Help replacing Kontakt 3 and 4 with Kontakt 5 in Cubase 6.5

Hi Guys,

Well, looks like I have a real pain in the neck on my hands. I have some older legacy projects which use Kontakt 4 (and possibly some Kontakt 3), and I need to load them up on my new DAW, which only has Kontakt 5.

So the new system is a pure x64 system – everything is running perfectly, extremely stable, etc., – Cubase 6.5 x64 on Win 7 x64, all the plugins are 100% x64, etc., etc… and I don’t want to install anything else, especially any old legacy plugins if I can avoid it.

I have authorized all my old Kontakt libraries on my new DAW, so theoretically, I should be able to get some or most of my old projects running. But my projects are obviously screwed up since I don’t have Kontakt 4 (or 3) installed.

Sadly, before vaporizing my old DAW (which had the older versions of Kontakt on it), I did not realize that my old Kontakt 3/4-based projects would not properly open with Kontakt 5 on my new DAW. Yes, I know, it was a dumb move on my part. I should have checked.

So… any suggestions? Is there an easy/quick solution to my dilemma? I’ve done some Internet/forum searching, but it doesn’t look good for me. Ideally, I’d like to be able to simply “replace” the Kontakt plugin within Cubase… but I’m starting to doubt it’s possible. Is the only thing I can do to dig out my old Komplete disks and install Kontakt 4?

If I actually do that (which is annoying to say the least), what is the chance that installing Kontakt 4 will screw up my system, or impact my Kontakt 5 installation?

Any thoughts/help would be greatly appreciated.

As far as I know, the only way to do it is to install Kontakt 4 (and/or Kontakt 3), load the Cubase project (you might need to launch it as 32-bit), save your Kontakt instrument (or Kontakt multis), and then reload your Kontakt instances with Kontakt 5 and load your instruments from there. Oh and then save your Cubase project.

Yeah, that’s the most accurate way. Also the least work to get your old mix back to where it was. Sorry, no shortcuts that I know of.

If you don’t edit your Kontakt patches in any way, and you know which patches you used, you could load them all up again in Kontakt 5. Still not saving that much time over ilmolto’s assured-accurate method.

Additionally, if you have specific inserts, automation, etc on Kontakt outputs, you’d want to load up Kontakt 5 before deleting the old outputs and copy the track settings over.

I would back up computer prior to making any changes. I use Acronis for this and also get the universal restore option…Then just install Kontakt 4 to see. I am not sure as to your file structure on computer. Is Kontakt 5 unable to find files and did you rescan drives?? Were all files on C Drive or did you have a separate drive for, samples and sounds? If so this could present other options also.
Good luck let us know what happens I haven’t upgraded to 5 yet curious as to your solutions.

Thank you all for your thoughts. I thought it wouldn’t be as simple as I hoped. I’ll definitely post an update with what ends up working best for me.

One thing I am going to try to do before I give up and install K4, is that I’m going to try to hex edit my Cubase files to identify the plugin used as K5. I’m not sure what will happen yet, but if I can come up with a simple and reliable hack to the Cubase files, this would solve all my problems. Then, once I figure out the file changes needed, I could theoretically write a simple file utility to do the work for me. My guess is that this will NOT work though, given that K5 settings are likely not compatible with K4 settings. :slight_smile: However, it’s worth a try to see what will happen.

Also, another option is to set up another DAW with K3/K4 simply to export/save the K3/K4 instruments/multis.

Failing those two options, then I’ll cave in and just install K4, making sure to image my main DAW before doing so in case K4 does something strange to my K5 installation.

Thanks again for your help, I’ll post back when I figure the easiest method!

@kzarider I keep all my Kontakt samples in the exact same folder structure on a separate internal sample hard drive – the paths have been consistent for years. :slight_smile: When I run out of space, I upgrade the hard drive, take out the old one and reassign drive letters. Voila, makes searching for samples very easy in K4, K5, etc. over the years.

Here’s a related post - no new answers there, but worth reading by someone looking to learn from this thread.

How to update projects using Kontakt 4 with Kontakt 5?

Thanks, chase, good to cross-link these threads. :slight_smile:

BTW, I found someone who did exactly as I’m thinking of doing with a hex editor – check out what he did. He just saved me some homework. I will try this and see if it works.

Wow. That looks interesting. I’ve saved a link to it.

Though perhaps it’ll turn out to be necessary to have the old Kontakt lib on the PC? - Or could K5 perhaps just go by the name of an instrument and load one of that name from the K5 lib?


The approach outlined by “fuseon” in his blog post ( ) basically works with Kontakt 5!!! I’ve tested it on two files so far… HOWEVER, it does NOT seem to work so far when you have 16out instances (i.e.: “Kontakt 5 16out”).

