Let’s face it: the convenience of being able to connect the guitar directly to the sound card and use the home computer with which we normally work or otherwise, to register or even just study and jam is an absolute convenience.
Ok, I’m not arguing about the fact that the sound pressure generated by a 4 × 12 solicited by a nice JCM800 at an acceptable volume with maybe a good tubescreamer in front, is comparable, absolutely not…!
However, for those who are not a professional musician and cannot afford to use a fairytale instrumentation (pushed as needed to make it work well) without devastating the eardrums of the neighbors every time, or reviving the beast every 6 months, the practicality of a system digital makes itself felt.
Amp Modeling, Why?
The possibility of always having the same sound even at lower volumes, thanks to the digital modeling of the various amplifiers, perhaps that comes out of the same PC on which we have different bases, DAWs, etc., is a considerable convenience.
Then when you record, being able to use a VST (Virtual Studio Technology) plugin allows you to enter a “pure” signal into the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation, a program for recording, basically, like GarageBand or Reaper), as it comes out of the guitar, regardless of how we listen to it while we play.
So, if after recording a piece one day we want to modify its amp modeling, compression level, distortion, delay, etc., we can do it without having to record anything.
1. Ignite Amps NRR-1
Let’s start with something Italian: Ignite Amps NRR-1. Nice, really well done, but specialized for metal.
On their web page they offer much more than just NRR-1, many things are free, visit to believe, and I don’t think you will be disappointed: http://www.igniteamps.com/#software.
2. Marshall Lead 12: L12X solid state amplifier
No, really??? ???? Yes, really! They did it. It’s free too! Thanks Audiority!
I swear, when I saw it I didn’t believe it. I really appreciate the Marshall Lead 12 (see article on musicanza.it) and when I saw that they had done it … well I downloaded it immediately. How’? Similar to the original! Obviously, the sound pressure of the two original cones (in the case of the 3005 model) or of the single cone (in the case of the 5005 model) is missing. But it’s free, so why not download it?
On January 18, 2020 (so very recently) Audiority released the model of the Marshall Lead 12, free: https://www.audiority.com/shop/l12x-solid-state-amplifier/.
3. IK Multimedia AmpliTube 4
Obviously, Amplitube could not be missing. Made thanks also to the collaboration of Slash. Free. And what are you doing, don’t you download it?
Beautiful, really well made and very customizable. Too bad that, of course, they are not all free. But the ones that are there are more than enough.
4. Nebrini Audio Crunck V2
Another free plugin, another Italian product: Crunck V2 Nebrini Audio. Available for both Windows, Mac and iPhone. The sound is of high quality, and unlike the NRR-1 this one is more geared towards rock and pop genres. It also includes an IR-based cabinet simulator with 30 impulse responses built into the cabinet.
You can download it from here: https://www.nembriniaudio.com/products/crunck-v2-guitar-amplifier.
5. Shattered Glass Audio Ace
Want a nice amp with classic Fender-style clean? Then try Shattered Glass Audio’s Ace. It is a 1950s Tweed 5W simulator. It also includes an IR cabinet simulator. To download immediately.
Shattered Glass Audio Ace: http://www.shatteredglassaudio.com/product/103.
6. Native Instruments Guitar Rig
Native Instruments Guitar Rig is a plugin with different amp and cabinet simulations, with pedal effects, etc., really good. Guitar Rig can be used both as a VST plugin for a DAW (such as Reaper), or stand alone. Nice.
The sounds are beautiful, well-kept, and there are all kinds of them. Where is the flaw? Well that obviously, being the free version of a commercial software, only some models are available inside for free. The beauty is that they are: a Marshall JMP head with its cabinet, a nice green Tube screamer, a compressor, noise gate, two delays and other little things. Few but good!
Guitar Rig can be downloaded through Native Instruments software from here: https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/bundles/komplete-start/?sscid=51k4_p4xaz.
7. Black Rooster Audio Cypress TT-15
Orange amp lovers will surely love the simulation of the legendary Tiny Terror head. Quest, while not having the typical orange color of Orange, still retains the same controls for settings. In addition, you can choose whether to use the included modeling of a 2 × 12 box, included.
You can find it here: https://blackroosteraudio.com/en/products/cypress_tt-15.
8. Kuassa Amplifikation Kit
If you want an amp with the classic three channels, clean, crunch (nice) and lead, including a cabinet with IR, then try Kuassa’s Amplifikation Kit. Obviously free, although there are an infinite number of products on their site.
You can download the Amplifikation Kit here: https://www.kuassa.com/products/amplifikation-lite/.
9. ML Sound Lab Amped Roots Free
Metal lovers will surely appreciate this free plugin. Amped Roots Free is based on the paid version of another of their software, created in collaboration with guitarist Ryan “Fluff” Bruce. In the package you will find the amp, a kick drum simulator and two pedal effects.
Amped Roots Free: https://ml-sound-lab.com/products/amped-roots.
10. Other free VSTs
There are many sites where free VST plugins can be found. Some are really good, others questionable.
A site where you can find some is this: http://www.vst4free.com/index.php?plug-ins=Guitar/Amp&l=0.
Another interesting site is this: https://vst.musicjab.com/c/i-migliori-effetti-per-chitarra-e-amp-vst-au-gratis/page/4/.
I used to record with the Behringer Virtual Amp 3, placing the Retro-Sonic eight-0-eight and the Morley Bah Horsie wha, or more recently with the Zoom G3. Too bad that once the track was recorded I could no longer change the sound and you know, since when times change, tastes change too, I was screwed. He had to re-record everything. And often the same thing never came again …
The more modular choice therefore is to use a fully software amplifier simulator, a VST plugin to use with your DAW is objectively the best choice. For those who have Macs, GarageBand includes several, for those who prefer other DAWs, Reaper is virtually customizable with any VST.
The free guitar plugins mentioned in this article are only a fraction of those that can be found on the internet, but these are almost all derived from commercial products and are valid.
That said, have fun downloading and trying as many as possible, there are so many. Indeed, too many, and you really risk spending your evenings trying plugins rather than trying! That said, good fun! ????
Published on musicanza.it on: 23/05/2020.