Guitar Recording Software for Mac and PC
An in-app Quick Start tutorial can be accessed within RiffWorks at any time by clicking "HELP" on the right side of the screen.
Press PLAY to get started. The InstantDrummer should be heard playing.
Press the DRUMMER button to make changes to the InstantDrummer. Turn the INTENSITY knob to control the InstantDrummer's playing. Every Riff can have a different intensity. Click the PART popup menu to select different sections of the song like verse, chorus, or bridge. Every Riff can have a different part. Click the SESSION popup menu to get a different style for different songs. Each Riff can have a different Session.
Adjust the TEMPO by clicking in the box and moving the mouse up or down. Tempo can also by set with a guitar using Junt.
Adjust the LENGTH of the Riff in bars by clicking in the box and moving the mouse up or down. When the RIff reaches the end of the bar, it loops. The InstantDrummer automatically plays a fill in the last bar. The Tempo, Length and Time Signature become locked after a layer has been recorded.
*Notice: RiffWorld.com, RiffCaster song posting, and RiffLink online collaboration have been disabled. See RiffWorld forum for details.
Installing RiffWorks and InstantDrummers
These are instructions for RiffWorks Standard Download. If you purchased it on DVD, refer to the RiffWorks Standard DVD Installation Guide (pdf) and User Manual (pdf).
When you purchase RiffWorks Standard as a download from Sonoma's online store, you have access to several files on your downloads page:
These are separate downloads because they total several hundred megabytes of data. Downloading them separately allows you to immediately start playing with RiffWorks without waiting to download everything.
Installing RiffWorks on Windows:
Installing RiffWorks on a Mac:
Installing RiffWorks InstantDrummer Sessions:
In order to activate RiffWorks, you'll need a SonomaKey (this is the same username and password you may have created already for the forums, the store, or to register RiffWorks. You'll also need an active internet connection. You may register RiffWorks Standard on up to 3 computers. If you have reached your limit, email email@example.com with your username and ask to have your activations reset.
Getting Your Instrument Ready
RiffWorks Standard ($49) requires an ASIO device on Windows or a Core Audio device for Mac OS X.
There are many ways to set up your home recording studio. This is what we recommend based on what you may want to do within a budget.
GUITAR RECORDING ONLY: $150 - $250
To record only an electric or acoustic guitar (with jack or pickup) using an interface that plugs into a computer:
BUDGET VOCALS & GUITAR: $300 - $400
To record an electric or acoustic guitar with nice-sounding amp, vocals and any mic'd instrument using an interface that plugs into a computer:
QUALITY VOCALS & GUITAR: $400 PLUS
Record the above with higher quality condenser microphones (that require phantom power):
RiffWorks talks to the hardware device through a driver. Not all drivers are created equal. One of the driver's responsibilities is to report the latency to the application. If the driver reports its latency incorrectly, then RiffWorks can't adjust the recorded layers to be perfectly in sync with each other. We continue to test RiffWorks Standard and RiffWorks T4 with as many of the most popular devices as possible. If your device isn't listed, it doesn't mean it won't work, it just means we haven't tried it yet. There is more information, like why ASIO4All is not recommended, below.
LEGEND FOR THE HARDWARE COMPATIBILITY CHART BELOW
The Latency Error was measured by recording with the output plugged into the input of the device and measuring the offset between recorded layers in RiffWorks. Most measurements were taken at either 256 or 512 sample buffer sizes.
The Rating is based on the Latency Error Sonoma measured as well as any trouble we had getting the drivers working.
If your device isn't listed but you think it might work, you can download RiffWorks T4 for free and try it with your ASIO or CORE Audio device before you purchase RiffWorks Standard.
WINDOWS RECOMMENDED ASIO DEVICES FOR RIFFWORKS
MAC OS RECOMMENDED CORE AUDIO DEVICES FOR RIFFWORKS
Why RiffWorks only supports ASIO drivers for Windows: ASIO stands for Audio Stream Input Output and is the driver of choice for an audio interface on the Windows platform. Steinberg created the ASIO driver because Microsoft's MM (multimedia) sound drivers didn't originally do full-duplex (in and out at the same time). Microsoft created Direct Sound next, but that initially had high latency. Then Cakewalk worked with Microsoft to expose the Kernel Streaming to developers (mainly themselves at first) so that they could get lower latency without using ASIO drivers on every day sound cards. Many built-in sound cards on motherboards were spec'd to be the cheapest possible, like less than $2.
