There’s a lot of full amp suites out there and you have likely heard of pretty well all of them but you might not have heard of this one but let’s change that shall we?
I heard about this product randomly when I was researching Hotone’s Decimator style noise reducer plugin. I had never heard of this plugin before this review so it’s one of the few around here that I walked into completely blind. I didn’t even read the product info, I simply saw lots of amps for a good price and checked out.
The looks are simple and effective. They aren’t over the top detailed but they aren’t poor. They make the amps nice and bright on a dark background so the plugin looks pretty good. The amps are detailed but again, it’s a simplistic design. The layout is also simple and effective. Everything has a bypass!! I sure do love when every part of an amp sim has a clear and easy bypass, especially full amp suites.
I love the feeling of playing on a full suite for the first time. There’s always just so much to mess around with. It’s like opening presents on Christmas as a kid. Cracking open a new plugin from a developer I didn’t know much about made the experience a lot of fun. Vstomp amp features 23 amps, 20 cabs and some other toys to shape things up.
You get a little of everything with Vstomp Amp. Amps designed for specific applications like crystal cleans, vintage rock, modern hi-gain and many others. Diezel, Peavey, Friedman, Marshall, VOX, Engl, Fender, Ampeg, Roland, Mesa Boogie and several other well known companies are represented in Vstomp Amp. With the nice amp selection you get amps for every genre and use you could imagine.
The control values are simplistic but effective. Vstomp Amp isn’t as much about providing insanely detailed amp sims as much as it is simply delivering at least the amps trademark tone characteristics. All of the amps sound like the real deal but the controls have been condensed and simplified in such a way that makes the amps control values unrealistic. Many full amp suites work this way but Vstomp Amp manages to hold a higher quality tone throughout.
The clean tones are warm, smooth and crisp, you will find a variety of amps meant for almost only clean playing and most of them hit the mark. Mid gains and crunch are well represented in Vstomp Amp with a variety of nice mid-gain inclusions. The hi-gain is where things started to get a little hit and miss for me. There was a few I really liked and a few I felt missed the mark in the hi-gain department but it didn’t bother me because even if I was to only ever use this suite for cleans, they’d be worth the price of the plugin. That said however, a few of the hi-gain amps were just not passable for recording purposes but they were still fun to mess with.
My personal favorite amps from this plugin were the Soloist, Glacial Clean, Baseman, Fryman, with the overall standouts being the Formula and the Emperor without question. I managed to find really nice tones for country, blues, southern rock, ska, punk, tech-death, djent (took some work), thrash, death metal and the list goes on.
The plugin includes a few tube screamer / boost type effects but nothing else. Full amp suites normally have an assortment of pedals but based on the additions made with the newest update, the addition of more pedals might not be far off. The pedals included are just average but they aren’t really meant to stand out either. For a full-suite type plugin to not have much for pedals is a little odd and definitely a downside.
The impulses and loader included in Vstomp Amp are just ok. They include a matched cab for each amp but I wouldn’t say the cab section brings out the best in the other gear. They are decent quality but a few of them seemed a little dull to me. The selection is good but for those that have a lot of their own impulses, you can easily bypass the onboard stuff in favor of your own. I have a lot of luck with my own impulses when it comes to full amp suites. I usually end up bypassing for my own and it normally brings more life out of the amps. In this case it was no different. I was able to get much better tones with my own loader and selection.
UPS / DOWNS:
Vstomp Amp is a super fun full amp suite with a lot to offer. I would put this plugin somewhere between Amplitube and Helix Native for sound quality and realistic amp modeling.
By the looks of the info on the website, it seems like every update could carry new gear with it so that’s a really attractive thing about the plugin for me but how many more updates will there be for a plugin that wasn’t promoted? I wouldn’t assume there will be many more but the amps already included are a lot of fun.
Downsides for me here were few but still present. The hi-gain tones need work in some areas. They can be a little thin and digital sounding with some fizz. With some processing, most of the hi-gain sims can be more than useful but with a market full of hi-gain amp sims to compete with, an update in this section would be cool.
The gain controls on the mid to hi-gain amps seemed to jump from zero to 10 when I was only at about 3 on the knob. It’s noticeable with a few where the gain knobs only seem to have a range of 0-1-2-FULL BLAST!!! It wasn’t a huge deal but it’s worth mentioning.
The lack of pedals and fairly pedestrian impulse responses also caused a bit of a knock on the score. I can forgive the cabs but this is the first full-suite that I have seen with nothing more than couple of boosts. It would have been nice to see a few more components.
See more – Hotone demo of the Vstomp Amp