Show/Hide Toolbars

Orchestral Tools | Helpdesk

Navigation: » No topics above this level «

Technical Terms

Scroll Prev Top Next More

hd_category_technicaltermsSampled Collections come with their own special lingo that can at times be daunting or simply hard to grasp without lots of prior knowledge.
This section describes a number of often-used technical terms and is constantly expanded.


Capsule is our scripting framework developed in-house and powers almost all Orchestral Tools collections. Learn more about it here.


Continuous Controllers are part of the MIDI standard and are used to control things. There are 128, some of which have default functions that are identical industry-wide (such as CC7 controlling volume) and it makes sense to use them for this function. But all CCs can be assigned to whatever you want. CCs are usually input with a MIDI Controller via faders or knobs.


Expression, MIDI CC 11, is supposed to work as a subset of Volume (MIDI CC 7). In all Orchestral Tools collections, it controls the patch volume in conjunction with the actual Volume CC.

IR (Impulse Response)

An IR (Impulse Response) is a recording of the reaction of a room to sound and allows recreating the sound of that room. This technology is used by the Soloists Series and Nocturne Series to reverberate the dry samples.

Mic Position

Most Orchestral Tools collections are recorded with multiple sets of microphones. These can be placed relatively near to the instrument (Close) or further away (Surround). One such set of microphones (or sometimes also a single microphone) is called a Mic Position. You can enable/disable these individually at will.

Mod Wheel

The Modulation Wheel is present on most keyboard controllers and sends MIDI CC 1. It is mainly used to morph between Velocity Layers. You can assign another CC to its function, or use a fader or knob in case your controller does not have one.

Round Robin

When the same audio sample is played repeatedly, the result is very mechanical and the "machine gun effect" ensues. To avoid this, most "short" articulations (where fast repeated notes are likely) are usually recorded with multiple samples per note. These are called Round Robins.

Time Machine

Time Machine is simply the name for the time stretching algorithm inside Kontakt; hence patches using it are called Time Machine patches, etc...


Legato-enabled patches (and similar articulations like Playable Runs) usually work by inserting a small audio sample between two "main samples". These small files are called transitions, because they transition from note A to note B (which, in the case of a same-note-transition) might actually be the same notes.

Velocity Layer

Instruments play at different volume levels. Most articulations have multiple volume levels recorded. These are called velocity layers and can be switched of XFaded. Layers are especially important for instruments that change their timbre over their dynamic range.


The instrument volume is usually assigned to MIDI CC 7 and controls the overall volume.

Volume Range

Velocity Layers are recorded at a specific volume. If you have for example 3 layers, the span from the softest to the loudest layer is your Volume Range. This can artificially be increased with the slider of the same name.


When an instrument has multiple velocity layers, it is possible to either switch between them when wanting to play with a louder timbre, or to crossfade between them. Switching obviously leads to volume/timbre jumps, so usually different layers will be crossfaded into each other.

Copyright 2017 by Orchestral Tools - finest symphonic sampling project