So, why does RiffWorks only support ASIO drivers? ASIO drivers are written by companies that are tailoring their devices (and the drivers) to record music. There are so many sound cards, it would be impossible to make RiffWorks work smoothly with all of them. Other audio drivers don't have latency reporting, which makes recording in sync nearly impossible. So, by limiting our support to ASIO drivers, we can provide the best possible experience and support any problems that come up.
There are many ASIO devices to choose from starting at less that $100 up to around $200 or more, USB or Firewire, with mic preamps, phantom power, nice headphone amps to drive higher end head-phones, and analog volume knobs, so you can control your volume quickly and easily with out hunting for a control panel. If audio hardware comes with an ASIO device, then that usually means that the manufactures intend for that hardware to be used in high performance low latency audio applications like RiffWorks. Some devices have ASIO, but still have lots of problems with low latency applications. That’s why we have a recommended hardware list on our website.
RiffWorks supports ASIO. That doesn't mean that every sound card is supported. ASIO4ALL tests the limits of your sound hardware, and we can't promise that it will work.
-If audio hardware comes with an ASIO interface then it could work with RiffWorks.
-If audio hardware is on our recommended list then we have tested this hardware and verified that everything is working ok.
-Some applications (including RiffWorks) will sometimes (sometimes not) work with ASIO4ALL.
ASIO4All is a wrapper that takes a kernel streaming driver and puts an ASIO face on it. It does work for some devices, but not all of them. And of those that do work, the latency may be reported wrong from within ASIO4All. Sonoma does not have the resources to support problems with ASIO4All.
Setting Up Your Audio Interface Device
See the RiffWorks Hardware Compatibility List above to help you select an audio device. A dedicated ASIO audio interface device is typically required before you can use RiffWorks on any computer running Windows. You can use the built-in audio option on a number of Apple computers, but a dedicated Core Audio device is better.
Typical Gear Setup
Here are the basic steps for setting up your guitar, interface device, and speakers for use with RiffWorks:
RiffWorks will automatically select your default ASIO Interface Device (Windows) or Core Audio Device (Mac OS). You can use the AUDIO SETUP control panel within RiffWorks to select a different interface device or to change a device's buffer size.
You can also use the AUDIO SETUP control panel to select a different record file path for RiffWorks. This is the directory where RiffWorks temporarily stores files while recording and not where saved songs are kept. Only change this path if you are running low on disk space on your primary hard drive.
Accessing the AUDIO SETUP Control Panel:
Changing the Buffer Size:
You should only change the buffer size if you notice a lag between the time you strum your guitar and when you hear the sound coming from your speakers, or if you get pops, clicks and noise while recording. Please note that the latter symptoms could also be caused by having insufficient processor power or system memory. See RiffWorks Minimum Requirements for details.
The smaller the buffer size setting the less lag you'll notice while playing. The trade off is that you'll use more processor power and may end up with clicks and pops while recording or during playback if you set it too small. If you set the buffer too high you'll notice lag. We've found that the best buffer size for the typical RiffWorks user is 256 samples.
In a typical ASIO control panel, the buffer size is often listed as "Latency".
You may need to turn off HARDWARE MONITORING within RiffWorks to be able to hear what you're playing while recording. You also need to turn off hardware monitoring to be able to select an AMP plugin or to use RiffWorks effects while recording. The AMP option is available in RiffWorks Standard and RiffWorks T4 only. RiffWorks 2 Line 6 Edition users should launch the GearBox or PodFarm application separately alongside RiffWorks and leave hardware monitoring turned on in most cases.
Select an AMP:
RiffWorks Standard and RiffWorks T4 are compatible with a number of VST (Windows) and Audio Unit (Mac OS) plug-ins for adding effects to the input signal while recording. Amplitube 2 Live is no longer included with RiffWorks Standard. Amplitube 2 Duo RW and Studio Devil BVC are no longer included with RiffWorks T4. Try amp plug-ins recommended in the RiffWorks Forum.
