Native Instruments TRK-01: when a good kick and bass is all you need
TRK-01 is a new and very focused instrument for Reaktor from Native Instruments. It has two things going on, kick drums and bass lines – but let’s face it, that’s all we really need.
Well, ok, you often need a lot more but then TRK-01 does actually give you a lot more. But it’s one of those instruments where you just turn it on and you’re instantly having a good time. Tap in a few steps on the kick, throw in a quick bassline and it pulls a smile across your face. Start fiddling with the controls, effects and parameters and the grin becomes permanent. Then when you click through a couple of the presets you realise that you’ve only just scratched the surface. You only need to spend a few minutes in the company of TRK-01 to realise that this is completely ace. Well, at least I did.
The Kick blends two sonic layers from 4 sound sources. Each layer can either be sample-based, noise, synthesized or “rumble” which is a combination of noise and sine waves, which they call a “prized atmospheric 808 tom-style combination”. The two layers then form you indomitable kick drum. You can hot-swap between 8 different Kick setups on-the-fly.
Each layer has a multimode filter and the whole kick experience can be routed through all sorts of effects, envelopes and modulation.
The bass sound comes from 5 different sound engines – wavetable, FM, supersaw, classic monosynth and West Coast wavefolding. There’s a built-in ducker module for sidechaining effects and cuts to all sorts of parameters.
It has the same sort of effects, sound shaping and modulation as the Kick all of which can be modulated by the step sequencer.
There’s some really cool modulation routing where you pull open the LFO and choose what you want it to effect. It’s so easy to tie it to the filter cutoff or whatever you want to mess with.
The rhythmic heart is, of course, the step sequencer. There’s one for the Kick and one for the Bass and every step can control whatever you want. Start with notes and triggers and then start modulating, sound shaping, filtering, effecting, sound swapping and getting crazy with it. A feature called Parameter Focus lets you take a single parameter and draw in modulation all over a single step. It’s enormous fun.
The start of something?
Playing with the presets you soon wonder what else you could possibly need. But these elements are often the beginning of bigger tracks. And although the patterns and noises are impressive it’s how easy it is to program and how creative you can get with it that really had me smiling. It’s like Native tried to come up with a tool for making the basic underpinning groove of your next track as simply and as immediately as possible – they nailed it.
TRK-01 is available now for Reaktor or the free Reaktor Player.
- TRK-01 master and LFO routing: Robin Vincent
- TRK-01 effects parameters: Robin Vincent