The difference is apparently how “Kontakt 5 16out” is identified within the Cubase file… I believe it is using a different identifier ID/string than what “Kontakt 5” corresponds with.

For example, 5653544E696B346B6F6E74616B742034 is Kontakt 4 and 5653544E694F356B6F6E74616B742035 is Kontakt 5… and following fuseon’s steps seems to work so far in my limited testing.

However, this does not take care of the “Kontakt 5 16out” instances, which appear to use a string of 5653544E696B366B6F6E74616B742035 – note the differences. BUT, I am not 100% sure of this, since I can’t get “16out” to work yet with that string/identifier. So, Cubase won’t load “Kontakt 5 16out” yet.

Anyway, this is still a work-in-progress. If other folks want to jump in and experiment, please do! :slight_smile:

The GOOD NEWS is that if you just have simple “Kontakt 4” to “Kontakt 5” replacements (without “16out” or other variations), then the instructions in fuseon’s blog (link above) do seem to work… at least to my limited testing so far. :slight_smile:

I can see this saving a decent amount of time already with my projects, even if I can’t get the 16out variations to work yet.

Good news and bad news! I found the identifier/code for “Kontakt 5 16out” – 5653544E694F376B6F6E74616B742035

So, I was able to use fuseon’s method and replace all my “Kontakt 4 16out” instances with “Kontakt 5 16out” instances… however, the bad news is that I couldn’t get the multis to load up. :frowning: Not sure what’s up with that yet.

In other words, the correct plugin loaded, but with Kontakt 5 16out, it did not load the multis. Basically useless. :frowning:

So I’ll play around some more this week, but for now, I’m running into a problem with multis with 16out. I’ll have to go back to just Kontakt 4/5 (no “16out”) and keep testing that for now, to make sure the multis are loading there. Maybe I missed something.

One step forward, one step back. But this still looks promising. For those of you out there interested in hex file editing, please jump in. :slight_smile:


In short, after experimenting more with hex editing, I realized that it was not reliable enough for me for many projects I tested. Your mileage may vary.

The problem was that the multis were not being properly loaded up if I had used Kontakt 4 as part of VST Instruments, as opposed using it as an Instrument Track. I could get Kontakt 5 to load up in Kontakt 4’s place, but too often the multis would not properly load. I could not figure that out. I had much more luck if Kontakt 4 had been used simply as an Instrument Track. So this hex-editing technique may still work for you, depending on how your projects are set up.

So, bottom line, I believe that the way Kontakt 4 multis are stored inside the Cubase 5/6 file are different to some degree than the way Kontakt 5 multis are stored. Or maybe I just missed something obvious and couldn’t figure it out. Thus, the “fuseon” hex editing method was not reliable (at least for me) for complex projects with complex multis.

If I had more time, I might experiment more, but since I had unreliable results except for the simplest of Kontakt 4 projects, I have given up on the hex editing method for now.

So, what did I end up doing?

I backed up my DAW carefully (every drive imaged), then I went ahead and installed Kontakt 4 on there. The installation went surprisingly smoothly, and so far has not conflicted in any way with Kontakt 5. I was able to get Kontakt 4 x64 (latest version I believe is 4.2.4) working just fine along side Kontakt 5 x64 (5.0.2).

Result: all my Kontakt 4-based projects are now opening up just fine so far. :slight_smile:

So, if you want to save some time, I think it’s probably easier to skip the whole hex editing approach and just install Kontakt 4 on there. I’m not too happy about having to install an older plugin like that, but I will admit, the installation went more smoothly than anticipated and there appear to be no conflicts so far. So overall, it seems like the easiest/best solution.

Then, over time, I can rebuild/migrate projects using Kontakt 5 without any worries. I’ll have to be careful in the future, though, and remember that for the next DAW I build, I have plan for this type of issue far better. :slight_smile:

I do think Native Instruments should have provided some better approach to this. Perhaps some tool or import/installation option so that we don’t have to install Kontakt 4. But then again, we’re talking about NI here… customer service hasn’t exactly been their #1 priority. :slight_smile:

Alternatively, it would be really great if Steinberg had some sort of “replace plugin” tool within Cubase. That might have done it… except perhaps for the multis issue.

Finally, I have not tried opening any projects that used Kontakt 3 yet… I’ll play around with this current configuration first. So at least for now, it looks my primary concern is SOLVED.

Thanks again for your responses/help. If someone does decide to jump into hex editing, please do post an update. Would be good to know whatever tricks you come up with. I still think that theoretically, the hex editing approach would be a great solution (especially since you could create a simple batch processing/conversion script), but I just didn’t get it to work well enough.

But is it really worth the trouble of rebuilding? What’ll you do when you get Kontakt 6 (and, later versions :slight_smile: ).

