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Guitar Rig 3 Turns a Mac Into an Amp Stack

By Matt Lee MacNewsWorld ECT News Network
Mar 11, 2008 4:00 AM PT

Guitarists out there know that finding that perfect sound, tone or depth from your electric guitar can be an expensive and painstaking process. With the digital age now in full swing, many manufacturers have tapped into computer emulation as a way to duplicate the sounds of guitar setups and amplifiers through software. There are tons of programs out there that promise to deliver, but almost all of them fall flat on their face.

Guitar Rig 3 Turns a Mac Into an Amp Stack

That's where Guitar Rig 3 (GR3) comes along. Guitar Rig 3 from Native Instruments (available for Mac and Windows) is a robust guitar emulation program that does more than just emulate sounds. Guitar Rig 3 is a must-have for anyone using programs such like Pro Tools or Logic, as it will plug in automatically with no setup necessary. What does Guitar Rig 3 have to offer?

Move Over, Rover, and Let Jimmi Take Over!

Upon opening GR3, you will notice the usual rack-based setup, which appears meant to virtualize a real-life equipment rack. GR3 gives you a basic input rack, a tape deck for recording loops, a metronome and a tuner. From there, you can insert many different setups, from laid-back jazz to '70s psychedelic rock or thrashing metal. You can choose from any of the pre-setup rack systems or design your own.

One of the best things about this program is how simple it is. Add in your guitar, choose your setup in the Preferences menu, choose a rack (or designs your own) and you are ready to rock.

Ease of use has always been an issue with many guitar-based emulation programs. GR3 accomplishes ease of use without sacrificing its power or potential. Each speaker amp emulator sounds crisp and clean, and all the additional racks (distortion, chorus, flanger, etc.) sound realistic and have very familiar designs.

The fact that most of the racks and virtual equipment pieces are direct replicas of classic hardware gives all of it a familiar look when you are customizing your setup. Knobs and switches are in the same place you would expect on the real deal, and changing one item in the rack is just as easy as dragging and dropping them from the rack selector. Need more gain? Need an EQ? Drag one in. Would you like a nice gaining head? Well, drag that one in too. The simplicity in this is just what you would expect from Native Instruments.

What's in It for Me?

Musicians out there probably want to know what they will be getting for their money. The basic software package, which is just the program, sells for US$339. For $559, you will get the software package plus a foot pedal module, which will allow you to change preset channels and utilize it as a volume or wah pedal. The package also includes the amp simulation, rack simulator and easy-to-use loop-based recorder.

GR3 provides a powerful punch at a very nice price. Shopping for these items individually would cost thousands of dollars, but Native Instruments has packaged them all together into a fun, easy-to-use and realistic program.

Integration for the Masses

What about people using editing software? GR3 integrates into ProTools and Logic without any setup needed. Choose your track and input and start recording. GR3 allows you access to the entire interface while recording, which means you won't have to fumble around looking for presets.

GR3 adds life to the lifeless and hope to those in confined spaces. If you don't have the room or budget for expensive equipment and already own a computer-based editor, GR3 will fill a void in getting killer guitar effects.

The Verdict

I love this program. It seems not long ago that one needed tons of time and money to get the perfect guitar setup -- not only for recording but also just for practicing -- and GR3 solves all those problems.

I can easily plug in my guitar, choose whatever setting I am in the mood for, and I'm ready to go. It's just as easy for recording. I launch Logic and choose GR3 as my input and start recording my chops.

If you like the freedom of being able to use a laptop or you just have a small space to jam in, GR3 is perfect as well. No need for anything additional makes this the ultimate amp simulator on the market.

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