Digital guitar software/hardware combos? It’s on.

Just days after IK Multimedia shows its new version of AmpliTube with new effects and a new hardware stompbox / audio interface / DI box, rival Native Instruments unveils its own upgraded computer guitar rack with new effects and a new hardware stompbox / audio interface / DI box. Not only that, but both IK and NI are at the AES show, which, as the “Audio Engineering Society” moniker implies, is not usually where you’d expect to find new guitar kit.

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2

So, anything different about NI’s announcement (aside from the notable absence of Swedish models — see IK’s babefest promos)? Well, the Rig Kontrol 2 from NI is much sexier looking (silver instead of IK’s Barney-esque purple and black), and has an expression pedal, which is absent from IK’s box. And Native has the Boss LoopStation-like Loop Machine for layering loops on-the-fly. Both have gorgeous interfaces and terrific-sounding amp emulations and effects that easily rival hardware. It’s a good time for computer-based guitarists.

Now I’m off to the IK and NI booths to see if I can make these work for vocals and keyboards. (Any other non-guitarists using this stuff?)

More soon . . .

  • imago dei

    Answering Peter’s question, I used Guitar Rig 1 with an electric violin for five months. I was using a very low end pick-up/violin (piezo pickup and Fender FM-V respectively) with an underpowered host machine (iBook G4 800). I really dug the sounds I was getting with a somewhat limited setup; ended up selling Guitar Rig to pay for a new mandolin. Obviously had to do some tweaking of presets (mainly EQ, as the piezo favored high frequencies) but liked Guitar Rig especially for the crazy delays/tape effects. Sent in a feature suggestion to NI that they make the RigKontrol use USB and am glad to see they took user comments to heart; that and the Loop Machine have me looking back to the computer + Guitar Rig solution when I go back to electric violining.

  • Guest

    This looks incredibly good, and I've always been one to run keyboards, drum machines, and circuit-bent toys through guitar stompboxes. I do have a handful of questions that I'd love to get answered before I plop down cash for this though….can anyone help me out?

    1) how well will this work with things that don't sound great through guitar amps? will a synth just need some different EQ settings, or will it sound bad no matter what? (mind you…i'm highly interested just for Rhodes)

    2) Is it possible to have more than one of each effect in the rack? In other words, can I have several instances of the step sequencer in the same setup?

    3) The looper looks fantastic. Looks like you may be able to do some Kid Beyond/Live stuff with it without writing so many macros. Most exciting, I think, is the ability to do loops of different lengths in real time…which begs the question- do you have to set loop lengths ahead of time, or can you simply punch in/out whenever you want with the pedal?

    4) If the loops can sync to metronome/clock of DAW, I assume they're doing time-stretching…how does it sound on various types of loops (drums/bass/leads)

    Thanks for any help!