This Waves Supermodels plugins are a 3-pack of licensed plugin products based on three of Paul Reed Smith’s amps. This plugin is based on the 2-channel Paul Reed Smith Archon 50w head. The analog Archon 50 is an amp truly loved by many and it can be seen in the live and/or studio setups of players like Emil Werstler, Jeff Loomis, Jason Richardson, Mark Tremonti and many others. The amp can also be found as a mainstay in many of music’s top studios. The amp has become a target for many developers though this is the only licensed version thus far.
The plugin includes the amp, a boost section, cab section and a few other processing tools. The Archon comes along with the Dallas and V9/Blue Sierra in the 3-pack mentioned above. The price is more than affordable and the bundle is often part of Waves’ many sales. Join their mailing list today.
The GUI is really nice. It’s vibrant, clean, detailed and well done overall. The graphics are really crisp and they give the user a nice illusion of a the real amp if even a slightly altered version of it. The layout is nicely put together and I always appreciate ease of use and convenience in a design. The entire Waves Supermodels bundle is also beginner-friendly with everything laid out nicely in a single panel.
There’s definitely some tweaking involved to get desired tones but after getting to know the controls a while, I was able to navigate through various styles with ease. Waves gives users a ton of ways to get the tone to not only hit the genre or style you are looking for but also to help that tone sit nice in a mix the way you want it to. The authenticity to the controls and how the amp dials in are not quite authentic but not way off the mark either. It’s at least a pretty good look at the real deal in a nice convenient little package.
The boost section is not part of the analog amp but more of a boost pedal written into the amp’s main control panel. It’s a TS/OD boost with the usual three-knob configuration as sort of a tiny pop up window in the layout that you can open and close. The built-in boost section offers a number of different ways to at dirt, push, cut etc to the tone but ultimately, I preferred adding my own boost pedals to the Archon.
Chicken pickin’ country was shockingly easy to dial in and really quite effective. Hit the boost, add some compression and it becomes easy to get that Brad Paisley smack with some balls behind it. From there you have so many ways you can go. I was able to get nice jazzy or blues rhythm tones, I used it for skate punk and ska and then finally for a really saturated wall of death metal. With heavier tones however, the plugin starts to show it’s faults a little as the gainier tones of the plugin don’t really represent the intensity and quality of the analog Archon.
There’s a decent selection of 412, 212 and other cab IR files and the layout of the loader itself appears quite intelligent with the ability to blend/mix files etc. That said, the cab section of all three Waves PRS plugins definitely holds the plugins back from their full potential. The loader gives the user the ability to load and mix third party cab IRs which is always nice to see but it does seem to change the sound of the IRs a little bit. Overall, the cab section is not the strongest part of this or the other two PRS supermodels plugins.
Bypassing the internal loader for a separate loader and IR selection brings out better quality and an improved feel with a number of 412 and 212 options. To be honest, 90% of the best tones I have been able to pull out of the Waves Supermodels 3-pack have been with my own loader and IR selections. Premium IRs can make a big difference with even plugins that have strong cab sections but in this case, premium IRs can give the bundle more worth.
UPS / DOWNS:
The Archon is the weakest of the three Supermodel products but it’s by no means all bad. I just found it took more time to dial in than it really should. The cab section of the plugin really does seem to hold back the quality of the amp quite a bit but that can be remedied with a loader and selection of quality IRs.
It isn’t the best version of the Archon on the market but it’s also not the worst. The bundle has a lot of value all in all, especially when on sale as the other two amps in the bundle are pretty strong. Check out the bundle today to find out what it has in store for your needs.