Select an AMP model plug-in:
Having trouble? Please see the Trouble Shooting Guide below, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Syncing RiffWorks with Other Audio Applications Using ReWire
RiffWorks only works as a ReWire host/master/mixer with select 32-bit ReWire devices, like 32-bit versions of Reason.
RiffWorks Standard is a ReWire mixer that can sync with ReWire devices like Propellerheads Reason®, Ableton® Live, Fruity Loops® and Project5®. RiffWorks only works with 32-bit versions of those applications.
RiffWorks T4 and RiffWorks Junior (available in certain PreSonus bundles) do not include ReWire capabilities.
Because Propellerheads' ReWire protocol is built into both RiffWorks Standard and Reason, Reason and RiffWorks can work together simultaneously. Their transports lock, and audio from Reason comes into RiffWorks with sample accurate timing.
How to use ReWire in RiffWorks:
This is a very brief explanation, but it should get you going. You should also read about your ReWire device application as they all do things a little differently.
For additional tips, see the RiffWorks User Manual (pdf), search the RiffWorks forums and read the RiffWorks and ReWire Newsletter Article from April 2006.
Using VST Plugins in RiffWorks
VST plugins are not standalone applications. They need a "host". Both RiffWorks Standard and RiffWorks T4 support VST audio effect plugins like IK Multimedia AmpliTube products, Line 6 GearBox and PodFarm, Native Instruments Guitar Rig, Studio Devil BVC and more. List of RiffWorks compatible VST plug-ins.
Both RiffWorks T4 and RiffWorks Standard allow you to MIX your RiffWorks song to a single WAV or OGG file. See the MIX section of the RiffWorks User Manual PFD here for instructions (section 4.2.6). There, you'll learn how to mix your RiffWorks song to a .wav file, perfect for burning to a CD, or using a third party plug-in like iTunes to convert to mp3. Or choose to mix to an Ogg file. Or choose Mix to Riff, which allows you to turn an entire RiffWorks song into a single new Riff.
See advanced techniques in the the manual for more tips than the ones below.
RiffWorks Standard allows you to EXPORT individual Riffs from your songs as WAV files for use in other RiffWorks Songs, and for use in other DAWs like GarageBand, Pro Tools, and more.
- Export Riffs within RiffWorks (.rwr)
- Import Riffs within RiffWorks
IMPORT your previously saved Riff created in RiffWorks when in another song in RiffWorks.
Export/Import Riffs Between RiffWorks and Other DAWs
- Export Riffs from RiffWorks Standard to Other DAWs (.wav)
RiffWorks Standard v2.5 Improvements include these export options (not available in RiffWorks T4).
To export combined Riffs, see the MIX section of the RiffWorks User Manual PFD here for instructions (section 4.2.6).
- Import from Other DAWs into RiffWorks
RifWorks does not currently import files created in other DAWs. This is a feature we would like to add properly in a future release (support for multiple file types, a UI for trimming to the length of the riff, etc.), so stay tuned.
Sonoma Wire Works does not test or support utilities by third party developers, like atalwar's intelliriffer (discontinued), and is not responsible for problems that may result from the use of those products.
Wave importer tool (Python script) for Mac OSX by sick1982 is also not tested or supported by the Sonoma Wire Works team, and may not be tested by the developer using the current version of RiffWorks, so Sonoma does not recommend using it.
Trouble Shooting Guide
Here are some answers to common problems people have during set up:
Can't register because you forgot the password?
Click the Forgot Password button, then check your email. Remember to check the spam folder.
Do not create more than one Sonoma username. Email email@example.com if you need to change your email address for your username.
Can't register because you are out of activations?
You can activate RiffWorks on up to 3 computers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like for your activations to be reset. Don't have internet.
No sound when playing? No playback audio?
Make sure your speakers are plugged in and turned on
Turn the volume up on your audio device, speakers, and guitar.
It also could be that you have the wrong device selected in Audio Setup. Click on Audio Setup and choose the correct device.
Can't hear recording in RiffWorks?
Make sure your instrument volume is up.
Plug your instrument into your interface input (see RiffWorks Recommended Hardware) and turn the interface volume up.
Choose correct input channel from Input Channel popup menu.
Recording is only in one side?
If your instrument is connected to the Mono Input, turn off the stereo button and select Input Channel.
