When it comes to adding character to an instrument or sound it’s hard to beat a good amp simulator plugin. But just like their physical cousins amp sims come in many different shapes and sizes, each with their own unique tone or quality. And it’s not just Guitars that can benefit from some serious wattage. Why not dial in some amp sim to add attitude to an electric Pianos or maybe a touch of grit to a vocal. Of all the sound-shaping tools in your audio arsenal an amp Simulator plugin can often prove to be one of your best allies. So with this in mind let’s check out 5 great options worthy of your consideration.

iK Multimedia – Amplitude 5

With its vast selection of amps and effects, Amplitude 5 is arguably the most powerful and versatile Amp simulator out there. With a grand total of 107 modelled amps available you are certainly not short on choice. And all the big names are in there with faithful recreations of classic amps from the likes of Fender, Mesa/Boogie and Orange. And it’s not just amps and cabs. Amplitude 5 comes bundled with a seemingly endless array of fantastic effects.

But what about the all-important issue of sound? With so many amps and effects being modelled, you might assume it may be a case of quantity over quality. Well, you needn’t fear as iK Multimedia has done a remarkable job of accurately modelling all of the amps and included components.

Add to this a great-looking GUI that also includes a handy mixer function. The mixer allows for even greater control over your custom stack’s various elements. All in all, it’s hard to find too much to fault with Amplitude 5. That’s why it is the amp simulator plugin of choice for so many professional producers, engineers and guitarists.

For more information visit: https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/amplitube5/

Native Instruments – Guitar Rig 7 Pro

While not quite as extensive as Amplitude 5, Guitar Rig by Native Instruments is certainly no slacker when it comes to versatility. It’s an OG of the Amp Simulator world, launching way back in 2004. Guitar Rig has since gone on to become quite the formibible Amp simulator plugin.

At its core Guitar Rig offers a wide selection of components split into various categories such as Amplifiers, Cabs, Delay & Echo, Distortion, Dymanics, EQ etc. You can easily create custom rigs by stacking the components. Alternatively, if you just want to get going with some instant inspiration there’s an immense selection of presets covering a vast array of styles.

And if you thought Amp simulator plugins were immune to Ai think again. With the release of Guitar Rig 7 Pro, NI has introduced a new modelling technology they call ICM (Intelligent circuit modelling) ICM claims to use machine learning technology to reproduce the behavior of hardware devices from the ground up.

While Guitar Rig 7 Pro can be purchased individually it also comes bundled in their extensive Komplete packages. This could represent a good value solution if you’re looking for a large suite of tools.

For more information visit: https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/guitar/guitar-rig-7-pro/

Softtube – Vintage Amp Room

While Amplitude and Guitar Rig represent the Swiss Army Knife approach to amp modelling, Softube has taken a completely different approach. With only a small selection of modelled amps and cabs available for each Amp Room product, Softtube is favouring the less is more philosophy. It does however come bundled with some useful effect pedals as well as some basic studio FX for added control.

While there are 4 Amp Room products, the Vintage Amp room specialises in, as you might guess, a more classic vintage sound. And more specifically softube has attempted to capture the sound of a miked-up Amp in a room. This approach can lead to a slightly more natural tone, reminiscent of a vintage recording where the ambience of a live room would also be captured.

You also get the ability to move mic positions with the results being very authentic. It seems as though Softtube have spent a lot of time considering this aspect and it is the feature that sets the Vintage Amp room apart from other amp simulator plugins. And as you might expect all this attention to detail leads to a very convincing result.

So if you are after the sort of highly convincing vintage sound that would have been captured in studios of the past then this could be worth checking out.

For more information visit: https://www.softube.com/user-manuals/vintage-amp-room

Positive Grid – Bias FX 2 Elite

Another smorgasbord of an amp offering comes courtesy of Positive Grid. The Bias FX 2 plugin features over 116 amps, 125 effects, HD Racks, effects modellers and much more. This plugin is focused very much on creative tone design. It offers musicians and producers a platform to explore endless sonic possibilities and sculpt their own signature sounds with precision.

Unlike the other examples in this list, the amps and effects are all generic and not recreations of existing classic amps. There are certainly going to be many that are closely modelled on existing amps but you’re not going to get any branded tie-ins. In a way, this is quite refreshing as you are forced to use your ear to make objective sound decisions as opposed to plumping for a amp just because your favourite artist used it.

With so many sound-shaping possibilities on offer, this really is the amp simulation plugin for experimental sound designers. And if you are still struggling for inspiration Positive Grid’s Tone Cloud is an online community offering up custom creations of their own – 50,000 and counting! Oh and don’t panic, the graphic interface provides search, tone topics and playlists. So no need to plough through a list of 50k entries.

Also, one of the most interesting features of this plugin is it’s Guitar Match 2 function. This allows you to profile your acoustic, electric or bass guitar. It then attempts to transform the sound of your guitar into any of the guitars featured in its legendary collection. These include 60’s strats and 50s Telecasters. If you only own one guitar this could be a game changing feature.

Finally, when used in stand-alone mode the Bias FX 2 has several useful playing, practising and learning modes. So if a feature-rich plugin with literally the kitchen sink thrown in, is your priority then the Bias FX 2 is going to be for you.

For more information visit: https://www.positivegrid.com/products/bias-fx-2

Neural DSP – Mesa Boogie Mark IIC+ Suite

For a classic late 70’s and 80’s rock guitar sound the Mesa Boogie Mark IIC is iconic. From Metallica to Journey this was the amp of choice for such axe wielders. It offered switchable lead and rhythm channels making it a versatile choice as it catered for both playing styles. So what of Neural DSPs attempts to capture this classic?

In the world of plugins, Neural DSP are regarded as amongst the best in the business. They go to extreme lengths to accurately model sound with their range of amp simulators considered to be amongst the most realistic out there. Unlike some of the other contenders on this list Neural DSP tend to focus on just one product, capturing it in extreme detail. And this is certainly the case with the Mesa Boogie Mark IIC. Every nuance of the original is captured, providing you an inroad to that iconic bombastic 80’s heavy rock sound.

So if that’s the specific sound you are looking to capture in your productions then this has is probably worth considering.

For more information visit: https://neuraldsp.com/plugins/mesa-boogie-mark-iic-suite

Remember – RouteNote Create subscriptions start from as little as $2.99. You also get 10 FREE credits to spend on samples along with access to our FREE sample pack bundle when you sign-up!