Guitar Rig 2 full review

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.

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