Guitar Pedal VSTs 2022: A Rundown of the Most Creative +1 of them is FREE!

There are many contestants for the most creative guitar pedal VSTs of 2022. Guitar pedals are easily one of the most exciting parts of playing. The choices out there for sound designers can really bring this to life in their dizzying breadth and scope. To keep up with all the new developments in this world within one year would be impossible. Nevertheless, some of the most stand-out plugins take classic and well-known effects such as distortion and place their own innovative twist on them. Read on to find out some of the VSTs which do this best. from metal to blues, there is something for everyone!

Mercuriall Chorus WS1: One of the Best Chorus Guitar Pedal VSTs of 2022

Mercuriall Chorus WS1 has a fantastic pedigree. It’s modelled after Boss Chorus CE-2, which came from one of the world’s first chorus pedals- the Boss CE-1. CE-2 was made in Japan to celebrate its pedigree and the ingenuity of Japanese craftsmanship is evident in Mercuriall. 

The Chorus WS1 is not as detailed as some of the distortion pedals on this list in terms of operation. However, its simplicity is a great introduction to chorus effects. It contains dials for speed, depth, and mix, nothing more, nothing less. Another major thing in its favour is it’s completely free. American and British audiences may not be immediately familiar with Russian brand Mercuriall, but their gear is extremely worth checking out in general – and while the Chorus WS1 isn’t the only free plugin they have released, it is certainly great at what it does. 

Forum reviews have also shown that this pedal goes above and beyond. In fact, some users feel like it’s one of the only decent chorus pedals out there. It may not have some of the niche or unusual features as others on this list. However, it deserves an entry as it has taken a tricky-to-get-right effect and crafted masterful ways of achieving it.

Mercurial Chorus WS-1

Requirements: Works for both Windows and macOS, exact versions not listed. Works as AU and VST for Windows and AU, VST and AAX for macOS

Price: Free, to download check their website by clicking here (there are other free products available)..

The Bluesman by Audiority: A Creative Vintage Blues Overdrive Pedal

Analogue modelled simulation – ‘90s Marshall Blues Breaker made to replicate tone of 1962 Blues Breaker amp This plugin is an ‘amp in a box’ pedal. What does this mean? Well, it allows the artist an unprecedented level of control over the intricacies of tone. It’s not just a clear case of whether the pedal is on or off. This is a really nuanced pedal and the sounds shown in Aurodirty’s demonstration have fantastic realism. This nifty pedal is perfect for classic rock, blues, or even harder rock as well as spicing up pop tracks.

The Bluesman lets you control gain, tone, and level plus explore three different pedal circuits. It also includes a noise gate, and mix control. This little pedal plugin does anything an amp VST could do and does it just as well. Out of all guitar pedal VSTs of 2022, this one is without a doubt one of the most creative and refreshing. Whilst blues isn’t always looked at specifically in the general market, The Bluesman really does have everything you need.

Requirements: Windows 7 64bit or later, OSX 10.8 or later or macOS 11 or later

Price: 13 EUR or 12.93 USD. Click here to check current price on pluginboutique.com

Heavy Pedal by Audiority: Real Innovation for Heavy Guitar

From the laid-back sounds of blues, this list turns to the stormy sounds of 80s Swedish death metal. Audiority modelled Heavy Pedal after a notorious analogue stompbox which fuelled the sounds of the evolution of the Scandinavian metal scene. So why have we included Heavy Pedal on this list? Metal guitarists may find occasionally that most of the market does not serve their needs, and Heavy Pedal is valuable in filling these gaps. However, it’s a surprisingly versatile pedal in general for other genres such as thrash, punk, and industrial.

Heavy Pedal is an ultra high gain pedal – meaning things can get intense. It’s also of extremely high technical quality. The folks behind it at Audiority modelled it off a circa-1984 Japanese Boss-HM2. This model fuelled the Northern European metal scene, yet found itself popular in the land of the rising sun. With all of this combined, Heavy Pedal is truly something special. 

Heavy Pedal by Audiority

Requirements: Windows 7 64bit or later, OSX 10.8 or later or macOS 11 or later

Price: 20 EUR or 20 USD. Click here to check current price on pluginboutique.com (we get a small kickback from your purchase).

Bx_yellowdrive by Brainworx/Plugin Alliance: Perfect for Adding Tone

Why does Brainworx make this list? Firstly, the love and care which Yellowdrive use in the manufacturing process are second to none. The second reason is more hidden. Legendary pedal manufacturer Boss is responsible for a huge amount of innovation. However, most people do not know just how many VSTs take inspiration from classic Boss pedals. The bx_yellowdrive is one of these, and it’s an exacting replica. This means it has all the tone of the pedal it is based on, the Boss SD- 1.

The bx_yellowdrive is a welcome oasis in the world of software. It has a warm, rough-around-the-edges feel, which is something that partly comes from its asymmetric circuitry. Another trick it has up its sleeve is how it responds to your playing in real-time. This is really a plugin which embraces all the nuances of playing and analogue gear. Simultaneously, it brings you all the convenience of digital software. Ultimately, this is not a distortion plugin – it’s a tone plugin. It’s there to add warmth and sonic character to your playing, and in doing this it fills a real gap in the market.

Requirements: macOS 10.11-12, Windows 8-11

Price: 49 USD. Click here to check current price on pluginalliance.com

Misstortion 2 by Nimble Tools: Intro to Bit-Crushing and Clip Distortion

Nimble Tools isn’t famous within the world of pedal plugins. However, Misstortion is a really unique and fascinatingly designed bit of kit. Unlike many other products on the market, it actually explores the worlds of both bit-crushing and clip distortion. This means its sound has a gritter, somewhat more industrial edge. If you are used to playing heavier music, you may find this very welcome. It’s even useful if you want to combine your guitar playing with something more electronic. Misstortion’s interface is also really great – although it doesn’t model itself visually on any hardware pedals. Nonetheless, it has a really smooth, clean interface with all features easy to find.

In fact, the more exploration, the better Misstortion actually gets. It even has a tone filter which allows you to set the filter to the frequency of a particular note. With controls over symmetry and both soft clip and hard clip distortion, this is a real deep dive. Misstortion recognises you may want a smoother and more fine-tuned sound design than simply letting the plugin do the work. As a result, this is really one plugin to get stuck in with. 

Requirements: Available as a VST for both macOS and Windows, however, the website lists multiple variations depending on your version of the software and storage space

Price: Starts free but the website offers options to name your price.

Final Thoughts on Guitar Pedal VSTs of 2022

So there you have it! This is not an exhaustive list of all which has gone on this year for stomp box VSTs. However, it is a selection of some of the most interesting and creative. All these plugins have really been designed to add a little extra spark back into your playing. While this list focuses on distortion, we have also chosen these plugins for creativity in general, hence the inclusion of Mercuriall’s Chorus WS1 and the bx_yellowdrive. In addition, they are all great at adding tone to your riffs and licks when used in small amounts too. 

If you enjoyed this article, why not check out some of our other plugin and VST articles? Find them in our software category: https://www.idesignsound.com/software/

Best Ear Training Software 2022: A Breakdown of the Year’s Best Picks

Want to find the best ear training software of 2022? Look no further for a handy breakdown of some of the different options out there on the market, what they work best for, and how to find what suits your specific needs.

