Music Software Review: RealRick by MusicLab

What do The Beatles, Peter Townshend, John Fogerty, John Kay, and many other well-known 1960s guitarists have in common? They all played Rickenbacker® Guitars and trusted this clean ringing sound which became so popular in those days and still is as groups like Oasis, Pearl Jam, U2 and other today’s top acts show.

The predecessor company of Rickenbacker® was founded in 1931 by Adolph Rickenbacher and George Beauchamp and became famous because of their so called ‘Fryin Pans’ and later their Rickenbacker Guitars and Basses. For long story feel free to visit Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickenbacker).

The company MusicLab which is also known by their products like, RealGuitar, RealLPC and RealStrat has now released this famous sound as a virtual instrument.

RealRick_01

Download and Installation

Downloading the installers for OSX and Windows from the MusicLab website worked flawlessly as expected and as both worlds exist in my studio I decided to test RealRick on both. Installation for OSX was also fast and without and errors.

The mess started when installing RealRick on Windows. Usually with other MusicLab products like RealGuitar and RealStrat you get usually asked by the installer where to install the library. Very convenient if you have installed them on another disk than your virtual instrument. Unfortunately this does not happen on the installation of RealRick.

I tested it twice but never got asked. So the library itself got installed on my systemdisk and I needed to copy it manually on my library disk. Anyway, not a big problem. But where was the instrument installed as I also didn’t got asked for a VST installation path? Well, this was a little bit difficult to figure out as RealRick didn’t appear in my VST folder. I could only solve it with the manual as Real Rick gets installed pending on which binary version it is (32bit or 64bit) in several folders across your windows system. Very confusing.

Well dear people at MusicLab we nearly have 2015 and I think this is surely no big thing to code a routine which asks you where to install the virtual instruments. At least on your other products you did this so why not here on Real Rick?

Instruments Specifics

Real Rick is a sample based virtual instrument recorded with 24bit 96khz directly from its pick-ups as high quality samples and features 6 patches:

  • 6-string – Mono
  • 12-string A – Mono
  • 3rd string pair tuned in OCTAVE
-
  • 12-string B – Mono
  • 3rd string pair tuned in UNISON
  • 6-string (Stereo) – full Stereo
  • 12-string A (Stereo/Mono)

 

Main (sustain) sound is Stereo, additional sounds and noises are Mono
-12-string B (Stereo/Mono) – Main (sustain) sound is Stereo, additional sounds and noises are Mono.

Unlike other sample based instruments (e.g. Kontakt) Real Rick comes with its own sample engine from MusicLab:

Usability and Patterns

If you own one of MusicLab’s products you will feel immediately familiar with all functionalities as they are nearly in all products the same. If you never bought an instrument before the GUI can be split in three main areas.

Top section shows general settings tweaking and here you can also load the different guitar patches. In the middle section you see a nice designed Rickenbacker® guitar with its fretboard. On this fretboard you can see due to green points where on the guitar the tone/chords are played. Due to so called Floating Fret Position principle which was invented by MusicLab you have the possibility to play up on 14 guitar frets using just 46 keys from your keyboard.

On the bottom section is where all the magic comes together. The main panes provide the 5 Global Modes for different midi input methods.

  • MIDI Keyboard – MIDI keyboard/MIDI track input
  • Pattern – automatic accompaniment using rhythm patterns from MusicLab Guitar PatternLibrary
  • Joystick – Guitar Hero game controller input (Struminator technology)
  • MIDI Guitar – normal guitar input via guitar MIDI interface (6 strings to 6 MIDI channels)
  • Direct – works as plain sampler with multi-channel MIDI access to all internal sounds/noises individually with all intelligent features turned off.

To explain each General Mode in detail would be a bit too much for this review but the well written manual explains each mode in detail and it is highly recommended to read through it. Lots of details are explained in a very easy way and also lots of tips, tricks and hints are hidden there.

The learning curve on any Real product of MusicLab is very high if you want to use all of it’s features. But if you have learned one you can use this knowledge on nearly every product of them. The Real product are very deep products with lots of tweaking possibilities to get a much realistic sound as only possible. This also means some practising. Especially if you want to create and use your own pattern library instead thee huge library that comes with RealRick.

