Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 Honest Review

Guitar Rig 6 from Native Instruments comes in two separate forms: Pro and Player. Whilst Pro is the paid for version, Player is so great for the novice musician that it is equally popular and can be a welcome addition to any collection of plugins you have begun to build.

What is included in Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6?

Guitar Rig 6 has all the things provided to create amazing sound that hits the mark, emulating true to life instruments in an astounding way, and packed full of bonafide, real instrument modelled plugins – both modern, vintage, and boutique amps as well as effects from both Native Instruments and Softube. It also contains Native Instruments’ Patented Intelligent Circuit Modelling, the ability to colour code and personalise presents, and the chance to discover Native Instruments’ own FX which can be found with no other company on the market – plus turn it up to eleven by running multiple amp heads at the same time (with the Pro version).

How does Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 differ from other products out there?

There are a lot of options out there and it’s sometimes hard to wade through the mass of similar VST products. One problem is that many products claim to be all encompassing. However, any great piece of studio software will have stand out features which set it aside from the rest. For Guitar Rig 6, this is the Intelligent Circuit Modelling. Native Instruments have gone so far as to work with the creators of the corresponding analogue products to perfectly simulate each individual component in the circuits of their amps, pedals, and effects. This means that every single part of the FX chain on Guitar Rig 6 is completely true to life. For the musician who may not have the space or money to amass such a collection, it’s an amazing way to see what gear there is out there plus use it in your own projects without having to fork out a hefty fee or track it down. And because of the ICT, unless you are a hardcore audiophile with a need/desire for analogue instruments, it’s as good as the real thing – and having so much true-to-life gear in one place means that you can compare and contrast different sounds to really find something which ties all tracks together.

Check out the latest price and possible deal on Guitar Rig 6 by clicking here (redirects to the official Native Instruments website)

How can Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 be used?

Guitar Rig 6 contains digital copies of real amps favoured by all your favourite guitarists, and it is set up in such a way so as to be completely intuitive for the creative minded player looking for analogue quality from their digital equivalents. Guitar Rig 6 allows you to build a wall of sound out of many different amps, meaning that you can combine sounds to create the perfect medley of different FX. In discovering this feature, I was almost reminded of the way the legendary producer Butch Vig mixed the four different layers of guitar for Smells Like Teen Spirit on Nirvana’s classic album ‘Nevermind’. The sounds involved in Guitar Rig 6 would actually be perfect for this kind of grungy, effects heavy production, yet the rig is so versatile it can add to everything. At first it appears there is a vintage bent, but the sounds are such classics they can be used in all genres and the rig also contains specialised amps created directly with Native Instruments alongside some of your favourite legendary guitarists and companies. Scroll through the NI browser to find hidden gems and refine your sound – Guitar Rig 6 has something for every mood.

Guitar Rig 6 Pro vs Guitar Rig Six Player

Guitar Rig 6 is split into two different models: Guitar Rig 6 Pro and Guitar Rig 6 Player. The difference lies mostly in the price and amount of features. However, Guitar Rig 6 Player is just as useful for musicians on a budget. It may not contain as many effects and pedals as Pro but if you use it creatively you can easily design fantastic walls of sound and boutique, specialised effects which can add verve and colour to your music.

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 – not just for guitarists!

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 stands out in containing all of the above plus plugins with unusual variants of noise such as radio effects which can be used for more creative, avant-garde production. In some ways this is a package primarily aimed at rock, blues, funk, and indie musicians, which leaves out the heavier and more technical, crisper, cleaner sound of metal and shred guitar – but some individual plugins have been modelled with legendary musicians from all genres including Richard Z. Kruspe of Rammstein.  And despite it’s name, Guitar Rig 6 is not just for guitarists. In fact, the Native Instruments site has a demo video that shows how FX such as the eerie ‘Area 51’ can be used for violin, creating ethereal and unearthly sounds which can be extremely atmospheric. More natural FX such as reverb and delay are also there to enhance almost any instrument. This is one of the biggest plusses of the rig – its insane ability to adapt to other instruments which, through present FX chains, can be used for just about anything.

