(Version reviewed: 1.1)
LePou product page (site is down, see bottom of page for download links)
KVR product details
The five sims that lasted the test of time are still effective even with today’s high demands.
Here we have Alain Poulin’s plugin version of the ENGL Powerball 2 amplifier. The Powerball 2 is gem that I don’t think gets the full respect it deserves as one of the more versatile amps out there. Alain Poulin went to a lot of trouble to ensure that the LE456 was just as versatile and strong around the edges.
The LE456 got a graphic update from the days of old and even though that update was still a while back, the plugin still looks miraculous. Whoever did the graphics for this one and the Hybrit would be thanked repeatedly if that person was to give the Legion and Lecto the same treatment. The amp looks very realistic and the controls are laid out accordingly.
Channel A is quite simply an incredibly fun channel to rip around on. You can do so much inside of both channels on the amp while maintaining quality. Channel A gives you high and low gain whereas channel B gives you clean and crunch. Going further, you also have a multitude of controls and switches that impact the tone significantly across the face of the amp. This factor gives you the tools to create great tones for almost any purpose.
Channel A provides tones for death metal, hardcore, punk, djent, thrash, metalcore, tech-death and really anything you can think of. Channel B brings out tones for country, chicken picking, classic rock, ska, punk are all in there. You have so many ways to shape and perfect your ideal tones, it’s really a huge strength for the plugin.
I boosted the sim nicely with a few different plugins but I had to be careful with how much I added to the middle of a mid voiced amp. The Le456 can be boosted really nicely if you spend time working the amp and pedal together rather than just throwing the boost out front with the standard modern settings. When boosting, searching for impulses or processing, try to work with the sim to accentuate the trademark Engl crunch rather than boosting the signals into unwanted territory.
The Poulin / LePou plugins all require you to use your own impulses and impulse loader. You also need your own boost pedals and processing. I found the Le456 to be picky with what impulses it gels with and the real deal can be the same from what I have read. I tried a lot of impulses but I found a lot of success with Orange, Engl, Krank, Genz-Benz and Mesa OS impulses but it was hit and miss in every library. Take some time, try your favorites, try a little bit of everything from your 212 and 412 libraries.
UPS / DOWNS:
The 456 is one of the greatest freeware products ever developed. It really does hold up to today’s standards. I can use this plugin side by side with a quality paid plugin and have the LE456 outperform most of the amps in it’s path.
While the main Poulin site has been down for years, the download links on his page was on Google Drive and they are still working. Here are the direct links for the Poulin amp sim downloads:
Win VST 32-bit
Win VST 64-bit
Mac VST (Universal)
Mac AU (Universal)
See more – demo of the LE456