First thoughts on Guitar Rig 4 (Kicking off GR4 week since I got the product a bit later than anticipated)

I’ve used Guitar Rig 4 for about fourty-five minutes so far. I can tell that some things have changed; old models don’t sound like they do in Guitar Rig 3 (and I say that with certainty, having kept my GR3 install so I can A/B). The new effects are a nice touch, there are some cool ones and they will definitely add to the general scope of the tones available from Guitar Rig. But in my immediate, first-impression, gut reaction sense, the Big Deal with Guitar Rig 4 is the new Control Room. They talked it up big time in their press releases, but I’ve worked with IRs forever and I didn’t really expect miracles (especially given that Guitar Rig 1, 2, and 3 all had pretty mediocre cabinet simulation, the weakest aspect of the software). Turns out, though, they were right to talk it up.

The Control Room has really surpassed all of my expectations. Guitar Rig has gone from having bar none the worst cabinet sim, to having perhaps the best one of all. Really extraordinarily well done. Many extremely carefully recorded and phase correct IRs made with various world-class microphones in parallel, with full control over how they’re panned, for EACH cabinet. Really something special.

I’ve spent the last half an hour just messing with the CR and different amps, and I really can’t over-state how significant of an improvement the Control Room is over their previous method, I don’t know if “revolutionary” is the right word because well-recorded IRs have certainly been done before and there are some great phase-correct IR packs around like Recabinet and Red Wirez… But the whole package of the Control Room module makes it so, so easy to use the very well-recorded IRs however you please, and as far as included cabinet simulation goes maybe this really is a “revolutionary” idea, certainly the first of its kind. I’ve been used to blending a couple IRs together as though miking up a cab in the physical world; I had no real concept of how good it could sound to have the freedom to use – what is it, eight? – in parallel with panning and level control. I guess it’s the kind of thing that breaks down your preconceptions about recording and hits you in the face with the fact that you’re in a digital world now, and the rules aren’t the same.

Anyone on the fence about upgrading NEEDS to at least demo the new version and get a feel for how the new Control Room works, because it might sell you by itself.

More thoughts and of course clips as I spend more time with it. If there are any things you’d like to know about it in particular, please let me know in the comments section of this entry and future ones on the topic!

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9 Responses to First thoughts on Guitar Rig 4 (Kicking off GR4 week since I got the product a bit later than anticipated)

  1. Dave Thomas says:

    in one way having loads of setting is good but it sounds like theres a tweak fest in there, Im afraid I would spend all my time tweaking and not doing anything else, found myself doing that tonight with overloud TH-1 😦

    What are the noise levels like in there? I found that TH-1 had a very low noise level compared to most other vst’s, cab sim was weak prior too prior to them putting in the IR support. One of the noisiest plugins I tried was guitar rig 3, that was with metal type distortion dialed in though…

  2. geareview says:

    Definitely not any noisier than any other sim, plus it has always had the best, most transparent noise reducer. The Noise Reduction module, with its learn feature, is pretty amazing; you can put one after the amplifier, not play anything so that it’s just noise, hit “learn,” and one before everything and hit “learn,” and you’ll hardly be able to tell there’s any noise reduction going on at all, it’ll just be totally silent when you’re not playing.

    As far as “tweak hell,” the way the Control Panel works is the essence of user-friendly but powerful. Seriously, I am very impressed at the elegance of the feature and at what a big difference it makes to the sound. You select which cabinet you’re using on the right, just a regular selection box with arrows pointing left and right to let you move between them and a pretty picture to show what cab you’re at. For each one, out to the left there are I believe eight sliders which all represent a different microphone chain right in the sweet spot for the cab. They’ve all been totally phase corrected to work together without any problems at all, so there is none of that element (which can be a problem with IRs, as you know), and it’s just a matter of using the volume sliders to mix them in and the pan knob to place it in the stereo field. It couldn’t be simpler but it is very powerful.

    Considering that Guitar Rig’s old method of cabinet simulation was just terrible compared to what everyone else was doing, the fact that they’ve sort of rocketed back with this awesome, fancy, great sounding one is impressive.

  3. Dave Thomas says:

    Im tempted to try it out although its too expensive for me to consider buying at the moment, Im a bit dishearted with whole guitar and software modeling at the moment.

  4. geareview says:

    Really?

    What’s got you down?

  5. Dave Thomas says:

    Well a few things:

    I havent really made any riffs up for ages, the ones I do make dont have the kind of vibe I want to go for.

    Also I cant seem to get a guitar sound that I like for more than a day! You might have seen my last post about the different amp sims I have been using lately, none of them seem right and dont seem to fit with the drums too well…

    I used to make loads of looped riffs when i had a Digitech gnx3 but since I went down the software route, the work flows seems clunky for me and never seem to get anything done.

  6. geareview says:

    What DAW are you using? Is that why you’ve been asking for guides on dialing in stuff? I’ll help you however I can if you need some tones, man. Finding a comfortable workflow is key to doing anything, really, so I understand how you could feel uninspired if you spend more time struggling with and being indecisive about the software than making music.

  7. Dave Thomas says:

    Im using reaper at the moment, I was using Tracktion 2 before that but I felt like it wasnt a proper DAW, I have tried sonar and cubase but found them clunky.

    Sometimes the guitar will sound good but then as soon as you put in the drums and mix it down or just monitor it doesnt resemble a proper recording, I guess im on the bottom end of a steep learning curve.

    Its things like loops, levels, mixing that get me everything seems to be uinituative, I think Im taking guitar a bit too seriously, Im happpiest when Im just playing lead, getting the rhythms and drums down seems like a chore to go though before I can get to the good stuff…

    Do you do this stuff for a living or is it purely a hobby?

  8. geareview says:

    The blog’s a labor of love; I’m officially on-staff at FrugalGuitarist. I’ve made money playing guitar, as recently as last week, but I wouldn’t say that I do it for a living.

    There is a lot to learn when it comes to recording with anything even remotely resembling professional quality results, but I think with some effort it can be learned. The hard part is deciding that you’re going to take time out of doing the fun stuff (playing music) to work on hard stuff (learning to record music). If you want I can try to scare up some resources for you to help you figure out some of the ins and outs of recording, because as you say a guitar sound in isolation may be a totally different thing in the context of a recording.

  9. Dave Thomas says:

    that would be great!, Id appreciate any help I can get 🙂

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