Check out the latest price and possible deal on Guitar Rig 6 by clicking here (redirects to the official Native Instruments website)

Final thoughts

Why buy Guitar Rig 6? Whether Pro or Player, it does not hurt to have something this all-encompassing on your side when producing. And though the bias towards classic sounds could be considered restrictive it actually makes this plugin super easy to apply to any genre of music – with enough care taken in its creation that it is not merely a vanilla, one size fits all piece of technology but instead something which gives way more bang for its buck than you would expect from the surface. The sounds are great crowd pleasers – but all have been displayed, chosen, and arranged carefully enough that they give a real fresh spark of creativity to any musician in need of some new kit.

If you enjoyed this piece of gear review, we have a full category waiting to be explored, so dig in by clicking here!

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 honest review

Billed as the industry’s favorite amplifier and effects modelling software, this is a totally honest review of the IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 guitar processing pack, which has recently been updated to version 5.3 with a bunch of new features. With obvious reasons why it is so popular amongst the industry, AmpliTube 5 turned out to be intuitive and easy to use in terms of interface and a design. It works with the flow of the average musician and it has really been created with the thought processes of the user in mind.

How is IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 set up?

What stood out to me first was the way the entire signal chain has been modelled, with a crisp, clean overview of the chain including everything from direct input to pre-amps, gain, stomp-boxes, and more. You can see the whole thing from a bird’s eye view and drag and drop the different parts around to experiment with positioning. Different lines are color coded – and you can go with dual input or even three different parallel lines of FX connected to the same DI, which makes it extremely nonlinear and versatile. I was refreshed by the way that AmpliTube 5 seems to go above and beyond in terms of having a layout which explicitly works with the way most musicians seem to think and practice. It almost feels as if it was designed for guitarists, by guitarists. The gear selection process has been updated to drag and drop, and the gear view window is photorealistic and designed to be as hands on as it can possibly be without having the actual gear there in front of you – with a mixing window which is along the same lines too.

What makes IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 stand out?

This is software which isn’t messing around. It’s been designed with a wholistic view of the production process and includes the following features:

  • The entire signal chain is covered from start to finish in terms of modelling.
  • Sound is hyper realistic due to IK using its own specifically trademarked DIM and VIR technology.
  • 8 track recording software allows the creation of nuance, layers, and walls of sound.
  • Set up and ease of use speed up each part of your workflow and thus minimizes processing power needed to create great sounds.
  • All FX are based on real gear and IK Multimedia has worked with real manufacturers including Orange, Mesa Boogie, and Fender thus allowing them to focus on what they do best with intuitive interface design while simultaneously including pro-level sounds created by those who have already hit the sweet spot with tone and popular appeal.

What does IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 include?

The FX themselves are extremely well chosen. Some modelling software tends to have a bias or bent towards one side or another. AmpliTube 5 is a clean, neutral territory. There are over 400 different bits of gear and the designers have taken their time to work with classic, crowd-pleasing companies such as Fender to hit the sweet spot between familiarity and the ability to spice things up enough to spark ideas. IK Multimedia has split it into three sections, with the signal/FX chain modelling being the main focus and a mixing window which is positioned above, as well as the gear selector window to one side which contains AmpliTube 5’s magnetic selection of options bound to draw in any gear lover.

Why purchase the IK Multimedia Amplitube 5?

Personally, I found it was in the realm of inspiration where the AmpliTube really comes into its own, and while I investigated it, I realized this is not just FX modelling which attempts to cram as many different options into one rig as possible but instead includes carefully chosen collections of software which bring new options and idea combos to the table. AmpliTube 5 has focused on user interface and managed to combine creativity, a format that actually works for musicians, and an excellent level of variety, so it doesn’t feel just like a set of different VSTs and tech. Instead, it’s an interconnected ecosystem of sound design which works equally well for indie rock as it would for hardcore punk. I also found because of how different components are deliberately linked, they connect to each other in a way that ensures your workflow won’t be interrupted. As a result, this is a setup which works for both beginners and pro sound designers in separate ways. Beginners will find the fact that it is easy to use – without much technical detail needed to create amazing blends of sound – a real bonus when struggling for inspiration. On the other hand, anyone with a deeper grasp of the production process will be pleased with the sheer level of different plugins available for creative use, and how IK Multimedia has laid them out to spark new combinations of ideas.

