The IK Group Buy just got even better. Quoting the press release, check it out…

October 30, 2009

Due to unprecedented user demand, we have decided to extend the current AmpliTube Power Group Promotion and give you up to 4 Powered by AmpliTube products for the insane price of 1 if 3,500 users join the promotion by December 31st!!!

So far over 2,700 users have joined-in by registering one of these:

* StealthPedal
* StealthPedal Deluxe
* AmpliTube 2
* AmpliTube 2 Crossgrade
* AmpliTube FenderTM
* Ampeg® SVX
* AmpliTube Jimi HendrixTM
* AmpliTube Metal

And has helped each other receive 2 of these absolutely FREE:

* AmpliTube 2 Crossgrade
* Ampeg® SVX
* AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix
* AmpliTube Metal

Powered By AmpliTube


Now, when 3,500 users join in, everyone will be able to choose an additional title from the above AmpliTube products for FREE or choose one of these cool additional products:

* T-RackS 3 Standard
* SampleTank 2 L
* Miroslav Philharmonik CE

Power Group


This is 4×1, equivalent to savings of 75%!

Help yourself and thousands of other users to get an incredible deal by joining in and spread the word to your friends!

Visit the IK online store or your favourite music retailer and join Power Group today!

Stay Tuned.

IK Multimedia. Musicians First

Not silence but a pause

October 28, 2009

Just wanted to let everyone know there’ve been some setbacks in non-blog life that are keeping me busy at the moment. In a day or two things should be worked out and I’ll be back to regularly scheduled posting.

It’s all just to do with my wife and I having moved into this house, her starting the new job, and all the unexpected things that crop up when your plan doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room…

I’ll try to have a substantive post for y’all tomorrow, at least.

Sorry, everyone.

I know it’s been slow lately – life’s had some tough moments.

October 24, 2009

I apologize to everyone for the lack of substantial updates after Guitar Rig 4 week, but I do have more content coming down the pipeline and I’m going to try to respond directly to some of the suggestions in the next week. I’d like especially to do some bits on crafting patches, just explain my process when I’m trying to get a sound and try to go in-depth about certain decisions that can help achieve a natural sound for a given track. I’ll try to reference multiple programs and explain things in ways that make sense across platforms rather than just for this or that program.

I’ve got to get some stuff done tomorrow for Frugal, so there won’t be any new content perhaps until Monday or Tuesday, but then I’m going to get some good updates rolling. Thanks again to everyone for hanging tight. Also planned for next week is the sensible and intuitive restructuring I’ve been wanting to do to the freeware VST master list (with some new additions, as freeware community members have been busy and two great new free amp sims have been released – more on that Monday!) – and I’ve been watching some of the youtube channels I keep up with, so I’ll be adding some more cool demos to that page, as well.

I wish that I could spend time every day just making this blog happen, because it’s one of my favorite activities online and I love the interaction I get with you guys, but as you’re all well aware life makes its own demands. I try not to bog down my blogroll with personal issues, but trust me in that if I’m not updating, it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because there’s other things taking my attention that I can’t ignore.

Best to you all, and I hope you’re looking forward to next week. 🙂

On Guitar Rig 4, value, and what software is right for you

October 13, 2009

Overall impression remains the same. The amps have improved but they are not top of the heap – they are however competitive with many other companies’ software to the point that if you can’t find a sound you like in Guitar Rig, the sound might not exist. I have to be honest, I am not in love with the Hot Plex at all. I think the revamped regular Plex sounds better for everything. I do however quite like the new Jump amp, and think it compliments the JCM800 model nicely with a different sound and feel but a similar inherent range. The Hot Plex seems kind of redundant with the Plex model having been revamped… Boost the Plex with the Gain Booster, adjust the advanced settings a bit, give it some fatness in the bass and you’ve got the Hot Plex model more or less. I’ve tried to give it time to grow on me but I just can’t get any sounds that really speak to me out of it. The only thing I haven’t yet tried is running a strat into it – traditionally I have loved the sound of a single-coil equipped strat into a cranked ripping Marshall, so that might be the key. I’ll try it tomorrow. I’ve had no such identity crises with Jump, that one is my style for sure! Great sounds on its own, very dynamic and responsive to your touch, and it boosts well. I look forward to the Cool Plex and seeing how that differs from the regular and hot Plex models.

