Rating: 4.0 / 5
(Version reviewed: 1.2)
Misha Mansoor has had his name on and behind a lot of gear in over the last few years and most of it does carry a solid level of quality so when this one came out, I assumed the same of this plugin. I was also quite excited because the plugin came out not too long after Misha’s signature Peavey Invective amp.
The controls are laid out nicely which is cool because by the video demos I saw initially, I thought we were gonna get an overly elaborate and busy looking plugin but it turned out looking really sharp.
The looks are indeed high res and well designed. Everything is laid out with ease of use in mind which I kind of anticipated being that both guys involved routinely talk about how important your workflow is when recording.
Off the hop it’s sounding great. What you get when you open this amp is a great starting point, which I love because it’s a big part of the first impression. A selling feature for me is the precision drive, I enjoyed the hardware version of it and the VST version is really cool. If you aren’t familiar with the Horizon Devices Precision Drive, there’s a metric ton of YouTube videos on it, it’s basically a modded tube screamer with a built in gate. They didn’t reinvent the wheel but it’s a cool pedal capable of seriously tightening up your tone. The plugin version of the Precision drive is, just “ok”, it’s not bad but it’s light years from the real deal.
Moving on to the amp itself, I would say it sounds like a 5153 at times, the “infinity drive” gives you basically three stages per channel which makes it extremely versatile. I was able to dial in perfect tones for death metal, thrash, hard rock and really anything. The clean tones available in the Misha Tone Forge are also incredible. I was able to get haunting cleans with the onboard reverb and chorus, chicken picking cleans with compression, up the clean gain a little and hit the precision drive, poof, blues. It really does everything you need. Versatility earns huge points with us because getting a lot out of one sim is great for the wallet or when the sim is a touch more expensive.
We have standard Low/Mid/High type settings and then we have addition settings for the gear-heads out there. So basically, it’s really easy to dial in but if you require more things to turn and push, JST provides all sorts of ways to alter the tone to perfection. Compression, harmonics, saturation and more up front as well as a selection of modulation effects and post effects to really customize things on the back end. As with all Toneforge offerings, everything including the amp itself can be bypassed which adds even more to the versatility. I used a selection of my own plugins, boosts, EQ, saturation, impulses and so on with really great results.
The cabinet section has a decent selection. There’s a number of cabs and mic options available as well as the “Matched Cab” feature and an impulse loader. I used the loader successfully to add a variety of Zilla, Mesa OS and really any other cab I felt would go well with it. It was kind of hit and miss but for the most part, it wasn’t too hard to fit a good fit. The matched cab is the best sounding of the included cabinets.
In addition, JST has included a selection of Misha’s favorite impulses called Beast Mode IRs. It’s pretty cool folder with a few options in it that all sound way better than the internal cabs. I wasn’t really able to get what I wanted out of anything but the matched cab.
ADVANCED EDITION: (Requires VIP membership)
This is the VIP version of the plugin that is available to the JST VIP members. It’s got a back panel with a whole bunch of extra ways to tweak your tone. There’s a whole bunch of power amp controls that give you a range from subtle to seriously shaping extras. If you are interested in the VIP plugins, head to the website above and look for the VIP section. Is it worth it? We can’t comment on the entire line of VIP perks but this one does have some pretty cool extras.
UPS / DOWNS:
Musicians of various styles can benefit from Misha’s products, I for one really don’t care for djent or Periphery but I have used and enjoyed several of his products. This product is pretty cool though it can be fu
The price is a wee bit north of where I figure it should be though developers always have sales and price drops so if it’s too pricey for you, be patient and subscribe to the JST newsletters. I have used it to record ska clean tones, thrash rhythms, soaring leads, skate punk, death metal and grind-core all with great sounds. Great work to everyone involved in making this plugin.
See more – JST first look at the TF Misha Mansoor