This Waves Supermodels plugins are a 3-pack of licensed plugin products based on three of Paul Reed Smith’s amps. This one is pretty damn cool because it’s a sim based on an amp that is basically kept in a vault. The PRS Blue Sierra/V9 is based on Never-before-released even in its hardware form, this ultra-rare amp was an early prototype of sorts for the popular PRS J-Mod 100. The analog amp was designed to be effective for clean sounds as well as mid-gain driven tones.
Every amp in the PRS Supermodels bundle looks amazing. Great graphics, nice layouts, simplistic but detailed controls and it all came together for a nice first impression. I would also happily suggest the plugin to anyone from beginners to experienced users. The one panel design is easy to figure out quickly and still has a lot going on. The IR section can expand to a popup window for additional controls but for the most part, everything needed is right in front of you. All three of the PRS Supermodels have completely different amp control panels and completely different sounds but the additional controls are all pretty uniform.
The thick low end of the Blue Sierra immediately told me what I was going to use it for. I dropped in a couple of my favourite fuzz pedals and in no time flat I was deep into desert rock / stoner rock territory. The onboard controls really allow you to create a commanding wall of disgusting (in a good way) saturation. I always say, a good stoner rock tone or song almost makes me want to have a shower. It’s like the tone gets humid, sweaty and sticky.
I cranked up and spent almost three hours creating stoner rock atmospheres with the V9 / Blue Sierra. I went through 10 fuzz pedal plugins, a couple hundred 412 impulses, crazy swirling modulation, delays and I could feel myself smiling due to the sheer enjoyment of the moment. It felt like the home version of standing in front of a wall of amps. It’s obviously not the same but it also doesn’t involve the neighbourhood calling the cops, waking up your kids or a lot of money. The V9/Blue Sierra is truly a hidden gem in the amp sim world when it comes to stoner and doom tones. Buy with confidence, add fuzz and done.
There’s really no way to make this amp “crunchy” really but that’s not really the sound it’s designed for either. If you are looking for a crunchy tone, you will get two other amps in this pack capable of all the crunch you need and more. The V9’s strength is in the low end, low mids and probably suited to rhythm work in my opinion. I was able to get a nice fuzz tone type lead that you might compare to the lead at the start of the original version of “American woman”. You know that fuzzy sustained almost e-bow sounding lead that almost blends in more than it stands out. I really didn’t try too hard to get a useful lead tone because the V9 for my tastes doesn’t really need to do it.
The cabinet section provides a fair bit of options but overall, the entire Waves Supermodels bundle of amps are better with a separate IR loader and IR selection. I found the internal IR section to be laid out very well but 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. It’s not a bad cabinet section but it is the weakest link in all three of the plugins in the bundle.
UPS / DOWNS:
I don’t find it overly versatile however the couple things it does well, it does extremely well and the sim is simply so incredible that it needed a perfect score. The plugin has been in my favorite stoner/desert rock solutions for some time. It definitely has some really great uses from driven cleans to smooth vintage rock but when I added fuzz, it really shined brightly.
It’s a thick beastly plugin when you need something specific. It has a very specific tone that some may find useful but some.. likely not. The V9 is definitely an acquired taste but along with the other two amps in the PRS Supermodels pack, there’s not a ton of ground left uncovered.
On the downside, the cabinet section doesn’t do a lot for the amp at all as it’s a little dull. The amp’s in the bundle respond nicely to premium IRs and a separate loader but that’s not the point. In a suite, the idea is to provide the user with everything they need to get great tones so a stronger cab section would have taken the plugins further.