NOTE: this review is for the full version of Rockrack, not the V3 player.
|Platform||Win/Mac (also UAD)|
|Uses||Rhythm, lead, crunch, clean|
|Recommended retail price||$199|
Score: 4 / 5
When this thing goes on sale, it usually goes on sale real cheap and it was such when I picked it up. I had seen it mentioned in a few blogs and had a friend vouch for its versatility plus my inability to say no to an amp sim on sale made it impossible to resist. Brainworx also often toss Rockrack into bundles so watch for those as well.
What you get with the full Rockrack is a small but very high quality multi-amp suite that features amps based on products from Engl, Marshall, Mesa Boogie and Brainworx in house team.
The sim looks really nice, it’s not quite to the level of the other Brainworx amp sims but I also don’t think it’s meant to be at that level anyways. The graphics are solid, the layout is simplistic and it’s really easy to navigate around the plugin quickly.
Amp wise you get an Engl E530 clean and dirty, a Marshall Jcm 800 clean and dirty, a Roland Jazz combo crunch/clean, A Mesa Boogie Rect-o-verb and an amp Brainworx created called the Metal 666. So basically, you have four complete amps in one sim. I really enjoyed the previous versions of rockrack so when this version came out, it was a must have for me. It features a selection of amps that covers a ton of ground tone wise.
For clean tones, you get a nice selection of useful tones. The Engl, Marshall and Roland clean tone offerings are very strong and actually do really well with a TS boost. You can get a nice shimmering clean tone or a nice gritty clean tone, your choice.
On the distortion front, you also get a nice selection. The Marshall has some really nice cutting leads and rhythms, the Engl has a great spectrum of gainy tones and the Metal 666 gives you everything from crunch to tech death with high gain clarity and articulation. The Rect-o-verb is an amp I wasn’t overly familiar with but based on the clips I listened to and watched, the sim sounds pretty similar. I didn’t care for the sim much but it was accurate sounding to my ears. It was however nice to see a Mesa inclusion that you don’t see too often.
There’s just no genre you can’t do with rockrack alone. It doesn’t require a lot of processing but adding a few things does give you the chance to lean on the input and gain a little more to saturate things if that’s what you are after. Really nice clean tones that have warmth to them, mid gain rock tones, crunch across the board, gain for days and everything else you would need. There’s also a SHRED that seems to tighten the amp up while adding some saturation. It’s a nice feature but I can see how it might not be for some.
Did we boost it? But of course we did and it was a long session. I think I used 15 boost pedals on each of the Rockrack’s amps except for the jazz amp. Every single amp responded well to being hit with some dirt. The brainworx yellow drive and blue chorus on the JCM 800 channel gave me the popular Zakk Wylde type tone, the bx greenscreamer with the Metal 666 was lights out for death metal and the Jazz clean with even just the onboard delay was real shimmery and smooth.
The impulse selection is decent but I assume it was tough to narrow down a small list of sims for such a crazy range of sims. I opted to test a few and then move on to my own loader and impulses. It was easy to find impulses that blended well but every amp is so different that I would just stick with the onboard impulses while testing Rockrack.
All Brainworx sims come with onboard stuff like a gate, delay and filtering options to get things sounding tip top and can all be bypassed quickly. As I also mentioned there’s a SHRED knob for guys that want to do some SHREDDING. Ok.. you get it, there’s a knob that says SHRED. It adds a nice tightness but it’s not suited to every amp in the suite.
UPS / DOWNS:
Whether you are just getting into amp sims or a seasoned pro, pick this up. You get so much quality and versatility in a small package for a great price, this plugin sells itself.
As mentioned, when it goes on sale, it goes cheap and sometimes as part of a combo with another amp sim or guitar related plugin.
See more – Plugin Alliance demo of Rockrack V3