Rating: 10 / 10
(version reviewed: 1.2.0)
It’s hard to find someone that’s into amp sims that didn’t at least bat an eye when the news of Nameless Suite hit the internet. It sent every player with an aggressive style into an immediate frantic slobbering GAS rage, forums, Facebook, Youtube and other sources were on fire with news and suddenly, not a day went by without reading or hearing mention of it. Even the snobby Kemper elitists were enjoying it. I was wondering who this company was and where the hell they came from.
The plugin is based on the very popular Fortin Meshuggah amplifier while being surrounded by a wonderful suite that includes pedals designed by Fortin, a cab section from ML Sound Labs and more. Everything in the suite has been modeled to as close to a 1:1 replica as it gets.
The GUI visuals are crisp, well done and sharp without going over the top. Everything is well laid out very nicely to promote ease of use. I have always found Neural DSP plugins to be put together flawlessly so that nearly any used can fire it up and get shredding quickly.
First, I see the Fortin grind pedal, which looks and sounds identical to the real deal. I can’t tell that it’s software at all. I owned the grind pedal for a time and I didn’t overly care for it in person but I can say the grind pedal provided here is very accurate. The issue with the grind combined with Nameless Suite is that you are adding a lot of mids to an amp sim that dishes out plenty of mids as it is. You can blend them nicely but it will take you some time to nail it.
While I have struggled to find a use for the Grind pedal with passive pickups, when I tried this amp sim with a couple sets of EMG active pickups, it was a whole different animal. The Grind pedal all of the sudden made WAY more sense. It’s the perfect pedal for active pickups. I turned off the screamer and then put the Grind pedal at around 30-40% and poof, suddenly, I wanted to take back every bad thing I have said about the pedal. It just goes to show that sometimes even gear you once didn’t care for can find a purpose in your grand scheme of things if you keep an open mind to revisit things here and there.
My usual methods of tweaking in a good starting point with an amp or amp sim didn’t play well with Nameless Suite so it did take me some time to really feel what the controls were bringing out. I immediately notice that it’s bright, like really bright so be careful with the treble and presence knobs as well as how much treble and level you add with a boost if you opt for your own. The cool thing about the high end is that it never really takes you to that shady digital breakup that you’d expect it should. This factor also depends on your pickups because if you are using something mid-voiced, you might find yourself being careful with the mids and highs.
I will admit that I had to look through the manual to really get to know my way around the sim because there are a few settings that are a little bit unclear for those unfamiliar to the real amp. I would suggest that everyone that grabs this plugin take a good look at the manual because it really does help when trying to understand how to dial in the sound you are looking for. Most amp sims are pretty universal when it comes to dialing in a good starting point but this one is a bit more complex.
The cabinet section is from the always consistent ML Sound Lab. It’s a very good sounding section and the detail, versatility and quality of the whole cabinet setup is fantastic. You can use their cab, use it as an IR loader for your own impulses or bypass the cab altogether in favour of your own IR loader and Impulses. If you like the cab enough you could also bypass the amp sim for your own while using Nameless Suite’s cabinet section. I tried it with some great results. There’s a nice selection of mics and an easy to use set of controls to position things as you choose or you can drag the mics 3D style.
The high gains are exceedingly incredible for any type of heavy playing but if you are using a boost, you’ll need to tweak those settings as well rather than the silly modern standard “0-10-10” TS settings. I would say more of a 0-3-8 or less because there’s no need to add much to the high end. This amp has a few ways to alter the amount of gain you are using. I strongly suggest everyone read the manual and get comfortable with how the gain and levels work on this amp. You have two channels; two gain knobs and an MVC knob. You can twist and turn whatever you want but these knobs have a huge impact on the tone so save some time and get acquainted.
Nameless Suite isn’t really meant to be a versatile sim as much as it’s supposed to be a flaming dragon in a box and so high gain wise there’s miles of gain and ways to really tweak the high gain tone to your liking. Moving to the lower gain settings, I felt that the sim lost some pop but let’s be honest, this amp wasn’t made to play love songs in the tall grass, it was meant to crush neighborhoods and scorch the earth so it’s not a slight on the amp to suggest that it’s best suited for higher gain use.
Take the time to be meticulous with the settings and the amp really does shine so if you are a gearhead you will be in heaven but if not, take a breath because if you are looking for high gain and spend a little extra time you won’t regret it. It’s worth the money and worth the extra tweaking time. Nameless suite really impresses.
UPS / DOWNS:
Final analysis here is that the Fortin Nameless suite has been crafted with absolute meticulous precision and it shows in the incredibly high quality of the end result.
Is it versatile? Not really no and normally that’s a little off the score but the quality of the high gains are just so next level that it has to have top marks regardless. It might be a bit of a one trick pony but it’s also godlike at that one trick. Bottom line is that I personally feel this is the best high gain amp sim ever made, period.
Even after the Archetype releases, the Nameless suite remains, in my opinion the highest quality Neural DSP release. Trust this plugin anytime to give you crushing high gains for any purpose.