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!