Installation Guide – RealStrat 4 | Time+Space Help Center
Before the virtual instrument revolution, producing convincing keyboard-generated guitar parts was a rather hit-and-miss affair. Although it was possible to achieve some moderately passable acoustic and electric ‘lead guitar’ performances, given a decent source of sampled raw material and some appropriate outboard processing, it was usually at the expense of the finer details; those ‘guitaristic’ articulations and techniques that add an authentic feel of spontaneity and human interactivity. Altogether much harder to emulate were convincing strummed guitar parts. Of these, the Digitar allowed for true real-time strumming and was the more successful of the two in terms of realism; nevertheless the dark circles under my eyes still remain, testifying to the many editing hours spent bullying Digitar parts into submission.
MusicLab Real Strat
Before the virtual instrument revolution, producing convincing keyboard-generated guitar parts was a rather hit-and-miss affair. Although it was possible to achieve some moderately passable acoustic and electric ‘lead guitar’ performances, given a decent source of sampled raw material and some appropriate outboard processing, it was usually at the expense of the finer details; those ‘guitaristic’ articulations and techniques that add an authentic feel of spontaneity and human interactivity.
Altogether much harder to emulate were convincing strummed guitar parts. Of these, the Digitar allowed for true real-time strumming and was the more successful of the two in terms of realism; nevertheless the dark circles under my eyes still remain, testifying to the many editing hours spent bullying Digitar parts into submission.
Yet even after all that work, they ended up being buried in the mix to protect their patently artificial nature from detailed examination! Steinberg provided a groundbreaking solution in with the release of Virtual Guitarist, a software instrument based on time-sliced, sampled loops of real strummed acoustic and electric guitar performances that could sit prominently in a mix.
The greatly expanded and enhanced Virtual Guitarist 2 followed in Virtual Guitarist 2 is nevertheless based upon a supplied library of rhythm styles which, despite being editable and customisable in a DAW, do not allow for real-time strumming performances.
Russian company MusicLab, in collaboration with Best Service, then raised the bar in with the first release of Real Guitar, the brainchild of Sergey Egorov. Taking a different approach to Virtual Guitarist, Real Guitar is exclusively devoted to acoustic guitars, using discrete single-note multisamples taken at multiple velocities, driven by a dedicated engine that employs MIDI processing not entirely dissimilar to that found on Charlie Labs’ Digitar.
Chords played on a MIDI keyboard are re-interpreted to produce authentic guitar voicings which can then be ‘strummed’ in real time, using groups of trigger keys elsewhere on the keyboard. However, Real Guitar goes much further than that, offering a fully polyphonic Solo mode and four different Chordal modes, variously utilising numerous user-controllable ‘guitar performance’ tricks such as fret-slides, hammer-ons and tremolando effects, not to mention keyswitchable alternate articulations such as mutes, palm slaps and harmonics.
At last, a highly convincing and playable ‘acoustic guitar’ that could be featured loudly and proudly in a mix without a hint of embarrassment or apology. Users fast became fans, and were almost immediately asking “will there be an electric guitar version?
Unlike Real Guitar, which provides eight different acoustic guitars, Real Strat currently offers only the one sample set, although we’ll have to see whether this is augmented in the future with Real Strat-hosted add-on guitar expansion packs with alternative GUI ‘skins’ that match specific guitars? A stand-alone version is also installed automatically. During installation, the Real Strat Bank Manager applet asks you to choose a sample rate for the core library appropriate to your usual working environment: I installed the Once the core library is copied over to your hard drive of choice, Real Strat is ready to rock in time-limited demo mode; to fully activate the product, simply apply for an authorisation code via email, and this will be returned in the same way.
These are categorised according to tempo range, meter and playing technique and cover everything from basic picking and strumming to blues, jazz, funk, reggae and world styles, amongst others.
The PM button opens the Pattern Manager window which is divided into three panes: Once a Pattern is chosen, simply play a chord on the keyboard and the Pattern plays in tempo sync with the host DAW. Incorporating these within a sequence is simplicity itself; just drag a Pattern from the lower display onto a MIDI track and it appears as one bar of MIDI trigger key data that can be copied as many times as required. Being MIDI data, it can also be edited, so applying different grooves and quantise settings is totally possible.
The Pattern data does not include chord information, which you add on a separate MIDI track, making sure both tracks’ outputs are routed to Real Strat. It’s instant, ready-made accompaniment and a potential time saver. However, the pleasures of playing Real Strat are so great that I would opt to ‘roll my own’ every time! Beneath The Scratchplate Anyone familiar with Real Guitar will feel immediately comfortable with the Real Strat interface, as the two have much in common.
