Wellcome to our periodic round-up of the BEST DEALS available on music production VST Plugins. Here, we help you spend your hard-earn money on new toys and virtual gear. So without further ado, here is our list of five of the BEST DEALS on VST Plugins and their end date:
Native Instruments Komplete 13 – huge discount on bundles. If you’ve been waiting for a great deal to get into Komplete, now is the time. They have heavily discounted their bundles, including Ultimate and Collector’s Edition. They did this also for the starter packs, and you can get them for as low as 199 Eur for the Select bundle. The deal can be found here, and there is no end date specified, so go ahead and try your luck.
55% Off Eden2 by UJAM and Bassroom by Mastering the Mix. Again, if dance music, especially Techno and House are your things, These two tools are indispensable. I am particularly fond of Bassroom, it is very useful on the master channel to round out and smooth your bassline. UJAM is a very nice drum machine too. This deal ends on 14th of Februray.
So there you have it, enough to get you through the end of Winter. Make sure you subscribe to our newsletters for more deals:
If you always compared your own drum works to the professional sound and felt a little off, Diablo lite is for you. This VST is pretty nice, as our test shown, and really works especially on electronic drums.
So what is Diablo lite?
Diablo lite is a FREE VST offering by Cymatics. You know them mostly for their (paid) sample packs but they actually have a lot of free products too. And not just sample packs but plugins and also presets for popular plugins.
Now, about Diablo lite, this VST is part compressor and part transient shaper. The compressor is actually a clipper, so the compression ratio is very high, close to the well-known “brick wall” style of compression. Because of this dual nature of this sound treatment device, it is excellent for drums.
How do you use it?
So basically every producer uses some form or compression on the drums, either on the whole drum bus or individually. This is because most source material, be it sample-based, synth or live recorded is kind of in the middle in terms of dynamics. It can cut through your whole song but in it’s dry form doesn’t. It has the neutral drum sound, is not in your face but is also not absent. What you want to do is actually fit the drums in your sound.
Let’s take the 808 for example, it is ubiquitous and used in a lot, i mean A LOT of music genres. Some genres use it in a more aggressive flavour, some prefer it more mellow. So you basically do this with either a compressor, a transient shaper or both. Transient shapers basically dictate the initial snap and also the remaining tail of the sound.
This is the Punch control knob and dictates the presence. For dynamics, you have the Clip setting, which actually enganges the limiter and makes the sound more compact as you crank it. If you used too much Punch and the drum just jumps out of the mix and commands too much of the user’s attention, try to not use Clip and just turn it down in the mix instead.
But if the Punch knob does not actually do the trick for you because it makes the drum loose it’s initial character, then Clip can save you and achieve the strength that you are looking for in that particular sound.
Hey friends, good to talk to you again! For those of you that are not subscribed to the iDesignSound.com newsletter, you may have missed this very interesting document in regards to mixing or should I say, fitting, vocals into tracks.
It would be so not like you to miss out on this very important information so we would suggest that you sign-up for the iDesignSound.com newsletter. We will not spam you, but provide very important and relevant information in the field. Our subscribers got this information ahead of time but we figured it is too good to miss so we are providing it to you as well, at the bottom of the article.
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Now, Slate Digital, the company know for very very good emulation of hardware outboard unit, have released this very good pdf booklet about mixing vocals.
Vocals are extremely tricky to get right given the dynamic nature of the human voice, the broad range of frequencies it covers and the somewhat hard to obtain sweet spot of modern music mixing.
Hey guys, just your friendly reviewer logging in this wonderful time, somewhere between Christmas and New Year with a huge deal. I was pretty sure you were interested so here it is: Soundtoys has huge discounts in place up until mid January.
So here they are, and also don’t forget to first demo them before purchase, the offer is said to be live until 15th of January. Our personal favourites are
MicroShift – a classic, although one that is hard to describe. Technically it is somewhat like a chorus device, but a bit more subtle. Definitely have to try it and you will want to use it to widen stereo fields and to blend in pronounced instruments.
EchoBoy – again this is kind of timeless. It is all the tape delay heaven that you can possibly dream of in this little plugin.
Crystallizer – for the experimental types. Delay again, but instead of BBD/tape style found in EchoBoy, this one is all about grain and recycling. You can also change the pitch of the feedback to get really weird.