This pattern library is so extensive (see tab Pattern) that it also has an own pattern manager where you can also create your own patterns. The delivered patterns are a joy to play with and cover nearly pretty everything you need for playing the guitar. If Rock/Pop/Blues/Gospel or Folk in 4/4, 3/4 or triplet feeling – every thing is there and this make RealRick immediately ready for instant use. And of course patterns can be imported to your DAW via drag & drop if your DAW does support this.

RealRick_02

The sound is clean and accurate. As the samples are recorded dry directly from the pick-ups you can amplify the sound with any virtual guitar amplifier of your choice to achieve a traditional or even an own sound. I think its impossible to not get a tasty sound out of this instrument which will enhance any of your productions that need guitar.

Conclusion

MusicLab has again released a very nice product for your virtual instruments arsenal. It is possible to achieve a very realistic sound with this plugin. I have used MusicLab‘s guitars very often in my music, thickening guitar tracks or even using them in the background on all their own.

This one will be another “secret” weapon in my guitar collection, which used to have both the real and the virtual guitars. The virtual guitars are now winning ground.

What do The Beatles, Peter Townshend, John Fogerty, John Kay, and many other well-known 1960s guitarists have in common? They all played Rickenbacker® Guitars and trusted this clean ringing sound which became so popular in those days and still is as groups like Oasis, Pearl Jam, U2 and other today’s top acts show. The predecessor company of Rickenbacker® was founded in 1931 by Adolph Rickenbacher and George Beauchamp and became famous because of their so called ‘Fryin Pans’ and later their Rickenbacker Guitars and Basses. For long story feel free to visit Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rickenbacker). The company MusicLab which is also known by their products like, RealGuitar, RealLPC and RealStrat has now released this famous sound as a virtual instrument. Download and Installation Downloading the installers for OSX and Windows from the MusicLab website worked flawlessly as expected and as both worlds exist in my studio I decided to test RealRick on both. Installation for OSX was also fast and without and errors. The mess started when installing RealRick on Windows. Usually with other MusicLab products like RealGuitar and RealStrat you get usually asked by the installer where to install the library. Very convenient if you have installed them on another disk than your virtual instrument. Unfortunately this does not happen on the installation of RealRick. I tested it twice but never got asked. So the library itself got installed on my systemdisk and I needed to copy it manually on my library disk. Anyway, not a big problem. But where was the instrument installed as I also didn’t got asked for a VST installation path? Well, this was a little bit difficult to figure out as RealRick didn’t appear in my VST folder. I could only solve it with the manual as Real Rick gets installed pending on which binary version it is (32bit or 64bit) in several folders across your windows system. Very confusing. Well dear people at MusicLab we nearly have 2015 and I think this is surely no big thing to code a routine which asks you where to install the virtual instruments. At least on your other products you did this so why not here on Real Rick? Instruments Specifics Real Rick is a sample based virtual instrument recorded with 24bit 96khz directly from its pick-ups as high quality samples and features 6 patches: 6-string – Mono 12-string A – Mono 3rd string pair tuned in OCTAVE
- 12-string B – Mono 3rd string pair tuned in UNISON 6-string (Stereo) – full Stereo 12-string A (Stereo/Mono)   Main (sustain) sound is Stereo, additional sounds and noises are Mono
-12-string B (Stereo/Mono) – Main (sustain) sound is Stereo, additional sounds and noises are Mono. Unlike other sample based instruments (e.g. Kontakt) Real Rick comes with its own sample engine from MusicLab: Usability and Patterns If you own one of MusicLab’s products you will feel immediately familiar with all functionalities as they are nearly in all products the same. If you never bought an instrument before the GUI can be split…

RealRick by MusicLab


INSTALLATION – 65%


PATCHES – 100%


INTERFACE – 85%


SOUND – 100%


VALUE – 95%



89%

89/100

A great sounding guitar and a legend as well in a sampled instrument. Great playability and realism especially if you devote some time in it.

89

Written by: Panos Kolias

Panos Kolias is a film, tv and concert music composer and musician. He regularly produces cues and other commercial music for major television programs like CSB ABC and others. He's a part of the electronic duo DubLion Project and works also as a musician, educator, orchestrator, and technical consultant. Besides composing for TV and film and composing concert music, he holds a lecturer position at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hamburg, teaching Music Technology and Film scoring courses.

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