Kuassa has been putting out guitar and bass software for a long time now but in the last couple of years, they have really upped their game. The first Kuassa amp sim that really turned my head was Amplifikation Caliburn. It had a clearly superior level of tech than any Kuassa product that came before it and as a result, it became one of my favorites to use.
The new higher quality tech involved with Caliburn was then put to work in the development of Amplifikation Matchlock. This is an amp sim aimed more as a solution for the lovers of vintage tones, clean tones and genres like blues, country, folk, jazz, classic rock and others. Inside, users get access to three amps with two channels a piece that deliver clean, driven clean and low-gain sounds as well as a nice cabinet section.
With the better technology, Kuassa has also cranked the knob up in the graphics department. As a result, the GUI for Matchlock is very crisp, sharp and HD looking. The GUI makes it exceedingly easy to navigate the simplistic layout and get to finding great tones quickly. The GUI includes two switches for the amps and channels, an easy-to-use shared EQ, a nice cabinet section and other useful control options.
The amps included are all inspired by Fender amps. Amp one: Twin Reverb, Amp two: Super Reverb and Amp three: Custom Vibrolux Reverb. The two channels represent “normal” and “boosted” variations of each amp. Good Fender amp sims are harder to find than one would think, despite how many of them you see in full-amp suites and beyond. Matchlock delivers signature sounding Fender tones from the first moment.
The controls provided don’t match up with the controls on the amps being modeled so that does give the authenticity a bit of a shot for those looking for something closer to a 1:1 but the amps all really do represent the Fender tone traits very nicely. The one control I noticed was missing right away was the reverb control.
No reverb? I thought this was pretty strange given all three amps used as inspiration in Matchlock have the word reverb in their name. Fender amps have been known far and wide for their reverberation so it’s a bit of a pickle to me how Kuassa didn’t put reverb into the plugin. Even more surprising given that Kuassa are more than capable of doing great effects. I hope we see an update someday that fixes this mistake.
Moving on, I have to say, the twang I can pull from Matchlock makes me quite happy. I love a good solid old school country twang and it’s real easy to acquire with this tech-tweed. From the big ballsy processed tones found in today’s new country to the bare bones cut of old honky-tonk twang, it’s all available.
The same went for blues, jazz and a number of other genres. The fun really began when I put in play something the singer / guitarist for a band called Moneen told me years ago. It was something along the lines of Fender amps being the perfect voice for effect-driven guitar playing. I have spent hours creating some very cool walls of modulation, delay, reverb using the Kuassa Efektor series and other effect plugins. The final word is that, it’s a lot of fun so please do try the same.
Like many other areas, the cabinet section has also been vastly improved from older products like the similar Amplifikation Vermillion. Users get the advantage of 7 industry standard mics, a selection of cabinets and a 3D / manual way of adjusting your mic positions.
You can also choose to load up your own impulse response collection into Matchlock’s internal impulse loader or bypass the loader entirely in favor of your own. You can always get way more out of any amp sim by using your own impulses. Sometimes it yields much higher quality but at very least, you get a world of options on how to best voice the amp itself.
In this case, when I used my own loader with a selection of open-back 212 impulse responses, it sounded heavenly with about 95% of them. So while the cab section not by any means bad, it’s nice to have options. When I went outside the box with 215 options for some Dick Dale tones or 412s to add some extra meat and potatoes.
Users can use a multitude of things to manipulate the tones from Matchlock. The amp sim sounds beyond incredible with a nice tube screamer or overdrive out front. Dialing in some nice crunch tones is only a couple tweaks away but don’t get nuts with the distortion, that’s just not the idea here but, if you must, at least use a 412 IR and an HM2 ok?
There are some extras compacted into Matchlock. You’ll find a gate, limiter, input/output, High pass / low pass filter, cab bypass and more to help ease the need for a lot of extra processing to sound good in a mix. With a bit of EQ, it fits in nice anywhere.
UPS / DOWNS
On the up side of things, Matchlock provides some of the best clean tones in the industry. It’s an amazing plugin all in all and I would rank it in the top of the Fender-inspired plugins. I would also rank it way up there when discussing clean tones in general. You won’t find many better options out there when it comes to the vintage clean department.
Matchlock can be very handy for the high gain guitarist as well. Even the most metal of players need at least one gorgeous clean tone to show their sensitive side right? With Matchlock to handle those tender moments, you will be able to concentrate on the products that spit out the best high gain without worrying about a “total package” type suite.
On the downside, the reverb thing definitely has to take the score down but as mentioned, reverb plugins are everywhere. It really does take away from the versatility, authenticity and convenience regardless of whether or not it can be done with another plugin.
All in all, it’s a great plugin available at a really affordable everyday price and cheaper during Kuassa’s many sales. I love having it in my plugin arsenal because I know it will consistently get me a great clean tone that I won’t have to work with too much to have it fit in a mix great.
See more: Kuassa tone demos for Matchlock