I don't know if anybody here reads "Computer Music" magazine but it's a magazine from England that is distributed to many countries worldwide and it deals primarily with virtual instruments and effects, DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations, eg. Sonar, Cubase, Logic, Reaper, etc.) as well as recording techniques and reviews amongst other topics. Every month they include an 8.4 gig DVD packed with samples, software (both free and demo versions) along with video(s) featuring various producers (usually dance oriented) demonstrating their recording techniques. Anyway there's one piece of software in the September issue I thought I'd tell you about. It's on the DVD included with the magazine and it's free for both Mac and PC users. It's made by Sonoma Wire Works and it's called "RiffWorks T4". Here's what it says in the magazine about it:
"A free version of Sonoma Wire Works' RiffWorks guitar recording software. RiffWorks T4 offers a cut-down feature set compared to the standard edition, with the major limitation being that there are only four tracks available rather than the full 24. It also includes AmpliTube Duo LE rather than AmpliTube Live, Studio Devil BVC, and a single demo drummer instead of the nine virtual drummers found in the standard version. There's also no ReWire or REX file compatibility here, and 1125 display resolution support is also missing. Despite these limitations, RiffWorks T4 is still a highly usable app that boasts some amazing features, considering it's free. It should be very appealing to computer music novices in particular.
When you run the program for the first time, a tutorial guides you through the creation of a virtual drummer track, setting up effects, and recording a guitar part, known here as a riff. Once you've recorded one of these, it can be duplicated to build up the basis of a full track. As well as the amp effects, RiffWorks also features a built-in filter shaper, an EQ, a compressor, a modulator and delay and reverb effects, for creating a wide variety of useful guitar tones. Likewise, the virtual drummers style can be tailored to suit the track you're working on, with settings like Variation, Intensity and Ambience. RiffWorks is clearly designed as a less intimidating alternative to more complicated recording software - the interface has the feel of guitar recording hardware, for example, and the program appears to be quite deliberately limited.
Also, VST (Virtual Studio Instrument) plug-in support is restricted - you can't use instruments, and effects without their own interface won't even load up. There's no way to import your own WAV files, either, which means you have to use the supplied virtual drummer for beats. This is a great way for guitarists who are unfamiliar with software recording to get their hands dirty, though - especially as it doesn't require a cash investment. You can even collaborate online with four other musicians using the RiffLink feature, which includes a chat client."
BTW, for those of you who are new to recording on the computer, it may be a little tricky to set up at first but the help file makes things pretty clear. I was messing around with it last night and at first I was going to use the VST amps but then I decided to try the VG-99s USB function. The (very short) track I'm attaching took me less than 15 minutes to put together and it could've been even shorter than that if I hadn't have made a couple of flubs. Three out of the four instruments I'm using here were ones I programmed myself on the VG-99. (I'll be uploading them later.) The bass is one I named "FilterOWBass". It has a shorter attack and a punchy type of sound. The synth type sound uses the Wave instrument and I called it "DualWaveSolo" then there's a track which you have to listen for rather closely which uses the VARI model and I've called it "Vari&WarmCrunch". I had to turn it down as it was overpowering the Wave sound as well as the last guitar part which uses the "Summers" (Andy Summers) setting that I downloaded from here, I believe. Yep, I just checked, it's not a preset.
BTW the MP3 file I've attached is looped so if you want to download it and use it in your DAW of choice be my guest. The progression is C#minor, B, F#minor and A. Another thing, I haven't even experimented with the effects in this RiffWorks program so that's something else I'll be checking out. Once again I highly recommend searching out the September issue of Computer Music magazine even if just for this program alone. I feel more motivated to try more things now because sometimes even a user friendly DAW can be a little intimidating or uninspiring.
EDIT: Okay, I just found out you don't have to buy Computer Music magazine to get this program.
Just go to http://www.sonomawireworks.com
and you can download it for free but I still recommend checking out the magazine as it's a well written and informative magazine. Here's my MP3 file.