In our previous post, we checked out 5 fantastic amp simulator plugin options. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great amp sim rockin’ in your DAW. In this post, we take a look at the 5 Best FREE Amp Simulator plugins out there.

Atomic Amplifiers -Tonocracy

Tonocracy was until recently a paid-for plugin but it’s NOW FREE thanks to the the lovely people at Atomic Amplifiers. One of the key advantages of this amp simulator is the inclusion of ToneSnap technology. In essence, this feature allows you to capture the sound of any amplifier you throw at it. Then that old chestnut Ai gets to work analysing and learning the audio DNA converting it into a playable snapshot. You can either input your own custom amp signal or utilise a growing library of tones.

And the Ai goes deep employing scheme-accurate modelling technology. In practice this high level of analysis results in exceptionally realistic results. For those wanting to browse a growing selection of modelled amp tones Tonocracy is compatible with the open-source resource NAM (Neural Amp Modeler) They have also partnered with ML Sound Lab who specialise in speaker cabinet impulse responses.

Combine this with an intuitive and simple user interface that allows you to drag and combine various components and you have what’s known in the business as a “no-brainer”!

For more information visit:

Shattered Glass – Audio Ace

If you’re after a basic emulation of a classic heritige amp then the Audio Ace is certainly worth your consideration. While the exact identity of the amp modeled is not clear it’s clearly based upon a Fender Tweed 1950’s example. The thing that sets this amp apart from most other amp sims out there is it’s very low power rating. This ‘all tube’ beauty emulates a staggering 5W of amplified omph! The result being an intimately vintage tinged tone that ozzes retro chic.

Control wise it’s pretty limited, just like its real world counterpart. You get Input, volume, feedback and output. There’s also a couple of cabinet impulse responses as well as circuit modeling to include grid stopper resistors.
So whether you’re after a 60’s garage psych sound or a contemporary indie vibe, this amp should help to get you there.

For more information visit: Shattered glass audio

Linda Audio – Super Crunch

And next up something completely different. The clue is in the name of this amp ‘Super Crunch’. Aimed very much to your hard rock and heavy metal heads this amplifier simulation loves to be driven hard! So if you fall into this bracket and are on a limited budget then christmas has come early.

The user interface is layed out well and looks great. You have all the usual controls as well as a very usable 8 band Graphic EQ. The EQ provides quick and easy shaping of the sound and even features a AGC (Automatic Gain Compensation) switch. By engaging this switch the output gain will automatically adjust acording to EQ cuts or boosts meaning you wont be tricked by the loudness effect.

Combine all this with a handy gate to keep the noise levels at bey as well as two Cabinet impulse responses and you have a hard rocking monster of a free Amp sim. Oh and did I say, it sounds rather gutsy?!?

For more information visit:

Nick Crow Lab – 8505 Lead

If you’re after an all rounder that sounds equally good at low and high gain the Lab 8505 makes a great choice. Software developer Nick Crow has done a stirling job of emulating a usable workhorse amp capable of producing a very full and powerful sound. While there’s not much in the way of unique revolutionary features, it does perform all the basic functions and performs them very well. The EQ is taken care of via low, mid, sweep and high controls. And for max distortion dial up the Power amp control.

Unlike some of our other free examples there are no cabinet emulations included with this one. The 8505 is all about signal path and character. So whether you’re after some clean country music guitar tones or some noosebleed inducing distorted metal this amp should have you covered.

For more information visit:

Neural Amp Modeler (NAM)

And last but certainly not least it’s the Amp sim that everyone’s talking about. Neural Amp Modeler or NAM as it’s comonly known has already had a mention in respect of the Tonocracy amp. But while Tonocracy features all the bells and whistles, neural amp modeler is a far simpler affair. But don’t let it’s simplicity fool you! This amazing open source tool has the ability to model the tone of ANY amplifier using the power of machine learning. This is done by assigning NAM with an analysed amp profile. You also have the option of providing a speaker cab Impulse response as well.

These profiles can be generated either by yourself or obtained from an online library resource. seems to be the favoured destination for aquiring profiles and IM’s. There are currently over 17k free models available so you shouldn’t come up short!

This brings me on to my only real concearn with a plugin as powerful as this. Efficiancy!!!! While having endless options is a great thing it also presents the issue of doom scrolling. (Not just a late night tik tok thing)
Once you have located and downloaded some good profiles and IM’s I would recomend creating a strict folder structure with favourites to avoid this impacting your workflow.

But other than that NAM really is a game changer and potential dissrupter in the field of amp simulation. With its ability to produce a limitless number of highly realistic emulations combined with a simple interface this option demands your attention.

For more information visit:

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