I had no idea what to expect here at all. The few demos I watched before I got my hands on it really didn’t do it justice. I wasn’t as pumped about it after seeing the reviews and even watching video demos of the real thing didn’t tell me much so I needed to try it for myself. I really liked the unique inflections in the tones I heard in the demos. I hope the sim sounded the same. The price was insanely cheap for what’s included. When I say cheap I mean one of the lowest regular prices for a high quality amp sim on the market.
I have never seen or tried anything made by AMT in person so I went into this blind. Immediately, I love the looks and the simplicity of the plugin, which is something that is consistent across all of the Mercuriall Audio products. I also notice the full range of add-ons like a number of boost pedals, impulses and a reliable noise gate, which are all bypassable.
Starting with clean tones, I notice the quality is there right away. I can hear really nice natural sounding warmth to the whole experience without needing to add a lot of processing to acquire it. Dial in a little gain and you go to a really nice low gain crunch with a nice attack that isn’t too in your face. I spent the most time on this setting because it’s really functional for a lot of uses. For me, you can really hear the quality of the clean tones when it comes to letting a single string ring at a higher volume. Try it, listen to the resonance and the sustain. Poor quality sims show through in a second on this test if you have a good set of studio monitors.
The onboard boost pedals Mercuriall Audio always tie into their sims are always quality and kick ass to say the least. I rarely find myself reaching for an outside boost pedal with Mercuriall plugins. In this case they have included their TS 808, TS7, Greed Smasher and SD1 pedal sims. Every single one of these boosts is completely awesome. I tried a few of my own but opted to stick with the onboard boosts.
The middle gain tone is a bit chunkier and less compressed forsure. Even when you add a boost to it, it’s still not overly tight and it sounded like I was trying to force it so I busted out the Fuzz and Muff collection to see how we could best use the mid gain and it paid off. It sounded like a monstrous wall and the onboard controls had a lot of play in the tone. I used a few pedal plugins but the pedals the SS-11X is carrying onboard are quite nice. Choose between a screamer, yellow overdrive, greed smasher and more.
Moving into the higher gains, it sounds like a wall of articulate damnation. The higher gain is crushing to say the least. Death metal, tech-death, hardcore, slam, djent, the SX can do anything high gain. There are unique traits to the tone that I haven’t heard in an amp sim before. Unique sounding sims aren’t everyone’s bag but in a world of sims that can tend to blend together at times, something different is nice from time to time is it not? This plugin will give you more than a few tones that can give your tracks another flavor when you just can’t find that sound you need.
Every Mercuriall Audio sim comes with a nice selection of impulses but this time they also included some tube colored options to . You can also use their loader for your own impulses or bypass it for your own loader. The impulses included with the SX range in quality but do provide a lot of options tone wise. You can acquire so many different tones between the controls, pedals, impulses and other onboard options included.
To get a slightly more realistic “tube-like” response, I bypassed the internal loader for my own but before doing so I inserted a power amp plugin between the SS-11X and my IR loader. The SS11X is a preamp remember and while it works just fine without a power amp plugin, adding one never hurts. For a nice free power amp plugin, try the Ignite Amps TPA-1. The additional tube feel to the tone really warms things up while giving them more punch.
UPS / DOWNS:
The SS-11X is incredibly versatile while being really unique. It’s one of the most complete plugins I have ever used, there’s really no basic tone that’s impossible. From crystal cleans to a mountain of high gain capable of djenting, chugging or shredding worlds. It’s incredibly versatile and more importantly, it’s very easy to find all of those tones quickly.
There are no downsides to this plugin. The lack of a power section might be an issue for some and that’s legitimate but it’s the lack of a power section that makes the SS-11X one of the lightest plugins on the market for computer resource usage. Low resources make the plugin ideal for anyone with almost any computer set up.
For what you get, this is almost like stealing. I am not sure how Mercuriall is able to offer this incredible plugin for as cheap as they are but hats off to them for always being willing to provide amazing plugins for fantastic prices. We all really appreciate it!