Still having trouble? Email email@example.com and we are happy to help. The Forums are also a great place to find answers.
RiffWorks is an excellent songwriting tool for capturing ideas and complete songs easily. You may export RiffWorks recordings as .wav files for use in other DAWS like GarageBand or Pro Tools if you'd like.
How RiffWorks is different than other DAWs:
RiffWorks is an inspiration platform. The interface inspires people to write songs using a familiar "real-world" interface - it looks like gear! The focus is on playing, not engineering.
With RiffWorks, recording musicians can keep their hands on their instrument and minds on their song, rather than on a computer. RiffWorks requires minimal set-up time with no need to continually refer to a manual. Also RiffWorks is the only program available with a feature called "Junt" that lets you set the tempo and start recording simply by strumming your guitar.
Using an intuitive backup interface, musicians can select one of the many authentic backup InstantDrummer sessions that were recorded live by professional drummers in high-end sound studios by recording engineers. Most recording applications require drum programming or searching through endless folders of drum loops with confusing names. If this is their preference, users can import drum tracks from a ReWire application into RiffWorks. Or they may choose to use RiffWorks' unique InstantDrummer to select a sweet-sounding drummer from a variety of fun styles. We have partnered with the best drum companies (Drums on Demand, Discrete Drums and Submersible Music) to bring our users an ever-expanding selection of real drums. These drummers are normally available within large libraries that cost hundreds of dollars. Our partners are offering their drum content to RiffWorks users in smaller pieces that are convenient and affordable, only $4.99/session.
RiffWorks records one input at a time. It is meant for recording individual musicians, but you can all take turns.
You may use InstantDrummer sessions in your songs then publish them on a commercial CD. There are no royalty fees for the InstantDrummer sessions you purchased to use in your songs. You are simply asked, if you give drum credit, to give credit to the InstantDrummer manufacturer and artist (if known) for any drums from them included in your song.
Yes, RiffWorks includes 7 studio-quality effects described below (Wah, Multi-band Compression & Distortion, Modulation, Delay, Reverb, Compression, and British Style EQ). These effects and can be added to Layers, Riffs, InstantDrummer sessions, and the Input. These effects can be added to the input, layers, Riffs, and backups.
RiffWorks Standard supports VST plugin amp models like Line 6 GearBox and PodFarm, IK Multimedia AmpliTube products, Native Instruments Guitar Rig. List of RiffWorks compatible VST plug-ins.
RiffWorks Line 6 Edition v2.2 ($99) is an out-dated edition that is different from RiffWorks T4 v2.6.7, which is free and bundled with many Line 6 devices. You can tell which edition you have by looking at the top right-hand side of your RiffWorks interface, All RiffWorks Line 6 Edition v1 and v2.2 users should crossgrade to RiffWorks Standard v2.6.x (currently on sale for $25 - $35) using the steps below. All RiffWorks T4 (free) edition users should purchase Sonoma Wire Works RiffWorks Standard v2.6.7. (currently on sale for $49).
Why Crossgrade/Upgrade to RiffWorks Standard v2.6.7 from RiffWorks Line 6 Edition?
How to Crossgrade/Upgrade from RiffWorks Line 6 Edition to RiffWorks Standard (Download Only)
RiffWorks Version 1 owners receive a discount, making RiffWorks Standard only $35 during this special promotion.
RiffWorks Line 6 Edition Version 2 owners receive a discount, making RiffWorks Standard only $25 during this special promotion. If you own RiffWorks Line 6 Edition (v1, v1.1, v2 or v2.2), and would like to crossgrade/upgrade to RiffWorks Standard (v2.6.5) and receive one of the above discounts, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following in your email:
1. Your SonomaKey (same as your username for RiffWorks, the forum, Sonoma's store, etc.). If you don't have one, please get one by registering in the Sonoma Store. Do not create two accounts.
2. Your GuitarPort, PODxt or TonePort serial number (the long number under the bar code).
3. Attach a screenshot (how to take a screenshot) of the Line 6 Monkey, preferably as a .jpeg, .bmp, or .doc file, that shows your current RiffWorks version number and any InstantDrummer sessions you purchased from Line6.com, if any. No need to list the ones you purchased from Sonomawireworks.com.