Keep that up and there’ll be no time left for creating new music; you’ll spend your life converting old project files. :mrgreen:

A nuisance though it will be, when I get my next DAW, I’m expecting to install every VI that I’ve used in existing proj files (incl Kontakt 2, 4 & 5), in order to be able to open the project files in the new DAW. (And perhaps it’s even worth trying to to use the same drive letters on the new DAW to match the sample drives in the old DAW?) And one lesson from others’ experience as well as yours would seem to be to keep the old DAW at least until you know you can run all the old proj files you want in the new DAW.

Until I hit a couple of problems that necessitated re-creating some old Cubase proj files, I used to rely on the ability of Cubase proj files to put the instruments into Kontakt. Since then, I’ve tried to make a habit of saving the multi alongside the proj file, as a precaution (and the equivalents with some other VIs). I suppose having those available might also turn out to be helpful if there are difficulties opening proj files on a new DAW.

Another habit that might be worth while for future-proofing, though I’m not doing it yet, would be to keep audio (wav, rendered) copies of not only the completed music from the proj files, but also of individual MIDI tracks. (I suppose that could be taken to extremes - MIDI tracks rendered to audio with and without FX, a “parallel” proj file that uses rendered audio in place of the MIDI tracks, but with the same mixer automation, FX sends, etc. … Not going to happen.)

Too true, sometimes we get sidetracked and don’t focus on music creation! But I think it will be worth it over time in this case since Kontakt 4 may not install or work properly on future OSes. As for Win7, it does work fine, but I’m looking down the line, and installing Kontakt 4 may not be an option in a few years (although it probably would still work). I’ve had this happen at various times with different plugins, on both Mac and Win, so keeping an old plugin is not always the best option. Kontakt 4 likely has some legs, but I’m not counting on it for a future DAW build. The real longer-term solution for archival projects, I believe, is along the lines of what you mention below, about rendering/exporting audio tracks, etc. Either way, longer-term project management steps are necessary in the changing world of OSes, DAW apps and plugins.

You may not be able to use older versions, so some sort of future-proofing (or future-protecting) may be needed. I wouldn’t count on bridges for older 32-bit plugins either. Fortunately, Kontakt 4 has an x64 version. But I do totally agree about keeping the same drive letters and directory paths. I’ve been doing that for years to good effect. I also agree completely about keeping the old DAW until you’ve verified you can run the old projects on the new DAW. Usually I do that, but not this time.

Sadly, this time, I allowed myself to make an emotional decision instead of the logical, safe one. I had just finished working on an independent film and it had been a very unpleasant emotional roller coaster. I was so sick of the project, I foolishly didn’t bother testing those files when I built my new DAW. A decision I most definitely regret, especially because I made other big changes in my studio, including the removal of a secondary DAW “farm” machine that I used with Vienna Ensemble Pro. In my frustration and frankly lack of clear thinking at the time, I actually gutted two DAWs and my VEP machine at the same time. I did keep the boot drives however as an emergency, and my main sample drive has the same directory structure so I could theoretically rebuild the whole environment again and get that whole system back, but that was not really a good plan. :slight_smile: I think I’ve learned my lesson.

In the end, I needed to load up those film projects and now not only am I dealing with the Kontakt 4/5 issue, but also the Vienna Ensemble Pro issue. PIA, and it’s all my fault.

For years, I had the policy of keeping my prior DAW for prior projects – always at least two machines (and I even have one dedicated to ProTools as well) but I really blew it this time. Way too overconfident that I could keep my projects sounding the same. In retrospect, the word “Duh!” comes to mind.

At this point, I’m planning on keeping this new DAW for a long time as sort of the “core platform” for all my projects for a while – a “template” system that I can more easily duplicate/recreate – and when I do eventually get a replacement DAW, I won’t make the same mistakes I did last time.

Yes, I totally agree here. I was very sloppy in the transition to my new DAW machine. I should have thought it through more. I thought I had covered the key situations, but I didn’t this time.

Yes, this is what I was referring to above for the maximum future-protection of your projects. I have done this in some cases, but I just didn’t anticipate the need (nor properly test) with the Kontakt 4 -> Kontakt 5 transition.

At least for now, Kontakt 4 and 5 co-exist well as far as I can tell, so I’m feeling pretty relieved. Now I have to tackle the potential Kontakt 3 issues and then… Vienna Ensemble Pro. :frowning: But just getting Kontakt 4 installed again has cleared up a large number of projects.

I have this same problem but with Kontakt 3… :open_mouth:

Anyone have a Kontakt 3.exe?

I’m digging up this old thread because i’m in a similar dilemma. Does anyone have the info contained in that blog? The link is now dead.