Ho! Ho! Ho! Arturia has done a very good clone of vintage vibe and it’s free of charge until 29th of December 2020
Let’s end this year in style and in class!
This plugin is good. Sure, it will never be like the real thing, right? This is not really that important, what is more important is that you as a producer will have one more tool to fit your sound design ideas in. You all know what this is, namely a clone of the legendary chorus found on the Juno synth. Arturia’s take is exactly the one that can be heard on their Juno software emulation. They even put a web preview for you, so you can instantly hear it.
If guitars were rifles, pedal effects would be ammunition.
There’s only so much you can achieve with a clean guitar sound, and it’s more than safe to say that effects such as Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser are capable of completely shifting and changing your tone, for better or worse.
Now, skilled guitar players instinctively know the differences between various pedal effects, but most of the time people are more concerned about where and when they can use a certain type of sound rather than wreck their heads trying to explain ‘how and why’.
Today we are going to attempt to thoroughly examine some of the key differences between chorus, flanger, and phaser effects, so buckle up and stay for a while.
The ‘chorus effect’ is easily one of the most iconic pedal effects among guitar players.
We could go as far as to call it ‘choir-us’ mainly because it’s supposed to make the guitar sound much bigger than it actually is.
It’s ideal for single-guitar bands, troupes, and performers who want to duplicate (or triplicate) their sound in a live setting and for studio musicians who don’t particularly like laying down numerous tracks where they can achieve the same effects with a pedal as simple as this.
How it works
The Chorus effect modulates the pitch of your tone ever so slightly; it basically reproduces the exact signal of your guitar’s vibrations but at a slightly different pitch and time.
The potential of the chorus effect is vast, which means that it can subtly enhance the depth of your tone or it can simulate another live guitar, depending on how you set its parameters.
In a bit more technical terms, the chorus effect is achieved when the pedal takes the signal before melding it with pitch-modulated copies of the original signal.
Depending on the model and parameters, the post-produced signal copy can be singular or there could be numerous. The more ‘layers’ the pedal makes, the bigger your tone will become.
How to use it properly
Essentially, it’s a straightforward effect that doesn’t exactly require much skill and experience to be used, although it’s kind of addictive in the sense that it may leave you with the feeling that you always need ‘more’.
It’s a modulation pedal, which basically means that it’s supposed to sit at the back end of the signal chain, right after wah-wahs, compressors, overdrives, or distortions.
Due to the fact that chorus pedals aren’t necessarily the most intricate contraptions and feature only a handful of control knobs, you’ll typically only have depth and rate to worry about.
Set these parameters low to enrich your sound in a subtle, delicate way; when set at halfway you’ll add plenty of character to your tone while going anywhere beyond this point is not recommended if your signal chain is encumbered as it is.
Flanger in a nutshell
The flanger effect is one of the most enigmatic guitar gizmos to this day; it was artificially created (by accident) in old-school studios back in the tape-recording days (4-track and 8-track machines) by touching the flange (the rim of the tape), although nowadays the process of ‘flanging’ has been tamed and digitalized.
The ‘flanger’ effect sports characteristics of numerous other pedal effects – it’s based on delay pedals, but its unpredictability often leads it towards phasers, overdrives, and distortions, obviously depending on its parameters.
Furthermore, this effect was created by playing two tracks at the same time, which further means that it also shares some similarities with choruses to some extent. As we’ve already discussed, chorus pedals modulate and blend the altered signal with the original one, which is partially what happens with the ‘flanging’ effect too.
How it works
Flanger works in the same way as most modulation pedals do; this pedal splits the signal in 2 identical paths where the original is untouched and the second one is just slightly delayed (measured in milliseconds).
The tweaked signal is then modulated both by speeding it and slowing it cyclically. The ‘modulated’ signal is then blended with the original signal.
What’s most important to understand about flangers is that their altered signal is actually tweaked at ‘random’ unpredictable intervals whereas other modulation pedals offer more control and precision.
The randomness of this effect is the reason why some people use it as their go-to pedal and other guitarists avoid it.
How to use it properly
Flanger pedals are by default wild and pretty hard to tame, but there are more ways than one by which you can gap the small obstacles they present.
The most intimidating parameter of typical flangers is the ‘manual control’, which basically allows guitarists to pick and choose which frequencies they want to alter.
