck with a non-functioning product.

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer
    edited November 14

    So far, I'm doing all the troubleshooting myself in a vacuum. I've been approached by two forum members - one a mod - saying that this issue should have been resolved in 7.6.1 and asking if I have reproducible steps. When I provide them with that info, radio silence. The same thing with NI support. The lack of communication and support is extremely frustrating and downright disrespectful.

    Sebastian has - in the same support case - asked for specific details so he could forward to the developers, and then when I provided those details, said "oh, it's a known issue - sorry, I can't help." Is it a known issue, or is it fixed in 7.6.1? If it's supposed to be fixed but isn't, then I'd think you'd want to alert the team that a major bug is still around. If it was never fixed, then why are forum members so sure it has been? Either you've lied about it being fixed initially, or you're lying to me that it's a known issue. And in both cases, you're washing your hands and telling me you don't care and can't help.

    This is what is going to push me to look for another plugin provider. I'm happy to mention this on every forum I can find so people know not to put all their eggs in the NI basket, as the company is simply no longer a trusted partner.

  • EvilDragon
    EvilDragon Moderator Posts: 999 mod
    edited November 14

    I assure you there definitely was work done on the "send effects routed to mono output = crash" issue, and the existing reproducible cases are definitely fixed. No lie - otherwise it wouldn't be in the changelog for 7.6.1!

    Your issue is likely an entirely different one, I think. It seems like it has similar symptoms to KT-6215, but it's not the same code path. Why do I say this? Because you say this started happening with K7.4 update, whereas KT-6215 has been there since forever and a day (literally it also happened in Kontakt 2!). Needs more investigation. This also automatically means that all the similar titled threads that you've linked to are unrelated to the issue you're having, so I would like to ask: is this happening only in PT for you, or can you also check this in another DAW?

    By the way, in your reproduction steps above, you state: "In this case, I used 32 outs, no auxes." but you don't state how are those outputs set up. Mono, stereo...? Lack of this info prevents clear reproduction. EDIT: OK now that I've seen your video I see you picked 32x stereo outputs, alright! But still having this in writing would've been cool :)

    Now: I am a moderator here, but I do not visit this forum every day, as this is not my dayjob. You posted about the issue in one thread (about K7.7 update), then replied to my question in another (this one), without tagging me or anything, so I could not see this at all. With all due respect, I don't think you can blame the lack of communication on me in this instance - I was completely unaware of the other thread's existence!

    With that said, let's see if we can get to the bottom of this somehow.

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer

    I do appreciate you taking the time to at least sort this out. I don't want you to think my tone or accusals of lying or lack of communication are pointed at you; rather, I'm directing that squarely at NI Support. I'm new to the forum and though I did respond to you initially in the 7.7 thread, I was unaware of the quote-reply function until later - that was my fault.

    I'm not a beta tester, don't have access to the NI bug base, and never saw the issue KT-6215 prior to NI support stating (without any diagnosis, I might add) that that must be my issue and that they could not help me with it because it was a known issue.

    And yes, I am posting in multiple places for visibility. This is and has been my main thread where I'm keeping responses directly from NI for accountability's sake. Under normal circumstances, posting in multiple places is a forum faux pas, but I have been fully disburdened of any faith I once held for NI. I truly think that they have given up on their customers and I am screaming into a void when I submit a support ticket.

    Now, it makes absolute sense that I'm experiencing a completely different issue than KT-6215; I fully accept that. However, it would have been nice if NI had qualified what my actual problem was in the first place. As they did not, and yet were confidently able to wash their hands of my issue because the "developers are aware of it," I stand by my statement that they are lying in this instance, either by ignorance, omission, or because they don't care about me as a user and it's simpler than having to actually do the investigative work that troubleshooting requires.


    Alright, on to business. I've currently downgraded to 7.3.1. I can confirm that the issue does not re-occur under any of the previous iterations. I can do whatever I want to the routing structure and will not crash. I can open old sessions that would not open with 7.4 and above, and they are fine (other than the aforementioned fact that they load with empty instances of Kontakt 7.3 because of some backwards incompatibility). Even so, once I recreate the loaded instruments and routing, all is fine.

    For the sake of your assistance, I'm going to now completely remove 7.3.1 and install the latest 7.7 from scratch. Once that's done, I'll respond with some testing. From memory, I believe that Ableton will also crash, but I will confirm when I can test. I honestly don't use Live much, but understand it's a valid test.

    Anything else you want me to test, screenshot, or provide? I'm at your disposal, as I've stated to the NI support team.

  • Jeremy_NI
    Jeremy_NI Customer Care Posts: 7,700 mod
    edited November 15

    @jordanstoner There seems there was some confusion and miscommunication on your case. Our apologies. I've escalated your ticket and someone should get back to you soon.

    Let us know how it went with 7.7, ProTools and Ableton.

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer
    edited November 15

    Thank you for re-evaluating my support ticket. It's incredibly frustrating that this is what it takes to get attention, but I will happily do whatever troubleshooting or diagnostics your team requests to move forward.