Real Strat occupies around 15 percent more screen space than Real Guitar, due to the virtual keyboard and additional functions required by Real Strat’s Solo mode, which goes into considerably more detail than that of Real Guitar. The GUI is divided into four areas of interest. Across the centre lies the fretboard, upon which green dots appear when Real Strat is played, to indicate which ‘strings’ are ‘sounding’.
To the right is the pick-position selector, which can be placed in any of 15 positions between the neck and bridge, providing a useful range of tonal variation, and making up, in part, for the lack of a pickup selector. This composite picture shows the performance control options of the various playing modes Chords Mode is shown in the main plug-in screenshot.
Above the fretboard, on and adjacent to the guitar body, are a number of controls that are always visible, regardless of performance mode. Strum sets the base strum speed of chords or any simultaneously played notes for the whole instrument.
This can be modified as can most Real Strat parameters with a MIDI controller, and also overridden by longer Slow Strums whenever certain definable conditions are met. Attack has the effect of time-stretching or shrinking the plectrum noise, which naturally affects the apparent latency of the instrument. The default setting of 20 percent seems most effective; a setting of zero, while producing the fastest response, seems to detract something from the sound’s ‘physicality’.
Release affects the rate at which the strings are damped, as you’d expect. Part of the realism behind Real Strat’s sound is the Floating Fret Position, which imitates the way a guitarist changes playing position on the neck. This is indicated by a ‘capo’ on the fretboard which automatically follows your movements up and down the keyboard. In Solo and Harmony modes, the button labelled ‘Auto’ lets you enable or disable this feature.
If disabled, you can ‘lock’ the capo’s position by right-clicking on the fretboard, whereupon the top five strings will only play samples above the capo position. The three Chord modes address this differently, as explained later. Like Real Guitar, Real Strat also features a full-time round-robin system that alternates samples for repeated notes.
The Alter box offers five choices, the minimum representing three alternating samples, and the maximum being This totally eradicates any hint of the dreaded ‘machine-gun’ effect, especially when playing tremolando or fast, Reservoir Dogs-style passages.
In all modes but Solo mode, the Hold button substitutes the sustain pedal — in other words, all chords sound for their full duration until they either fade out naturally, or you play a new chord or one of the Mute trigger keys. In Solo mode, Hold works only while at least one key is kept held down, whereupon any subsequent notes will sustain until all keys are released.
At the top of the interface are two groups of drop-down menus. The left-hand group handles output level, EQ, tuning, modulation and general instrument setup parameters.
Here you can also choose whether Real Strat will add pitch-bend and modulation to all notes, or only those keys that are currently pressed. The latter option is the default, and is the most naturalistic, as it allows you to bend specific held notes within a chord while the rest are ringing via the sustain pedal. In the right-hand group, the Mixer allows you to balance fret noise, release noise, pick noise, mutes, slow-strum and velocity-switched effects against the main body sound, while the FX Mixer offers further level control of bridge mutes, harmonics, pinch harmonics, slaps and scrapes.
Also found here are settings for Real Strat’s own built-in wah-wah effect. This can either be set to respond automatically to your playing dynamics like Electro-Harmonix’s Doctor Q stomp box with a choice of positive or negative sweeps; to auto-wah according to the set modulation rate; or be controlled manually via a MIDI controller. If you have a continuous MIDI footpedal that can be assigned to this task, so much the better.
The lower part of the GUI has two areas: The performance control display is the ‘nerve centre’ of Real Strat; an examination of its options for each of the various playing modes will follow shortly.
The playing technique particularly for the Chordal modes essentially involves playing notes or chords in the Main zone, and repeating them i. The Repeat keys are subdivided into two tasks: An amplifier simulation is, of course, an essential addition to an instrument of this sort, and Amplitube 2 Duo comes as a welcome bonus for anyone lacking in this department.
Judgements on the quality of guitar-amp sounds are bound to be subjective. While the two amp models supplied seem competent enough at the more bluesy or clean end of the scale, I struggled to obtain anything approaching the creamy-smooth leads that an admittedly non-guitarist ageing progger like me might gravitate towards. Having said that, the full list of amp simulations and other extras in the full version of Amplitube 2 may well contain the missing ingredients, and a reduced-price upgrade to the full version is available.
Those on a shoestring budget might like to check out the growing number of freeware amp simulators on the net. Two of my faves are Voxengo’s Boogex www. Solo Mode As its name suggests, Solo mode allows for fully polyphonic, freestyle playing of single lines, arpeggios, chords or whatever takes your fancy.