When untouched, the pedal will automatically calculate compatible frequencies and reinforce them (incompatible frequencies will always nullify each other), leading to a slightly clearer tone without sacrificing the punchy feel.
Most flangers typically feature ‘resonance’ or ‘intensity’, both of which relate to the same thing. This parameter affects the effect’s intensity by clipping or feeding a portion of the delay straight back to the original input.
By increasing the ‘intensity’ you’ll add more grit to your tone and achieve a more distorted high-gain sound.
Phaser pedals sound almost identical to laymen and beginner guitarists, but in actuality, they share more differences than similarities.
This effect can potentially be used to achieve a mild flanging effect only if its parameters are basically untouched and set on ultra-low settings.
A well-known fact among veteran guitar players is that the phaser effect was introduced to the scene around the same time when flangers came to be. This is probably the reason why new-school players typically don’t make a clear distinction between the two.
In a nutshell, Phasers create a swirling-like sound, much akin to a plane taking off with the only difference being that it is constantly circulating in the fashion of stereo speakers.
One of the most notable benefits of Phaser pedals is that it allows guitar players to create a much bigger atmosphere and ambient, even with smallish amps and relatively mediocre gear.
How it works
Flangers and phasers operate on similar principles; the original signal is divided into two paths, one path is modulated and the other is completely untouched.
The modulated signal path passes through a series of all-pass filters, which shift the signal’s phase revolving around a variety of (pre-calculated) frequencies. In this regard, the Phaser is not as unpredictable as the flanger, but it’s not as controllable as the chorus.
The modulated signal path is later mixed with the untouched signal path, which results in the ‘swooping’ circular tone.
How to use it properly
The Flanger effect is significantly less punishing towards beginner players; its parameters are not as sensitive, and it’s a bit more versatile altogether.
As far as we’re talking about the signal chain, most people don’t use both flanger and phaser pedals, so you should ideally place either of the two near the end of the chain (after distortion, equalizers, compressors, delays, and choruses).
Typical phaser pedals (such as MXR’s Phase 100) feature simplistic tone controls like Intensity and Speed. The ‘intensity’ basically governs the number of phased stages whereas the ‘speed’ affects the rapidity of signal shifts.
In simpler words, the ‘intensity’ knobs allow you to create different ‘geometric’ signal patterns while the ‘speed’ knobs are there for you to finalize and shape them in more concrete ways.
Similarities between Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger
Essentially, Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger pedals belong to the ‘modulation effect’ category.
Aside from this little formality, they’re also meant to be used in similar ways and operate under similar principles.
All three of these effects divide the original guitar signal path in two after which they alter it in different ways. Although the outcomes are vastly different, these split signals all utilize delays to modulate the frequencies.
From a more practical side, all of these effects have been made available in both pedal and plug-in formats.
The initial modes of achieving chorus, flanger, and phaser (particularly the last two) were almost unwieldy and required a dose of technical expertise, whereas today these effects are beginner-friendly and suitable for use by immediate beginner players.
In technical terms, these pedal effects always leave one signal path completely untouched, which means that at least ‘half’ of your tone will remain exactly the same as it originally was, even though this is not entirely a quantifiable matter.
Even though there are numerous minor other similarities, the most crucial and highlighted ones are:
Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger effects all belong to the ‘modulation’ category
The same method of operation and functional principles
The unfiltered signal path is always non-modulated and identical to the original
All three effects utilize delays to affect the filtered signal path
Modern-day pedals have made these effects more accessible to beginner guitar players
Differences between Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger
Now that we’ve touched upon the similarities between Chorus, Phaser, and Flanger it’s time to dig into the main course – the key differences that separate them.
Though there are many dissimilarities between them, we’ve plucked out the most notable ones and grouped them in the appropriate categories, starting with…
The Chorus effect is, essentially, much different from Phaser and Flanger, at least sound-wise. It’s ‘mellow’ tonally whereas Phaser and Flanger are closer to overdriven types of sounds.
Even when the parameters of a Chorus pedal are set to their extremes the end result still boasts clarity when isolated. However, choruses are seldom used as standalone effects.
This pedal effect is more of an ‘adhesive’ type in the sense that it extends itself across the spectrum of other effects used in the chain. Phasers and Flangers tend to dominate the chain with their grit.
