Rig Kontrol 3 as an easy-to-use general MIDI controller for anything

May 29, 2010

In the process of preparing a review for Native Instruments Guitar Rig 4: Kontrol Edition, I put the controller through the paces pretty heavily. It’s had a fair bit of improvement via software since its launch as the original Rig Kontrol 3. Now, instead of just controlling Guitar Rig software, it interfaces with any DAW or standalone app that can accept MIDI thanks to Native’s Controller Editor program. Below I’ve included a brief walkthrough of how to get it to work with Amplitube 3 via REAPER’s Automation. The images are larger than the blog will natively display, but making them smaller obscures the text substantially! So, please click on the image and use your browser’s “view image” function to see the image without any cropping or oddness.

The first thing you need to do is to open up the Controller Editor so that Rig Kontrol 3 switches into “con” mode on its red LED display. That just makes it capable of sending MIDI control data via USB along with audio. From there, here’s what you need to do to have it actually control a value in Amplitube 3 in REAPER.

Step 1:
In Reaper, you enable it as an input device, like so:

Step 2:
In Amplitube 3, you need to assign the thing you want to control to a DAW Automation slot. Click on the “Auto” button down at the bottom there. From there, browse to the thing you want to be controlled as Parameter 1 (Amplitube 3 allows a DAW limited parameters to control, so choose what you need control over pretty carefully if you’ve got a complex signal chain). In this case, though I loaded an Overscream, I set it to control the bypass on a Distortion. Which is just a goof on my part because I’m tired. What it does is makes it so that a Distortion loaded in Stomp module section 1 will be assigned to AT3’s DAW Parameter 1. Make sure to hit “Ok” afterward; it’s sort of like “apply,” and if you don’t hit it, it won’t save the changes you’ve made.

Step 3:
From there, it’s just a matter of going into REAPER’s automation menu for the track (the button labeled “env” by default, right after “io”). From there, set the mode to at least “Touch” or greater so that it will have an effect on the parameter (otherwise it won’t). A second ago we set Parameter 1 to control the Bypass on a Distortion in Stomp Module 1. So, make sure to Arm parameter 1 so that it can receive control input. Then, click the “Learn” button, and hit the switch you want to control the bypass. Now, when you have the “Distortion” pedal in the first Stomp Box section of AT3, that button will control the bypass.

The principle is the same for anything. The easiest things to assign are on/off switches, but you can set a switch to do any number of things, including switch between two different parameter values if, for example, you wanted to have a chorus with two modulation speeds or depths (or both) in a song with the ability to switch between them, or if you wanted to be able to switch between your preamp gain set lower or higher.

Again, it works with any MIDI capable software, sending the MIDI control data over USB alongside audio if you prefer to use it as your audio interface. StealthPedal didn’t used to have any competition in this regard, but now it does, and the Rig Kontrol 3 is a very respectable competitor indeed, with a multitude of included switches and the expression pedal. For Windows users, it’s also nice that its drivers allow for it to be used as a general audio device – for a budget studio, having one audio device that can handle all of your needs might tip the balance in its favor. Of course Mac users with Core Audio see no difference either way since they have audio output built-in without the nightmare of drivers we Windows folks have to put up with 🙂

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IK Multimedia Introduces Amplitube… iPhone?

May 7, 2010

The full cost for it will be $40 for the hardware, and $20 for the full version of the software. I imagine it could be useful as an Amplitube-powered practice rig on the go. I don’t have an iPhone so it’s not going to be something I pick up, any readers with an iPhone have any thoughts on it? The demo’s sounds are good, I guess the iPhone is powerful enough to run the limited signal chain that it has available. For my portable practice amp needs I use a Vox DA5, and it does the trick, though it costs about three times what the Amplitube software and hardware for the iPhone does. Though to get loud, you’ll need an external powered speaker of some sort, which could get pricey if you’re trying to find something high quality enough to take advantage of the sounds it can put out.

It’s definitely simplified from Amplitube software on a PC (as it would have to be, with the huge difference in processing power). Not sure what to think!

I dunno, this is an interesting development but I am not personally even able to check it out, so I’ll leave it to you guys I guess 😀