Review: Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2

A robust digital guitar studio. (March 1st, 2007)

MacNN Rating:


Product Manufacturer: Native Instruments

Price: $579 US or $339 US Software only

The Good

  • Easy-to-use Well organized drag and drop interface. Good sounding amp/cabinet modeling and plenty of effects. Lots of included presets. Easy to share preset banks with other users.

The Bad

  • Must bring computer for live performances.

Part I

I am excited that Native Instruments has released a universal version of Guitar Rig because I can finally run it on my Intel-based MacBook Pro. I heard a lot about Guitar Rig 1, but was never able to experience its wonders until now. Guitar Rig 2 is a software-based guitar audio processor with state-of-the-art amplifier, cabinet and microphone modeling including tons of built in effects. I am impressed with Guitar Rig 2 and below we look at what makes it so awesome.

User Interface

Most software-based effect and modeling processors are simple to operate but come with small layout annoyances or parameter controls that overwhelm you with too many options. Guitar Rig 2 is the exception because its well-designed interface lets you access all the tools from an organized layout. It has a simple tabbed screen where you drag your choice of amps, cabinets, and effects as if you are making a veritable musical cocktail.

Guitar Rig 2 is an easy to use environment for those of us who prefer to use rack mount or floor pedal boards via manual or MIDI control as main rigs. The actual rack-type layout of components looks really cool and it truly makes sense. You can minimize each module to take less rack space if you do not want to tweak those parameters often.

The only minor issue I experienced with this new release is that when I chose a new preset bank file, the file dialog box opens a second time and I had to cancel it, but that is just an annoyance. This does not affect the performance and is probably a minor bug, because all preset bank files that are located under the proper folder are pre-loaded on launch, hence no need to use the "Load" button unless the bank file is on a different path. Aside from that minor issue, I am extremely comfortable with the user interface and impressed with its stability.

Guitar Rig2 interface
Guitar Rig 2 Software Edition Interface


It is easy to become overwhelmed by everything you can do with Guitar Rig 2 but that is better than a program that omits features.

It has eight different customizable amp models, fifteen guitar cabinet models, six bass cabinet models, and four rotary speaker models. There are also dynamic microphone models with various placement options and about thirty-eight effects that you can customize and fine-tune to your hearts content. You can use the included extensive presets or download and share a myriad of other presets from the Native Instruments online community.

The tuner and metronome are always present and a useful tape deck captures your inspirations as they happen. The loop machine is sure to become a favorite feature for many, because it encourages hours of musical self-involvement. It is also quite helpful when developing riffs and compositions. You can split the signal chain into different paths, and merge and mix them to create sounds that are more sophisticated. If you have ever wanted four distortions in your effects path, you can do it. There are practically no limits to the number and order of effects you can chain on the path. I doubt I will use most of the crazy tones I have crafted in the real world, but it is nice to know that I can develop them in Guitar Rig. I could go on for pages about the possibilities, but I will spare you. This is robust product should fulfill any guitar player's dreams.

Part II Here

Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Joshua Wachs with Jacky Reif


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