The effects are overall great despite a few mediocre ones; the Spring Reverb for example sounds good enough used subtly but gets sort of spastic and inauthentic at higher settings, the oktaver has problems (bug problems, they’ll fix that I’m sure)… but on the whole the effects are very nice. The list has to be the ones that aren’t kickass, for me, because most of them are. The pitch-based effects apart from the (probably bugged, again) oktaver track more quickly and with less glitchy artifacts. It’s possible now to do something not unlike the EHX POG with the Whammy emulator, and the Psychdelay’s pitch function can do the Eventide Crystals algorithm aping better than ever. Which is good because I like that 🙂

The new Control Room cabinet sim had a lot of shock-and-awe factor for me when I first used it because, man, that’s a big improvement! But that’s worn off a bit now. I still think it’s the coolest method of in-program cabinet simulation I’ve ever seen, and contributes a much greater degree of realism to the sounds than ever before in Guitar Rig. I would buy a Control Room plugin if they added some more cabs to it to round it out a bit more but kept the quality and consistency the same. I wish I could afford the time of whoever it is that did those impulse recordings, because that guy knows how the hell to mike up a cab. That said, even though it’s simplified and streamlined, it still takes some work and an ear to get the right cab sound for the track. And there’s a subtle complexity to it since you now have the ability to (and hence the responsibility to understand) bringing in many mics on the cabinet at once… Too many cooks in the kitchen ruin the soup, and while liberal usage of the various sliders can give you some great “in the room” sounds out of your monitors, you’ll probably find yourself having to remember that in the end you’re going for a specific, miked up cab sound and being a bit more surgical in your approach once it comes time to fit the sound into a broader mix context.

The new matched cabs are better, too. So good on them for that, since there are still going to be people who want to just load it up and go. I don’t think Guitar Rig is the best sim for people with no desire to tweak, though they certainly go very far with thoughtful, comprehensive and non-threatening documentation, extensive preset libraries and other things like that to make it as pain-free as possible to new users. It’s just that so many of the cool sounds you can get – the ones that sound like you, the ones that come from your head – require getting under the hood with the advanced settings on the amps and effects, and more precisely adjusting the cabs (even throwing some EQ/filters in where necessary to sculpt the tone more fully). Still, they make it easy to test-drive with all the ease-of-use features, and all that horsepower will be waiting for the user when he or she is ready.

Integration with Rig Kontrol is more complicated than it used to be as far as the “control” menu goes, but it is very easy to integrate with Rig Kontrol using the graphical representation of it, just drag and drop what you want.

I don’t like the new module preset manager. I just don’t think it’s any kind of an improvement over the old one. I guess it makes having more presets for a module easier on the eyes, but it’s also a lot easier to accidentally delete a preset and then it’s just gone for good – and it’s also quite possible to accidentally add a duplicate module when you’re just trying to change its preset. These are not workflow improvements.

I have always been in love with the flexibility of Guitar Rig and this continues that tradition excellently, if anything the advanced routing options now are even better than before.

I’ve got some stuff to think about to put all my thoughts into a more concise review for Frugal’s publication format, but these have been my general impressions. Thanks everyone in the thread for helping me think it through, bouncing stuff around, etc.; in the end I am more comfortable recommending Guitar Rig as someone’s comprehensive solution than I have ever been before, and the apparently common choice between Amplitube or Guitar Rig is now harder whereas it used to be easier (not trying to discriminate against other software, here, that’s just the question and comparison I see posted about over at KVR WAY more often than anything else – you’d think it was class warfare between IK lovers and Native fans or something, haha). They’ve got the improved amp and cabinet simulations to thank for that above all else, but all the other factors play their part as well. Even though the amps haven’t closed the distance, they’re getting there and they’ve caught up to where the competition started really getting great… all while building on advantages they’ve enjoyed in other areas.

You can’t forget that IKMM, Overloud, and Waves are no slouches when it comes to effects. IK’s process in modeling their amps translates to their effects, too, with great results; Overloud has an awesome stable of profoundly useful tools. And Waves is Waves, of course they’ll have well programmed effects. But Guitar Rig 4 brings to the table a neat level of customization and “beyond modeling” tweakability that sets it somewhat apart (in addition to the easy integration with its controller, though that is by no means exclusive these days since IK released the StealthPedal interface/controller).

A reader asked me what my favorite amp modeling software is. I can’t answer that. I know that I use a lot of X-Gear in my studio, it’s one of my first stops on the tone journey for a given piece. But it’s not exclusive at all. I mix and match, taking what I want from different things. Guitar Rig 4 is great in that for the first time, really, they’re offering what I am willing to call a truly professional and high quality sounding PACKAGE. Previously the amps were a mixed bag, some very nice but some mediocre, with sub-par cabinet modeling rounding out the dud at the center of an otherwise powerful effects and routing platform. Now they’ve corrected their biggest weaknesses and it makes the package of Guitar Rig 4 a better bargain. But IK’s doing a pretty damned impressive promotion… and Overloud and Revalver are priced competitively, too, not to mention the drastically lower price of Studio Devil’s recently released comprehensive Amp Modeler Pro suite.

