Review: RCD Acoustic Guitar by Audio Ollie


Acoustic guitars are firmly the singer-songwriter’s domain right? Well, after 5 minutes with the latest release from Audio Ollie you may well think again! The instrument is deconstructed and reimagined for RCD Acoustic Guitar and offers a wealth of propulsive excitement for your next cue.

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Review: RCD Acoustic Guitar by Audio Ollie

Audio Ollie have swiftly crafted a name for themselves in terms of high end tools for cinematic scoring with incredible string, synth and percussion libraries. Now, the acoustic guitar might not be the first thing you think about when it comes to modern composition, but this library seeks to change that by presenting the humble 6-string in a new light. Like the RCD Uke before it, the emphasis is on rhythmic motion, using both round robin repetitions to program yourself and pre-recorded loops.

Title Page


RCD Acoustic Guitar normally sells for $99.00 from Audio Ollie


In the Reps folder we we get a deeply sampled (up to 10 round robins!) selection of various articulations as shown below.



There are mutes, taps, hits, strums and more that can be manually played or programmed in the sequencer. The recordings are energetic, clean and detailed. They take really well to fast playing, without becoming blurry and if you want it even tighter just select the Note Int button to cut off the tails more. Some reps (mute and plucks) are sampled on every string which results in a huge range in pitch. You can play any of the tonal reps as melodic patterns, but I found them most effective as single pitch rhythmic pulses. The massive amount of round robins really makes them feel alive and organic. Having plenty of atonal options is very welcome and they turn the guitar into a bona fide percussion instrument.

The repetitions have the most going on in terms of extra tweak-ability. The Modulation page gives access to high and low pass filters that each have their own AHDSR envelope. This can be effective, for example, for getting a really cutting high passed attack to the start of your samples. There is of course also an AHDSR for volume.



The Advanced page is where you set various preferences for performance aspects, such as velocity sensitivity. I really liked the ability to add some looseness and to vary the pitch and velocity, especially when using the sequencer which is precise by design. One thing to note here is the offset, which goes all the way from immediate to 200 ms and defaults to 20 ms. The idea here is to play it in with very little offset, but then change it once your MIDI is down and advance your track to match whatever offset you select. The net result is to preserve that important front end of the sample before it hits the peak transient; again is just adds to the naturalness. 200 ms is a little overkill for these samples, but it’s there if you want it. An entire folder called Performance includes a duplicate copy of all nkis which default to a 200 ms offset; as that is the only actual difference compared to the patches in the Live folder I could find, it seems a bit superfluous.



The last page is the Sequencer and it’s a fully fledged affair with everything you would expect in terms of bars, rate, swing etc. The mode changes between arp, strum (chord) and mono. The latter is interesting as it allows you to program in the pitch value in respect to the initial note you hit, though its a bit fiddly and rather longwinded. Look out for the Atonal (Absolute) patch which fixes this function to the same values whatever note you hit – very useful when layering with another nki and keeping the atonal patch sounding the same each time. There is a button called Capture which I thought would record patterns as step input, but it appears to do nothing (we need a manual please Ollie!). Next to it is a crosshair to pull into your DAW that copies the sequencer pattern as MIDI data. At least on Pro Tools I found this pretty buggy and in the end I gave up; hopefully an easy fix in an update.

My favourite part of the sequencer is the Mod button which allows you to use a cc controller to increase and decrease the velocities in the sequencer, whilst keeping the relative difference between each note proportional. In this way it is very easy to create dynamic, evolving rhythmic sequences. I do have a minor grumble here though and it is that there are no pattern sequences included. Granted, it’s not too tricky to draw your own, but a few basic pattens to get you started would really make sense, especially as there are clear options on the GUI to load and save grooves.



The Riffs are a much simpler affair in terms of the GUI (slimmed down preferences and no sequencer), but more complex in sound. Essentially, the Riffs are comprised of performed loops at three tempos (150/120/90 BPM). There is a decent blend of straight and triplet rhythms that groove really nicely and never get overly complex. I can see these sitting in a mix and giving a powerful and unusual injection of excitement. The Atonal versions use articulations such as brushes, fingers and picks and include menus enabling you to easily audition the variations, or to combine them together for more complex rhythmic interplay. The Tonal versions focus more on bowing, strumming, tapping and use of fifths. Here the patch title tells you whether it is straight or triplet, so it’s strange that the atonal riffs don’t include this, as it makes finding what you need that much quicker.

As wonderful as these loops sound it’s a shame there are no further options to manipulate them.
It would be good, for example, to be able to chop bits out or reverse them. However, there is a page available to change the speed, which also includes a neat VEL button that changes the speeds according to how hard you hit the key.



RCD Acoustic Guitar is rounded out with a smaller selection of longer, more textural patches. The bows are really raw and sound surprisingly good when slowed down to half speed. There is a full range of picked tremolos on each string too. Whilst they work great for that particular sound I found them more interesting to create pointillistic textures; you can load multiple nki patches in and use the transpose feature to make them all play in in the same key range, albeit at their original pitches. Playing cluster chords with this multi-octave range through a delay and reverb is a really cool textural sound!

Whilst on the subject of combining nki patches, Audio Ollie are big fans of doing this and creating sometimes vast multis with their products. Very few other developers do this and it’s so effective I often wonder why ever not?! Anyway, the library comes with a plethora of multis at a number of tempos and even some sustains. There is not scope to dive deep into them in this review, but safe to say they are very interesting indeed and by having a snoop to see how they were put together can also give you plenty of inspiration for creating your own bespoke multis. The only thing to be aware of is that many of them use effects which are not available on the GUI, so be sure to display the Kontakt outputs (hit F2) where you will find the global FX controls on the main stereo bus.

There is much to love in RCD Acoustic Guitar. The recordings are great, the articulation options very comprehensive and it’s all wrapped in a simple interface. The deeply sampled repetitions are superb building blocks to craft your own patterns and the riffs are all on single notes and not overly complex, which makes it really easy to fit them into compositions. There is also plenty of atonal percussive material which can really add an edge to more traditionally constructed rhythm sections. The bowed longs and tremolos are a bonus feature but equally useful. Like Ollie did with LA Modern Percussion there is scope to offer users an add-on pack of grooves for the sequencer; with it being such a rhythm-based instrument, the absence of any factory presets for the sequencer was quite a surprise.

Overall, this is a really exciting and forward-thinking library that genuinely makes you reassess the role of the acoustic guitar more as an unusual source of pulsing rhythms. Audio Ollie just seem to have a different way of doing things that I am increasingly getting drawn to and this library really reflects that. If you like RCD Acoustic Guitar I would also urge you to check out RCD Ukulele. This offers a similar percussive and pulsing vibe, but with the very different sonic character of the ukulele and you can find the SLR review of it here 


RCD Acoustic Guitar downloads via the Pulse Downloader and has 20 GB of sample content. It features repetitions, riffs, tremolos and bows across a number of nki patches. Live and performance versions are available. Multis are also included. This library requires the full version of Kontakt 5.8 and above.

RCD Acoustic Guitar normally sells for $99.00 from Audio Ollie


Demos of RCD Acoustic Guitar by Audio Ollie

Videos of RCD Acoustic Guitar by Audio Ollie


Contributor Sam Burt reviews RCD Acoustic Guitar by Audio Ollie
“Acoustic guitars are firmly the singer-songwriter’s domain right? Well, after 5mins with the latest release from Audio Ollie you may well think again! The instrument is deconstructed and reimagined for RCD Acoustic Guitar and offers a wealth of propulsive excitement for your next cue.”