All but one of us here have a love for metal no matter what our main focus of playing or writing is. Metal players have easily the largest selection of products to choose from right now because a ton of companies are making very good high gain amp sims. This was part of a bundle with the Vintage and bass amp room plugins. All of the plugins are about ten years old.
The plugin was designed in collaboration with Tue Madsen and The Haunted guitarist Patrik Jensen at Studio Fredman. I figured with those factors plus the never-ending list of now dated accolades and quotes crammed into the product page, it might have held up over the years.
I get what they were trying to do here. They tried to make it look “metal”. It’s a couple cabs in what looks like a cold cement jail cell or interrogation room. The view is kind of from above and I am not sure why. The vintage and bass amp room plugins had the cabs shot from in front so you could see them but metal amp room is from an odd angle. Marks off for me for layout, graphics and workflow. The angle actually really got to me when trying to adjust the mics. I am not sure how this set up could be useful over being cumbersome and limiting.
Instead of three amps like the other two amp room plugins, you get one amp. Not entirely sure which amp but it sounds a bit like a Peavey 5150 so I will go with that or some sort of Peavey/EVH model. The controls are simple and easy to navigate to a starting point. When I got a basic starting point, it was hard to really improve the tone passed the starting point. Every control seemed to either make things too bass or treble heavy.
I went to start messing with the cabs. Metal amp room includes what looks like an Engl 412 cab and a Marshall slant 412 but when I started trying to mess around with mic angles, I got too irritated by the angle mentioned earlier so I bypassed the cab and fired up Impulsive. I must have tried 100 high quality impulses and there was nothing that really fit with the amp. I tried my best to dial things in but There was no real happy medium between muffled and overly bright.
I got the best tone I could and took to the processing plugins but before I knew it, everything was just overly processed and I just couldn’t find a sweetspot for the tone. I tried using it in a mix and even after trying to warm it up, Metal amp room just doesn’t deliver anything usable.
It’s not a surprise really. Many older high gain plugins just don’t make the cut these days with so many incredible and realistic high gain plugins coming out all the time. I just can’t see why anyone would buy this plugin when there are much better high gain tones available for free. That said, if you see it on sale and want to have a rip, by all means, you could do worse.
UPS / DOWNS:
I don’t really see Softube as a company that really needs a high gain amp sim. They would be better off going after the jazz, blues, country and classic rock guitarists with another vintage amp room.
Softube Metal Amp Room is just not a useful plugin anymore in the fast moving world of high gain amp sims but if you see it on sale and feel like you want to give it a rip, have at it.