Product Review | RiG: Urban Workstation

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Article Rating Author
 
SoundsAndGear.com 4.5/5 JK Sopes
 
So what is Rig? Sounds like a guitar library!

When you first hear the name you may think it's a dedicated guitar library, but it's not.  It's a workstation, similar to keyboard workstations it comes with various sounds in all types of categories so that it aims to be a one stop shop for music production.

This instrument aims to be THE toolkit for modern music producers.  Now I know what you're thinking...anything that aims at a specific genre usually becomes more of a quirky add on than a main source tool, but this is not the case here.

Instead of giving you a bunch of weird noises and cliché hits, you get the type of instruments that you would actually use.  Keys, bass, guitars, strings, hits, drums, loops, synths, ethnic, etc.  It really does cover all the bases.

Quick Specs
- content: 26gb (takes up 15gb of space since it uses Kontakt's lossless compression)
- format: kontakt 4 and kontakt player 4

How does it sound?

This is all we care about of course when you get right down to it.  Especially if it claims to be THE workstation for modern music production... pretty big claims huh?

Well, this library has a great sound, the acoustic guitars have fret/release noise that is adjustable to add more realism. The electric keys and pianos are nice, has a really good grand piano in here.
I like the electric guitar chords which let you switch between major and minor chords, as well as the section of experimental guitars that have that instant "I gotta use this" sound to them.

The brass sections are dope and full, and the strings are surprisingly useful, not too "orchestral" like many string libraries.  These have an organic quality about them that allows them to fit into the track without being too big to sound right in context.

There are also tons and tons of drums, but I also dig the drum loops, you can play each chop like a drum kit or rearrange and add fx to the loops. There's a section of instrument loops that allow you to play the chops in them as well, very useful, especially the bass as I feel it makes up for the lack of depth in the electric/acoustic bass section. I also love the organs in here, the modwheel adjust the rotary speed and it just sounds really good.

The recordings are clean and just plain useful. Also the interface is dope! You can quickly add fx, change the arps, envelopes, and even micro tuning directly from the interface. It's laid out very clean and easy to use, though I think some of the screen could do with a different text color than white, especially in the micro-tuning areas and such.  Sometimes it's hard to see the white text on the white/blue gradient background.
But overall it's a very useful interface and allows you to really tweak your sounds with the envelopes and step fx.


So what's the bottom line?
Like I said, most of the time a "hip hop" targeted library usually becomes more of an "fx and seasoning" library (think emu mophatt) But this one is just a great collection of common sounds that many modern producers would use. You got your keys, your drums, your bass, your synths, your horns, strings, etc.
I felt the bass area was lacking a bit, especially the electric basses, and the vocals are pretty much hit and miss. Some of them are so corny you would never use them, and the one's that are useable will probably be used over and over by different folks, but it's cool to have, especially if you're working on film/tv placements and you need some of those vocal snippets.

One thing I love about this library it loads FAST I mean it's almost instant thanks to the optimization of the programming and the Kontakt engine. Great job here, really allows it to fall into that "workstation" category, as you can quickly browse through and audition a bunch of sounds.

One thing I will suggest, you may want to turn the default volume down when loading the instruments, I found some of the to be a little "hot" since they have the limiter turned on, that mixed with having the instrument at 0db can lead to distortion really quick, especially in the instruments that have chorus and other fx applied to them.

I give this library 4.5 out of 5 subs, it's a really great library with plenty of useful sounds that will make any modern music producer happy, especially since they load almost instantly.
As I said, I found the electric bass lacking, and for an urban library bass is important.  However,  the fretless and upright bass is nice, as are the tons of synth basses.

Maybe they can do an update later and infuse it with some more presets in various categories, mainly the real instruments like horns, bass, pianos, ethnic, etc. I know I'll be making my own presets as well because the engine just encourages experimentation and there's so much you can do with the fx and modulations.
When I first saw them introduce this at NAMM in January, I couldn't wait until it dropped. Now that it's out, I think they did a really great job at providing the tools many producers look for, in an easy to use, quick loading package.

To see this product in action, check out JK's video review at SoundsAndGear.com
 

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