RealRick by MusicLab is an extraordinary virtual guitar that is modeled after two of the most sought after instruments ever made. Some years back I sustained an injury, which has made playing "real" instruments nearly impossible. Yet, I continued to produce music by either hiring a guitarist of making due with sample library instruments. MusicLab eventually came to my rescue by developing RealGuitar for my acoustic needs and RealStrat for my blues, garage rock, funk, and surf needs. I really dig those two instruments, and they have become indispensable musical tools. Note: RealLPC is on my list, but I'm not as much into classic rock and metal and the other genres associated with that fine guitar. What I really hoped for was just released and is now on my MacBook — a virtual 6 and 12-string Rick! I am a huge fan of the British Invasion sound as well as the later jangle guitar bands. My biggest influences are the Beatles, Joy Division, New Order, REM, The Smiths, Oasis, Smashing Pumpkins, etc. One of the things they have in common is the unmistakable jangly bell-tone rhythm guitar. I simple love that sound, and now I have it! But I found RealRick to be much more than just an authentic, great sounding Rickenbacker 6 and 12-string sample library. RealRick also features MusicLab's Pattern Manager and Guitar Pattern Library that assist in creating backing rhythm tracks. This is a very playable instrument that is also fun to play.
This is a bittersweet day for me as an eMusican/producer. It's sweet because I finally have the virtual guitar I always dreamt about. It's bitter because I no longer have an excuse for not making music. Like the other offerings by MusicLab, RealRick sounds great and inspires creativity. It is addictive, which is much better than staring at my controller and waiting for lightning to strike. I highly recommend RealRick to any eMusician, producer, film and gamer scorer, DJ, sound designer, etc., who is looking for a virtual Rickenbacker 6 and 12-string guitar. If you dig the early to mid-60s sound and the later jangle stuff of the 80s and 90s, this should be on your wishlist. I have no regrets picking this up, and sincerely hope others will share my excitement over this new release. "We keep working to make your music production life even more fun than it is today!" Well, Tommy Zai is having more fun and gives RealRick two big thumbs up! Thank you MusicLab for adding this authentic, legendary guitar to your collection.
Note: In my upcoming project I anticipate using RealStrat for leads, RealGuitar for anything acoustic, and RealRick for Electric Rhythm.
RealRick v4 Update
The new RealRick version skips from v1 to v4. This seemed strange to me at first, but then I thought about it and think I figured out Musiclab's rationale. Their other, more seasoned, instruments have naturally progressed through the versions, i.e., 1, 2, 3, and 4. They used the same research and development to bump RealRick up to v4. Like RealStrat and others, RealRick now has improved sound and performance. The most noteworthy new feature is the Song Mode, which helps turn this fine instrument into a powerful workstation. At the risk of criticism, Musiclab seems to be taking a path similar to Toontrack. I see this as brilliant. Most experienced electronic music makers have more plugins than they can count; yet, how many do they use. .. or more importantly, how many help the creative process? The Real instrument line are extremely musical and serve as a songwriting assistant. In use, ideas develop and flow instead of going somewhere to rot and die. Some of my favorite new features include:
• Global Song Mode with option to export MIDI
• Easy chord change and pattern insertion
• Increased strum time range
• Advanced humanize engine with several parameters and randomization options.
All in all, this is a sweet update, and I'm glad I picked it up. It's worth all $49 as an upgrade for registered users. RealRick perfectly captures the chimey, bell-like jangle. Thank you, Musiclab!.
*On a side note, it's been a rough year financially, and I was forced to sell my Jetglow 620 to pay some bills. Using RealRick eases the pain!Read Review
The last version thoughts are at the bottom. .. .
RealStrat v4 by MusicLab is an excellent Fender Stratocaster software emulation that is extremely playable and great sounding.
The purchase, download, install, and authorization process is simple. In no time, users will be up and running. There are no dongles, just a simple license file. Another cool thing new users will quickly notice is the size of the package. The application itself is only 45MB and is linked to a sample library of a mere 915MB. I get amazing quality audio without filling my hard drive with a zillion levels of questionable samples. I believe MusicLab incorporates a combination of samples and algorithms to accomplish this dead-on emulation. Regardless of what's under the hood, RealStrat has exactly what is needed and sounds great.
