Guitar Rig 2.0
PRICING: $499 street price
PROS: Amplifier and effects emulator software that includes a foot controller, with assignable expression pedal. Has a wide variety of effects, including tons of distorted sounds, excellent clean sounds. The system is very flexible, with many modulation possibilities. Built in slow-downer works great, as does tuner.
CONS: I couldnít get a signal from the built-in sound card that wasnít noisy. Re-assignable footswitches arenít marked, so you have to remember what they are supposed to do.
REVIEW: I got Guitar Rig 2.0 to use in my home studio. Prior to making that decision, I had downloaded the 30-day trial from the Native Instruments website:
I would encourage anyone to do this, even if you aren't looking for this kind of product. The download is free, and you will learn a thing or two just by trying it out. Guitar Rig includes simulations of several classic ampliers, with simulated cabinets, simulated cab mics, simulated distortion pedals, simulated everything. Basically, it simulates the entire inventory of a guitar store. You can have a lot of fun just trying the different distortion boxes, and the different amp heads and cabinets, etc. You can use it to answer the question ďwhat do all these different amps sound like?Ē
The software also has some unique features, which allow you to split your signal and send it down several different chains of processing. So, you could send the highs to a Fender twin emulation with a chorus, and the lows to a Marshall emulation with a delay.
Or you could split the signal and delay one side to get a doubled effect. Or you could split it, and assign an LFO to rotate from one back to the other. I havenít fully explored this feature, but the presets have some interesting applications of it.
The trial download has the complete software, but the full version comes with the software and a very sturdy pedalboard with six stomp switches and one expression pedal. The switches and expression pedal can be assigned to just about any knob. So, you could have the expression pedal turn the distortion up/down, or the volume, or the delay time, or the compression ratio, or whatever you like. This is very flexible.
I am not using the included audio interface. It was noisy when I tried it, and I didnít want to go to the trouble to find out why. I already have an audio interface, so I really didnít need that part. Native Instruments is marketing this as a stage tool, which explains the audio interface and the use of the super rugged footswitches. The software is stable enough to use for the stage. I think their idea is this and a laptop would be your rig. I donít know how popular that idea will be, but I do like using it in the home studio very much.
SUMMARY: Overall, I like this product a lot. The software is very easy to use. It has encouraged me to play around with my sounds more than I have done in quite a while. There are so many different pieces to mix and match. I canít vouch for all the amp emulations, but I love the Fender Twin emulator. It is the only one I have ever heard that sounded like a twin.