Pricing and availability

Amplitube 5 can be bought off IK Multimedia’s website at $299.99. At this kind of price, it’s beyond the budget of the average bedroom producer or beginner, but it is a bit of software which is well worth investing in – in terms of sheer density of different options per unit of cost plus the way it frees up workflow and creates a smooth, easy-going sound design process.

Click here to check the latest price on their website!

Final Thoughts

I found everything about the AmpliTube 5 to stand out in terms of care and consideration taken to make a top tier product which focusses on the user as opposed to bunching a lot of different techs together. It has two main points of appeal – the variety of FX and thus possibilities in sound design and chain modelling – and the creative, non-linear set up designed to release workflow issues for speedier and more enjoyable music production. Personally, the workflow and interface design make it sold for me – but it’s the sheer number of options in terms of how you want to work with sound that means it has an appeal beyond any single genre. And if you want to read more reviews by us, head on down to our Reviews category by clicking here!

Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production – VST plugin REVIEW

Hello and welcome to our review of the Producertech Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production VST plugin available on Pluginboutique.com!

Making music is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be extremely stressful – especially for beginners. DAWs, MIDI, chords, tempo – with so much to understand, where do you even start? Created by the pros at Producertech, The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production from Producertech is a VST plugin composed of eight software programs, and eight courses with over twenty-five hours of tutorials to get you started making music. It also includes notes and quizzes to help strengthen and test your knowledge along the way. This is an extensive and comprehensive package, so what’s it comprised of? First, let’s touch on some of the courses.

And if you are interested in more on the topic of music theory, then head on down to our Music Education category by clicking right here, and then take a stroll through our Tutorials section.

Beginner’s Music Production Guide to Beats Production

This one starts beginners’ off with one of the fundamental elements of making music – making beats. It introduces MIDI and digital instruments for beginner musicians and gives users a basic understanding of musical concepts like rhythm and timing. It also explores more complex elements of composition like looping and how this works in a variety of DAWs.

Beginner’s Music Mixing Fundamentals

The Beginner’s Music Mixing Fundamentals provides beginner musicians with a good understanding of what mixing is and why it matters, covering fundamental topics such as level balancing, frequency and dynamics; and how changes to the shape and balance of different frequencies affect the overall mix. It also covers the use of effects, such as reverb.

The Art of Sampling

Starting from the very basics of what a sample is, beginners in music production will gain practical understanding of how samples are created and implemented. This course provides understanding of a variety of topics including musical fundamentals like notes and pitch, to techniques which allow beginners to start creating and implementing their own samples in their music.

The Art of Filtering

From the basics of what filters do and why we use them, users are guided towards an understanding of how filters implicate the overall quality of the sound we create. This course also explores more advanced topics like modulation, and how envelopes and LFOs are used in music production.

What about the software?

The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production VST Plugin also comes with eight software programs, which include: a free sample workstation, the Zampler//RX; a real-time spectrum analyzer, the Voxengo SPAN; a modern motion filter, the Filterstep by Audiomodern; and the WaveWarden Odin 2 – a 24 voice synth. It also includes Scaler 2 – great for beginners and advanced musicians alike.

The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production VST Plugin: Scaler 2

This is a powerful VST plugin that can really expand the creativity of your composition – especially for beginners. Scaler 2 detects your audio and MIDI signals, determines the key and scale, and then suggests chords and notes to match. Even beginners who lack theoretical knowledge are quickly able to create melodies, chords, and baselines using this powerful software. Also included, The Producer’s Guide to Scaler 2, outlines the many ways this plugin can improve your compositions. For beginners who are not well versed in musical theory, Scaler 2 is a powerful tool to have in the toolbox.