4. We will reply to your email with your coupon code within 2 business days.
The song files and riff files saved in version 1 will open in the current version of RiffWorks Standard.
Moving Old InstantDrummer Sessions Purchased from Line6.com to RiffWorks Standard:
If you are a RiffWorks (v1) user who purchased InstantDrummer sessions from Line6.com, and you upgraded to RiffWorks Line 6 Edition (v2), your drummers will work fine, and you can continue to purchase new RiffWorks InstantDrummer Sessions from sonomawireworks.com. If you are a RiffWorks (v1) or RiffWorks Line 6 Edition (v2) user who purchased old InstantDrummer sessions from Line6.com, and you upgrade/crossgrade to RiffWorks Standard (v2.6.7), we are happy to help you get your drummers to work with Standard. Here's how: You'll need to download the InstantDrummer sessions you had for the Line 6 Edition from Sonoma Wire Works (for free) in order for them to work in RiffWorks Standard v2.6.7. The 9 drummers that come free with RiffWorks Standard will automatically be included in the downloads of your Sonoma account after you crossgrade. If you purchased additional InstantDrummers from Line 6 (not Sonoma), we need to add those to your Sonoma Account Downloads. Include any InstantDrummer sessions you've purchased from Line 6 in your screenshot and mention them in your email to Sonoma's support team (email@example.com).
Available in RiffWorks recording software, Attaq is the ultimate Auto-wah filter effect. You can create a classic, fixed wah tone; a responsive envelope wah; and even a custom tempo-synched wah sequence. Attaq is all of the best wah effects in one!
There are three different ways to use Attaq, each with some different controls. These modes are called MANUAL, ENVELOPE and SEQUENCE. The MANUAL mode doesn't change while you play. It is like leaving your wah pedal in one position to bring out a great constant tone. This effect can be dramatic. The ENVELOPE mode behaves like a classic envelope wah stomp box. As you play harder the wah morphs into a completely different tone. Try playing softly with an occasional hard note that you want to emphasize. The wah opens up on that note to give you a great touch sensitive tone. The SEQUENCE mode is certainly the most unique. In this mode, you can actually change the tone of the wah with the beat of the music. You can get everything from smoothly varying tone over several measures to fast syncopated beats rupturing out of your guitar chords. This is by far the most configurable mode. Now that you understand that Attaq is really 3 different wah effects, let's get into how to control the tone for each one.
MANUAL Mode:Set the MODE control to MANUAL. Now, turn the RANGE knob. The RANGE knob is equivalent to your wah pedal position. Turn it up to open up the sound and turn it down to close it off. Unlike a standard wah pedal, there's still a lot of tweaking you can do. Try increasing the BANDWIDTH knob to sharpen up the tone. You can change it from subtle to downright gnarly just by playing with this knob. You can also change the style of wah using the FILTER knob. The three filter choices are Lowpass (LP), Bandpass (BP), and Highpass (HP). What do these mean? Lowpass lets all the lower frequencies through like a classic wah pedal. Listen [add preset name]. Bandpass actually cuts out the low and high frequencies, only allowing a small band of frequencies through. You can use this to accentuate a particular range of notes. Listen [add preset name]. Highpass actually cuts out all the low frequencies leaving only the nasally highs. You can get some crazy sounds out of this filter. Listen [add preset name]. The SENSITIVITY and orange SEQUENCE controls have no impact with this mode.
ENVELOPE Mode:The RANGE, BANDWIDTH, and FILTER controls behave like the MANUAL mode, but an extra knob completely changes the tone and feeling of this effect. The ENVELOPE mode listens to how hard you play and changes its position accordingly. Play soft and it will sound like you have your wah pedal all the way closed, but snap a hard note and hear those filters open up. RANGE controls the filter position when you are playing soft, but the SENSITIVITY knob controls the position when you are playing hard. You can play with RANGE and SENSITIVIY to control where and how much that wah filter is going to open up for your style of playing. If it sounds like your filter is always wide open, turn down the SENSITIVITY until you get that nice touch sensitive tone. If the effect doesn't sound too different from what you had in the MANUAL mode, try turning up the sensitivity to get it to open up wide when you play a hard note. Listen [add preset name]. The orange SEQUENCE controls have no impact with this mode.
