Quick guides

HASR Guide: Metal Plugins

Image result for death metal guitarist

We get asked one question above all.. “What are the best amp sims for metal” and it really is very difficult to answer (it also gets very tiring to answer constantly). First because it’s a pretty vague question and because we all have different needs. So, I wanted to come up with a list of products that are as close to a lock for ANY type of heavy music as possible.

Metal has what seems like hundreds of sub-genres and variations that features many very different types players. One thing many types of heavy music have in common is the gear used in the process. From New York style hardcore to German power metal and everything between often features many of the same high gain amps, cabs and more. Plugins don’t differ too greatly in this area. What’s good for one heavy genre is often useful for many.

Here’s a list of both paid and FREE plugins for guitar and bass that I trust to reliably create absolutely crushing tones for any high-gain application. We’ve added quick facts that are 100% geared towards only metal players. For more about what these plugins can do please see the linked reviews.

(In alphabetical order)

GUITAR

BRAINWORX DIEZEL HERBERT

Image result for Brainworx diezel herbert
  • Licensed by Diezel
  • THE” amp for scooped style metal tones of all types
  • Extremely detailed and authentic controls
  • Huge selection of high quality impulse responses
  • HP/LP filters, gate, delay and more included

BRAINWORX DIEZEL VH4

  • Fully licensed by the amp builder
  • Four channels from clean to extreme high gain
  • Nearly perfect authenticity
  • Good for literally any genre but crushing for anything heavy
  • A wide selection of perfectly matched impulse responses
  • HP/LP filters, gate, delay and more included

BRAINWORX ENGL E765 RT

Image result for Brainworx Engl 765
  • A seriously underrated “sleeper” in the high gain category
  • Can deliver a killer tone for any type of aggressive rhythm or lead player
  • Tons of ways to increase and shape the gain to suit your needs
  • Extremely detailed and very close to the real amp
  • HP / LP filters, delay and more included

LINE 6 HELIX NATIVE

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  • Includes Peavey, Revv, Mesa Boogie and many other heavy legends
  • Many great high gain Line 6 designed amps (BADONK!!!)
  • An incredible assortment of boost pedals to tighten up the tone
  • The best selection of DOOM metal gear in any plugin anywhere
  • A great selection of bass components

MERCURIALL AUDIO REAXIS

Image result for Mercuriall reaxis
  • Tons of different types of high gain tones
  • Contains 8 modes meant to accurately mimic various Mesa Boogie amps
  • A pre-FX section with various boosts, a wah and a gate
  • Chorus, delay, reverb and more in the post-FX section

NEMBRINI AUDIO CRUNCK – FREE

Image result for nembrini Crunck
  • ABSOLUTELY FREE
  • One channel preamp with EL34 poweramp and 412 cab included
  • A uniquely saturated tone with many applications
  • Designed specifically by Nembrini for pure high gain tones

NEURAL DSP POWERED BY OMEGA GRANOPHYRE

  • HASR Editor’s pick for #1 high gain amp sim of all-time
  • A very unique and different addition to the high gain game
  • Gain and saturation like no other amp on the market
  • Includes the Earthquaker Devices Plumes pedal
  • Said to be very close to a 1:1 replica of the analog amp

NEURAL DSP NAMELESS SUITE

  • Killer pre-FX section with Fortin designed boost / gate pedals
  • Impulse responses from ML Sound Labs
  • Incredible for anything from black metal to djent and well beyond
  • Proven to be a 1:1 plugin replica of the real amp

NEURAL DSP NTS SUITE

  • Provides top quality tones for any mid to high gain style/genre
  • Fully stocked pre-FX section with Fortin designed boost / gate pedals
  • Impulse responses from ML Sound Lab
  • Hyper-realistic and reliably authentic at all times

OVERLOUD TH-U

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  • High gain amps from Engl, Randall, Mesa Boogie, Peavey and more
  • Many high gain expansion packs for the internal Rig Player
  • A small but nice section of bass components
  • Can do any type of “heavy” necessary from hardcore to djent

STL TONALITY ANDY JAMES

Image result for Tonality andy james
  • The highest quality EVH 5150 III “Red” channel on the market
  • A detailed Maxon 808 screamer
  • The incredible Andy James Revenant preamp pedal w/power amp
  • Detailed post-FX including delay, reverb and a lo-fi effect
  • High to ultra-high gain with clarity and articulation

STL TONALITY WILL PUTNEY

Image result for stl tones will putney
  • Features sims inspired by Diezel, Peavey, Mesa Boogie, Bogner & Ampeg
  • Mixer mode that allows users to blend amps and cabs
  • A very nice Focusrite EQ component for true mix ready tones
  • Pre / Post-FX section w/ Tube Screamer, delay and reverb
  • Delivers a huge mix of high quality tones for any aggressive style
  • Amp 5 is an Ampeg SVT bass amp for those in need

SOFTUBE KERRY KING SIGNATURE

Image result for softube kerry king
  • Based on the Marshall KFK (JCM800 with KT88 tubes + mods)
  • Famed producer Terry Date was involved in the cab section
  • An additional boost and gate can be activated
  • Some of the best lead tones on the high gain market today

