Diezel is a German amp builder that has created a few of the world’s best amps for a number of styles and genres. The Herbert is basically their secondary flagship behind the pretty well legendary VH4 amp that really put the brand on the map.
The Herbert is another plugin in a long history of amazing plugins from Brainworx. These guys absolutely nail every product they tackle so I was pumped to try it. Unfortunately it ended up stuck as a Universal Audio exclusive, which I will admit, frustrated me to no end but now it’s available in a native version for all!
Originally, this one was only for UAD but it seems that native versions of many once exclusive plugins are starting to drop from the dark side to be enjoyed by all!
The Brainworx GUIs are always pretty well perfect. Everything looks great, navigates easily enough and doesn’t take much to grasp at all. If you have experience dialing in the hardware version of the Herbert, you’ll have an even easier time. To access the additional software features, simply hit the “FX RACK” tab.
The first channel goes from clean to a bit mean. The clean tone itself is useful but I am not sure how much I would reach for it given that I have several clean tone plugins that get better results. That said, this amp wasn’t really designed to be pretty and cute so to make the first channel come alive, just turn up the drive a little. You can get some really nice blue collar Joe Rock tones for a number of rhythm uses or lower driven bluesy leads with the right pickups.
Channel Two is where we start to get into the meat of the amp. I would say that with the gain boost on the amp or a boost plugin in front of the amp in the chain, the second channel is the most versatile of the amp. Rock to death metal, punk to hardcore or perhaps some warm classic rock and a little scathing black metal? It’s all in here. This is the channel I reach for immediately when I fire it up each and every time. It always sets whatever I am doing off in the right direction.
The third and final channel of the Brainworx Diezel Herbert basically goes from a gorgeous and saturated crunch to all out high gain war. This channel can be used for literally any and all types of music or styles that require mid to high gain tones. I personally cannot get enough of this channel, even more so when I am using my EMG Het Set. I find this set can be picky about what amps it’s paired with but the Herbert with a little bit of mid cut and the Het Set created one of the best all out high gain tones I have had the pleasure of using. When the Herbert is paired with the Brainworx VH4 plugin in a mix panned hard right and left, the results are just about the best I have encountered for mixing just about any type of metal. CH3 is full of grit, intensity and quality.
One of my favorite things about the Herbert is a unique mid cut feature. This feature allows you to create the most amazing scooped metal tones that I have ever come across in my life. Not just in pluginland but anywhere, ever with any piece of gear in hardware or software form. I know scooping the mids out of anything in the modern production era is nearly unheard of but when it comes to thrash, there’s just this way of scooping but also enhancing the mids. The Brainworx Diezel Herbert has this tone down better than anything I have ever come across. The mid cut feature, like every other control on the amp gives the user tons of shaping abilities to help cut a mix or suit anyone’s style. I like to mix a scooped tone with a mid focused tone for a nice blend.
Moving to the FX Rack tab, Brainworx offers a ton of options in this area of the plugin. High and low pass filters, a noise gate, delay, an impulse loader and more onboard features that users can either activate to further tweak things or bypass. The impulse loader doesn’t have a visible bypass but it’s easy to do. Just select the last option in the list of cabs that says “no recording chain”. It would be cool to see an easier bypass but it’s possible.
Staying on the point of the impulse loader, in past products, Brainworx has always included a small but wide and high quality selection of impulse responses. With the new wave of Brainworx plugins, the cabinet / impulse selection features 100+ files that range from matched branded cabinets to American and British cabs. To find out exactly which mic/position/speaker etc was used, there’s a little button beside the cabinet window. The files with the Herbert are absolutely awesome and really don’t need to be bypassed but should you want to reach for your own, I already mentioned the bypass. Tons of developers have Diezel impulse packs that sound great with this plugin.
The Herbert boosts phenomenally well, in fact it might be one of my favorite amp sims ever to boost. It’s not like a Mesa where a boost is basically essential, especially with the little gain boost switch but it sure is fun. Many tube screamer and overdrive plugins really love both Brainworx Diezel products. I could name off 10-15 plugins in those categories that pushed the Herbert plugin in the best of ways. Bust out your collection of TS and OD stomps when you fire this one up.
UPS / DOWNS
This entire plugin is one giant upside to be honest. I would really like to see an easy one touch cabinet bypass come into play at some point but it’s not the end of the world. Everything else about this plugin makes me very happy and when paired with the equally impressive Diezel VH4 plugin also from Brainworx, the tone library is endless.
It’s a mystery to me why and how the Brainworx plugins aren’t a constant in any and every discussion about who builds the best amp sims. This is hands down one of the most fun amp sims I have ever jammed on and I look forward to spending a lot of time with it in the future!
See more: Braimworx Herbert release video