Neural DSP is greatest identified for its high-quality amp fashions, whether or not that’s its $1,850 Quad Cortex flooring modeler or plugins in your DAW. Its newest providing is the €139 (roughly $142) Archetype: Rabea plugin. The Archetype collection is a group of artist collabs the place Neural builds out a set of amp sims and results to seize the essence of that exact musician’s sound. Whereas a wide range of artists throughout genres have labored with the corporate, the Archetype collection has positively trended towards the heavier finish of the spectrum, with names like Gojira, Tosin Abasi, and John Petrucci getting concerned. Rabea Massaad positively falls into that class together with his band Frog Leap, and backing up Stormzy. However, Archetype: Rabea provides an fascinating new wrinkle to Neural DSP’s formulation – a synth.
Earlier than we get to the synth half, let’s run by the core options. There are three amp sims in Archetype: Rabea – clear, rhythm and lead, which cowl all the things from brilliant Fender chimes, to loss of life steel chug, to unadulterated shred. There are round 100 presets included that make dialing in tones easy. Neural takes a really skeuomorphic strategy to interface design, and should you’ve ever used a guitar amp earlier than (which I’ll assume you may have should you’re studying this), you’ll really feel proper at dwelling. All three amps sound fairly good proper out of the field and it’s straightforward to tweak them to your liking.
Archetype isn’t only a handful of amp sims bundled collectively, although. You possibly can mix these amps with numerous totally different speaker cupboards, simulated totally different mic placements, and there’s a four-band EQ for additional wonderful tuning the tone.
The underside finish is sort of tight and the distortion satisfying. I don’t assume anybody is more likely to mistake Neural’s plugins for a real-deal tube amp. However that’s kinda inappropriate, so long as it sounds good. The sound straight out of the field may be very full and sounds nice by itself, however wants heavy EQing to sit down proper in a combination. Additionally, the amp sims can get fairly noisy, virtually such as you’re standing proper in entrance of an actual cranked amp. Fortunately, there’s a noise gate builtin – make buddies with it.
The entire level of Archetype is to be an entire guitar rig, so that you additionally get a bunch of results with every installment, too. Rabea comes with a compressor, octaver, overdrive, fuzz, delay and reverb “pedals,” in addition to pitch shifting and doubling results. Once more, whereas these cowl all kinds of tones, they actually excel on the heavier finish of the spectrum, which is the place many different digital amp and results sims can fall flat for my part.
All the results are fairly strong, however the octaver and reverb are simply my favourite. The octaver enables you to mix in each an octave under and above what you’re enjoying, and has each a classic and fashionable mode. The previous is nice should you’re on the lookout for that dirtier, glitchier old-school vibe. The reverb has a freeze operate, with unbiased pitch management which – when mixed with the octaver and doubler – delivers actually lush pads that may drone on without end. You possibly can even change the pitch whilst you’re enjoying over it to create progressions. It’s an enchanting solution to begin sketching out concepts for songs, but it surely’s not likely sensible for performing.
However what actually units Archetype: Rabea aside is the Overlord Synth. It’s a twin oscillator, monophonic, subtractive synth that follows the pitch of your guitar. This can be a first for Neural DSP, and the corporate claims it’s a “world-first,” although I couldn’t independently affirm that declare. What I can say is that there are pitch-tracking guitar synth pedals and MIDI guitars that may management synths, there are additionally pitch-tracking tools that you may pair with a softsynth to manage it with a guitar, however I wasn’t capable of finding an all-in-one pitch-tracking guitar synth VST.
The sound engine itself is nothing too fancy: two oscillators with 4 waveshape choices, a low cross filter with 4 totally different modes, a reasonably fundamental arpeggiator, and a pair of envelopes to manage the amplitude and filter. You possibly can coax dreamy and delicate plucks out of it, but it surely actually shines as a synth bass machine. As a result of the choices are restricted, even somebody new to synths ought to have a reasonably straightforward time coming to grips with Overlord.
After all, the large query is how properly it tracks enter out of your guitar. And I’m comfortable to report that it’s almost excellent. Now, it’s monophonic, so you possibly can’t play large synth chords the best way you would possibly with a MIDI controller, but it surely had no hassle maintaining with groove steel riffs and mid-tempo pentatonic solos. The demos on Neural’s web site even make it seems like it might deal with finger tapping, however my finger tapping abilities are principally non-existent. There was not often a stray observe, or odd abrupt reduce off. It’s simply among the greatest pitch-tracking I’ve seen in a plugin. There’s the occasional artifact when sliding across the neck, however when you modify your enjoying fashion it’s fairly to reduce them.
All sounds on this demo, aside from the drums, are created utilizing solely a guitar operating by Archetype: Rabea.
The true magic begins taking place, although, once you mix all these numerous parts collectively. You possibly can mix within the synth together with your guitar, pitch the oscillators one fifth and one octave under, activate the doubling impact and create only a large wall of sound. You possibly can then freeze that utilizing the reverb pedal, retune the synth to play the identical observe and an octave up, and solo over that drone in equally bombastic fashion. Archetype: Rabea is principally guitar tone maximalism at its best.
In case you’re already a fan of Neural DSP’s merchandise, Archetype: Rabea is a simple promote. It’s a high-quality digital guitar rig with a really glorious synth inbuilt. Even should you’re primarily within the synth facet of issues, the €139 isn’t too dangerous. Sure, the synth is pretty fundamental, however you get a handful of results to course of it, and the pitch monitoring is prime notch. You’re in all probability gonna pay at the very least $99 for any respectable commercial synth plugin, so an additional $40 to have the ability to natively management it together with your guitar is a small worth to pay.
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