The interface is clean, modern, and inviting. The learning curve is moderate. It should only take a couple hours to learn where everything is and how it works, but after that. .. you'll be jamming away.
When I first launched RealStrat, I smiled and thought to myself, "MusicLab has done it again!" Just like RealGuitar, this electric version has excellent performance modes. I turned up the volume on Solo Mode and played a cool little lick for my guitarist, who had his back turned at the time. He quickly spun around and was in shock for two reasons: 1. I'm a terrible guitarist, and what I played sounded great. 2. I was using a plugin. I had to prove to him I wasn't playing a loop sample. I'm grateful to no longer have to spend weeks learning key-switches. For me, this software is fun right out of the box. I just launch and let my muse carry me away.
Just like the "real" Strat, this virtual version is capable of a wide variety of tones, ranging from clean funk to crisp surf to aggressive speed metal arpeggios to down-n-dirty blues licks. In addition, users have access to all the nuances that make a guitar performance sound authentic — mutes, harmonics, scrapes, slaps, fret noise, pick noise, volume swells, feedback, wah-wah, hammers, slides, legato, etc. All of these little features help to recreate spontaneity and a human feel. It's very playable and allows users to quickly create chord progressions, record lead and rhythm tracks, and even final tracks (with a little extra effort in adding nuances).
WHY A STRAT
Even though many players use a Stratocaster, whether it be real or virtual, they can sound totally different from one another. David Gilmour chose it as his main instrument because it was the guitar which, "allowed the player to express his or her personality the best." It's perfect for sounding exactly like another player, or like no other player.
OVERALL FEATURES I DIG
• Attractive GUI
• Fast loading
• Excellent workflow
• Stand-alone and plugin
• Randomize dynamics
• Drag-n-Drop patterns
• CPU efficient
• Extremely stable
• Small footprint
• Responsive developer — usually answers my Q's within a day
• Good value.
NEW V4 FEATURES I ESPECIALLY DIG
• The new Song Mode is much better for composing. It's easy to insert chord changes into the Song Track via the Smart Chord Selector. Patterns can also be inserted on the fly.
• The Advanced Humanize Engine helps to add more realism to the performance with a simple mouse click. Randomization options include sound, timing, velocity, and pitch.
• Another convenient new feature is the ability to export a MIDI file from the Song Mode, which, like patterns, can then be dragged and dropped into a DAW or MIDI editor. I believe the tracks are exported as Standard MIDI, making it universally accepted by other apps and instruments.
RealStrat continues to be the best sample-based Stratocaster emulation on the market. And, the best just got better with the release of version four, which is a robust upgrade containing several new features and improvements. I highly recommend this audio software to anyone creating music digitally, who wants or needs a virtual Strat for jamming, composing, or recording. The sound is all there! Words that come to mind are: VERSATILE! FLEXIBLE! AUTHENTIC! This is almost as good as the real thing! For nearly 60-years, the Fender Strat has represented the ultimate in electric guitar versatility, and RealStrat helps to carry that tradition in software form. When you don't have much money, you need to make sure every penny is spent wisely. This is a great value — lots of bang for the buck. I've paid more for confusing sample libraries and hiring the wrong "guitarists." All in all, this virtual guitar is fantastic. Will RealStrat replace a virtuoso guitarist? Probably not! But, it could possibly replace you and me. LOL. I highly recommend this fine audio software to any eMusician, producer, etc., who wants to write, produce, and record sensational electric guitar parts that have a classic Fender flavor, whether it be rhythms, leads, or FX. Thank you MusicLab! Great stuff.
RealStrat v5 by MusicLab
INTRO: RealStrat v5 is the latest virtual Stratocaster offering by MusicLab. It includes two Strat combination options. A RealStrat Standard version that is an updated version of v4 and RealStrat Elite, which is a completely new supercharged version that has been deeply resampled at each pickup position. Both versions boast an attractive, neatly organized new interface that's both eye-pleasing and inviting — seasoned users will have no problem navigating v5, and new users won't be scared-off (however, there will be a learning curve).