What’s the takeaway?

If you are interested in making your own music, but lack the knowledge, theory, or confidence to get started, this course just might be the perfect solution for you. Available for purchase and download from Plugin Boutique, the courses and accompanying software really set new musicians on the path of success with a variety of tools and practical knowledge. With everything you need to get started, this program is exactly what it says it is – The Complete Beginners Guide to Music Production.

TrainYourEars – GREAT Music ear training software – Honest Review

What is Train Your Ears?

Train Your Ears is a revolutionary new Music ear training software tool for fine-tuning your ears and mind to the frequencies of different bandwidths, thereby showing you the differences between different sounds at a technical level as well as comparing before and after a bandwidth is changed. A fantastic product for both beginners and seasoned musicians alike, it goes into the granular details of equalisation, bringing a new perspective to a tool all music producers have encountered yet which is so commonplace that it normally becomes an accepted part of production. Train Your Ears is an incomparable way for all musicians to think more deeply about EQ – and in turn about their own music.

Why purchase this music ear training software?

Outside of simply requesting the user to match EQ bands with examples of noise which has been cut or boosted, this music ear training software allows you to move bands around to your liking and experiment with the interface to fine tune your understanding of how it works. In fact, Train Your Ears lets you literally take sound apart and reconstruct it – simply by listening to the different frequencies which resonate within it. So far, no other product comes close to giving the user this amount of freedom to experiment with sound – Train Your Ears is virtually unparalleled in giving musicians a way to EQ which matches their composition process.

When purchasing a DAW, there are many options for an EQ plugin which works for you. We have just recently reviewed probably the best new EQ software right now – Eventide Split EQ, read the review here. However, all of these tend to leave the user alone in terms of working out how to use them. In fact, they presume a pre-existing knowledge of the EQ process. Train Your Ears is therefore totally novel in letting artists combine it with any EQ plugin they wish to show you not just how the technology itself works but how noise itself interacts, creating real effects on the sounds of a song.

How to use the Train Your Ears music ear training software?

Too many articles on the internet attempt to teach EQ and fail because they are explaining a very nuanced concept in words – and yet it is one which is much better shown than told.

Train Your Ears does away with all the unnecessary written details and goes straight into showing you the difference between two versions of the exact same piece of music – one with EQ and one without. A typical practice session has seven bands which correspond to the division of EQ into bandwidths on a typical DAW such as Logic or Ableton.

It is very important for music ear training software products to provide the user with as much interaction as possible.

After a sample is played, it encourages you to match the audio with the corresponding bandwidth change, determining by how much it has been boosted or cut. Checking afterwards will then confirm how accurate your ear is.

The training session will then ask you to change the EQ’d signal so that once again it manages to sound the same as the original, and you are able to check afterwards to see if it is correct. The product also contains a monitor which allows you to see the exact level in decibels by which the signal has been boosted or cut, allowing a precise measurement of the amount of sound.

You can check the price for this product on the Train Your Ears website, by clicking here.

Once you install the product, be sure to check their own documentation and exercises by clicking here.

Here is an example assignment for Train Your Ears

Personal Review

I personally found that the software easily translated from a digital product to actual, tangible results which I was able to apply to my own music. At first, I was not able to hear the difference between the subtleties of different bandwidths and the smaller, technical divisions music falls into such as bass and sub-bass, but with even a small amount of time spent listening to Train Your Ears, I found myself becoming more finely attuned, simply because I had reference points.

By allowing the usage of songs which are already familiar, the music ear training software product manages to hold attention and makes the process of getting deep into some of the most subtle and technical aspects of music much easier. It translates terminology which is understandable first and foremost to those who are intimately familiar with the equipment into something manageable for most if not all musicians to turn into a fantastic reference for their own production skills.

It could be assumed that the applicability of this technology heavily depends on the style of music you are producing. Some genres, such as heavy metal, have very specific, niche methods of production which do not necessarily align to the customary methods of EQ’ing. Therefore, for those working in these genres, one key point for Train Your Ears would be if it is adaptable to managing other methods of working. Personally, I found the interface had a beautiful cleanliness and simplicity – which means it is flexible enough that in the hands of someone familiar with their genre, it can be adapted to suit any kind of music.

