For this edition of best of the best we focus on one of the heavies. Marshall is one of the most legendary names in the history of guitar so it’s natural that Marshall would be well represented in the amp sim world. With so many Marshall models to choose from, many very cool amps have never been tackled when it comes to plugins but with technology improving every day and so many incredibly talented developers out there, the future is bright.
Everyone at HASR is a huge fan of Marshall Amplification and these are a few of our favorite amp sims based on or inspired by Marshall. We also linked each product it’s review. Enjoy!
PLUGINS: (in alphabetical order)
Brainworx rockrack is a multi-amp sim that happens to include a very solid JCM800 sim. Rockrack has a bunch of solid amps but the Marshall amp included with the plugin sounds great like literally every other Brainworx product. They give you two channels of the 800 in the form of two sims. This 800 offering is a serious hidden gem in my opinion. It can give out some fantastic tones.
Kuassa spent years putting together Caliburn because they had a vision of what they felt a British style multi-amp suite looked like. The end result was worth the hard work. Caliburn features amps inspired by the Marshall JTM45, JCM800 and JCM900. It’s very affordable and the quality is there to impress. I have used this one a lot and it has never let me down.
A legendary freeware amp sim that while more than a few years old, somehow still holds up just fine. It’s not specifically based on one amp but instead more like blending a few together while giving the user the ability to control the blend and more. All of the Lepou sims are a must own even still. This has been one of my go-to amps for leads and solos for a very long time. It can also be used for some seriously awesome rhythm tones.
The Spark is a four amp suite that features only Marshall Amps. The AFD100, JCM800 and two versions of the JMP are packed into this plugin along with pedals, a cab section and more. The Mercuriall Audio Spark takes the HASR award for best Marshall sim and it does so because the plugin is damn near flawless. All four amps sound very good overall. The realism and authenticity are on point for sure and the suite built around the amps is very impressive as well.
Oh boy, this is a good one. The Nembrini Audio MRH810 is a very high quality “next-gen” version of the slightly rare JCM 800 2210 model. It has two channels, a reverb tank and a little more gain on tap than the traditional JCM 800 2203 and 2204 models.
What you get here is quite simply one of the highest definition amp sims that you will find and the highest quality Marshall amp sim on today’s market. This is my pick for the top of the heap in some ways but not in every way. There are many Marshall inspired amp sims and the trick is finding out which are best for you but for me, this one gets top pick.
Vadim Taranov at PVAmps has several very cool FREE Marshall inspired amp sims. Head over to his page to check everything out. The Mars and Plexi #1 models are particularly good but for those wanting something different, there’s a JCM800 sim with a #34 mod. (These are 32-bit / Win only). Remember to donate to your favorite freeware developers!
Kazrog’s incredible Thermionik collection is something that everyone into amp sims needs to own. In this collection of amps you get several very cool Marshall amps. Plugins based on the JTM45, JCM800, Plexi and three different JMPs are included in this awesome and affordable collection. Look for the Marshland 45 and 800 as well as the Jumpy78, Jumpy 79J, Jumpy 79S and Plexi sims inside Thermionik’s collection. They require an impulse loader.
FULL AMP SUITES:
I think every full amp suite every created has at least one or five Marshall inspired inclusions. In my opinion, the best Marshall amps found in a full amp suite can be found in Line 6 Helix Native and Overloud TH3 / TH-U but everyone has their favorite full suite. I found Helix Native’s Marshalls really displayed more quality and detail than the rest of the pack but Overloud’s are very usable.
A few of the better Marshall sims ever made are trapped in Universal Audio land and thus can only be used by those with Universal Audio interfaces. We have not yet reviewed any of the Universal Audio exclusives but I have tried them a few times and can vouch for their quality being high. We will be Universal Audio friendly in 2019 but for now, it’s a hole in our coverage of the field.