PROS: The features that made the first four versions a success are still there, fully intact, i.e., the sound, strum-ability, play-ability, humanization, etc. There are many improvements and new features, most notably the new Multi-Performance Mode (live control of solo and strum and chord positions). This makes it much easier to sequence realistic sounding guitar tracks. I especially dig the Song section. I have a friend who boasts about the Key Switch FX in chordal mode — this is a deep instrument. I've only scratched the surface, but having fun — not stressed, lost, or overwhelmed while demoing. There is a new option that allows users to choose between a black & white and color guitar theme. V5 features increased control over timbre via the three pickup configuration and pick position options. The Bridge & Neck combination is exceptionally rich and REAListic. The 12-string versions are a nice surprise.
CONS: Learning curve increase. Larger sample size footprint for Elite version. Otherwise, I found no negatives, only positives.
SUMMARY: The best virtual guitar emulation app/plugin just got better. This is a fun, playable, great sounding virtual instrument. All-in-all, this is an outstanding and significant update that is well worth the money — especially purchased on a special sale. Great job, MusicLab! I continue to be a proud user.
I had an accident and could no longer play guitar. :- (. I missed having guitar on my tracks, especially acoustic accompaniment and riffs. I tried using my synths, but they sounded like synths! I needed something real — something human! Waiting for friends to come over and play parts for me became inconvenient and embarrassing. I needed to find a way to lay down tracks on my own. I needed a virtual guitarist! I went on a mission, buying and trying nearly every guitar library ever made. A couple of them weren't bad, but most of them left me cold or frustrated. I was tired of filling my hard drive with thousands and thousands of samples that were packaged in a non-user friendly interface. The last thing I wanted to do was spend more years learning complicated key-switches. By the time I got a track down, the inspiration was lost. I was discouraged and frustrated until I tried MusicLab's RealGuitar. It's fantastic.
The interface is neat, clean, and fun! I'm a visual person, and I love seeing the notes on the virtual neck. The way the keyboard is laid out is intelligent, giving total control over the type of strum, fret noise, slide, tremolo, and all the other little squeaks and articulations. The strum engine is a snap to work with and as powerful as you need it to be. I think they call it the "Struminator." The built-in rhythmic patterns usually give me exactly what I need, and if not. .. I can simply make adjustments or create my own patterns. All in all, RealGuitar is easy to use, sounds realistic, and sits perfectly in the mix. This is the first sample-based virtual guitar plug-in I've found that truly emulates the real thing. I've got pretty good ears and most of the time I cannot tell if it's real or RealGuitar. I feel like I'm playing again! Thank you, MusicLab, for creating such a great product. :-). I'm saving up to buy RealStrat and/or RealLPC.
Version 4 (update):
RealGuitar v3 by MusicLab is an amazing piece of audio software and represents the finest in virtual guitars, and it just got better with the release of v4. Like many previous version users, I had to consider whether or not to upgrade. After reading through the list of improvements and new features, it was impossible for me to pass on this one, and I'm glad I went for it.
The new Song Mode alone was enough to justify upgrading. I'm a songwriter, and I work in a linear fashion, measure by measure and in structural parts, i.e., intro, verse, pre-chorus, rise, climb chorus, bridge, middle eight, etc. The Song Mode in RG4 helps to create backing tracks in a familiar and natural way — as if I had a guitar in my hands and could play it well. The Time line enabled easy navigation along the song. And, to make the workflow as simple as possible, chords are inserted into the song track and patterns are drag-n-dropped into it.
The Pattern Library Browser has been improved, and provides faster access to over 1200 guitar rhythm patterns that are neatly categorized and selected with the help of the Pattern Filter. Any inserted pattern can quickly be multiplied or edited throughout the song. Chord edited has also been enhanced. Other improvements include Humanizing (sound, timing, velocity, pitch), FretNoise (trigger) FX, Transpose, Harmonics, etc.
Version 4 is a significant update, and I'm glad I grabbed it!
Version 5 (update):
RealGuitar v5 a BIG BIG upgrade that is very impressive. Most notably MusicLab added a new guitar sample set called "Steel String." This is in addition to their "Classic" model. There are easier than ever switching between soloing, strumming, string picking, etc. via key velocity. It takes a little time to get used to, but with the right touch it's a breeze. There are many other additions and improvements. All-in-all, the upgrade is well worth it, and I continue to be happy. Thank you, MusicLab!.