SEQUENCE Mode:The RANGE, BANDWIDTH, and FILTER controls behave the same as the above modes. Instead of using sensitivity to control the position of the wah, you can use eight step sequencer knobs that step in time with your riff. The sequence controls are all in the orange section of Attaq. The STEPS buttons set the number of distinct steps you want to use in the sequence. You can select 4, 6, or 8 depending on how complex you want the sequence to be. The 8 smaller SEQUENCE knobs to the left are used to set up the wah position for that moment in time. The light above each knob shows you the current wah position as it cycles. For example, if you want to open up the wah a little more at that point in time, turn up the corresponding knob. Strum a chord and listen to your sequence go by. Listen [add preset name]. The SEQUENCE knobs are relative to your RANGE and control. You can completely change the tone of your sequence without having to change every knob. If you like the sequence, but want it to be higher, just increase the RANGE control. Listen [add preset name]. The SPEED control changes the pace at which the sequencer runs. Turn the knob up to speed up your sequence. Listen [add preset name]. Below the SPEED knob is a TEMPOSYNC button. This allows you to sync the speed of your sequence to the tempo of your Riff using beat quantities like quarter, eighth, or sixteenth notes.
Included in RiffWorks, TripWire is a complete multiband compressor/distortion effect. The tone you can get out of this unit is almost limitless.
Simple EQ:In its most basic form, you can use TripWire as a basic 3 band EQ similar to the classic bass/mid/treble EQ effects. But even in this, TripWire is very configurable because you can set the width of the different bands. Turn all 3 COMPRESSION knobs down (to the left) to turn off any band compression. Also make sure that the 3 DISTORTION switches are turned off.
Now you can just use the 3 LEVEL knobs to control the amount of Lo, Mid, and Hi signal you want just like you're used to. Where this gets really cool is that you can change the frequencies at which the EQ bands transition by using the 2 CROSSOVER FREQUENCY knobs. The left one controls the Lo to Mid point and the right one controls the Mid to Hi point.
For example, lets say I want to add a little mid scoop to my bass layer. I can reduce the level of the midrange by turning down the MID LEVEL knob. This will scoop out the mids, but maybe it is taking too much of the upper bass with it. I can get that range back by turning up the LO to MID (left) crossover knob. The ability to control the crossover points of the 3 band EQ is simple and extremely powerful to shape your tone just the way you want. Listen.
Multiband Compression:You are already familiar with the 3 band nature of TripWire, but now we'll throw in the first twist. If you are new to compression, here's a quick and dirty introduction. If you turn up the COMPRESSION on a specific band, it will decrease the volume of the peaks and leave the quieter sections alone. You can essentially smash the dynamic range of the signal by turning up the compression and adjusting the band levels to what sounds good. This is useful in a lot of situations. It can make your guitar have more perceived sustain. It can smooth out your vocals. It can warm up your guitar. Compression is a very useful effect in making great sounding recordings. Usually, compression is applied to the entire signal, but with TripWire you can set different amounts of compression for the different bands of a signal.
So how would you use this? Well, lets take a guitar sample, Listen, and try to smooth and warm up the overall tone without using the level as an EQ. Now we will turn up the LO COMPRESSION to smooth out the huge transient peaks in the low frequencies. When we take out the dynamics in this range, we can create an almost constant bass level in the layer that will have an overall warmer tone to it. If we just turned up the low level control those bass transients will pop and thump when you hit the strings hard. The Compression tames those transients that allowed us to bring the overall bass level up without the downsides. Listen.
Multiband Distortion:This is where things get crazy. We can take our complete tone modifying effect with EQ and Compression and add different distortions to each band. You turn on the distortion by flipping the DISTORTION switch to the ON position for the band you want to distort. You then select the type of distortion you want to apply to that band using the SHAPE popup. Finally, you can decide how much distortion you want to add with the DRIVE knob.
There are several shapes in the menu. FUZZ is a basic distortion like you would find in a stomp box. The others are unique because they actually change the pitch of your signal. When using this on one band you create a harmonized signal of what you are actually playing and the pitch shifted version. DOWN shifts the signal an octave down. Listen. DD shifts the signal two octaves down and can sound completely outrageous with the right notes. UP shifts up an octave - this sounds good on just about everything when well balanced with the other bands. The others are trippy because they shift your notes by a 3RD, 4TH, or 5TH. Try soloing with one of these set on the MID band. Listen.