EDITOR CHOICE: trainyourears.com – BEST Starter Option

This one is simply the best because it is one of the simples and easy to comprehend piece of Ear Training software. We have extensively covered this product in a separate review, which we highly recommend as it goes in-depth. You can read our trainyourears.com review it by clicking here.

We chose this as our Editor Choice because is is the easiest and most recommended way to get into Ear Training as a first-time encounter. If this is your first attempt to use Ear Training software and have moderate musical knowledge (willing to master them fast), start by clicking here (open trainyourears.com website).

Best Ear Training Software for Focussing on Frequency: QuizTones

QuizTones is a fantastic app which comes from the folks at the Pro Audio Files. This is a website and an online course dedicated to mixing and mastering tips. The developers designed QuizTones to take the entire EQ process and turn it into a fun, intuitive, and interactive app. This allows the user to hone their skills in real-time in order and enhance their aural sensitivity.

With quizzes for tone, EQ, and more, QuizTones builds up your skills step by step. QuizTones is one of the most popular apps on the market for this kind of thing. One stand-out feature is how it eliminates the need to sweep for audio. QuizTones also allows you to choose different difficulty levels. It even lets you import loops from your own library and see what they sound like when you isolate different frequency bands. This learning in context is really what makes QuizTones stand out from other, similar apps.

Price: 14.99 USD for Mac, 4.99 USD for your iOS handheld device

Requirements: Mac and iOS only. You can check their website by clicking here.

Best for Simplicity: Ear Plugins

This is a totally deceptive plugin. At first glance it looks extremely simple, however, when you unpack its features you discover everything which you need.

In terms of design, this plugin is almost like a piece of retro technology. There is also a small game feature. Here, it tracks the number of guesses you’ve made of a particular bandwidth on the EQ spectrum. Due to the fact it’s small and not distracting, this is also a great plugin to keep on the side. Therefore the ability to incorporate it into the rest of your computer’s interface discreetly makes it phenomenal for busy musicians.

You might need more time to set up and install this than the average plugin. The developer originally intended it for his personal use, however, you can find easy-to-follow instructions on their website. What I like about EarPlugins is really its design and layout. It’s easy on the eye means that there is more focus on the sound itself. It also helps that you can plug in any of your own sound files to use to train. Find it and even get in touch with the developers below.

Price: Free

Requirements: available for Windows only

Best for A Comprehensive Look: SoundGym

SoundGym is an absolutely phenomenal ear training programme. This is, in fact, one of the most comprehensive pieces of software on this list. SoundGym operates on the same premise as a real gym. It also includes all the most common plugins and FX to train your ears as well.

Ear training has sometimes come to mean frequency detection or focus on the EQ process. However, SoundGym takes into account is compression you struggle with. It even has separate sections for training beat identification as well as the classic focus on EQ. SoundGym’s production and audio courses, in fact, are all designed to revolutionise how people ear train.

The only downside of SoundGym is it’s more of an online platform than anything else. There is no windows or iOS compatible app at the moment. However, you can track your progress, and train and compete with thousands of other users online and worldwide. This makes it truly addictive and properly challenging.

Price: Free

Requirements: Internet access – this amazing website is entirely online!

Best Ear Training Software for Consistent Practice: Complete Ear Trainer

Complete ear trainer really does what it says on the tin. It’s comprehensive and works with notes, intervals, and chords. This last feature makes it a really smart app for musicians who prefer to learn how things fit together. After all, focussing on your relative pitch, it also understands that it’s necessary to learn things holistically.

Apart from that, the developers put this app together simply but well. It has everything you need without too many distracting features. This makes it perfect for those who just want to focus. Its unique video game format means that it’s super easy to maintain a consistent practice. Like anything, ear training is a skill you can improve with repeated mastery. Of all the apps and software on this list, this one is possibly best for maintaining skill level. In fact, it hits the sweet spot between breaking things down and additional features.

Price: Free – an amazing price for such a comprehensive app

Requirements: Your handheld device – Complete Ear Trainer is available for both Apple products, Huawei mobile, Android, and also available on Amazon as a free download.

Best Ear Training Software for an Academic Approach: EarMaster

EarMaster is the software on this list which deals the most with traditional academic style ear training. This means that it has options involving written music notation. It really gets you back to the basics of conservatory style interval and pitch training. Nevertheless, it doesn’t just do a handful of basic things, it also has a special section just for jazz musicians. As jazz uses lots of complex chords which don’t always show up in regular chord and interval training software. As a result, this is an absolute lifeline for jazz musicians. Indeed, it helps anyone who wants to familiarise themselves with chords and intervals which are less easy to find online.

Apart from this, it has options for both ear and rhythm training. The latter is something which not many other apps or software cover. Functional ear training means you can also use a keyboard, sing, or use solfege syllables to match notes. This is very helpful as you will gain familiarity with a wide variety of methods.

A lot of musicians prefer doing things by matching the software they use. This could include using their favourite EQ frequency plugin or a midi keyboard. However, it doesn’t hurt to get back to basics sometimes. EarMaster is exactly the kind of app which will walk you through that from scratch to perfect audio sensitivity.

Price: Free versions available, more in-depth versions available for a monthly 4.99 Euro or 5.01 USD subscription

Requirements: Windows 7, 8, 10, 11, Mac 10.12 + and iOs 10 +

Final Thoughts

It’s not really possible to choose the ‘best’ software as every musician will have a different style of learning. Nevertheless, this list includes a varied number of different options. This way, there is something for each preference. Whether you want something more traditional, need to focus on your jazz chords, or learn best when things are interactive, it always helps to investigate different choices. In addition, take both your playing style and habits into account. That way, by knowing what works, your ear training journey will inevitably go much more smoothly.

Enjoyed this article? We have a whole category of music software, available at the following link: https://www.idesignsound.com/software/

Best Software for Guitar Loops 2022: How to Get Started with Looping

There’s no easy way of classifying the best software for making guitar loops. This handy list will guide you through some of the most well-known DAWs. It also includes hidden gem apps and plugins to get you everything you need in terms of guitar looping. Read on to find out more.

Mobius: Best Free Software for Guitar Loops

Mobius is a fantastic free plugin. It’s really got everything needed for anything you might want to experiment with. Although the website suggests using a MIDI keyboard, you can actually adapt it for guitar too. Mobius uses samples. Therefore, it’s easy for a guitarist to quickly record a lick or riff and modify it to their heart’s desire. In this way, it helps cross the threshold between classic guitar playing and altering their sound with production.

Mobius has an interface which is clean and easy to decipher. The designers have laid all different options across the top. And, with only two colours, black and icy purple, it’s not too complicated to look at. With eight different channels for audio recordings, you can layer loops and see how they interact. Mobius strips its technological features back to the basics. It has options to record, overdub, reverse, and speed control, but this also forces guitarists to become more creative. You can download Mobius by clicking here and opening their own website.

Best Software for Guitar Loops if you already own Ableton Live: Looper – built in Ableton effect

Everyone’s heard of Ableton Live, but it would be a crime not to include it on this list. Ableton’s live mode allows musicians to break out of the constraints of a timeline and edit things holistically. This is great for musicians who don’t compose in a linear way. It also helps get a broader overview of your track and how loops fit into it.

