Rabea Massaad is the latest guitarist to receive the Neural DSP Archetype treatment and is the most versatile to date

If you have already seen Rabea Massaadgear demos, you already know he’s a special player. Self-taught guitarist and producer who applied his versatile talents as a musician on stage with FrogLeap Studios, StormRob Chapman and his own instrumental project Toska. He embraced modeling technology alongside good ‘ol tube ampsso his choice as the last signature artist for a Neural DSP archetype guitar graft pack makes sense. But blimey, they really went to town with this one!

The Archetype: Rabea plugin includes both vintage and modern elements; Octaver, Fuzz and Overdrive effects, plus stereo Delay and Reverb effects to work with three separate amp models – Clean, Rhythm and Lead – and virtual cabinets, microphone slots and IRs. But Archetype: Rabea includes a first for Neural DSP: the Overlord, a dual-oscillator subtractive monosynth that can be triggered by the guitar.

Neural DSP

(Image credit: Neural DSP)

This takes an already versatile digital platform to a whole new level of possibilities. “As a fan and user of synthesizers, I always dreamed of being able to play a synth with my guitar,” explains Francisco Cresp, co-founder/CPO at Neural DSP. “Before, you needed a guitar specifically designed for this effect, a special pickup or other special hardware.

“For Archetype: Rabea, the challenge was to create a synth that works with any guitar,” adds Francisco. “Your guitar signal becomes your ADSR, which triggers real oscillators. After that, your signal is a synthesizer with all the controls and flexibility you’d expect from it. It’s transformative.”

Neural DSP

(Image credit: Neural DSP)

For $139 you get stunning tones here. But Rabea also wanted the option to keep it simple.

“While I wanted a plug-in that was great for contemporary guitar sounds, I also wanted to be able to just plug in my Fender Strat and just kick back and play some John Mayer-type stuff,” says Rabea.

With synthesizer capability, it opens up whole new ways to work

Rabea Massaad

The best of worlds ? Well, just listen to this demo above!

“I can now get all the sounds from my favorite amplifiers in one place,” adds Rabea. “And now, with the ability of the synthesizer, it’s opening up whole new ways of working. It’s not a layered effect on the sound of the guitar, it’s the guitar being used to trigger real synthesis, it’s so cool. And I can feed it before or after the plugin, so you can send it back through all the amps and pedals and create these incredibly weird and awesome layers and textures. To me, that’s just crazy. C is an incredible production tool.

The synthesizer feature is one of Archetype: Rabea’s signal achievements, and an important one in that Rabea’s desire to find a way to organically interface the guitar with a synth sparked something of an Apollo initiative. Moonshot within Neural DSP’s world-class R&D department. The interface designed by the company interacts with two real oscillators, an ADSR (Attack, Decay, Sustain and Release) extracted from the envelope of the guitar signal and a ladder filter – key components of classic synthesizers. Others have tried to create guitar-to-synth interfaces, but none have really succeeded – so far.

The reverb pedal in Archetype: Rabea is also new ground. It can freeze a sound but also offers parameters to control the pitch and volume of that frozen sound. “If you freeze a note or chord, it continues to play in the background while being processed by the reverb,” Francisco explains. “So it’s a pad you can play on. You can even transpose it to create chord progressions or a bass line for improvisation or soloing.

Neural DSP

(Image credit: Neural DSP)

There are nine effects pedals in the pack along with stereo delay and fuzz along with new designs for Neural as well. Additionally, Transpose, Metronome, and Doubler tools, as well as a 4-band semi-parametric EQ, are also included. “Delay is an analog delay emulation with cross-feed and ice cube features that give you all the dreamy delay sounds,” says Francisco

“Rabea is widely known as a metal player, but he’s much more than that, just like Archetype: Rabea,” says Douglas Castro, CEO of Neural DSP, whom we recently interviewed. “It gets the clean and bluesy sounds he likes as well as the heavy sounds. Archetype: Rabea covers a very wide range of tones and is probably the most versatile plugin we’ve ever created. As a result, Archetype: Rabea is a inflection moment, for Neural DSP and the industry: it gives guitarists access to a real synthesizer, something that has been an elusive feat in the music industry for decades.”

Neural DSP Archetype: Rabea is now available. For more information visit Neural DSP (opens in a new tab).

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