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

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 🙂


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

  1. Ollie Buster says:

    Hi, thanks for your post about rig kontrol like a midi controler in amplitube. Man, sorry for my english, I want do Know if you did use the audio interface in rig kontrol to process the sound, not other audio interface. I mean, could I change any cable when I close guitar rig and open amplitube, according to your text ?? And what about the latency ? Can I play amplitube using the rig kontrol interface with no latency ?? Thanks.

  2. Axel Keys says:

    And then, it´s possible to use amplitube 3 with rig kontrol dude ? Without latency ?? Where goes the guitar plug ? In “Mic” of computer or “input” in rig kontrol ?
    And the output cable ? Computer output or rig kontrol output??
    Do you know ?? Help me, my e-mail is gusbuster2@gmail.com

    Good post !

  3. geareview says:

    Hey, sorry I missed your post!

    It is absolutely possible to use the Rig Kontrol 3’s audio interface at the same time as you’re using it to control things. Very big feature addition from Native, in my opinion.

    As far as latency, that depends on your computer, but it’s just the normal Rig Kontrol 3 latency settings so however low your computer can handle normally, you can have the same latency while controlling MIDI. There’s no difference. You still plug the guitar into one of the “Input” jacks of the Rig Kontrol, as normal.

    Basically, it’s the same as any other usage of Rig Kontrol 3 for audio, but with MIDI too. And, yes, you can use it to run Amplitube 3. Amplitube 3 has some special integrations with StealthPedal and StompIO, but most of its functions are also controllable with MIDI. It’s my opinion that StealthPedal and ESPECIALLY StompIO have a better instrument input sound than Rig Kontrol 3, but there’s nothing bad about the Rig Kontrol 3 input, it just doesn’t have some extra nice, somewhat amp-like input response that the StompIO has. StealthPedal has a minor but real better sound for instruments. For microphones, you might like the Rig Kontrol 3 better because it has a very clean, flat input; StealthPedal has definitely been optimized for use with instruments and it shows in the way that it adds a little something extra. StompIO’s preamp and DI is just absolutely top quality, it’s a really, really, really nice sounding preamp for guitar, but of course you can’t use it to control anything but Amplitube.

    I apologize for the language barrier on my end, as well, if there is anything I need to clarify please let me know and I will.

  4. Roy says:

    Hi. thank you so much for your detailed instructions, I was finally able to get my GR3 pedal working with AT3 in Reaper, however I could not get parameters for say a wah pedal or volume pedal to work. Any help there? Thank you again, Roy

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