Guitar Rig 2
Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig 2 offers a virtual rack of devices that guitar players can immediately have fun with. Guitar Rig, introduced in 2004, set a new standard for emulation software with its modelled amplifiers, microphones and loudspeaker cabinets, stomp boxes and studio effects.
It included the Rig Kontrol – a foot pedal and four switches mounted on a base unit with a couple of 1/4in jack outputs to feed the sound and control information to the computer through an audio interface such as an Mbox. Guitar Rig 2 includes the much-improved Rig Kontrol 2 foot-controller. This has six foot switches and a multi-functional pedal, providing greater control. Rig Kontrol 2 also incorporates a high-quality 24-bit/96KHz USB 2.0 audio interface with a pair of inputs that you can use to plug in a pair of guitars – a great improvement on the original.
The original Guitar Rig had four guitar amplifiers: ‘The Gratifier’, based on the Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Solo Head; the ‘TwangReverb’, based on a blackface Fender Twin Reverb; the ‘AC-box’, based on the Vox AC-30 Top Boost model; and the ‘Plexi’, based on the Marshall JMP50. The new software has more of everything. I was very pleased to find a Fender Bassman amplifier modelled as the ‘Tweedman’, along with the clean-sounding ‘Jazz Amp’ modelled after the Roland Jazz Chorus. The ballsy ‘Lead 800’ packs even more punch than the ‘Plexi’, and, for bass players there’s a modelled Ampeg SVT head – the ‘Bass VT’.
The ‘Cabinets & Mics’ module emulates cabinets and loudspeakers; the positioning of a virtual microphone in relation to the speaker cabinet; and a selection of popular microphones. The new software has six new bass cabinets including 1 x 15, 4 x 10 and 8 x 10 sizes, along with three new microphones typically used to record bass, including the Electrovoice RE20.
The quality of the presets is crucial – and Guitar Rig does not disappoint. The categories give you a reasonable idea of what to expect, with sections including Rock & Alternative, Metal & HiGain, Country & Blues, Jazz, Pop, Soul & Funk. There are also sections for Synth & Vocal, Bass, Drums and even a special FX category. The drum effects are pretty radical, so you won’t be using these on a smooth pop ballad – but they might come in handy on a crazy remix. The bass presets include several straight-ahead sounds that will suit lots of songs, along with several unusual sounds that should serve to inspire.
If you own an original Guitar Rig, you should upgrade at least the software immediately to get the new features. If you are looking to buy this type of software for the first time, let me assure you that Guitar Rig 2 has more features than most and compares very well with rivals such as Amplitube.