|Uses||Rhythm, Lead, Crunch, Clean|
|Recommended retail price||Free|
The Flextron is a multi-amp suite that was entered into the 2014 KVR Developer Challenge. The developer specs say it’s a blend of Crate and VOX amps…..wait what? That’s not a combo you see often. It features three amps with three channels a piece, two impulses and a couple reverb options.
With the genres I listed for this one, some people might be scratching their heads right now but trust me, it’s all in there if you look.
The Flextron looks awesome. It boasts crisp graphics that have a nice dark look to them which I enjoy a lot. The layout is solid, it makes sure you know where everything is and how to get around. There’s a separate digital looking EQ for each channel, bypasses for pretty much everything and other controls to work with. There is a significant amount of value in every control on the amp which to me speaks worlds for the quality.
The first amp is the 90s amp. On the clean channel, it’s magical right away. I was led to believe this sim was for only hi-gain but here I am listening to one of the better clean tones I’ve heard in a while and I haven’t even touched the GUI yet. The cleans are good on all three Flextron amps but the 90s clean is the best of the three for me. I had some nice country, southern rock, blues and ska tones jump out fairly quickly. I boosted the clean channel which basically just made all the tones I had found already sound even better to me.
Moving onto the drive and lead channels for the 90s amp, I am again greeted by more very usable tones that only got better as I dialed around. The 90s amp has the most versatility of the three amps that make up the Flextron. The drive and lead channels cover a ton of ground as far as genres and uses go. Add a boost and the possibilities only get even more vast. Tons of crunch, cutting leads and all while having great response and note articulation make the 90s amp a hit. It does however require some work to refine and get things perfected. The “shape” control really has a huge impact on the tone so be careful with that as well as the brighter characters of the amp.
The MK I is our next option. The clean channel on this amp strikes me as a good tone for jazz though admittedly I am not the most accomplished jazz player. As I mentioned, all three amps in the Flextron provide quality clean tones. The clean tone in this case is great for all of the same genres and applications. It’s warm, resonant, bright and responsive. Add a boost to any of the clean channels for even more versatility.
The MK I drive channel isn’t my favorite, I found this amp sounded best on clean and lead. When using no boost, the MK I really excels when either clean or at hi-gain but in between it sort of just sounds like it’s being held back, like that edge of break up from an amp that wants to run rather than walk or jog. This one again took a little time to get where I wanted it but when it did, the tone was killer. You can really get a nice, saturated crunch from the MK I’s more aggressive channels. It’s perfect for a lot of uses. The gain controls on all of the lead channels can increase the gain dramatically with only a touch so use it sparingly.
The third and final amp is the MK II. To keep it short, I found it very similar to the MK I but brighter with more presence to it. The cleans are amazing, the drive and lead channels are similar but maybe with even better crunch. I managed some really impressive metal tones with the Flextron across all the amps but the MK II seems to have the title for hi-gains. Boosting the MK II clean tone had things almost sounding similar to an SRV tone for a bit. The MK II is a real nice weapon to have for a number of hi-gain uses and while I didn’t try it myself, I am sure it can djent.
All three amps boosted so nicely with a number of boosts. Whenever a developer offers pedal plugins to compliment their amp sims, we try to ensure we try those pedals with the amps first. The AXP / Softamp Charbooster is an awesome pedal and it really brought out the best in the Flextron but a number of TS / boost / OD pedal plugins worked great. Boost, distort or fuzz up the Flextron with anything you can, have fun with it.
The Flextron only includes two impulses but they do work nicely with all amps and channels pretty nicely. You can also simply hit the OFF button above the cabs for a quick bypass. When I reached to my loader and impulses, I was really shocked at how well the Flextron matched up with such a wide range of impulses. The best results came with 212 and 412 impulses but I found so many matches that I really can’t pick a favorite this time.
The tube section can be bypassed and when I did so, I started working on some solid-state or valve type tones. Dimebag tones, old 90s death metal tones and pretty much anything you can think of that requires a solid state type tone.
UPS / DOWNS:
The Flextron is one of the better freeware amps out there released, I love this plugin and I would recommend everyone give it a go. My only regret is not having found this one sooner. It hasn’t been updated since 2014 but it doesn’t seem at all out of place when being judged by today’s standards.
Huge points for being low on CPU and really quiet even in hi-gain scenarios. A huge thanks for both of those factors is owed.
I would recommend this plugin to anyone for a lot of uses and I recommend everyone download it asap to give it a go.
See more – Flextron demo