|Uses||Rhythm, Lead, Crunch, Clean|
NOTE: We had serious issues with the Waves installation and licensing program and we aren’t the only ones. The Waves installation and licensing process is one of the all out most frustrating experiences in the business. We felt that this needed to be mentioned as part of each Waves plugin we reviewed.
The real PRS Archon is an extremely versatile amp. I had the chance to try one out for a few hours when a friend of mine bought one last year. What you get here is a nice selection of tone possibilities ranging from an incredible clean tone to red hot poker searing high gain with clarity and everything in between. I was really hoping the plugin was going to be close to the real thing.
The GUI is really nice. It’s vibrant, clean, detailed and well done all in all aesthetically. The graphics are really crisp and they give you a nice illusion of a real amp. The layout is nicely put together and I always appreciate ease of use and convenience in a design.
I noticed the boost right away is something new for the sim. They have included 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. You can use the boost, blend it with your own or bypass it altogether. The boost is decent but I preferred bypassing it for a few I had on hand. The Ignite Amps Tyrant Screamer worked out great as a match for the Archon.
The controls are all pretty true to what little experience I have with it and you will need to do some tweaking to get where you are wanting to go with the tone. I was able to go seamlessly between genres with very little effort however, there are fine tuning controls that can seriously come in handy when it comes to your final mixes. Waves gives you 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.
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. One track of this amp sounds like two with even minimal processing. It gives you that army of one rectifier weight behind the tone. I am not comparing it to a Rectifier here, I am simply comparing the saturation at higher gains.
It comes with it’s own impulse loader and some good quality impulses. They include a pretty wide range of speaker and cabinet types that covers a lot of ground effectively but in the end I opted to bypass them for my own. The Archon seems like it was almost designed to go with a heavy 212 cab and the sim was no different. I tested a ton of impulses with the Archon and I found the ones that meshed best were 212 Zilla, 212 Orange and Mesa impulses. The Recabinet Genzie also sounded great. The thought of playing an Archon through a Genz Benz 212 in real life is really tempting. Is anyone out there playing through such a rig? How does it sound?
UPS / DOWNS:
Waves should really do more amps with this kind of details and precision. Buy this amp and the other PRS supermodels because they are all pretty awesome all the way through. The bundle always seems to go on sale so keep your eyes peeled for Waves sales. I have seen it as low as $35 for the three which is an enormous value. The Archon is the weakest of the three Supermodel products but it’s by no means bad. It just found it took more time to dial in than necessary. The Dallas and V9 both dial in much easier.