THE STORY OF RAMMFIRE

THE EARLY DAYS

Richard Z. Kruspe famously prefers his particular Pre-500 Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier amp over any other. As an expert on this kind of amp sound, Native Instruments approached him and proposed to develop a special software version of it.

Over time Richard became deeply involved in the project, refining what became 'Rammfire' in a real partnership with Native Instruments' lead developer. Together they created an extremely high-end result that really deserved the name tag RZK – Richard Z. Kruspe.

After the bare amp modeling was done, NI even went on to record Impulse Responses (IRs) in Richard Z. Kruspe's own studio, tweaking every stage under his supervision. After many stages of recording, modeling and checking, the speaker simulation turned out to be so realistic that he now often refrains from hooking up his real speakers when recording new ideas.

PERFECTING THE CUSTOM SETUP

Since the beginning of his musical career in the GDR's East Berlin, Richard Z. Kruspe has been on a quest for the perfect rhythm amp sound. Shortly after the fall of the Berlin wall, he visited the Musikmesse conference in Frankfurt. When he entered the first hall, he heard a guitarist jamming on his own, yet filling the entire room with sound. The setup was a Dual Rectifier with a 4x12 cabinet, and it was love at first sight for Richard Z. Kruspe. He eventually acquired one of the highly sought-after, rare pre-500 series – Revision C – and used it on every Rammstein album since.

Although he went through a dozen same-model candidates there are none which could really compete – his relationship to the amp is like a marriage. He came to the conclusion that – in the analogue world – no two pieces of equipment are exactly the same, and this amp is has exactly the sound he is looking for.

RICHARD Z. KRUSPE'S SIGNATURE SOUND

The characteristic sound of a Rammstein production, based on Richard Z. Kruspe's and Paul Landers' distinctive guitars, uses overdubbing techniques to achieve a thick guitar sound that spans the whole frequency spectrum. Richard Z. Kruspe even went to extreme lengths to achieve his desired fullness, sometimes overlaying up to 24 guitar parts at a time. However, after refining his production techniques, this philosophy became obsolete. Today, he has a more modest recording approach, building his sound from one guitar track panned to the left, one to the right, and two centered overdubs.

While the choice of pickups is crucial - Richard Z. Kruspe uses an active EMG 81 - the room sound is also of major importance, and his studio has undergone many stages of optimization over the years. The choice of microphones isn't typical, but a rather exclusive combination of the audiophile-revered Neumann® M149 and Telefunken U47. Striving for absolute control, Richard even built a robotic system to be able to find the sweet spot for each cabinet, remotely controlled from the mixing desk.

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