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Free / $129
RiffWorks by Sonoma Wire Works is an Audio Plugin Host for macOS and Windows. It can host VST Plugins and Audio Units Plugins.
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RiffWorks is a "guitar-friendly" application that allows you to record efficiently, stay creative, produce songs, jam online, and podcast your tunes without ever putting down your guitar.

Capture ideas at the moment of inspiration. Set a tempo and start recording by strumming your guitar. Experiment with song structure using a simple Riff-based workflow. Tracks are created automatically as you play. Record multiple takes or layer parts without stopping the creative flow. Add tempo-matched backups with the included InstantDrummer, Rex player, ReWire mixer, and metronome. InstantDrummer provides easy access to full-kit studio drum recordings - No programming necessary. Include up to 7 studio-quality effects per layer including wah, multi-band distortion, modulation, delay, reverb, compression, and British style EQ.


  • Riff-based Workflow: Record a complete song in bite-sized pieces (Riffs). This unique and fun way to record facilitates experimentation with song structure. Each Riff can include different backups, effects, tempos, lengths, and layers.
  • Automatic Track Creation & Loop Recording: A new layer is created each time you start recording as well as each time a Riff loops. Stack layers on top of each other (bass, guitar, vocals) to create a full Riff sound. Use this looping feature to quickly double up your tracks, do multiple takes, etc. Each layer has several controls for mixing and applying effects.
  • Backups: Includes 4 diverse, tempo-synchronized backups to accompany you while you record:
    1. InstantDrummer provides great sounding drum recordings with adjustable intensity, variation and tempo - no need for tedious drum-machine programming. 8 InstantDrummer Sessions are included for free with the purchase of RiffWorks and more are available.
    2. REX Player for playing tempo synchronized loop files (REX and RX2).
    3. ReWire mixer for playing tempo-synchronized loop files with up to four ReWire synth applications like Propellerheads Reason and Ableton Live.
    4. Metronome: Can be used for lead-in, while recording, for a really simple beat, or to add extra flavor in addition to the drummer.
  • Effects: Add RiffWork's 7 studio-quality effects to Layers, Riffs, InstantDrummer sessions, and to the Input.
  • RiffCaster - a free web broadcasting service for musicians recording with RiffWorks. Broadcast songs instantly with a single button click in RiffWorks. The public can listen to songs posted on the RiffCaster website and podcast for free. Commenting on songs is welcome.
  • RiffLink: Record and collaborate with musicians from all over the world using the RiffLink interface integrated into RiffWorks. Currently in free public beta, then 60 day free trial.
  • Guitar Amp and Effects Plug-in Support - Amp plug-ins such as AmpliTube 2 Live from IK Multimedia (now included with RiffWorks Standard) and GearBox from Line 6, can be activated, heard, and recorded while playing your instrument through RiffWorks.
  • Song Layer - Option for full song-length recording.
  • Junt: Arming the Junt feature allows you to set the tempo and start recording by simply playing your guitar or singing. Junt has a proprietary tempo detection algorithm that allows you to focus on your internal groove.
  • Riff Gain - Master gain control for each riff.
  • Riff Effects - Effects chain on the Riff as a whole in addition to each layer.
  • Backup Effects - Complete effects chain for each backup module including InstantDrummer, ReWire and the REX player.
  • One-shot Record - Alternative to continuous looped recording mode.
  • Fade Automation - Continuous volume control for each layer.
  • Riff Notes - A place to make remarks about recordings.
  • Help Tab - Instant access to documentation without leaving the application.
  • Mono or stereo input.
  • 16-24 bit recording
  • 44.1 sample rate: for simple setup and CD burning.
  • 32 bit floating point internal processing.
  • Up to 24 recorded layers per Riff not including backups like the InstantDrummer.
  • Up to 48 simultaneous recorded layers with SongLayers playing over Riffs
  • Mix Options:
    1. WAV (.wav) files - perfect for burning a CD, or using a third party program like iTunes to convert to mp3.
    2. OggVorbis (.ogg) files - a modern, free replacement for the mp3 format. Most sound player applications either have support built-in or there are plug-ins available.
    3. Mix to Riff - bounce multiple riffs down to one layer in a single riff.
  • Mac OS Core Audio Device Compatibility - RiffWorks Standard supports most Core Audio devices. See Recommended Hardware List.
  • Windows XP ASIO Device Compatibility - RiffWorks Standard supports most ASIO devices. See Recommended Hardware List.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.00 from 2 reviews

Reviewed By Igrewsome [all]
March 3rd, 2014
Version reviewed: 2/6/7 on Windows

I'm a big fan of Riffworks. This was my first DAW. I still am pretty much using Riffworks exclusively even though I have other DAW's now.

The format is simple - songs are written in Riffs... why not record in them?