So why is Ableton so great and why does it deserve a place on this list? Ultimately it is highly flexible and offers a unique position between analogue and digital. Its unique pad-based play-station means multiple loops can be played over the top of each other. Instruments can also be looped live in this way.

Ableton has a complex system of add-ons and upgrades. However, the plus of this is that it allows musicians to choose exactly the things they need and nothing more. However, Live 11 intro begins at 99 USD and requires Windows 10 or higher, or MacOS 10.13 to 12.

Loop Studio: Best for On the Go

On the surface, compared to some of the options on this list, Microsoft’s Loop Studio isn’t much. This app, available for handheld devices only, strips things really down to the basics. It has a clean and simple layout with nicely designed square pads and tracks to sort out your samples. It also has the option to loop both pre-recorded instruments and to record directly into your phone.

So why does Loop Studio make the list? Loop Studio is exactly what you want on your phone whether you’re in a jam session and need to capture a particular moment. That way, you can see how it sounds in various forms – it’s also perfect for when you’re on the go or simply don’t have the time to sit down at a computer or with more complex software.

Loop Studio is a perfect place to find your sound and store ideas. In this way, it works in a similar manner to Apple’s voice notes feature. For such a simple app, it really does a lot. For this, it has deserved a rightful place on this list.

FL Studio: One of the Best DAWs for Guitar Loops

Like Ableton, almost everyone has heard of FrootyLoops studio. So, what’s the difference between them in terms of looping software and which is better for guitarists? Many find they both lend themselves more to electronic music. However, because of this, they excel at making looping easy to master. As a result, both FL Studio and Ableton deserve a place on the list. However, how do they really compare?

For the purpose of guitar loops at least, FL Studio is more like a traditional DAW. Yet FL Studio really comes into it’s own when you investigate the guitar loops packs it has. Depending on your preference, these can be more creative than those found on Logic. It’s also stellar for combining your guitar loops with some of its beat-making features, and generally offers a creative playground for guitar looping experiments.

LoopyPro: A Futuristic and Highly Intutiive Looper

LoopyPro is easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing bits of software on this list. One bonus point of its appearance is that it allows you to have an overview of everything going on. In addition, the demos on the LoopyPro website easily walk you through how to balance all the different options. It’s really thorough with all this amazing bit of kit has to offer.

This smart app is available for your iOS devices as well as for your macOS computer. LoopyPro may appear at first glance to be more suited to synths and drum pads. However, it works perfectly with riffs, laid-back solos, or additions from your six-string in an otherwise mostly electronic track. In fact, as many YouTube tutorials show, it’s popular with guitarists. It has a great ability to track multiple fiddly licks and riffs. It really lends itself to more complex styles of playing!

As a sampler, sequencer and DAW, in addition, this is actually a really powerful bit of software. It is well worth checking out if you need an alternative to Logic X Pro in favour of something more intuitive.

SooperLooper: An Honourable Mention

We’ve listed SooperLooper as an honourable mention. It’s not necessarily as easy to use or set up as some of the others. It requires JACK, a sound server API which lowers latency in connections between applications. In addition, SooperLooper isn’t available for Windows. Their website actually suggests Mobius (listed first in this article) as a similar alternative for those working on PC.

Nevertheless, SooperLooper is a pretty great loop station. It’s discrete and you can easily keep it as a small window on your desktop. The website does recommend that it works best with hardware in addition, such as MIDI foot-pedals. However, for an already-equipped musician who is confident with both software and hardware, SooperLooper is definitely a candidate. It’s a very unobtrusive loop station, and can quickly become a part of the furniture on your desktop.

Final Thoughts: A Rundown of the Best Software for Guitar Loops

Loop stations and looping software offer a lot of potential both for quick and flexible composition. However, it can be hard to tell which one suits your style of music best. Nevertheless, this list contains some of the best and most easily usable options out there. Now the only thing left is to experiment, play around, and remember to have fun.

Enjoyed this article? We have a full category of music software, available here at the following link; https://www.idesignsound.com/software/

Bleass Omega: A User Friendly FM Synth with a Twist

The Bleass Omega is a perfect introduction to user-friendly FM synthesis. How come the Bleass Omega is so good at introducing guitarists to synthesis in general? Here, Bleass break down FM Synthesis, which is reputed to be trickier to get the hang of than analogue. The Bleass Omega markets itself as a user-friendly FM synth. FM synthesis became known as difficult to master due to its technicality. FM synths were also known for sometimes requiring the musician to already have a working knowledge of sonic terminology. This meant it was challenging to get exactly what you wanted, especially with early FM synths like the Yamaha DX7. Whilst these synths were legendary, they were nevertheless tricky to pick up. The Bleass Omega does away with all this. Instead, it provides a slick, clean interface which is already friendly towards newcomers to FM synthesis. 

What Makes the Bleass Omega Perfect for User-Friendly FM Synthesis

Fm synthesis stands for frequency modulation. FM synthesisers use a tone to modulate the frequency of a soundwave and change its pitch. This means Fm synthesis relies much more on an in-depth knowledge of the way sound is built up. Sometimes, this can include what exactly is going on within the oscillator. What the Bleass Omega does is break down the process visually for you. Therefore, it demonstrates what is happening within the oscillators and to the soundwave onscreen. It is smooth, easy to use, and attractive looking. The interface also compartmentalises the process via colour coding. As a result, it is easy to see what is happening at exactly each stage of the signal chain. 

User-Friendly FM Synthesis for iPad and iPhone

What Bleass have also done is adapted the Bleass Omega for iPad and iPhone. Fancied a high-power, authentic, yet user-friendly FM synthesis right on your handheld device? This is not a simple app with a basic replica of the main plugin. Instead, this is the real deal and includes everything needed. Bleass manages to do this by placing its focus on streamlining FM synthesis. As a result, the versions for iPad and iPhone are equally good as the desktop version for composing while travelling. 

Features of the Bleass Omega: User-Friendly FM Synthesis at Your Fingertips

  • Contains a chorus processor, tremolo effect, tempo-synchronisable delay processor, flexible reverb processor, motion sequencer, configurable length and randomness,
  • Available LFO waveforms – sine, triangle, saw up, saw down, square and sample-and-hold.
  • LFO visualation
  • Assignable ADSR envelope
  • 9 different shaping algorithms on the waveshaper
  • Choose from 11 FM algorithms, with colour-coded graphical representations to help with your choice. Each algorithm corresponds to a different routing of the four FM operators. Here, the flow starts at the top of the diagram and working downwards. Where operators are linked, the upper operator(s) modulate the frequency of the lower operator(s).
  • Transpose and fine-tune the synth using the Octave and Tune controls

This is just a small part of what’s available with the Bleass Omega. For a full breakdown, head to their website by clicking here.

