Positive Grid RIFF Review

A handheld gateway to the world of home recording.

Doesn’t require a power supply or batteries. Works with any plug-in or DAW. Very simple interface.

Differences between preamp emulations are subtle.

$129

Positive Grid Riff
positivegrid.com

5
3.5
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4.5

It’s never been easier or less expensive to take part in the home recording experience. And Positive Grid’s newest entry into the interface market, called RIFF, exists at an impressive nexus of portability, functionality, and price. For around the cost of a decent overdrive, it’s a handheld audio interface that skips the bells and whistles for the sake of making a tool that just plain works.


The design is streamlined. The front of the unit is home to a backlit LCD screen and a multi-function push knob. There’s also a headphone output and audio input jack on the bottom along with an output jack on top next to a USB port. Setting up RIFF is a breeze. Apple Logic recognized the unit right away on my own computer, and because it’s powered via USB (or Lightning in iOS applications), you just plug in to your computer to power up. You can adjust four primary parameters: input gain, output gain, direct (which blends direct and processed tones coming from your computer for monitoring purposes) and tone, which cycles through three preamp emulations. The preamps are effective, though their overall effect and the differences between them can be subtle.

The recording quality of the RIFF is stellar. It handles 24bit/96kHz sample rates and there is little-to-no detectable latency. RIFF also comes bundled with the company’s BIAS FX 2 LE software for amp emulation, which makes RIFF a super fun way to practice on top of an incredibly handy recording setup.

Test Gear: Fender HSS Stratocaster, Fender Jazz Bass, Neural DSP Archetype: Cory Wong


A chambered body and enhanced switching make this affordable Revstar light and loaded with tones.

Scads of cool tone combinations. Articulate pickups. Relatively light. Balanced and comfortable. Well built.

Some P-90 players might miss the extra grit the Revstar trades for articulation.

Yamaha Revstar Standard RSS02T
usa.yamaha.com

4.5
4.5
4.5
4.5

While the Yamaha name is famous in circles beyond the guitar world, they’ve made first-class guitars since the 1960s. And while they don’t unleash new releases with the frequency of some larger guitar brands, every now and then they come down the mountain with a new axe that reminds us of their capacity to build great electric 6-strings. In 2015, Yamaha introduced the first generation Revstar. With a handsome aesthetic inspired by the company’s motorcycle racing heritage, the Revstar combined sweet playability and vintage style touchstones. This year, Yamaha gave the Revstar an overhaul—including body chambering, updated pickups, and new switching. What’s impressive is how these alterations enhance the already impressive playability and versatility of the original.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

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