Saturday, June 29, 2013

The 10 Best Guitar Amp Plugins In The World

The 10 Best Guitar Amp Plugins In The World

Because who doesn’t love crunchy overdrive, Big Muffs and amps that go up to 11..?
Whatever sort of music you’re making, everyone needs at least one of these amp modelling / guitar effects plugins in their studio toolbox.
One of the great things about guitar-style effects and processors is that they’re at least as useful for treating vocals and other instruments as they are for guitars.
Most of the selections here are the top-end versions of each plugin – ‘Pro’, ‘Platinum Edition’ etc.  – but most also come in various stripped down / cheaper / ‘elements’ flavours too, so you can always find a version to fit your budget.
Also bear in mind that, like the real-world gear that they are modelled on, none of these plugins are perfect, they all have their strengths and weaknesses – better high-gain amp sound emulations, or better racks of effects, for example.
Anyway, enjoy – and leave a note at the bottom – especially if I forgot your favourite..? – thanks!
Update note: After a couple of questions about best places/prices to purchase these plugins and other equipment, I’ve included links for each item to the relevant pages on andAmazon. The zZounds site is one of the longest-serving and most straightforward music gear online stores, especially for guitar-related stuff – you can trust I’ll always send you to the right places :)

1. IK Multimedia Amplitube 3IK Multimedia Amplitube

In my opinion, the daddy of guitar amp modelling plugins. Over 160 different pieces of virtual gear, and the new Custom Shop feature from IK Multimedia means you can buy individual new amps and effects units from their website, “like visiting a real guitar store”. Just without the guy playing Stairway in the corner.

2. Waves GTR3Waves GTR3

With licensed emulations ofMarshalland Mesa/Boogie equipment, Waves delivers the goods.

3. Line6 POD Farm 2.5 PlatinumLine6 POD Farm 2.5 Platinum

A sort of plugin descendant of the original and much-loved Line 6 hardware POD.

4. NI Guitar Rig 5 ProNI Guitar Rig 5 Pro

Another good all-rounder, and the Control Room feature allows you to point up to eight mics at your virtual cabinets for a lot of “hands-on” tweaking.

5. Softube Metal Amp RoomSoftube Metal Amp Room

This one is great for delivering the raw but focused aggression required for heavier sounds. It can be quite difficult finding a plugin that delivers a truly authentic, “can’t tell the difference from the real thing” sound for this kind of tone, but Softube are onto something here.
More info and purchase/download from Softube here.

6. Peavey Revalver MK IIIPeavey Revalver MK III

You kind of know that Peavey, one of the biggest companies in the guitar / music equipment industries, wouldn’t spoil things by putting their name to a ropey plugin. So, Revalver – now at MK III – is pretty awesome.
More info here.

7. Overloud TH2Overloud TH2

Not as well-known as some of the others here, but the emulations of classic gear and effects are really good. Definitely worth checking out.
More info and purchase/download from Overloud here.

8. Studio Devil Amp Modeller ProStudio Devil Amp Modeler Pro

This one reminds me of Reason: it looks like a toy, but in the right hands it sounds amazing!
More info and purchase/download here.

9. LePou pluginsLepou LE456LePou 8505 Lead2

The mysterious LePou (if that is indeed your real name…) is awesome: he makes loads of really good amp emulator plugins, with very cool and classy front panel graphics; and best of all they are available for free from the LePou website.

10. Avid / Digidesign ElevenAvid Eleven

“This one [quite literally] goes to eleven…” :)
Also check out the edition of Pro Tools that comes with Eleven and a specially designed audio/guitar interface.
More info here.
Buy the Avid Eleven Rack guitar interface (includes Pro Tools 10) at Zzounds – this is my choice for the ultimate compact guitar setup, as you literally don’t need anything else other than your computer to lay down complete, professional tracks.

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