Differences in application
Distortion effects are commonly associated with rock & heavy metal while chorus, phaser, and flanger effects can be used in pretty much any music genre and can fit into any playing style.
These effects are as versatile as the player’s creativity; in that regard, they can be used in almost any song or performance piece, although exceptions should be obvious.
Since phasers and flangers affect the frequencies of the guitar’s signal in a relatively similar way, they almost cross each other out.
In simpler words, most guitar players use either a phaser pedal or a flanger; rarely both.
Differences in versatility
In this particular scenario, ‘versatility’ refers to the flexibility and freedom as far as tweaking with control knobs and parameters are in question.
Tuning up all the knobs to their extreme would make any sound muddy, but especially so in the case of phasers and flangers.
As mentioned before, these effect types tend to dominate the signal chain, which oftentimes diminishes the presence of other pedals and effects.
In that regard, Phasers and Flangers are slightly less versatile than choruses.
Obviously, Phase and Flange pedals are fairly different between themselves too. Phasers are slightly easier to control, but more importantly, they offer a more calculated and more predictable approach to tone-tweaking.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Flangers don’t affect the tone so drastically and can be used for extended periods of time without compromising the tone’s integrity.
The swirling of Phasers makes them ideal for song parts that need to be accentuated (particularly solo sections) whereas Flange pedals can easily substitute for overdrive and distortion when need be.
Every pedal effect type is different. Moreover, every model is different from another; two different pedals that belong to the same category can be so strikingly different that some people would assume they serve different purposes.
Even so, the contrasts between Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser are undeniable and to a certain extent obvious.
From the variance in sound, over dissimilarities in application to differences in application, by now we hope that we’ve helped you make a distinction between these pedal effects.
As any guitar player knows, Guitar Rig and Amplitube are undoubtedly two of the most famous and popular guitar emulators available. They’re the best at what they do, but which one is actually THE BEST?
We have updated our article in light of the recent Amplitube 5 release, available on IK Multimedia’s website. Comparing to Amplitube 4, this one has been upgraded user experience department, being by far much more user friendly. It now suports Retina-displays and the GUI is fully-scalable. Also, in the new department you now have the option to do parallel effects, with the addition of the dry/wet control and a lot more devices to play with.
For those interested in an upgrade path from Amplitube 4 to 5, here is a sheet from IK Multimedia, explaining the differences and also listing the contents of the Amplitube 5 package.
Today we’re going to talk at length about the differences and similarities between Amplitube and Guitar Rig, their pros and cons, features, specs, and ultimately decide which platform offers bigger and better benefits, so let’s begin with the most recent price, avaialble by clicking these buttons:
To be fair, we will compare Amplitube 5 to the “PRO” version of Guitar Rig – because the free version is in a league of it’s own. Sadly there is no free entry point to Amplitube, so we have to have an apples-to-apples comparison.
For the lack of better words, the selection of amps, cabinets, and effects stacked into the Guitar rig is absolutely incredible. Of course, its eclecticism and versatility mainly depends on which package you’ve opted for, but even the factory Guitar Rig 6 Player is better-rounded than the vast majority if boutique guitar emulators.
You’ll be able to choose between some of the iconic amps, such as Hot Plex, Citrus, Tweed Delight, Jazz Amp, Hot Solo+, and many others, although the bulk of these presets are reserved for Guitar Rig 6 Pro users.
The newest additions (in comparison to the Guitar Rig 5 Pro) are the Chicago, Bass Invader, and the Fire Breather amps, all of which bring brand-new and highly unique features to the table.
Amplitube’s selection of amps is perfect for literally all kinds of music styles and subgenres. The Standard Amplitube 5 package has 34 devices while the MAX version has a whopping 107 items.
You’ll be able to use five British Stack amps, including Brit 8000 and Brit 9000, the Red Pig, Brit Valve, the Brit Silver, two American Tube amps, as well as a solid-state Bass preamp. The standard edition of Amplitube 5
These amps work wonders regardless of whether you’re looking for a poppy sound, a fuzzed jazzy tone, or a heavily distorted metal timbre. However, Guitar Rig’s selection of amps is just slightly broader.
Guitar Rig 6 offers matched cabinets for their amps, which is generally pretty great. Furthermore, you’ll be able to make great use of the Control room cabinets & mics features if you’ve upgraded to Guitar Rig 6 Pro.