And as much as it pains me to admit it – as a reviewer, this really is hard to say – the best thing you can do is test these programs for yourself. Listen to my words and my clips, because they’ll give you some context and maybe even some guidance as to how to get sounds that you’ll like. If you hear something that piques your interest, download the trial and see what you can feel from it. There are several considerations that all matter when you’re test-driving software. Some say ONLY sound matters. I see the merit in that but I think that work-flow and an intuitive user experience are salient factors as well. After all, a great sound that takes an hour to find might not be better for your needs than a good sound that you can dial in within a few minutes. And work-flow isn’t something that someone else can tell you, either. Whether the software “thinks like you do” is a big part of how you’ll get along with it, and whether you’ll find it useful and inspiring to your musical creativity. Having had experience with all the software that I have, I’m actually in a pretty poor position to judge work-flow just because I’ve familiarized myself with all of them to the point that they’re close to second nature. I can guess how a new user will approach a product but I can’t know for sure. That’s where trials and your own brain and ears come in.

So I guess if you wanted me to pin down my position this post won’t be very satisfying. On the other hand I hope that you can see why I find it difficult to explicitly come down heavily in favor of this or that. I will do everything I can to arm you to make a smart purchasing decision. I will listen to your requests and try to meet them, I will offer clips and commentary and reviews as thoughtfully as I am able. But I’m me, and you’re you. After you read what I’ve got to say and hear what I’ve posted for you to hear, I want you to keep on thinking about it and try the software out for yourself. Software is unique in that regard – you can’t audition a pedal or a rack unit in the same way that you can software, in the comfort of your studio, unrestricted for however long. So take advantage of that, and let my work be part of answering the question. I want to facilitate your decision making, but you are the decider 🙂

Might not have a new clip today because I’m working on a more complex idea:

October 8, 2009

I’m working on a sort of ambient wash song idea right now that takes advantage of Rig Kontrol’s switching to have several effects triggered either individually or all at once, and Guitar Rig’s frequency splitter to run the lows into an Orange and the midrange and highs into a Marshall. There’s a wah in there too but that’s less cool I guess. Here’s what the signal chain looks like, it’ll take me some time to get the recording done since I’ve gotta program a drum track and all that too but I think it’s going to sound awesome when it’s done, the tone of the Orange/Marshall hybrid sound is badass. All the guts and growl of an Orange with all the midrange roar and treble of a Marshall. Very cool. Who knows if the track will be done to post today or not, might take until tomorrow…

That Psychdelay is basically doing the Eventide Crystals thing with a twist, the others are more textural effects. This same patch will take care of the rhythm, the ambient swells and washes of the track, and the lead, and they will all sound different. I’m using the same guitar for all of them, coil tapping it for SC sounds for the lower-gain needs. But the patch itself won’t change except for the switching, so cleans are just going to be me rolling the volume knob on the guitar back. Very cool stuff how it all works now, big steps up from GR3.

Of Mice and Bassmen

October 7, 2009

Well, actually there’s nothing to do with mice. But there is something about spring reverb.

First, screenshots so you can see that I have settings-matched… Except as you can see the bass knobs don’t match. They did when I recorded it, but then I kind of fiddled with it just to see how it would sound, BEFORE I took screenshots. So take my word for it that the bass knobs are matched in the recordings, and were both set like Guitar Rig 4’s screenshot. Sorry about the pictured discrepancy.

Guitar Rig 3

Guitar Rig 4

Now, the clips. I start with single coil bridge, then switch to bridge humbucker and play some stuff trying to see how well it responds to dynamics and how the spring reverb performs.

Guitar Rig 3’s Tweedman (Bassman model), GR3’s Spring Reverb module into GR3’s own matched cab:

Guitar Rig 3’s Tweedman with GR3’s Spring Reverb module into Guitar Rig 4’s matched cab:

Guitar Rig 4’s Tweedman, Spring Reverb, and Matched Cab:

I still don’t think the Guitar Rig spring reverb is all that awesome. It gets the job done but in my opinion it’s a bit artificial when it’s high in the mix. It would take some careful trickery to pull off authentic surf rock drippy reverb. Maybe use Guitar Rig’s signal splitter and use a light chorus to modulate just the output of the Reverb, mixing it back in? I don’t know, I’ll give that a shot later and see what I think.

Had a bunch of requests for High-Gain tones from GR4.

October 6, 2009

So I did it. I still will post up some more comparisons to GR3 for the curious, but this more fun 🙂

Two patches, one for rhythm (hard left, hard right) using the Ultrasonic model; one for lead (right down the middle) using the Gratifier model. Settings are as follows:



Definitely couldn’t get tones like that from Guitar Rig 3. Practically mixed itself, too.