Bleass Omega and MPE Technology (MIDI Polyphonic Extraction)

Like the Bleass Alpha, its user-friendly analogue subtractive synthesis counterpart, the Bleass Omega has MIDI polyphonic extraction or MPE. More on this is outlined in the article on the Bleass Alpha. This recent development allows synths to create bends, slides, and other sounds similar to those on the guitar. This is what made our review of the Bleass alpha so geared towards it as a beginner synth for guitarists. However, if you want to explore FM synthesis, the Bleass Omega suits anyone looking to easily create unusual sounds. In fact, the combination of FM synthesis and MPE is a powerful one. Bleass has taken advantage of this, as there aren’t that many FM synths with MPE on the market. Furthermore, the Omega is one of the most user-friendly of the lot. In addition, the kinds of timbres and textures which FM synthesis creates work well with the features of MPE.

The Bleass Omega can also be purchased as a bundle and individually. This comes with multiple presets. These are part of user-friendly FM synthesis as a whole, but they also work well as starting points. The designers have really taken care to showcase how FM and MPE work together. Therefore, you don’t mind spending the extra money, these bundles provide almost everything for you. 

Bleass Omega System Requirements and Price

The Bleass Omega requires Windows 8 and later on PC, AAX, and 64-bit VST3. On Mac it requires iOS 10.9 or later, AAX, VST3, or AU. It is compatible with all DAWs which can run VST3, AU, or AAX.

You can check the price and buy the Bleass Omega over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

Bleass Omega Interface: How Come the Bleass Omega is So Easy to Understand?

Is the Bleass Omega really as user-friendly as the website makes out? Synthesis is a huge and varied topic. Therefore, manufacturers – unless they are marketing towards the pros – make their products easy for bedroom sound designers to use. What makes or breaks a synth is whether you can use it to produce a real variety of sounds. This comes down to whether it is flexible as opposed to just providing shortcuts via a variety of presets. This is what really separates the Bleass Omega from other so-called user-friendly FM synths on the market.

With its interface, even those unfamiliar with FM synthesis can understand what is happening the soundwave. This allows musicians to mentally build a connection between the things they see on screen and the sounds they produce. And this is especially important for user-friendly FM synthesis. It can create many sounds and timbres which you cannot make with subtractive, analogue or semi-analogue synthesis. As a result, FM synth users often find they are really searching for a specific tone. By breaking down the soundwave visually, Bleass has made it easy to remember the steps to creating sound. This way, musicians can get what they want without shooting in the dark.

Final Thoughts

The Bleass omega does for FM synthesis what the Bleass alpha does for analogue. They are both excellent synth plugins for streamlining the synthesis process. Their focus seems to be on making it easy to visualise exactly how the sound is changing. They don’t boast anything flashy, but the designers have thought them through and they are great at simplifying a complex process. This ability to cut through complexity by the designers also means they include MPE technology without complicating things. Instead, they integrate it seamlessly as another possibility available. At the same time, they have kept the interface easy to navigate. Therefore, you can retrace your steps if you hit upon a really fantastic sound which is too good to waste. 

You can check the price and buy the Bleass Omega over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

If you liked this article we think you should check the whole Software Synthesis category, just click here.

Easy Granular Synthesis: Portal’s New Granular Synth

Previously on idesignsound.com, we covered granular synthesis with the Lemondrop mini synth. You can read that review here. This synth has introduced many musicians to the concept and made it intuitive, easy to use, and attractive. There aren’t actually that many granular synths on the market, but another of these is the portal granular synth. This synth is very different from the Lemondrop. Instead, it is a digital VST which works on DAWs such as logic. However, the makers have designed it similarly intuitively to the folks at 1010 music. This is because they know that fewer people know of granular synthesis than some of its counterparts. As a result, they realised it was important to translate this type of synthesis. This led to a smooth, clean, and easy-to-use synth so that it is accessible to every kind of musician. 

What Does Granular Synthesis Involve?

Ultimately, granular synthesis is a kind of synthesis which involves samples. Granular synthesis chops up samples of real-life sounds and mixes and matches them at very small sizes, known as granules. Each granule makes up part of the soundwave. By manipulating these granules you can sculpt and shape them to create a sound of the desired timbre, tone, and texture. It is so precise, this can be anything you may want.

Granular synthesis is very different from the classic forms of synthesis which arose in the 80-s and 70s. Instead, it is perfect for creating space age, alien, or otherwise more underground and unusual sounds. This is really a type of synthesis for audiophiles who enjoy constantly seeking the best kinds of new sounds. It also suits artists who are looking for something really special 

Granular synthesis allows the artist an unprecedented amount of control over the shape of the sound. It offers an entirely new way of looking at soundwaves. Instead of the wave as a whole, fluid thing, granular synthesis breaks it down to its absolute building blocks. This means you can get to grips with exactly how to create sound. Ultimately, it can show you fractal patterns and meta arrangements of new sounds. These help you really get to see what makes a sound harsh or soft, light or dark, etc. 

What Does the Interface of the Portal Granular Synth Look Like?

The interface focuses mainly on a circle which allows you to actually map out the different grains of sound. This way you can see how they interact with each other to create the sounds you are making. There’s a drop-down menu on the left-hand side, which offers you many presets that appeal to adventurous artists. This includes really weird, glitchy, and otherwise unpo[pular or unusual sounds. These can add just that little extra something to your new track.

With a simple drag of the mouse, you can affect the amount of granulation. It also lets you turn knobs and dials for the more conventional effects such as tape delay. In this way it is like you would find on any other synth. Not only can you use it as an instrument in itself, but it can also combine it creatively with vocals. This further allows you to alter sounds in a really unusual way. 

You can check the price and buy the Portal Granular Synth + some cool presets over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

How Does Portal create Such Easy Granular Synthesis?

Luckily, the designers at Portal know that most of their customers will be new to granular synthesis. Therefore, they have made it easy for you. It has over 250 presets, all of which are seriously good in themselves. The portal granular synth is interesting based on those alone. However, it really excels at tempo-based granulation. The designers of this synth made it with the knowledge that timbre and tone do not exist in isolation. Portal wants all your tracks to really hook together and get into the groove. A value readout panel also helps you get to grips with controls. Luckily, due to the way it breaks everything down, this is a perfect synth for learning transferrable skills. You can then use these on other granular synths.

A time manipulation control really shows you how your sound waves interact with tempo. Furthermore, an XY-based control lets you plot sound systematically against these axes so you can actually visualise it. Seven built-in FX, a master compressor, and scale-based pitch modulation also add to it. All in all, this makes a super slick machine which can take you on a whirlwind tour of granular synthesis. With this, there is no doubt it will then become your trusty companion. 

Requirements to Use the Portal Granular Synth:

AAX, AU, VST and VST3 versions included

Mac OS X 10.9 or higher
Windows 7 or higher
32 and 64-bit compatible (PC)
4GB of RAM required, 8GB recommended
At least 300 MB of free drive space

And at 131 GBP (156.59 USD) it’s actually a really affordable synth. This is mostly due to the fact it is relatively unrelated and that the market hasn’t given it much publicity yet. In terms of innovation, granular synths tend to be high end. Therefore, along with the Lemondrop from 1010 music this is one of the best and most affordable out there. In fact, it provides not just an introduction ot granular synthesis but also lets you explore it further.