Pointing out the different bandwidths numerologically also means that there is a tangible, logical, concrete result for any EQ changes. EQ changes are not just an abstract wall of sound – instead they are given as precise numerical data so you can see exactly which bandwidth has been changed and where – as well as keeping track of multiple boosts and cuts.

You can check the price for this product on the Train Your Ears website, by clicking here.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Train Your Ears is an indispensable way to get more in depth and understand the full picture of how EQ works before applying it to your own music. Any musician can benefit from it – whether novices or pros, it shows the real vibrations and elements which make up any production. Not only this, it does this in the abstract whilst also directly linking the sound you hear to measurable values.

In this way, it is a really valuable piece of kit – and most importantly gives you a way to change in real time an equalised piece of music to make it match the original again – demonstrating how much EQ’ing can change the sound of a song but also how, with the right skills, it is possible to manipulate it at multiple levels to reach a broader and more nuanced picture of your production, therefore giving the artist more freedom.

Native Instruments Massive X: The NeXt Generation of Synth Plugins

Hello Friends, and welcome to our honest review of the Native Instruments MASSIVE X VST synth. In the digital audio space, it can be easy to overlook just how much great software is available to us with only a few clicks. Gone are the days of relying on expensive hardware and studio-time alone to make great music. For most of us, a laptop and a MIDI controller is all we need to open an entire world of musical possibilities. I often find myself in front of a laptop, with a MIDI controller next to me and a VST synthesizer loaded into my DAW. So, what options are available to us as home producers, and what’s new in the world of digital synth plugins?

What is Native Instruments MASSIVE X?

Native Instruments, a well-recognized name in the world of audio production, brings us MASSIVE X, a follow-up to their highly successful and appropriately titled software MASSIVE. Available for download and as a demo from their website, it doesn’t take long to see why so many people love this next generation synth.

Early impressions of the software are very positive. The well laid out user interface isn’t just functional, it’s familiar. MASSIVE X is a plugin that prioritises the modular aspect of synths, and it does so very effectively. For a definitive list of the BEST VST Plugin synths we have a huge article right here.

What makes Native Instruments MASSIVE X stand out?

The power of synths largely comes down to two core elements: oscillation and modulation, and how much control users have over these parameters. With dual wavetable oscillation at its core, MASSIVE X is a ton of fun for seasoned producers and beginners alike. MASSIVE X gives users all the conventional wavetables we expect, but also provides a wealth of new options for creative inspiration.

Here is an example of the complex modulation possibilities with this VST synth

For users already familiar with MASSIVE, Native Instruments has included remastered versions of their wavetables as well. MASSIVE X allows users to manipulate the wavetable position, level and pitch easily. The interface is well thought out and retains separation between sound generation and various effects, including routing and modulation.

For other reviews you should check our dedicated REVIEWS section by clicking right here.

What are the key features of Native Instruments MASSIVE X?

MASSIVE X allows users to connect inputs and outputs without restraint, just like it should be. Routing in MASSIVE X allows users to bypass, feedback and reroute modules with total control, and without sacrifice. The level of controllability in MASSIVE X is arguably it’s best feature, and the software comes packed with tons of presets to get you started.

The oscillators in MASSIVE X provide endless options for producers with over 170 wavetables and 10 different oscillator modes to read them. Each wavetable mode is completely adjustable, and two-phase modulation provides even more opportunities for mixing and layering. Effects can be applied in series, parallel or at random anywhere along the signal chain. For users who want full functionality of plugins with a MIDI controller, MASSIVE X is fully compatible and provides 16 assignable controls for your DAW.

A great overview of Massive X, straight from Native Instruments

Pricing

While not cheap, Native Instruments MASSIVE X is more than worth it, in our opinion. Worth arround 200 USD, you may get a deal from time to time by checking the NI official website: click here to check the current price.