The technique is very simple - create a new riff by clicking a button. Choose your InstantDrummer (btw, the InstantDrummer track is a separate track, and does not count towards your max of 24 tracks), choose the intensity and pattern, then switch over to the layers view and click "record". It defaults to 120BPM 4/4 time 8 Bars (all of which are editable). Sonoma offers hundreds of Instant Drummers, all in a large variety of styles and genres.

The record function will automatically start the first track after a 8 bar click, and upon reaching the end of the 8th bar will start recording the second track. If you're set up and ready to go, you can continue recording up to 24 tracks. Each track is pannable, and you can add effects to any track. Riffworks comes with a large built in number of very nice effects, including a two-step flange that pans one flange left and the other right. In headphones, its a VERY nice effect with one flange at the top of the cycle at the same tie the other is at the bottom. Delay, reverb, octaver, compression, filter & wah effects, as well as phase, chorus and flange - all built in.

Track names are all editable, as well as Riff names.

Do you want to have the riff repeated but with a minor change? Just click "duplicate riff". This will copy the entire riff, and you can then edit whatever in that riff you want changed (say, adding a harmony guitar part). This is a VERY cool time saving feature.

Did you make a string noise? click the info window and "draw" a peak down, and it will silence that errant noise.

To build your song, simply drag your riffs into the song layer window. I literally can create a completed 5 minute song with 4 guitar tracks per song, two lead guitar tracks, 2 to 4 synth tracks, all panned and mixed, in two hours. As a song writing tool, Riffworks is absolutely amazing.

An overlooked feature is the "notes" window you can use to write down guitar settings, and even what synth patches you used.

Riffworks also can play REX2 files, a very handy feature which many of the Riffworks afficianados use in their tunes posted on Riffworld, a free service to any musician, but designed to function with Riffworks. Literally, after finishing my two hours of recording, at the press of a button and lots of typing descriptive labels for the song (you can upload it without any description if you're in a hurry), your song can be uploaded in about 90 seconds for a 5 minute song.

The important thing to keep in mind is - Riffworks is fun to use. Songwriting and recording is enjoyable, and not a chore. Try Riffworks T4 for a month (the 4 track free version) and I guarantee you'll spring for the full version. I've written over 100 songs in 1 year on Riffworks, and uploaded 80 of them to Riffworld.

See the screen shot on the Sonoma website to get an idea of how easy it is - and try it. i've been urging Sonoma to add VSTi support (they do work with VST right now, but not VSTi) and MP3 import/WAV import. Riffworks does Rewire into many other DAW's.

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Reviewed By Str8UpJack [all]
February 2nd, 2014
Version reviewed: 2.6.7 on Mac

Not having much experience with DAW's, Riffworks is very straightforward and allows you to quickly assemble a tune by layering loops of guitar and building riffs from these loops. One of the best features of the software is the InstantDrummer section which is basically a series of drum grooves which you can place in a riff. Each InstantDrummer contains a series of parts that you can choose from and each part can then be varied by rotating some control knobs. This lets you change the feel of a drum part or add to it's complexity so you can obtain a lot of different sounds from an InstantDrummer collection. There are plenty of InstantDrummers in all different styles you can purchase. If you find auditioning loops and assembling them into a song cumbersome then you will likely really appreciate the InstantDrummer function. If you already have a loop library you can import that but unfortunately the software only supports REX format. I'm pretty sure you can use the IMPORT function but the software works best if you stick to the InstantDrummer files.

They include a collection of built in VST effects which are top notch and are always available to add to a single Riff or an entire tune when you are ready to mix it down.

The Riff feature makes assembling a song quick but might limit users because it's difficult to have parts layer over each other.. i.e. you play a guitar solo and at the end of the riff that contains your solo you would like to sustain that last note over the next riff. This is not possible by recording this as a Riff but you instead have to switch to a "song layer". A song layer is essentially a track that spans the entire timeline, which is determined by how many Riffs you have dragged onto the song timeline. It's pretty easy to understand once you have played around for while but if you start to make changes to the order of Riffs then you have to re-record anything in the song layer as it won't line up with your changes any longer.

Anything you record can be Riffcast to Sonoma's Riffworld servers to share with others. They are behind the times as there is no support to directly to any other social website but you can just export the file and upload it on your own.

Their Rifflink service should be the killer feature as it allows users to collaborate over the internet in almost real time. You can't use this to jam live but as soon as you record a loop it is automatically uploaded to the servers so anyone else in the session will hear it moments after you record it. The only problem with the service is there doesn't seem to be a whole of of activity so you might have to wait a few days until someone opens your session and adds something to it. Seems most users are just content with recording on their own and using the free Riffcast feature instead of collaborating. It's $60/yr which is quite reasonable but becomes harder to justify if you post something and don't see anyone add to it for days.. Something like OHMStudio is much more active and Riffworld needs to shake something up if they want to sell Rifflink bundles.

The software has been on sale for $49 for several months now even thought their website says it was temporary.. for $49 it's a pretty good value and it does come with several full InstantDrummer session and 60 days of Rifflink service.

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