Check out some of the factory presets for TripWire to get a glimpse of what is possible. It is a complete "design your own pedal" kind of effect with full harmonizers, distortion, compression, and EQ. This one is a lot of fun...
Tempest is our modulation powerhouse. You can choose one of 9 classic effects including PHASER, TREMOLO, FLANGER, CHORUS, VIBRATO, AUTOPAN, LPFILTER (lo-pass), BPFILTER (band-pass), and HPFILTER (high-pass). Not only do you get all these effects but you also get to control the modulation SHAPE with 5 available shapes! This is like having 45 different modulation effects in one.
You can completely change the style of the effect based on the SHAPE of the oscillator you choose. You can choose classic shapes like SINE or TRIANGLE, but you can also choose wacky shapes like SQUARE, SAWTOOTH, and even RANDOM if you like experimenting. Check out the Sweep-o-Meter to see the differences between the oscillators. In combination with the 9 different effects, this is a "design your own" modulation effect.
All of these effects share three more controls to allow you to modify the sound, DEPTH, RANGE, and SPEED. The exact meaning of these controls can vary from effect to effect, but there are some general uses. DEPTH tends to control how pronounced the effect is, while RANGE controls the width or range of modulation. SPEED is the rate at which the modulation effect oscillates. There is also a TEMPO SYNC button to sync the speed up with the tempo of the Riff. Like other tempo syncable effects, you can get some great rhythm in your tone.
Tempest is another deep effect from Sonoma Wire Works. Check out the factory presets and then go wild with all the different combinations.
Featured in RiffWorks recording software, 4x4 is a multi-tap delay effect. This is not your dad's delay. It is something completely new and different. There are 4 different taps. A tap is a specific delay time that you want to mix back into your original signal. Most delay pedals only have 1 tap that you set the delay for. We have 4 with different delay times and levels. And these aren't just 4 taps, it is more like having 4 different delay pedals which feedback into themselves and the others. It can get crazy very quickly with this kind of effect.
Feedback, Damping, and Mix: There are two knobs on the left which control FEEDBACK and DAMPING. FEEDBACK controls how much of the delayed signal gets added with the input and sent back into the delay. For example, if you just junt your strings, you will hear a repeating delayed junt which decays over time. How fast this decays is controlled by the FEEDBACK knob. Turn it down and you will only hear one delayed copy of the signal. Turn it up and it will take a really long time to decay. DAMPING controls the amount of high frequency reduction each time the signal goes back through the delay. You can hear the signal get darker with every feedback delay. Listen. There is also a MIX knob on the right which controls how much of the original signal you're hearing with respect to the crazy delayed signal. Turn it up for all delayed signal, turn it down to reduce the volume of the delays.
Delay Taps: The center section of the 4x4 panel has four different knob sections with different colors. Each one of those colors represents a different delay tap. Each tap has a LEVEL and DELAY TIME knob. The LEVEL knob controls the volume of this specific tap. If you want to turn off this tap, just turn the LEVEL all the way down and you won't hear it anymore. In fact, this is a good way to start. Add the taps one at a time until you get the desired sound you are looking for. The DELAY TIME knob controls the length of the delay for that tap. You can set it just like any delay stomp box, or you can select the TEMPO SYNC button to make the delay some fraction of the song tempo. Tempo synced delay is pretty cool since you can create rhythmic delays. Listen.
Different Taps, Different sound: Now we need to talk about the differences between the taps. 4x4 was designed as a stereo effect with different delay taps going to different channels (left and right). The left two taps (1 and 2) affect the Left channel and the right two (3 and 4) affect the right channel. This means that you can turn all the taps off except 1 and you will only hear the delay in the left channel. Turn on 4 and you will hear it in both channels, but you can set the delay in each channel to different times. So, if taps 1 and 4 are the Left and Right delay taps, respectively, what are 2 and 3? Taps 2 and 3 were designed to be ping-pong style delay taps. Whereas taps 1 and 4 feedback into themselves keeping each delay in its starting channel, taps 2 and 3 feedback into the opposite channel. Woah! Turn off all the taps for now by setting all the LEVELS to 0. Now, turn up the LEVEL of tap 3. You should hear the first delay come in the right channel and then the second delay come in the left channel and continue to ping back and forth between the right and left channels. Now try changing the DELAY TIME of tap 2 to be something different than tap 3 and notice that when the signal pings over to the left it is delayed by a different amount. Listen. Tap 2 behaves the same exact way but it starts with the left channel. These two taps are like having two delay pedals, one going out to each channel, that feedback into each other instead of themselves. This can get crazy very quickly. Play with some of the factory presets to get the hang of this.