There is also a special price if you already own the first MASSIVE VST Plugin Synth, and you can see this crossgrade price on the official website by clicking here.

Last but not least, Pluginboutique.com is offering a lot of presets for MASSIVE X – see them all by clicking here.

Final thoughts

Native Instruments has packed MASSIVE X with an incredible number of user controllable options in a familiar, modular interface. Producers who are already familiar with other synths will appreciate not just the clean aesthetics of the user interface, but also the familiar functionality of the software as well. MASSIVE X is not simply a digital imitation of a modular synth, it is a modular synth, and it’s right there in your DAW.

Eventide Split EQ: A new approach!

Welcome to our review of the Eventide Split EQ VST product! There are few things more crucial to a good mix than equalization (EQ-ing). As the digital audio marketplace continues to grow, it becomes much easier to find new tools to add to your production toolbox. However, it becomes harder to find new products and plugins that do something that is in fact, well, new. With this in mind, Eventide sought out to solve some longtime problems in audio mixing and production with their latest offering, Split EQ.

What is Split EQ?

Eventide, a well-known name in the world of audio effects and digital production, brings us their latest VST plugin Split EQ, and it doesn’t take long to see why producers are so excited. For a home user like myself, well versed in DAWs, and VST plugins, Eventide Split EQ goes well beyond the parameters of others I’ve used. Equalization is a fine art, and our final mix is often limited by the quality of recordings available to us. Where conventional equalizers often come up short, Eventide Split EQ rises to the occasion, offering new mixing possibilities by approaching equalization in a whole new way – a split way.

What makes Eventide Split EQ different?

SplitEQ is two equalizers rolled into one. Through a literal ‘split’ of the audio signal – using a patented technology Eventide calls Structural Split – SplitEQ provides users with two controllable signal parameters – two entirely independent equalizers. Eventide calls these parameters Tonal and Transient.  Where conventional EQs alter the entire sound envelope as a whole, SplitEQ provides two signal paths. This is the magic behind this plugin.

The best price for this product can be obtained on Pluginboutique, and there is also their fidelity program where you get points for spending money in their store, points that can be used for future purchases.

CHECK OUT THE OFFER ON PLUGINBOUTIQUE BY CLICKING HERE

How does Eventide Split EQ work?

Signal splitting allows users to adjust individual elements of a track with much more control. The tonal signals are in many ways the body and soul of the track – they are ambient, resonant, and sustained. The transient signals are the more dynamic elements of a track – attack, harshness, and hiss. With SplitEQ, users can mix these distinct elements individually without sacrificing the overall mix. Signal parameters are easily adjustable through a click and drag user interface which is very intuitive and allows for easy audio monitoring. Most producers can appreciate how quickly things get muddy when trying to reign in a harsh treble response on a track; by using Evende SplitEQ, users gain a whole new level of maneuverability within a particular aspect of the sound envelope, thereby eliminating many of the concessions inherent to other EQs.

Where does SplitEQ really stand out?

Audio producers are always trying to find that sweet spot of a mix. With Eventide SplitEQ, users can preserve distinct elements of a track, maintaining clarity and crispness to vocal melodies without suffering top-end harshness or sacrificing bass response. SplitEQ also provides new options for spatial dynamics which are especially useful in high energy mixes, helping create motion for drops and adding variation to heavy electronic bass-lines.

Here is a very nice comparison between Split EQ and Fabfilter Pro Q3

Final thoughts on Eventide Split EQ?

Split EQ provides a wealth of new possibilities for home producers and addresses many of the limitations of conventional EQs. It’s clear the designers at Eventide know what users need and expect from their software and Split EQ is no exception. Eventide has managed to change the way we interact with equalization, and I look forward to adding Split EQ to my regular toolbox.

CHECK OUT THE OFFER ON PLUGINBOUTIQUE BY CLICKING HERE

Make sure you also check the DEALS category on idesignsound.com

DIGITAL and ANALOG – How you can use ANALOG effects with DIGITAL MUSIC production

While analog seems like a pretty much forgotten domain, digital music production using DAWs such as Logic, Reason, and Ableton, has become the norm in the modern music industry. With so many instruments, FX, and VSTs in one place, they seemingly have everything a modern musician needs. Yet to expand the sound of your music you may want to combine digital and analogue sounds. 

