Review: Rob Papen RG
Rob Papen’s latest product is RG, a groove plug-in that is far more than just a Virtual Rhythm Guitar player.
Originally unveiled at the Frankfurt Musikmesse earlier this year, RG is an innovative software instrument that allows the user to create not just classic rhythm guitar grooves, but also exciting new grooves and sounds which a real guitar could never produce.
Let’s see what RG has to offer.
RG key features
- Rhythm Guitar models: Electric guitar type Fender Stratocaster®, Steel 8TH type for Streelstrings 8th note grooves, Steel 16TH type for Steelstrings 16th note grooves.
- Sequencer (A/B) which controls the guitar strokes and RG synthesizer parts.
- Overall Pitch modulation with tempo sync-able global Pitch LFO, amount control and pitch bend with separate settings for up and down pitch-bends.
- Main filter is an analogue modelled stereo Multimode Filter, offering 6dB LowPass and HighPass, 12dB, 18dB and 24dB LowPass and HighPass, 12dB and 24dB BandPass, 12dB and 24dB Notch, Comb and Vowel Filter.
- Built-in Amp/Volume Envelope with Attack, Decay and Release.
- Modulation: 2 free modulation routings, 33 modulation sources & 22 destinations.
- 3 HQ effects blocks in serial mode: Mono Delay, Stereo Delay, Comb Filter, Reverb, Chorus, Chorus/Delay, Flanger, Phaser, Ensemble, FX Filter, WahWah/Delay, AutoWah, Amp Simulator (5 models), Cabinet Simulator (5 models), Distortion, Low Fi, Waveshaper, Multi-distort (11 types), Stereo Widener, Autopan, Gator and Compressor.
- Equalizer with 5 bands at 60Hz, 200Hz, 600Hz, 2000Hz and 8000Hz frequencies.
- Preset handling with copy, paste, clear and compare function.
- Banks with Electric RG grooves, Steelstring RG grooves, Electric and SteelString basic grooves.
How does it work?
RG is easy and fast to work with. The grooves are constructed in 2 independent sequencers which can be played by using different keyboard ranges. You control the guitar strokes and synth parts in 32 steps, with the following settings for each step: on/off, Tie, Stroke (Down, Up, Ghost or Glide/Extra), Velocity and Free row.
The “more” part of this Virtual Rhythm Guitar can be found in its synth options.
You’ll find a pitch modulation section with pitch LFO and bend parameters, an analogue modelled stereo multi-mode filter (with pre-defined cutoff modulation, envelope and LFO), plenty of modulation options and 3 high quality effects blocks in serial mode.
RG comes with some 500 presets, including 300 “RG” grooves and 200 “basic” grooves. Check the RG mp3 page for some audio demos.
So what do I think?
At first I was a little disappointed with RG to be honest. It is a bit of a one-trick pony, and it doesn’t sound much like “the real thing” (note: I’m a guitarist myself). If you’re expecting realistic guitar sounds, you should check out something like RealGuitar/RealStrat or Strum Acoustic GS1 instead.
So is it all bad? Not really, as long as you think of RG as a groove player synthesizer with a touch of rhythm guitar. Realizing RG is a specialized tool, it does do what it’s supposed to do really well:
Just hit a single note in the major or minor keyboard range and the groove plays!
I really like the feel of RG, it’s easy to construct nice grooves and the synth part has plenty of solid features. Some of the presets are pretty good at doing guitar rhythms but I actually like the more abstract synth type sounds best. Groovy!
RG is available for Windows and Mac for 149 EUR (included VAT) / $179 USD from Time+Space (boxed) and in the Rob Papen online webstore. A 30-day demo version is available for download so make sure you give it a spin to see how you like it.