This features the most detailed set of control options, enabling a vast array of different articulations, noises and guitaristic shenanigans to be activated in various ways. Of the four larger blue boxes shown in the top-left corner of the screen to the left, the left-hand pair govern velocity-switchable articulations and effects. These are selectable from drop-down menus, with independent velocity thresholds for low- and high-velocity effects.
When the yellow LEDs are on, these are active; when off, their assigned functions are ignored. The large box to the lower right offers a substantial list of effects that can be engaged using the sustain pedal; these can either be momentary or latchable, toggling on and off with alternate pedal presses. Sustain itself can be enabled or disabled along with these effects if desired. The upper right-hand box offers a selection of alternative articulations which engage permanently when the box is turned on, and which ignore any velocity-switching settings.
Hammer-ons and legatos are well catered for too; Legato offers smooth note transitions over a two-semitone range, and is very effective for ensuring that two adjacent notes played on the same ‘string’ don’t run across each other. Hammer-ons also include automatic pull-offs, their operational range being between one an0d 12 semitones. A separately definable Bass Zone can be toggled on or off, allowing notes within that zone to ignore velocity-switched effects and mute trigger keys, enabling notes within the zone to continue sounding while notes outside the zone respond to all the set conditions.
In addition to these, various functions for the pitch-bender, mod wheel and aftertouch can be selected, with operational ranges for each. Solo mode allows different functions and ranges for upward and downward pitch-bend movements, so you could have, for example, smooth upward whole-tone pitch-bend and chromatic downward ‘fret slides’ over five semitones — very cool.
Included amongst the pitch-bend options is MonoBend; this bends only the lowest of two or more notes, an effect otherwise known as Unison bend. On discovering this option, I found that uncannily authentic renditions of ‘Honky Tonk Women’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’ slipped out before I could stop myself!
Another nice touch is that the pitch-bend range can be set to half, quarter or even one eighth of a semitone, all especially useful for performing ultra-controllable real-time vibrato using a pitch-bend lever.
If, even after all this, you’re running out of ways to add more articulations, Real Strat keeps on throwing them at you. In Solo mode, the entire range of articulations is available to you via keyswitches.
The KS button on the lower far left opens a separate window, listing 33 possible keyswitches as shown in the screen below operating across two ranges, C0 to D 1 and D 5 to D6.
Each keyswitch has a drop-down menu to select an articulation or effect, and each one can be individually enabled or disabled. Three LED switches to the left of each keyswitch determine whether that particular effect will be momentary or togglable, have sustain hold added or simultaneously function as a normal Repeat key. Thoughtfully, Real Strat allows any keyswitch setup to be saved as a preset, so even the most involved setups can be easily recalled. By now you’re probably wondering what these various articulations are.
The list is too long to detail in its entirety, but a glance at the keyswitch screenshot on the left shows the vast majority. Slaps, bridge mutes and harmonics are here of course, along with violining swells , tempo-synced trills and tremolandos, pinch harmonics and chucka-wah noises.
You can even add feedback, at any of six selectable pitches, at the press of a trigger key! The intriguingly named Sustainer extends the length of held notes by overlaying an additional swelled version of the same note each time the trigger key is pressed.
The Scrapes articulation is actually a complete multisampled collection of one-shot effects including squeaks, squeals, wibbles, scribbles, divebombs, plectrum scrapes and general full-shred guitar mayhem that add a genuine sense of grunge and attitude — barking mad and brilliant!
If there’s an articulation not included here, you probably don’t need it. Chord Mode Identical to the mode of the same name in Real Guitar, Chord Mode is the place to come when you want to strum. Real Strat can detect 26 different chord types, the name of the current chord being displayed just above the fretboard.
As hinted at earlier, the Floating Fret neck position behaviour is slightly different to Solo mode:
RealStrat by MusicLab is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin and a Standalone Application. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin. Download RealStrat for free. RealStrat is a guitar sound modeling and emulation tool with a standard MIDI keyboard. Description: MusicLab – RealStrat is a virtual instrument with an . 10 Complete (STANDALONE, VST, VST3, RTAS, AAX, AU) [WIN.
MusicLab releases RealStrat 4.0 guitar instrument plugin
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HOWTO VIDEO: RealStrat (free version) download for PC
MusicLab has released version of its RealStrat sample-based virtual Fender Stratocaster guitar instrument for Windows and Mac. I own two Musiclab guitars (LPC and RealStrat) and V-Metal from Prominy. Hands down, it’s the V-Metal that wins the prize. The Musiclab. Buy MusicLab RealStrat 3 Virtual Instrument featuring Sampled & Emulated Strat Chord Detect System, Pattern Manager for Accompaniment Tracks, VST 2.