Choose your DAW

All round BEST DAW: Logic

Logic is by no means the only DAW on the market yet is the first option which many musicians jump to. Nevertheless, to combine digital with analogue it isn’t always the best option. Logic has such as wide range of different VSTs, plugins, FX, and ways to mix and master your music – but producing everything similarly can starve your creativity. There is no true BEST when checking out DAW options, but Logic is a great all-rounder that can do everything you need.

Check out these other DAWs for alternative options, if you are on a budget or if you are still learning digital music production: 

Budget friendly DAW: Reaper  

Reaper is basic, but this can be exploited by the savvy musician to further creativity. Due to not using much power, it can be modified with many of your own plugins or external equipment like external FX plugins for a low cost and streamlined way of working.

Great for beginners: Ableton

Meanwhile, Ableton live is a great way of bringing analogue gear into digital music production. By pushing the buttons on the live pads, even with entirely digital sounds, layering them can free up your creativity and create thicker, richer, and more nuanced sound. Loading both digital and analogue sounds, which can be run through FX pedals for a richer warmer sound or combined with digital instruments like synths.

Digital and Analog Music Gear: What’s on the Market? 

Using electric guitar and pedals, or stomp boxes, may not be immediately obvious in electronic music but can be done to great effect with low key guitar and heavy usage of FX making the humble Fender Strat or Telecaster sound otherworldly and unique, generating sounds which could not be achieved with digital FX or production but which you would not necessarily know were analog. For the rest of the article, we will only focus on pedals, leaving analog synthesisers and other instruments to a separate one.

Of course, if you want some more in-depth information you can check the Music Hardware section here on idesignsound and also the “ANALOG” tag.

Guitar Pedals

I have experimented with combining analogue stompboxes and other FX pedals with digital production, especially with digital drum patterns. They work together very well when combined with electric guitar as this can be produced in such a way that its rich, raw analogue sounds are modulated and toned down to combine with slick electronic synths and drumbeats.

They can also change the sound of your guitar. So that it is less obviously a six-stringed electric or acoustic, making it ambiguous and therefore creating all sorts of fantastic and ethereal sounds. This can open up more options than may even have been on your DAW in the first place. It’s a reminder that sounds do not just come from our computers and online but that the world around us can be a constant source of inspiration.

Music producers usually group the pedals into different circuits on a Pedalboard

Best analog stompboxes for combining with digital music production:

Naturally there are loads of different stompboxes to choose from on the market, even within any one category such as fuzz or wah pedals. These are only a few of the possible options out there and are simply a good place to start.

Behringer

Behringer pedals are relatively cheap and are great pedals for beginners. There are many different kinds and they can easily be combined with your existing digital gear due to the fact that their controls are very similar to those which exist on DAWs such as logic. A basic Behringer distortion pedal can be used with Logic to bring some authentic, raw sounding distortion to low key electric guitars for bedroom pop or indie music.

EVH Phase 90

Phaser pedals are a great way of introducing weird sounds to your electronic music. Synths and other forms of sound modulation are great for creating tense and exciting electronic beats but missing out on the variety of other sounds out in the analogue world would be a mistake.

Phaser pedals are generally used with electric guitar for classic rock and roll sounds, especially in the 80s. With the current focus on retro and the vinyl revival, why not bring them to the present era by recording phased guitar and using it as a sample or synth patch for high-powered electropop.

Wah Pedals

Like the phaser, it may not occur to you to use retro sounding pedals in modern electronic music. Nevertheless, with enough production, a fuzz pedal or wah pedal can be used to add layers of depth to your electronic music.

With digital, bedroom-based production one thing which is lost is the warmth and depth of tone of analogue production. There is always a fine balance between creating depth or interesting sounds and keeping the crispness which makes electronic music so listenable.