However, the downside here is that you won’t be able to mix and match ‘unmatched’ cabinets like you would with Amplitube.
There are almost more guitar effects aboard the Guitar Rig 6 platform than can be counted, starting with five delays (Twin, Delay Man, Psyche Delay, Quad Delay and Tape Echo), 12 Distortions (Fuzz, MeZone, Sledgehammer, Gain & Treble boosters, Cat, Demon, Skreamer and more), 10 Dynamic effects, 5 EQs, 7 filters, 8 modulation effects, 3 Pitch effects, 9 reverbs, and three ‘Special’ effects (Resochord, Ring Modulator and Grain Delay).
Barely a dozen of these effects are available as factory presets, though, which means that more than half of aforementioned guitar effect models are only available with the Guitar Rig 6 Pro package. We have a full review of Guitar Rig 6 available by clicking right here!
The Amplitube simulator offers 10 different stompbox models, including choruses, flangers, delays, wahs, diode overdrives, volume pedals, graphic equalizers, compressors, tremolos, and acoustic simulators. With the new Amplitube 5 version you can run them in paralel with the dry/wet setting.
Basically, Guitar Rig 6 is free to download, which is a massive benefit in itself. However, the factory presets selection is modest, to say the very least, which means that it’s a pretty basic software with relatively poor versatility if you don’t upgrade to the ‘Pro’ version at some point.
Let’s discuss the positives and negatives of Guitar Rig 6 PRO:
Decently affordable upgrade to Guitar Rig 6 free
Exceptional range of guitar amps
Quality analogue bass amp
Authentic sounding tools, models and presets
Unparalleled selection of effects
Decently easy to use, even by beginners
The basic (free) package is not overly versatile
Difficult to mix and match cabinets
Almost no effect pedals and stompboxes to speak of in the free package
The good and the bad of Amplitube
Amplitube is decently approachable guitar software that packs a hefty selection of stompboxes, amplifiers, cabinets, speakers, microphones, effects, and rack units. With the new update to Amplitube 5, the user interface is extremely well built, scalable and looks great on Apple devices. We have a full and honest review of Amplitube 5, you can read it by clicking here!
Obviously, it’s more expensive than the (free) Guitar Rig 6, but it is well worth the buck considering how beginner-friendly and eclectic it is. Some of the highlighted advantages and disadvantages of Amplitube are:
Highly intuitive interface
Excellent selection of stompbox effects, amplifiers, cabinets and microphones
Several rack effects and speakers
Constantly expanding roster of amps and effects
Great for beginners and seasoned veterans alike
Not available for free, although demo can be downloaded free of charge
The specs, features, and UI were some of the most notable parameters we took into consideration when comparing the performance of Amplitube and Guitar Rig.
Even though these guitar simulator programs are completely different, they actually do have a lot in common. Both programs are laden with a myriad of top-quality amps and effects, and both actually sound extraordinarily great.
Be it as it may, Guitar Rig tends to do a bit better only because there is a free version to which Amplitube cannot compete. Overall, Guitar Rig offers surprisingly authentic, great-sounding amps. We have a full review of Guitar Rig 6 available by clicking right here!
Without cutting Amplitube’s worth short, it’s amazing software that has enormous potential to usurp Guitar Rig’s throne in near future.
A good bass amp is big, weighs a ton, and usually costs a fortune.
Given that most people can’t afford hauling a 100-pound metal-plated chunk of wood from their rehearsal space every time a gig is on the horizon, finding a good bass amp simulator might save you a bit of troubles.
However, there are numerous plugins and programs on the market, so finding the adequate simulator isn’t exactly a walk in the park.
Amplitube is incredible software that offers much in terms of convenience while boasting remarkable versatility and beginner-friendliness.
It’s pricey, but it’s not overly expensive, and the fact that it’s available in various formats justifies the price tag.
The Amplitube rocks a wide selection of premium-quality modelled amplifiers for both guitars & basses, and it also sports numerous stompboxes, reverbs, modulators, fuzzes, distortions, delays, and a myriad of similar effects.
While its rack effect selection is pretty modest to say the least, Amplitube 4 sports excellent visuals, a highly intuitive interface, a built-in tuner, as well as a comprehensive recording suite.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this bass simulator, though. Aside from the fact that it’s pretty expensive, it does not support 32-bit systems, which is quite a downfall for people who have older (but functional) setups.
