MacDirectory Magazine

Winter-Spring 2008 (#36)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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104 MacDirectory REVIEW | MUSIC GAMES GUITAR RIG 3 SOFTWARE EDITION > WORTH A CLOSER LOOK Talent and hard work aside, perhaps the greatest challenge for the working electric guitarist is versatility. There is more than one El Dorado of perfect tone and the only way to cover the bases is to have an array of stomp boxes and a truckload of amplifiers or a modeling solution such as Guitar Rig 3 from Native Instruments. GR3 is available in a "Kontroller" edition with software and a foot controller for $559 or in a software-only version for $339. A demo version with a limit of 30 minutes per session is also available. Employing a rack motif, users can drag and drop heads, cabs, mics, effects and tape decks directly into the rack, tweak away and then save the result as a custom preset. A large number of factory presets are available, based on a selection of 12 amps, 17 guitar and 6 bass cabinets, 4 rotary speakers, 9 microphones and 44 effects. The presets are arranged by style, amp and artist, as well as effects and other presets for vocals, synth, drums and live performance, along with various settings for Strat and LP. You can easily create your own library in banks of as many as 128 presets and then mix and match them into overlapping categories as you desire. Live performance is enhanced by a switching to a simplified oversized view that displays the live preset bank, a strobe tuner, metronome, loop machine and a virtual Kontroller. Installation Installation and set-up is easy. A simple panel is used to specify audio and MIDI settings. Licenses, upgrades and downloads are handled via a separate application. The package (which also runs on Vista and XP) requires OSX 10.4 or higher and at least a 1.4 GHz G4 or a 1.66 GHz Coreâ„¢Duo processor. Hoping to test the app on a 1.33 GHz iBook we found that even that measly .07 GHz difference resulted in a refusal to launch. By installing the app on an external FireWire boot drive we were able to easily move between studio and stage with a minimum of hassle. Hands On Guitar Rig 3 Software Edition works well in a dorm room or as an effects processor for Logic, Garage Band and other DAWs. It sounds quite good and is easy to use. When it comes to live performance, the need for a hardware controller becomes immediately apparent. SE users can buy the foot controller as an upgrade for $289. Is the Kontroller worth the price? After two years of trying, we have not been able to persuade Native Instruments to send us a hardware controller, prompting us to take more than a passing glance at competing hardware-based products. As regards tone, Guitar Rig does quite well, but for the connoisseur of boutique tube amps there is no getting around the limitation inherent in digital modeling of tube characteristics. Despite the range of tones available, not everything is attainable. The subtle art of surfing the edge between clean and overdrive on a Boogie MkIIC is not something you can easily emulate. Frankly, the difference is not something that will be noticed by the majority of users, who will find enough good tones in GR3 to keep them busy for months. For many devotees of current popular styles, Guitar Rig 3 will be the very thing they need, offering a wide spectrum from clean to crunch, an equally wide range of tonal characteristics and ton of effects. The looping and recording capabilities are also very appealing for both practice and live performance. Of course, there is no discounting the ease of connecting a MacBook to the PA and dispensing with those backbreaking 4x12s, heads, or 80-pound 1x12 combos. Conclusion The Guitar Rig 3 software provides the ability to craft and store an enormous range of sounds and it comes with an inspiring selection of presents in a variety of styles. It is a great as a stand-alone solution or as a plug-in. The application is clearly designed for use with a foot controller and is not well-suited for live gigs without the hardware component. This aside, GR3 is well worth a closer look. WORDS BY TREY YANCY Product Guitar Rig 3 Software Edition Made by Native Instruments Price Boxed or download: $339, Kontroller Upgrade $289, Kontrol Edition $559 Pros Versatile, easy to use, oversize display for live performances Cons Software-only solution is ungainly in a live situation Rating HHHH

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