A wah pedal can be used to create a wall of sound effect which is great for combining with mixed vocals and synth sounds for big choruses. Dunlop pedals are a great middle of the road brand for this as for a pedal you may use quite a lot but which needs to stand up to the wear and tear of production, they are not too expensive but still provide great sound. Try the cry baby pedal for big noises to mix down and combine with synths and electronic drums.

We also recommend you check out our article on the BEST DELAY pedals by clicking here.

Ways to Combine ANALOG and DIGITAL MUSIC workflows

Dry Recording

It isn’t every guitarist’s first preference to record guitars dry into their interface and DAW, but for electronic musicians who are not bound by the conventions of rock history, it is a way to get subtle and low-key electric guitar sounds into otherwise electronic songs and have them still work, without sounding overpowering or like two completely disparate genres have been mashed together.

Try it and then layer FX to your choice over the top of them. The dry base can give you more options for creativity as you add different musical textures and ingredients.

Recording and then adding FX

Recording wet sounds such as by miking up amps can result in a rich sound which is not always desirable in electronic music as it can drown out the other elements. However, if you choose to record this way, good, pro level EQ plugins can allow you to mix to your liking and have the best of both worlds – the multiple tones and the appeal of real instruments, as well as the cleanness of electronic sound and the ability to manipulate sound to your liking to create bigger, punchier dynamics like pulsing EDM drums for a danceable pop song or the hazy atmosphere of dreamy bedroom pop by adding reverb and delay.

Digital and Analog Music – Conclusions

Combining analogue and digital sounds is as simple as using your gear creatively and making sure that you understand the contexts in which different sounds are used.

FREE ARTURIA ANALOG LAB Intro, until the 28th of February 2022

Waiting for good offers is like waiting for something to change in your life. You never know when they will come, but once they are there you instantly know. This month, the wait for a good offer on Arturia Analog Lab VST is over.

Ok, it’s not really an offer and it’s not really a discount. It’s a freebie, the INTRO version of Arturia’s faithful recreation of the most classic electronic instruments, brought to speed with modern workflow improvements, all wrapped up into a very easy to use collection.

Please note that this offer is not truly 100% free. You have to purchase a product from Pluginboutique to benefit from it, but the good news is that it can be any product. We recommend you check out the excellent Pluginboutique deals right here.

We are big fans of Analog Lab here at idesignsound.com, having both the current Analog Lab and also the older Analog Laboratory offerings always in use in our productions. We truly recommend the Prophet V emulation, the Farfisa organ recreation and of course the Minimoog.

How It Works:

  • Make sure you have a registered Plugin Boutique account. You can of course create a fresh one for this offer.
  • Add any paid-for product to your basket (This offer is not valid on free products).
  • Select one free gift from the choice of three and complete checkout.
  • Don’t use Virtual Cash or a coupon for the FULL amount of the transaction. (Any amount less than 100% is still OK though!)

Important Notes:

  • If you already own Arturia Analog Lab Intro, we are unable to offer an alternative product.
  • You cannot exchange your copy of Arturia Analog Lab Intro for another product.
  • You cannot resell your copy of Arturia Analog Lab Intro.
  • Each customer is eligible to claim 1 x copy of Arturia Analog Lab Intro.

You can find more details on Pluginboutique’s offer by clicking here.

FREE Piano sampler instrument from Spitfire Audio

Newsflash! Get your free Piano Sample based VST right now. And don’t expect a low quality one, guys. This one is stellar!

From our testing this Spitfire Audio sample library is one of the best ones we ever heard. And this is because it is recorded from a very legendary instrument: Phillip Glass’ New York Baby Grand Piano.

This instrument has not been moved in 30 years time, and has been always properly tuned and managed. Spitfire Audio made it into a free LABS instrument library. It has been recorded in a pristine sounding room with lots of character. Philip Glass even mentioned that it has a particular smooth and gentle character in the low registers.

The instrument and library is available for both Windows and Mac and comes in VST2, VST3, AAX and AU software forms. You can get Glass Piano on the Spitfire Audio website by clicking here.

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