    As far as my testing goes - I tried to recreate as closely as possible my Pro Tools session setup in Live. It seems to exhibit the same behavior at first - when I reopen that new session with individual Kontakt outputs routed to audio tracks and multiple MIDI tracks routed to the input, Live will SWOD for about a minute. Live does seem to recover after this delay, however. For my testing, I'm using MAD Rockscore Umber from HandHeldSound, as it provides an easy-to-set-up way to route multiple parts of the kit to individual plugin outputs.

    Live and Pro Tools is a bit of an apples-to-oranges test because in Pro Tools, I'm using mono instrument tracks to both send MIDI to Kontakt instruments as well as receive their audio. There's also no internal mono bus in Live, and not really any concept of channel width (I'm mixing in 7.1.2 & Atmos in Pro Tools, which is why I send things to mono tracks). It should be noted that even though the audio ends up mono in Pro Tools, I'm still choosing 32 stereo channels (no aux) in Kontakt and panning things left/right as needed.

    Let me know what kind of trace logs I can get to you to further diagnose why it appears to be hanging.

  • EvilDragon
    EvilDragon Moderator Posts: 999 mod
    edited November 16


    So you use mono tracks in PT, but use STEREO output channels in Kontakt's Output panel? At least based on your video.

    Maybe try setting the Output panel to all mono outputs, then see what happens?

    By the way, in your video you were setting the output routing in Kontakt standalone. This is unnecessary - you can do it straight from the plugin, save it as new default for that plugin type, then remove and reinstantiating Kontakt.

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer

    Yes, I understand that I can set the output routing in the AAX version just as I can in the standalone version. I wanted to reset my defaults in the standalone version because doing it in the plugin forces me to close the session, then reopen the session before the routing shows up. Honestly, the Pro Tools & Kontakt workflow is and has been a pain ever since the implementation of dynamic output routing in the plugin. Why not just make 64 outputs always available and simply change the GUI to suit the end-user's choices? But I digress...

    I believe I state in the video that it doesn't matter what I choose here - I get the same result. And I have tested and can confirm this is the case. Whether 32 stereo, 8 mono, or just my own custom config, it doesn't matter - as soon as I route instrument outputs to something other than the default 1-2 plugin output bus, I'm pretty much guaranteed it freezing on next launch.

    One thing I will mention here - it doesn't happen all the time on some instruments. It has the potential to occur with any instrument, but the 100% repro case is always with HandHeldSound drum kits. Whether it's because they have just that much more scripting / audio file load time overhead that makes it freeze when compared to other instruments, I can't tell. But I've had it occur with only ElectroAcoustic and other Sonic Couture instruments, as well as custom instruments I've made. I'm not as familiar with NI-branded instruments... they seem to be less friendly about providing external routing options in their GUI...

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer

    Still haven't heard anything back. Who's taking this on?

  • EvilDragon
    EvilDragon Moderator Posts: 999 mod
    edited November 17

    "Why not just make 64 outputs always available and simply change the GUI to suit the end-user's choices?"

    Because it's not up to the GUI, it's about how the plugin reports its output bus configuration to the host. It cannot be all individual channels, plugin HAS to specify to the host if the bus is mono, stereo, multichannel. Hence all this configurability in the Output panel.

    " It has the potential to occur with any instrument, but the 100% repro case is always with HandHeldSound drum kits."

    THIS is curious. So you're saying if you use multiple outputs with something like, say, NI Studio Drummer, that works fine? (It can route its mixer channels to individual outputs, it's mentioned in the manual).

  • jordanstoner
    jordanstoner Member Posts: 15 Newcomer

    No offense to you, @EvilDragon, but this is a messed up chain of responses by support. "Escalation" is not handing off to a community member, regardless of their standing.

    THIS is curious. So you're saying if you use multiple outputs with something like, say, NI Studio Drummer, that works fine? (It can route its mixer channels to individual outputs, it's mentioned in the manual).

    I don't know, man, I don't use Studio Drummer. I thought my statement was pretty clear: It has the potential to occur with any instrument.

    I understand that you're trying to isolate the issue, so for the sake of troubleshooting I'll download it and do some tests. Unfortunately, I'm finding out that it's not as 100% reproducible as I previously thought. I have a session that will fail on open, but when I duplicate that session to troubleshoot, the issue does not immediately occur. Then, bizarrely, when I go back to the problem session after creating a copy (and NOT closing Pro Tools), the issue is gone in the original session. When I quit Pro Tools completely and try to open the session again, it will fail, 100%.

    So it seems fairly apparent that there's a resource load issue when Kontakt is building the output configuration on first launch. If it has a chance to do so on a lighter session without so much other plugin load, then it will, and I'm assuming that configuration is cached. Therefore, the initial failing session will open successfully if the cached config is present and it doesn't have to rebuild it while other plugins are loading.

    Granted, I'm not a developer, and I'm making some assumptions here on what is the root of the failure. But I've also been around for a while and have a pretty good track record diagnosing issues. Any chance you can try to open a Pro Tools session if I provide it (M1 Max Mac / 64 GB RAM / Ventura 13.6.2 / Pro Tools 2023.9 / Kontakt 7.7.0)?

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