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Product Review – Guitar Rig 5 Kontrol From Native Instruments

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Guitar Rig 5 Kontrol is a pedal-board MIDI controller with a built in audio interface from Native Instruments. It contains nine metal foot switches as well as an expression pedal to provide control over your sound. The device gives you everything that you need to record, play, and perform music in one compact and portable unit. It comes complete with GUITAR RIG 5 software.

To record music in the modern recording world – where most everything is digital, you need an interface. In this case the RIG KONTROL is an audio interface that allows you to connect your electric guitars and basses into the unit and the signal is then passed into the GUITAR RIG 5 software from where you can plug into a variety of amps and sound effects. If you have a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), you can launch the GUITAR RIG 5 software plug-in from within and record your own music directly to your DAW.

GUITAR RIG 5 KONTROL is geared for the home, small studio, as well as for those who perform live. Since it has a built-in audio interface, you can use the RIG KONTROL for the playback of all of your audio applications as well just by setting it as your default audio interface. The control comes with 2 channels and it can handle 16 and 24-bit resolution as well as having sampling rates of 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, and 192 kHz. Check out the Native Instrument specifications page for full information.


RIG KONTROL is 14″ x 9.3″ x 4″ in size and weighs in at 2.6 lbs. and has a very solid feel to it – in fact it feels like it could be kicked off a stage or dropped onto the floor and not sustain any measurable damage. It is just that well-built.

The RIG KONTROL helps to bridge the gap between your guitar and the software. The control unit is effectively a multi-effects pedal on steroids. It is rectangular in shape and angled down for ease of use. There are eight metal foot switches on the main part of the system – four on top and four on the bottom, as well as one under the pedal. And then there is the expression pedal itself.


At the top is the display area that has one LED that shows the number of the currently activated preset, two others that display the audio input/output signals – complete with a red clipping indicator. One LED shows MIDI signals and one more for the switch under the pedal.

The metal switches can be assigned through the software to perform a variety of tasks such as stepping through presets, turning individual components on or off and each switch comes with an LED to indicate whether it is activated. The expression pedal can be used to control any continuous parameter of the software, such as volume or wah-wah. There is an additional freely assignable switch underneath the tip of the pedal.

On the back of the unit moving from left to right is the line/instrument switch which allows you to determine if the input plugged in is a line level signal – has its own strong output signal, or one that does not – such as a guitar or bass. Keep in mind that while you can plug in two items to the unit, both inputs must either be line or instrument. Next you have the two ¼” input channels and their respective gain controls. Then you have two ¼” output channels so that you can plug for output such as a set of monitors.

About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.