Final Thoughts on the Portal Granular Synth

This synth doesn’t boast any historical credentials. It isn’t modelled off a classic piece of gear. The design team also doens’t include any particularly notable minds. However, it doesn’t need it, and for what it is, it works really well within itself. It does what it needs to do, yet excells at it. Furthermore, it takes on a little known part of synthesis and makes it accessible. This is no easy feat.

Sometimes analogue or analogue modelled synths are subject to high standards. They tend to have a lot of history to live up to. However, musicians often overlook what can be doen with just a DAW in mind. This is a powerful example of a really good digital example of a synth that can hold so much possibility. The designers also haven’t felt the need to include huge amounts of complicated features. They are instead safe in the knowledge that the style of their product really is enough to turn heads. In the end, actually doesn’t need anything more. The portal granular synth is available from the portal website for download. 

You can check the price and buy the Portal Granular Synth + some cool presets over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

Find the Perfect Guitar Tone: Using Sound Design to Find your Tone

How do you find the perfect guitar tone? Some say guitar tone is in the fingers. Some say the producer creates a lot of it and some say it’s all about having the right gear. In truth, there is no right or wrong way to achieve tone. What matters is you achieve the tone which is right for your own creative purposes. There might be many ways to do this. You might use multiple ways before you are satisfied with the result. However, this article will show you how to use sound design and plugins to find that perfect tone. It’s a process – even if you start off with something less than perfect.

Guitar Pedal Plugins: An Easy Way to Achieve the Perfect Tone

Most guitarists rightly spend plenty of time focussing on their mastery and command of their instruments. However, to find the perfect guitar tone, it is important to remember that sound design allows us opportunities beyond our analogue gear. You can reach tone beyond your average by using those guitar pedal plugins which come with every DAW. Don’t just experiment with them or use them in the context of a guitar solo. Try deep-diving and really getting to grips with them. This means using them slowly and using them subtly. You can also add them in the background to add tone as opposed to making them the central focus.

In addition, try turning your attention to lesser-used plugins such as soft saturation and multi-FX. You can repurpose pedals such as wah by applying them down low on a single half of a double-tracked riff. This can alter the perception of tone on both tracks. Using pedals as the building blocks of tone as opposed to the focal point can be game-changing. In this way, they can really make you think about how your guitar playing relates to sound design.

Basic FX: Reverb and Delay to Find the Perfect Guitar Tone

Reverb and delay are some of the most basic FX. These apply to either whole tracks or the guitar on its own. Tone doesn’t exist independently of these FX. However, they’re not the kind you can use in order to create tone itself. Instead, they are the kinds of FX which would alter your tone – or at least its perception.

So, how do you take reverb and delay into account when designing your tone? Every good mix has them. For starters, you could use them to emphasise the bits of your tone you want to stand out. You can add reverb to guitar bass notes, or subtle delay on the top end of a riff. This can affect timbre subtly and bring crystal clear highs and rich lows.

If you want to see some reverb products at fair prices, check out pluginboutique.com by clicking here. If you buy something, you really really support us because we get a small kickback. There is really no guitar-specific reverb, all product have their own little vibe and quirk, plus most of them have endless setting possibilities.

Also bear in mind too many FX can smother your tone. Reverb and delay make everything sound better, but often this is only superficial. The best thing is to make sure your guitar sounds great in the first place.

Below you will find the best guide for beginners, it is a long one, but it is comprehensive.

Bringing out the Best in Your Tone: Working With What You’ve Got Already

Ultimately two separate things make up tone. These are the way the musician plays, and then any additions to the timbre. These timbral additions can come from equipment and sound design. As a result, if you don’t know what you’re working with, it might be difficult to get that perfect match. Understanding tone as something you can achieve in multiple ways can help a lot.

The first step is to realise that too many cooks spoil the broth. Often with adding FX for tone, less is more. So how do you know what you need to add? The first step is to identify what you dislike. This could indicate what your natural tone, for whatever reason, is lacking. Does it sound too thin? Maybe you can use sound design to increase the bass frequencies. Does it sound too tinny? There may be some sound in the top end which you can take out with EQ. Changing your tone like this can make you look at the entire finished track in a totally different light. Do you feel like it’s lacking a certain grit, especially if you’re creating a blues or hard rock track?

If you’re recording in a full studio with mic-ed up amps, you might lose some of that perfect sound. This can happen simply due to the space’s natural acoustics. This is where sound design becomes an invaluable tool so that you can easily add in those bits you’ve lost. Overall, starting with a criticial ear allows you the freedom to use sound design as an addition to your natural tone.

How to Tie Everything Together: Tone in the Context of a Finished Track

It’s one thing to know what tone you’re starting with. However, if you really want to find the perfect guitar tone, you may have to modify things within the sound design process. Overall, keeping your tone in line with the rest of a track is something totally different. This is where the mixing and mastering process comes into its own and it really helps to know your gear. Having a good ear for what a mix needs is a huge part of this. If ear training, in general, is something you struggle with, you can check out our article this month. This breaks down the best ear training software on the market as well.

Looking Deeper to Find the Perfect Guitar Tone

You might have the best tone in the world. However, if it’s too overpowering, it won’t sound good within the track. The most important takeaway here is to know separate how your tone sounds when isolated. This helps you balance it with how it sounds within a track.

However, it’s important to distinguish what is and what isn’t what is a tonal issue. Something might be an issue on the master bus or one which requires you to alter a different instrument altogether. You can do this by isolating your track. The best thing is to strike a balance. Your tone should sound great on its own, but also not overpower any other instruments.

Looking to find more ways to improve your skills? Check out the rest of our tutorials over at https://www.idesignsound.com/tutorials/

Final Thoughts

Tone is an elusive quality and it is hard to pinpoint where exactly it comes from. However, finding the perfect guitar tone is not the mysterious alchemy people often make it out to be. Sound design is as much a part of tone as the initial guitar recording. For guitarists, it is crucial not to overlook what you can do in the sound design process. This will ensure your instrument sounds fantastic both on record and live.

Bleass Alpha: One of the Best Synths for Guitarists on the Market

What is the Bleass Alpha and why its praises have been sung so widely this year? This honest review of the Bleass Alpha will guide you through its features. In addition, it will break down what sets it apart from other synths on the market. In keeping with our guide to synthesis for guitarists, the Bleass Alpha is one of the most guitarist-friendly synths available. This is partly due to the way its MPE technology can imitate playing styles found on the guitar. Read on to find out more about the Bleass Alpha. 

MPE: The Secret to the Usability of the Bleass Alpha

One of the most significant features of the Bleass Alpha is its MPE technology. MPE technology has been around since 2018 and stands for MIDI Polyphonic Expression. MPE has been one of the most important advances in synthesis since the 1970s and 1980s.  It especially stands out as a development because it allows for more nuance and accuracy in producing sound. This allows synths to mimic the varied, microtonal qualities of common practices on guitar such as string bends. These are also found in vocal work, such as slurs and slides..

