Mobile music-making apps like Amplitube and GarageBand have proven themselves to be popular, powerful and versatile additions to the digital toolbox of both bedroom enthusiast and professional alike. Dedicated computer software is by no means dead in the water yet, though, as evidenced by the new releases from Native Instruments. The computer-based music production and performance specialist has announced new versions of its Guitar Rig amp and effects package and Kontakt sampler, and the multi-product Komplete bundle.
Taking the suite closest to my own musical preferences first, Native Instruments (NI) has further expanded its powerful digital amp emulation and guitar effects package. Two new high gain amp emulations have been added to the library of the new Guitar Rig 5 Pro - the Van51 and HotSolo+ heavily overdriven models - which brings the total available to 17. Up to eight speaker cabinets from the 27 available can be combined at any one time, each with the ability to position the microphones (there's a choice of 16 different ones to choose from) and control the sound of the virtual room.
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Six new effects have been added, ramping up the total to 54. There's a new classic compressor, a couple of reverb emulations, an eight-band filter, a stereo chorus and the new Resochord harmonizer. A new sidechaining function (described as a technique for reducing sonic clutter and creative "pumping" effects) offers studio-level dynamic processing possibilities, and can be assigned to any stereo input within the software. Effects from the Komplete package can also be slotted into the software, including the new Solid Mix Series and Transient Master studio processors, while new tone shaping controls such as the Container multi-effects creation, storage and recall module offer players even more command over their sound.
For those too busy (or dare I say, too lazy) to knuckle down and create their own sounds, Guitar Rig 5 Pro comes with over 130 new presets. It's available from next month for US$199, with an upgrade from previous versions costing US$79. It will also come bundled with the Guitar Rig Kontrol pedalboard for US$449.
NI's sampler software is now at version 5 and offers users newly enhanced sound shaping via a bevy of new filters and algorithms. Kontakt 5's new suite of 37 filters has been designed by the folks behind the Massive synth - including the new Adaptive Resonance concept, described as automatically managing filter characteristics to prevent unwelcome artifacts from resonance peaks.
There's a new TimeMachine Pro time-stretching algorithm, new Solid G-EQ and Solid Bus Comp algorithms from the Solid Mix Series processors have been included, and vintage sampling modes from the Maschine system also feature. The suite has also been given a powerful new instrument bus system and KSP-based MIDI file support, and a 43 GB factory library that includes eight separate instrument collections - users can also download the new Retro Machine Mk 2 instrument for free.
Kontakt 5 is also scheduled for a September release at US$399, with existing users being able to upgrade for US$119.
NI has also waved its upgrade wand in the direction of its suite of bundled digital instrument processing, tone creation, recording and studio products. Komplete comes in two flavors, depending on how much power you need from your digital instrument and effects suite.
The standard Komplete 8 package is a collection of 27 products from NI's range, including piano emulators, guitar and bass suites, and percussion packs. New to version 8 is the Studio Drummer production software and the Transient Master dynamic processing effect, and over 1,300 additional presets for Absynth, FM8 and Massive have been collected from several soundpacks. This bundle will cost US$559, also from next month, and previous Komplete owners can upgrade for US$229.
The Ultimate version will cost US$1,099, with upgrades available for US$559, and offers users the full arsenal of 50 products of NI instrument and effects range on a dedicated USB hard drive. There's over 13,000 sounds and 240 GB of sample content.
Both suites come with Guitar Rig 5 Pro and Kontakt 5 included, and are optimized for the company's Maschine production hardware.
NI has prepared a video introduction to the Komplete system: