(Version reviewed: 2.4.74)
THIS IS A REVIEW OF A DISCONTINUED PRODUCT
I wasn’t familiar with Softube’s guitar products at all when I bought the plugins. They were cheap and I had seen them on a few blogger lists so it seemed like a decent idea to pick them all up. I am a pretty big fan of classic rock tones, there’s something about the tones from the 70s that changed electric guitar forever.
This plugin is over 10 years old so I wasn’t sure if I could expect a lot but Softube has always had good sounding stuff so I figured why not?
Well, the looks are different that’s for sure, so is the layout. It looks like a guitar room in a studio, maybe a stage or rehearsal room and when you move to another amp, it’s like the camera moves with it while the main controls are fixed above. The graphics are unique and everything is pretty easy to zip through.
It looks like Softube is trying to represent a Marshall of some sort, a Fender twin and a Vox AC30, which is a nice selection of amps on the surface, but the graphics could just be for aesthetics. The descriptions on the Softube site were pretty vague on what amps were modeled so I am going into it kind of blind.
I dialed the master controls in with some starter settings and hit the white amp first. It sounds like some sort of British amp. Kind of like a JMP meets a JTM45 or something. It’s got some balls to it but there’s a fizzy side to it that you have to work a bit to remove with the controls. It’s very much a stereotypical rock amp. I boosted it and it took a few boosts to find one that didn’t just accent the harsh tone I had tried to remove earlier. The leads were very solid and cut nicely. The note articulation got a little squirrely and fizzy when I turned the gain to 10 so I think it’s better no higher than 7-8.
Next I hit the brown amp. It’s a fairly Fender sounding clean tone which is always a welcomed sound to my ears. I got a nice country tone in a flash, a nice driven blues tone, some atmospheric tones with reverb and even some dirty twang tones too. The brown amp didn’t really impress me a lot, it was missing some of the tonal qualities I look for in a good clean tone and the controls didn’t get me too far.
The Green amp I had guessed is a VOX AC30 and the tone suggests it could be some sort of Vox but I am not too sure. The VOX AC30 is one of those amps that I truly don’t think has been done perfectly yet. I have tried a few plugins that had some resemblance but nothing rock solid. The green amp is decent but it doesn’t have the warmth I was hoping for. It does have a really nice snap when compressed into a country twang. I processed it with a few things and eventually got the tone I wanted but I am not sure I’d ever record with it.
The impulses with each amp are kind of bland but they do give you sort of a 3D way to adjust the mic on the cab. You can shuffle things around until you get something you like but I did get better results with all three amps with my own loader and impulses.
UPS / DOWNS:
Well, I can’t say I was impressed or let down really. The sale price on the bundle was still too high for what you get with the amp room series plugins when compared to other plugins at the same price point. The amps look and sound dated but still decent and they haven’t held up too bad considering how fast the market moves . The rock / classic rock / blues tone game has really not moved that quickly over the years so Vintage amp room still absolutely has relevance.
Softube have been putting out some excellent stuff consistently but I really think they should consider rebooting their guitar products pretty soon. While doing so, I think the amp room series should be priced much lower considering they are over 10 years old now.