Featured in RiffWorks recording software, Super Tanker is Sonoma's metallic effect reverb. This includes such classics as Spring and Plate, but also includes some of our own interesting reverbs. Select the reverb type by choosing from the REVERB TYPE popup menu.
Tweak the size (reverb time), with the SIZE knob and the high frequency damping with the DAMPING knob. You can also set the amount of reverb you want in the signal using the mix knob.
Featured in RiffWorks recording software, Stamina is a classic compressor with automatic make-up gain. It compresses dynamics and can lengthen sustain of just about any recording. Compression is a very popular effect in recording because it gives you a more constant volume in your recording.
Compression turns down the volume of the loud parts while leaving the softer parts alone. For instance, say you were singing and had a great take, but the dynamics are a little inconsistent. You can use Stamina to even out the dynamics of your vocals in a fairly subtle way. Make-up gain turns up the signal after it's been compressed so that it doesn't end up being quieter than the original. Stamina provides this automatically so that you don't have to adjust the level in order to even out the dynamics.
ATTACK and RELEASEare controls that adjust how fast the compressor can control the dynamics. Use small attack and medium release times for cleaner compression, or change them at will to get the effect you are looking for. With low ATTACK and RELEASE times you can start to get pumping and breathing effects which can be fun in the right layer.
SLOPE controls how abruptly the compressor deals with the loud parts of the signal. How compression really works is that it turns down the volume when the signal goes above a certain loudness. The amount the compression turns it down is controlled by the slope. If you want to very subtly control the dynamics, you can use a smaller SLOPE to less aggressively control the peaks. Or you can crank up the SLOPE to just smash the signal down to a constant level.
COMPRESSION is really the major control in Stamina. It sets the volume that you want to start to control the peak level. It is really the loudness threshold that I mentioned above. Turn it up to start controlling the dynamics at a lower threshold.
Like all effects of this sort, you need to use Stamina in moderation to retain some liveliness in your recording. Radio mixes tend to over-compress music to make sure it is always at the same level, but many feel that this takes away some of the life and reality of the music. Remember, the meter in the middle of Stamina will always show you just how much you are compressing the signal. There are plenty of sources that describe how much compression is desirable for specific types of recordings.
Featured in RiffWorks recording software, No Equal is a British style EQ which allows you to make frequency adjustments to your signal. There are 5 bands to this EQ, separated with stitching, which control different parts of the frequency spectrum.
The 5 bands all have a red frequency control which sets the range where the EQ is working, but the 3 middle bands also have silver gain knobs which allow you to select how much you want to boost or cut the signal around those frequencies. So, why only 3 gain knobs and not one for each band? All of the 5 EQ bands are designed to do different things within different regions of the audio spectrum.
To use the 3 bands with BOOST/CUT knobs effectively, first turn the BOOST/CUT knob all the way up (+18 on the right is all the way up). Then adjust the red frequency knob until you hear the sound that you want to add or remove. Finally adjust the BOOST/CUT knob back down to taste.
LOW CUT is a filter which gently removes the frequencies below the setting on the knob. Just set the frequency knob to the desired frequency to turn it on. This band doesn't have a gain knob because it is designed to remove as much as possible below the set frequency.
LOW is a shelving filter which allows you to boost or cut all frequencies below the selected frequency. This band is designed to give you precise control over your bass response.
MID is a peaking filter which cuts or boosts content in the crucial mid-range frequency band. This is probably the most often used band as you can add presence or create holes for other instruments.
HIGHis a shelving filter which can boost or cut frequencies above the set frequency. You can use this band to add high-end sparkle, or just take a little edge off.
HIGH CUTis a filter which can be used to reduce high frequency noise or distortion.
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