Amplitube offers a couple of pricing options, with the most affordable one (base version) still being more than versatile enough to cater to your performing, playing, practicing, and recording needs.
Now, most people would rather buy a boutique bass amp than invest in a boutique bass amp simulator; Line 6’s Helix Native begs to differ.
The Helix Native is a beautifully designed bass amp sim that packs 60 amps in total, 13 of which are dedicated bass simulators, 30 cabinets, and more than 100 effects that you can utilize in your rig.
It also sports a variety of distortions, equalizers, modulators, pitch shifters, synths, and numerous other goodies along the same lines.
Obviously, the biggest disadvantage of Helix Native is its price tag, but that’s not what dissuades most people from trying it out. Namely, the vast majority of amp sims in this software are guitar simulators.
Even though there are substantially simpler and more cost-effective alternatives, Helix Native remains one of the most exquisite, most powerful and versatile bass amp simulators available on the market.
The Amp Room takes ‘quality over quantity’ to another level, compromising for the modest selection of bass amps and bass effects with a sheer, raw quality and function.
Its simplicity is its forte – the Amp Room features a single bass amp simulator and three bass cabinets only, all of which were recorded in real-time with authentic microphones by professional players.
As far as tone-shaping capabilities are of concern, this bass amp sim features a dedicated head equalizer, click & drag method of microphone placement, DI equalizer controls, and a variety of tone-blending features.
It is, sadly, not available in a standalone format, and its eclecticism is obviously not something to boast about.
However, it’s decently affordable and a no-brainer pick for serious bass players who want to get the most out of their bass in an analog yet digital way.
Cheap and authentic would be the words that best describe Wave’s GTR 3 amp simulator.
This is one of the cheapest multi-bass sims that is available in both standalone and plug-in format, but just like some of our previous picks it only supports 64-bit operating systems.
It packs seven dedicated bass amps, 26 effects, and a digital pedalboard that can ‘fit’ six stompboxes simultaneously.
Obviously, this is not necessarily the most versatile bass amp simulator on the market, but it is among those that are the easiest to use. Its beginner-friendliness is a huge bonus considering that it’s also remarkably cheap, but that’s about everything this simulator has to provide.
Here’s yet another cheap bass amp simulator that offers authentic bass tones, effects and timbres alongside a variety of unique bass amps. In terms of convenience, the GK-Amplification 2 Pro is available in both standalone and plug-in format.
This bass amp simulator features three Gaillain & Kruker amps, three bass heads (MB150, 800RB and 2001RB), and two speaker cabinets.
Even though this doesn’t really reflect the versatility of GK-Amplification 2 Pro, the fact that all of these analog components are manufactured by the same brand and put into a digital format speaks volumes about their quality.
Furthermore, you’ll be able to tweak and adjust a number of tonal parameters, such as bass head equalizers, boosts, voicing filters, types, angles and positions of microphones, and blending of the cabinets.
The brand also provides the opportunity to download a free demo so you can get acquainted with its features before deciding whether you want to buy it or not.
There are no stompboxes onboard, and there are only three amps for you to choose from, but considering that this is a fairly inexpensive bass amp simulator, it’s quite obvious that it’s well worth the buck.
Let’s wrap things up with SHB-1, which is a free bass amp for Windows and Mac. It does have a single amp preset, but it’s built after real, authentic amp components and features an exact replica of the original SHB 1 bass head.
The SHB-1 offers a simple, straightforward interface, an exceptionally great sound, and it supports both 32 and 64-bit operating systems.
It’s idiosyncratic in a lot of ways, and you’ll need your own cabinet plugin in order to actually utilize it, but it’s easily one of the finest bass amp simulators for hard rock and metal music out there.
Tube amps sound better, bigger and grittier than digital amps, and that’s a well-known fact among seasoned veteran guitarists.
However, they’re also fairly expensive and fairly demanding in terms of maintenance.
Luckily, we live in the age of technology, and one of the numerous wonders that it brought to us is the combination of both worlds – tube amp emulators.
