Product Review | Electri6ity
|MusicTech Magazine||9/10||Keith Gemmell|
If you love the sound of guitars but can't actually play one, Vir2 might have the perfect solution.
Electri6ity is a new virtual electric guitar instrument from Vir2, a team of international sound designers, musicians and programmers who specialise in producing advanced libraries. Their latest creation, powerrd by Kontakt, is certainly that. It features detailed re-creations of eight famous guitars - Strat, Tele, P90, Les Paul, Danelectro Lipstick, ES335, L4 and Rickenbacker. It contains thousands of samples, employs advanced scripting and artificial intelligence, and has built-in effects and amp simulation.
- Recordings of 8 classic guitars
- 24,000 samples
- 3 pickup positions
- Many articulations
- Advanced scripting
- Intelligent string and fretboard positioning
- Chord detection
- Built-in amp modeling and effects
- Kontakt 4 player
READY TO ROCK
Two versions of each guitar are available: clean (a direct input from the guitar) and amped (routed through the built-in amp, screamer and effects). They load 'ready to play', complete with all their articulations and playing techniques. These are accessed by striking one of the many keyswitches, and to get at them all on-the-fly you'll need an 88-key controller keyboard.
All eight guitars were recorded with three pickup options: front, rear, and mixed. Apparently, over 24,000 samples of each guitar were taken and the results enable you to play every articulation on every fret of every string - an amazing feat by any standards.
Vir2's fastidious sampling has paid off, though, because, from a pure sound quality standpoint, this is the best electric guitar library we've come across to date. Select a DI instrument, play a few notes or chords and you might be convinced that a real guitar has been plugged into your mixing board.
Pick an amped version instead and you'll have access to the built-in effects and amp simulation. The effects (phaser, flanger, chorus, reverb and delay) perform well enough, although a virtual wah pedal would be welcome. We gave the built-in amp a miss of favour of a third-party simulator, and with so many good ones available, in all honesty you'll probably do the same.
All the guitars sound great, although as most users are not likely to be guitarists, more information on specific instruments - such as their history, character, who plays them - would be helpful when deciding which one to choose for a particular style of music.
Although Electri6ity is not exactly difficult to play, it does take some getting used to - mainly because of the sheer number of available controls and keyswitches to find your way around. Even the developers admit that it's easy to lose your way.
Something we found confusing at first (before we properly read the manual!) were the different ways in which to control the morphed articulations, such as the transition from muted strings to normal sustained notes. By default they are controlled using velocity - play lightly for muted strings and harder for sustained sounds, leaving volume to be controlled by MIDI CC. However, this can be changed to a more familiar playing mode, whereby MIDI velocity controls volume and the morphing can be controlled with the mod wheel. you could also assign the task to a pedal
Once you're familiar with the controls, Electri6ity does sound very realistic, in part due to the use of artificial intelligence, which works by taking into account what you just played and how you played it - speed, note duration, intervals and so on - and then works out which string and fret position to use in the most natural way possible. Exactly how it reacts can be determined in the settings section.
Although this is a fantastic virtual instrument - probably the best of its kind - it's a complex beast and time spent absorbing the manual pays dividends. The vast number of controls and articulations is truly amazing and there's a 14-page list of adjustable settings for strings, fretboard, tone, playing, legato, strumming, picking, vibrato, noise, releases, humanize and calibration. So, if you have a use for eight beautifully sampled guitars and you're not frightened by manuals, you ought to check out Electri6ity.
A fantastic virtual electric guitar with eight superbly recorded instruments. It's not easy to play at first, but perseverance yields superb results!