MPE is one of the main things which make the Bleass Alpha an exceptionally guitarist-friendly synth. Guitarists new to synthesis can often find the natural fluidity of their instrument and playing style translates badly to synthesis. In general, synthesis tends to promote a more linear way of working based on sonic building blocks. On the one hand, a good musician can avoid this by learning the ins and outs of it. Nevertheless, MPE allows for a musician to control very subjective qualities of sound such as timbre. This extends as well to concepts such as the darkness, lightness, or richness of a note. As these are difficult to pin down, MPE opens up a new world of music more quickly than otherwise possible. It’s this which really allows the Bleass Alpha to stand out as one of the best synths for guitarists on the market.

What Additional Features Make the Bleass Alpha one of the Best Synths for Guitarists?

Other features also make this a perfect synth for guitarists. These are based on how it mimics many phenomena which happen when playing the guitar. An individual instrument like a guitar is subject to lots of individuality and randomness. Designers at Bleass have done thei best to mimic this using the Bleass Alpha via its dice presets generator. This works well with helping a guitarist new to synthesis think outside the box. When playing, guitarists can get stuck in patterns of playing which may have been confined by scales and arpeggios. However, Bleass has also taken this into account. For those used to the fluid and interconnected world of scale patterns, the left-to-right signal flow is a lifesaver. This shows every part of the signal chain onscreen.

Although a guitarist will still have to learn technical skills, this is one of the best synths for guitarists as it allows them to adapt easily. However, this is not just helpful for guitarists but anyone else new to synthesis. Breaking down signal flow, helps musicians develop a sense of how the changes they make affect the entire sound. This allows sound designers to see the structure of the sound that is created. In addition, it breaks down how each and every part interconnects. 

Bleass Alpha Specifications

  • 3 oscillators, 2 stereo and 1 mono 
  • Cross & ring modulation between oscillators, Phase control on stereo oscillators for wide stereo, Hard sync, ADSR, single noise source
  • 2 variable state filters with drive settings
  • 4 Filters shapes: Low Pass / High Pass / Band Pass / Notch
  • Filter Envelope
  • 2 LFOs per voice with multiple waveforms & multiple modulation targets
  • Envelope ADSR with assignable modulation targetsOverdrive
  • Bitcrusher, Tremolo, Delay with filter and ping-pong effect
  • Reverb with length, filter and color control
  • Advanced presets management: import / export multiple presets, assign category, rename, edit. Presets are compatible with the iOS version.
  • Presets Generator (dice)

Pricing and Availability of the Bleass Alpha

The Bleass Alpha is available from the Bleass website. For such a great all-rounder synth, it doesn’t break the bank. At 69 USD, it is a great low to mid-range virtual polyphonic analogue synthesizer. On top of this, it combines great workflow and an interactive interface with real thought about what musicians need. However, if necessary you can buy it as part of the Bleass Alpha bundle which goes for 99 USD. This bundle contains all the presets, whereas the synth by itself only has the first of them unlockable. However, you can also purchase the others in addition. What’s so great is actual musicians have designed all of these presets, too. In keeping with the guitar-friendly theme of the Bleass Alpha, they haven’t restricted this just to sound designers and producers. 

You can check the price and buy the Bleass Alpha + some cool presets over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

What Makes the Bleass Alpha Stand Out as One of the Best Synths for Guitarists?

Bleass Alpha made some headlines when it was subject to a price drop earlier this year. While its price may now be back to normal, it still hosts a variety of other exciting new features. In fact, the team at Bleass have really been working on things this year. Beyond the typical bug fixes, there is a fantastic new presets pack from Sound Test Room’s Doug Woods. What the makers do really well is to think about its presets from the point of view of artists. This maximises variety and usability. These new presets are no different. With both the Alpha and its sister synth the Omega, Bleass keeps innovating. Therefore it’s really worthwhile to buy in general – these synths are ones which are often subject to fantastic updates. 

Playing guitar often gives a much more hands-on playing style and interconnected understanding of the signal chain. Guitarists enter an entirely new world when they approach synthesis. However, with the Bleass Alpha, you can transferr many of your existing playing habits. This synth has an intuitive workflow and easy ways of breaking down sound. Ultimately this allows control over those things which make or break good guitar playing such as timbre.

Final Thoughts

On the surface, the designers have kept this synth basically but extremely well thought through. It has all the features needed for awesome-sounding analogue synthesis, without so many special additions. This stops it from becoming confusing and ensures it just does what it does best. However, when you look at it more closely, this means the Bleass Alpha excels as one of the best synths for guitarists. Nevertheless, it is enough of a good all-rounder synth that even experienced synth aficionados can also benefit from it. Although it is not as flashy as some other products on the market, the Bleass Alpha has everything you need. 

You can check the price and buy the Bleass Alpha + some cool presets over at our friends at Pluginboutique by clicking here. You will be helping this website a lot buy buying it using this link.

EQ for Guitar – Four Tips to Understand How to Get Started

Equalisation is one of the most important parts of the mixing and mastering process, but what if you’re a guitarist trying to mix and master a track by yourself? By understanding what sounds make up a guitar strum or picked note, it becomes easier to learn the basic principles of EQ which can be applied to all parts of a track – whether a heavy riff, a lead line, or some acoustic fingerpicking for an indie ballad.

Know the ins and outs of what makes up sound

A note on any instrument is made of the pure tone itself as well as undertones and overtones. You may know these from guitar techniques such as natural and artificial harmonics. However, beyond this, knowledge of the frequencies which make up sound in general is the first stage to understanding how EQ works, as well as its purpose in a mix, and therefore how it is applied specifically to guitar.

The spectrum of sound which is audible to the human ear can be divided up into different sections called bandwidths. You may have heard mix engineers talk about sub bass, bass, or use terms like ‘mids’ or ‘high mids’. These all refer to different frequencies of sound, whereas bandwidths are the groups themselves, often as they show up on an EQ plugin – a range of frequencies between two different set points on the spectrum of sound. Below is a rough guide to how audible sound can be divided up and how this shows up on a typical EQ plugin such as the default which comes with Logic X Pro.

Below 50 Hz – sub bass

50–150 Hz – bass

150–200 Hz – low mids

200-800 Hz – mids

800-2k Hz – mids to high mids

2k-5k Hz – high frequency, verging into noise and overtones (think a hi hat or cymbal crash)

5k-20k Hz – noise

Understand how EQ affects guitar in your track

Electric guitars – specifically rhythm guitars – are going to hover around the 200-500 Hz mark in terms of the main note – low enough in the mix to bulk it out and support a soaring vocal or guitar solo. Knowing this means that you can focus on these bandwidths while understanding that anything significant which is much lower or much higher could potentially be room noise, noise from outside the studio, or other unwanted sound.

Things can get confusing when you realise with any given instrument, a note can span the whole range of frequencies, including those at the extreme high and low ends of the spectrum, which often give it it’s fullness and richness. Another example would be sound at 2-5 KHz, which is often called ‘presence’ and adds brightness to the sound. These extra frequencies are the ones you are generally removing when EQing. For example, removing the lower frequencies from your lead guitar can prevent them clashing with other instruments which sit lower in the mix and giving the track overall a muddy sound where nothing stands out clearly. Essentially, EQ is all about understanding where instruments naturally sit, and altering other frequencies to carve out space for them in these places in relation to other instruments.