Essentially, emulators are digitalized, substantially more convenient software versions of tube amps, and today we’re going to talk about some of the best ones that the market has to offer. Without any further ado, let’s review the best tube amp emulators in 2020:
Let’s start off with Bias FX2, which is arguably one of the most comprehensive tube amp emulators out there.
Basically, it’s up to you to decide how much versatility you want to get out of it by choosing between three different subscription packages – Standard, Professional, and Elite.
First things first, even the essential standard pack is pretty eclectic, and all future upgrades contain all of the features that their predecessors are equipped with.
The basic ‘standard’ pack features 30 amplifiers, 43 effect units, 70 factory presets and four different guitar models; furthermore, this package offers a looper track player, a well-rounded DSP engine, a highly intuitive UI, dual digital signal paths, and downloadable presets and modes from the ToneCloud.
The ‘professional’ pack is easily twice as great, offering 60 amplifier settings, 115 effects, 130 presets, eight guitar models, 14 rack units, improved MIDI functionality, and a myriad of artist presets.
If you don’t mind paying a couple of bucks extra, the Bias FX2 Elite package may be everything you need.
It sports 100 amplifier settings, 122 effects, 210 presets, 20 guitar tone models, 18 rack units, new fuzzes and time modellers, harmonizers, and complementary Bias pedal programs.
Overall, this tube amp emulator is extraordinarily versatile and well-suited for both beginners and professional players, studio engineers, and producers, so it might be worth your while to check it out.
The Emissary is next on our list, and it’s been one of the most heavily acclaimed guitar programs for a couple of years now.
In short, it sports IA’s 3rd-gen triode-modelling engine, dynamic EL34, 6L6GC and KT88 pentodes and tetrodes analog modelling modes, two selectable channels, selectable oversampling, customizable controls, and a plethora of selectable modes, effects, timbres, and tones.
The software offers a highly authentic UI, which basically represents an actual tube amp, along with input loops, tone control knobs, split channels, and such.
However, the digitalized convenience features also on board, allowing you to have a drastically higher amount of control over your amp emulator.
In a nutshell, it may not be as eclectic as Bias FX2, but it’s considerably cheaper and more rewarding to beginner guitarists.
The Matchlock may not be the most eclectic tube amp emulator on the market, but it’s certainly one of the most authentic Fender simulators.
It offers classic, iconic sounds sampled from one of the biggest guitar brands, boasting characteristics of Fender’s Twin Reverb, Super Reverb, and the Custom Vibrolux Reverb.
Some of its highlight features include two channels (boost & clean), five cabinets, high and low-pass filters, 7 different types of microphones from Shure, Sennheiser, Neumann and AKG, fully adjustable microphone positions and placements, built-in noise gates, and a remarkably simple user interface.
You can download the demo for free and try it out, or you can download it at a very attractive price from the brand’s official page.
Blue Cat Audio’s Destructor is basically a compilation of dozens of amp simulators, including hundreds of factory presets, models, cabinets, compressors, effect pedals, and even tape machines.
This is basically an analog tube amp emulator that offers exquisite distortion modelling tools, excellent cleans, hundreds of fully customizable presets, tone maps, adjustable MIDI controls, and exceptional compatibility with pretty much every popular OS and software.
The only downside of the Destructor is that it’s pretty hard to nail its learning curve, especially if you’re a beginner.
There are so many features and modes for you to use (most of which are meant to be utilized simultaneously), so it’s not the most intuitive software by all means.
However, it’s still among the most eclectic tube amp emulators that the current market has to offer.
TH-U Full is comprehensive, well-rounded, and absolutely unequalled in terms of versatility.
This software is packed with 89 different guitar amps, four bass amps, 50 cabinets for guitars, 2 bass cabs, 77 combined pedal & rack effects, a variety of microphones, and over a thousand factory presets.
You’ll be able to emulate tones from amps made by Randall, DV Mark, Brunetti or THD, or combine them all for a wild, exquisite timbre.
For a tube amp emulator, TH-U Full offers 3D, fully immersive modes and methods of finding tones and utilizing different rigs into your own.
It’s laden with dozens of effects and equalizers, which means that you should have no trouble attaining the most unique tone with it.
The only thing that you probably won’t like about TH-U Full software is the fact that it’s fairly expensive.
Even still, it offers superior versatility and a remarkably eclectic selection of guitar models, amps and cabinets, so it’s more than safe to say that it is worth every cent of it.