STL TONES / IGNITE AMPS – EMISSARY BUNDLE – FREE

Image result for ignite emissary
  • The undisputed KING of the freeware amp sims
  • Comes with the king of freeware impulse loaders; NadIR 2.0
  • Crushing mid to high gain tones for any aggressive style
  • Plenty of tweaking options including switchable tube types

TSE X50 V.2

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  • A fully-detailed 2-Channel Peavey 5150 sim
  • Two different 5150 “Red” channels for more devastation
  • Also includes a very detailed Engl E530 sim
  • Pre-FX section w/ gate, boosts, HM2 and more
  • Post-FX section w/ delay, reverb, tuner and EQ

PEDALS

Most metal doesn’t involve a whole lot of effect driven tones so I am going to stick to boosts, fuzz and specialty tools. For additional information on modulation, reverb and other effect plugins, see HERE. For TS plugins, see our Quick Guide to Tube Screamers HERE.

AUDIFIED MULTI-DRIVE PEDAL PRO

Image result for multi drive pedal pro"
  • Boosts, fuzz pedals, distortion pedals and more
  • High quality sounds and response across all of the pedals
  • Great for working with any vintage or modern heavy tone
  • Presets to help all types of players get to know the plugin

AUDIORITY PEDALBOARD DISTORTIONS

Image result for audiority pedalboard distortions"
  • The best Boss HM2 Heavy Metal pedal plugin on the market
  • Top quality fuzz pedals for stoner rock and doom metal
  • Boss DS-1 plugin for anything from shred to grunge
  • Very high detail across all pedals
  • Available very affordably separately or in a bundle

BBE STOMP BOARD

 Stomp Board
  • Modeled nicely from BBE’s own hardware
  • Modulation, boost, processing and more for modern and vintage tones
  • Can be used in their stomp board plugin or separately
  • A great range of stomps that any player will find use for

KUASSA EFEKTOR SERIES

Image result for kuassa efektor"
  • Efektor Fuzz does wonders for stoner / doom tones
  • Every plugin has several different pedals modeled inside
  • Efektor Silencer Noise Gate is awesome and FREE
  • Terrific versatility and quality across all plugins

BASS

BRAINWORX AMPEG SVT-3 PRO

Image result for brainworx svt3"
  • The choice of many of metal’s top bass players
  • Really close to being an exact plugin replica
  • Several ways to add crushing dirt and distortion to the tone
  • All of the best tone characteristics from the real amp
  • Includes a great cab selection and very handy post-FX tools

BRAINWORX SVT-VR

Image result for brainworx ampeg"
  • My personal favorite bass amp sim on the market today for metal
  • Gritty, dirty, grimy and capable of being a bulldozer
  • Recommended for more aggressive bass tones in vintage or modern genres
  • Matched up with a nice selection of IRs and excellent post-FX tools
  • Has no issues creating warm, authentic and realistic Ampeg bass tones

BRAINWORX V4-B

Image result for brainworx ampeg"
  • Modeled from a vintage amp but great for any style of bass
  • Uses the same preamp as the original SVT
  • Can be clean or gritty, fat or mid focused, so many options
  • Displays the signature Ampeg sound nicely
  • Includes a nice selection of impulse responses and solid post-FX section

IGNITE AMPS SHB-1 – FREE

Image result for igniteshb1"
  • Absolutely FREE
  • High quality that has been proven year after year
  • Can be used with or without an impulse response loader and IRs
  • Versatile but better suited for modern bass tones
  • Sounds even better when used with a compressor in the chain

KUASSA AMPLIFIKATION CERBERUS

Image result for Kuassa cerberus"
  • Very affordable on any budget while still being high quality
  • Provides very strong tones for really any modern or vintage application
  • Tons of ways to shape and customize the tone
  • Includes a nice cabinet section, compression and other tools

NEURAL DSP DARKGLASS ULTRA

  • Modeled from one of the most popular components in modern bass
  • Some of the best modern bass tones possible in a plugin
  • Cabinet section by ML Sound Lab that includes a Yamaha subkick
  • Impressively authentic and realistic
  • Provides powerful clean, dirty and distorted bass tones

NEURAL DSP PARALLAX

  • Simplifies parallel bass distortion in one plugin on one track
  • Scalpel like customization in the distortion sections
  • Can do nearly any type of dirty and distorted bass tone
  • Also useful for cleaner bass tones
  • Includes a great cabinet section with IR loader

TSE BOD – FREE

Image result for TSE bod"
  • 100% FREE
  • Based on the timeless and versatile SansAmp Bass Driver DI
  • Works in front of an amp, as a preamp or all on it’s own
  • Can be used with or without an impulse loader and IRs
  • Useful for any style or genre

This list is sure to be updated as new products come out. Are these all of the plugins that can do high gain tones? No, obviously not but you have the HASR guarantee the plugins listed above will achieve a huge variety of very high quality metal tones without a lot of work. Remember, the quick facts listed are only the high gain highlights, most of the plugins are quite versatile across many genres.

NEED DRUMS FOR METAL? GET THE BEST THERE IS RIGHT HERE

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