For guitar solos and harmonies, you may be going into the range of anything from 500-800 Hz +. However, the most important thing to remember is that when EQing, you are separating instruments, so they stand out cleanly in the mix, and these bandwidths and the way they are commonly divided are a useful guide as opposed to hard and fast rules. The main point of EQ is to clean up unwanted frequencies surrounding the main tones, meaning that each instrument is more distinct on its own – as well as boosting frequencies which you want more of, such as if a guitar low in the mix is lacking impact, at which stage it can be given more presence to make the sound brighter. 

Learn how EQ works with multiple guitars

Separating your rhythm and lead lines can be relatively straightforward, but what if you wanted to double track a guitar or add some subtle harmonies over your main riff? The same principle as above follows – find where your instrument sits naturally in the mix and see where some of the frequencies which make up the spectrum of its sound may be clashing with other instruments. By removing the lower frequencies from your high guitar harmony, you will not only prevent muddiness but also give more space to your lower riff.

When EQing, rhythm and lead guitars much be treated separately not only due to generally occupying different bandwidths but also due to having different purposes within an overall track. Higher sounds tend to pop out of the mix more than lower sounds, meaning that your guitar solo may not need equalising as much as a groove or riff might do, as it stands out already, but could benefit from lower frequencies being removed so that the chord progression could be heard. On the other hand, rhythm guitars can benefit from being more aggressively equalised with the higher and lower frequencies around them being cut more dramatically so the sound sits cleanly, especially in relation to other instruments around the same bandwidth such as bass and drums.

Understand EQ with other instruments such as bass and drums

Another thing to bear in mind is that different instruments bring different things to the EQ spectrum. A bass isn’t going to bring as much to the high end of the spectrum, but a full set of drums generally adds noise in terms of echoes, overtones, and undertones to all parts of the EQ spectrum due to the different parts of the kit ranging from high cymbals to the low kick drum. Guitars tend to sit somewhere in the middle of these two extremes but can sometimes be particularly sensitive to room and outside noise.

Overall, EQ may use different skills than simply playing guitar, but it is nevertheless one of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal – not just in terms of creating a fantastic track but also in honing you’re playing and taking it to the next level. By getting a better idea of what your lead lines and riffs are like in the context of not only other instruments but also how they are affected by the mixing process, you can gain mastery over your sound when working both alone and with a professional producer simply by understanding some of these basic EQ principles.

Innovating with Music Technology – the creative design processes behind 5 Top VST Plugin products and how they are unique [2022]

This one is special, we promise you. We have decided to try to present a “best of the best” in each class, and a bit of justification for how we reached this conclusion. Without further ado, let’s start:

Top 5 VST plugin products: Reverb

When designing a reverb, one of the most important things is that it is true to life. Different companies try to achieve this in different ways – however, one of the most successful in terms of meeting the needs of producers and sound designers is Eventide’s Blackhole reverb. This reverb has even been named producers ‘secret weapon’ by many of the world’s best mix engineers. What makes it so well designed? Well, the people at Eventide have decided to blur the lines between conventional reverbs which seek to recreate the sound and ambience of real life spaces, and digital FX which create spacey sounds to bring reverb into the world of sound design almost as an instrument in its own right.

This idea of crossing the lines between different reverb categories manifests in its 50 pre-set reverbs which range from small rooms to reverbs designed to recreate the hypothetical sound of outer space. Furthermore, acknowledging that its target audience are the sort who like to experiment with sound, the ability to create unique reverbs of your own makes it one of the most well designed and all-encompassing reverbs on the market. Here, Eventide has really ensured that the thought processes of real musicians and sound designers are always at the forefront.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK THE PRICE FOR THE EVENTIDE BLACKHOLE VST PLUGIN

Top 5 VST plugin products: Distortion

Distortion is one of the most versatile effects in terms of how it can be used in music, and designing a good distortion plugin varies depending on what genre it is intended for – and therefore the heaviness, tone, qualities, timbre, and varieties of distortion which it includes. Nevertheless, one of the most interesting and versatile distortion plugins with the most thought put behind it is Soundtoys’ Decapitator – a stellar plugin from the innovative plugin designers responsible for the phenomenal voice changing plugin Little Alter Boy.

According to Soundtoys’ website, this plugin was designed by studying analogue gear of all shapes and forms, both modern and vintage, in order to design a digital plugin which encapsulated the subtleties of analogue sound which come from the warping and altering of the sound waves as they interact with the different bits of gear. It ranges from subtle saturation to full blown digital distortion – and the choice to include the full spectrum of options means that Soundtoys have designed this plugin with many sectors of the market in mind.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK THE PRICE FOR THE SOUNDTOYS DECAPITATOR VST PLUGIN

Top 5 VST plugin products: Delay

A delay plugin, in contrast to the lushness of reverb, focusses on specific types of echoes and as a result is extremely precise – therefore taking a lot of technical knowledge in terms of its design. One of the most thought out delay plugins on the market is Polaris by Audiority – a great example of the complex design processes which are behind every plugin we use.

Polaris is based off some of the digital reverbs of the 80s, meaning it was designed to be a creative plugin as opposed to just a practical one. It is designed so the producer has both control over the early reverb effects and the echoes, which sit on two different sides of the reverb interface – allowing complete creative design over the reverb tail. This is one plugin which really breaks down reverb, delay, and echoes into their constituent parts for ultimate creative control.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK THE PRICE FOR THE POLARIS VST PLUGIN

Top 5 VST plugin products: Wah

Wah plugins imitate the wah pedal – as popularised by Jimi Hendrix – and as a result their design is more highly focused on the tone and qualities of the sound, it’s creative uses, and the ways the FX can be used in songs – as opposed to it being a plugin which is simply technical in terms of the mixing and mastering process. This means that the design process behind any good wah plugin is slightly different, with more focus on sonic creativity instead of practicality.

As a result, one of the most well designed wah plugins for beginners is the one which comes as part of the Steinberg Vintage Stompbox package – a plugin designed especially to emulate the sound of the 1970s and as a result add warm tones to your solos, harking back to a time when guitar was all about creating that perfect, psychedelic, immersive feeling. Why is it so well designed? Well, it’s great for beginners, being easy to use, but it’s also perfect for more advanced producers who appreciate the more nuanced levels of sound. When designed a complex, creative sound such as wah, it takes some skill to get it to work for multiple different market demographics and the Steinberg Vintage Stompbox does this spectacularly. As a result, the plugin can be used either as part of the FX pack as a whole or it can be used in isolation for a simple but versatile and trusty wah sound.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK THE PRICE FOR THE STEINBERG VINTAGE STOMPBOX VST PLUGIN

Top 5 VST plugin products: Distortion (part 2)

Plugins designed off analogue distortion are all very well and good, but what if you want to get a bit more technical and in depth looking at sound design and the technological processes behind shaping sound, as opposed to simply production and arrangement?

Waveshaper plugins allow you to explicitly control the distortion by mapping the input to the output, meaning the wave can be fine-tuned and is able to mimic any distortion (within reason) such as the fuzzy, analogue, tube generated distortion or saturation of older eras of music, to hardcore, extremely warped digital distortion – sounds which couldn’t be created by any piece of analogue gear.

The Audiothing Wavebox 8 is designed to be a perfectly nuanced waveshaper aimed at more technically skilled producers and sound designers who not only want to alter the sound of their guitar, but also to have complete control over the nature of those alterations. How have Audiothing gone about designing this plugin? In the interface design, they have prioritised simplicity and precision. For a plugin with such an invariably technical and precise nature, it would have been easy for them to go overboard in the way they arranged or divided the different functions – but they’ve opted to keep things simple and let the technical repercussions of such a plugin work for themselves, with two knobs controlling the shape of the wave and a selection of LFOs and envelopes to keep things interesting. And at only 52.53 USD, it’s a small price for a very useful plugin which can dramatically alter many of your sounds.

CLICK HERE TO CHECK THE PRICE FOR THE AUDIOTHING WAVEBOX 8 VST PLUGIN

And if you are interested in getting them at a good price, be sure to bookmark our Deals section – click here!

The BEST Plugin VST products for the unique requirements of Metal Guitar [2022]

Wellcome to our list of the best Plugin VST products for metal guitar. This is by no far an end-all list, as I am sure you all have your preferences, it is merely an enumeration of must-have tools to have in your arsenal.

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: Ample Metal Hellrazer

One of two virtual instruments on this list, The ample metal hellraiser stands out in its speciality in djent and progressive metal. It’s not often you get virtual instruments designed for such a niche subgenre, but the djent scene has been dominant for some of the past few years and to have such a great virtual instrument dedicated to mimicking these sounds mean that any producer or sound designer looking to get to grips with this technique and how it interacts with the wider components of a track would easily benefit from getting their hands on the Ample Metal Hellraiser.

So, how is it designed? It encompasses literally everything you would need to make an instrumental guitar track with this one single plugin – so, especially if working in genres like shred, it is in some ways pretty all encompassing, though it is also the kind of gear which can be added to simply if you feel like experimenting with how different sounds and plugins can work together. By everything, this means all the things needed to create a great mix such as EQ and other FX such as modulation and many different kinds of distortion as well as all the amps, cabs, and mics needed to fully define your own sound. Then there is the guitar itself – capable of simulating most kinds of technique from tremolo picking to bends, slides, vibrato, legato, and more.

Specifications: Windows 7/8/10, 64-bit only, MacOS 10.9 or higher. VST2, VST3, AU, AAX, or Standalone host

Price: 126.54 USD

CHECK PRICE: Ample Metal Hellrazer – Ample Sound

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: Inphonik PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit

What is the goal of the retro decimator unit? To absolutely crush any sound to the sonic limits of distortion, overdrive, and other ways of altering your music landscape to make it heavier. One of the most ultimate, extreme plugins dedicated to turning every soundwave into a haze of awesomely destructive distortion, Inphonik’s Retro Decimator Unit will guarantee that your songs are never lacking in heavy duty FX again.

What’s so special about it is the fact that it goes above and beyond the normal scope of any plugin. Whilst many models on the market are focussed on providing specific effects such as phaser, overdrive, and so on, the retro decimator is ready to warp the soundwave in literally any way possible. It’s specialism isn’t conventional – instead, the Retro Decimator is out to find every opportunity to push sound design to the edge.

Specifications: VST, AU, and AAX pluginsavailable for Windows, MacOS, and Linux (exact operating systems not listed), Rack Extension for MacOS and Windows, and AUv3/IAA available for iPad and iPhone

GET YOUR FREE COPY: Inphonik PCM2612 Retro Decimator Unit

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: Line 6 Metallurgy Trio

There are tons of plugin bundles out there, but there are very few which focus so precisely and distinctively on the needs of metal guitarist beyond simply providing heavy overdrive and ample amounts of distortion. Metal is such a complex genre with an incredible range of different techniques, sounds, and complex mind bending riffs which go into the playing alone, let alone the intricacies of sound design and production required to separate all these complex and intertwined elements.

What other plugins recognise the nuances between doom, thrash, djent, hardcore, and so on. With four discreet amps which can be paired with eight speaker cabinets and any combination of two of eight microphones, the possibilities for mixing, matching, and crossing the boundaries of genre are numerous. And for the metal guitarist who loves to play live, the fact that all these plugins appear just as they would on a real pedalboard means that they are easy to pick up in no time at all.

Specifications: Operating systems not listed, but available as VST, AU, and AAX plugins for any DAW

CHECK PRICE: Line 6 Metallurgy Trio

Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Hydra

As opposed to plugins or FX, Shreddage 3 is a full blown virtual guitar. Beyond the expense and technical expertise needed to hire a luthier to create a physical guitar from scratch, this virtual instrument was a change for the creators at Impact Soundworks to really let their minds run wild with the best things they could come up with for sheer metal force.

What really sets this apart is it’s 8 string, drop-E capabilities designed to create the biggest walls of sound imaginable. So much of Shreddage 3 was recorded just for this virtual instrument itself, meaning you can find sounds which won’t be replicated anywhere else. It does all varieties of playing really well, from crushingly heavy to super clean, intricate tones needed for shred guitar.

Specifications: requires version 5.7 or higher of Kontakt Player – a free sampler from Native instruments.Kontakt Player itselfruns on Windows 10 or 11 and MacOS 10.14, 10.15, 11 or 12 (intel) as well as MacOS 11 or 12 (Apple Silicon Macs)

CHECK PRICE: Impact Soundworks Shreddage 3 Hydra

BEST Plugin VST products for Metal Guitar: HOFA IQ SERIES REVERB V2

Reverb: that quintessential, all important plugin which no musician or sound designer can do without. Otherwise, unless you want your music sounded flat, dry, dull, and sterile, you can’t exactly avoid adding in the natural echoes and reverberations which would exist in a live studio recording but which get taken away when you work on a DAW. That’s where reverb plugins step in. Nevertheless, reverb for metal guitarists generally is a bit more unique and specialised than it is for pop or the lighter forms of rock. That’s because the complex riffs and techniques used in metal as well as the layers of sound and production which go into a heavy track mean that reverb has to be added carefully so as to prevent muddling of the sounds as well as it sounding unnatural.

For metal and rock a large variety of reverb types is also extremely important and this is where the Reverb V2 really comes into it’s own. This reverb plugin has been used on albums by Slipknot and Tool amongst others, and is unique in its wealth of reverb varieties and ability to emulate the classic atmospheric spaces beloved of reverb designers such as churches – but also for its combination of algorithmic reverb with more traditional reverb types in order to combine flexibility with depth of sound. For the complex layered sounds of metal, it is vital that a producer has plenty of options, and this plugin allows up to six different types of reverb to be in use at a time. In combination with compression, modulation, and extreme amounts of creative control over the timings, distance, and quality of different parts of the reverb, this is one of the most in depth and technical – but therefore indispensable – reverbs on the market for metal and rock guitarists.

Specifications: Not listed on site but predecessors ran on both MacOS and Windows in all formats

CHECK PRICE: HOFA IQ SERIES REVERB V2

Conclussions

So there you have it – a mixed, yet versatile and highly worthwhile bag of some of the most creative plugins for rock and metal guitarists of 2022. These plugins will boost your creativity, have you writing completely different riffs to what you are used to, and change the way you think about music.

And if you are on a tight budget, make sure you bookmark our Deals category by clicking here!

Happy sound design!

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