Quick guides

HASR Guide: Vintage-Style Plugins

Amp sims have been labeled for years as being “just for metal” and they have always brought on statements like “plugins will never be able to do vintage stuff” etc. Statements like this are ignorant, uneducated and often come from people that either haven’t tried amp sims or perhaps tried a bad one way back and sat on a bad first impression forever.

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On the other side of the coin, for a guitarist or bass player that has no experience with amp sims, a few Google searches could easily give the impression that amp sims are indeed “only for metal”. Most notably because the top developers seem to be locked in a high gain arms race at times. Finding the vintage, rock, classic, retro inspired plugins can sometimes take a bit more of a look.

Contrary to the beliefs of some, there are actually many amp sims for guitar and bass, pedal plugins, impulse response packs and more modeled from a lot of legendary level gear. Whether it be loud and loose classic rock, blues rock, folk, jazz, country and more, there’s a lot out there that can pull it off!

(in alphabetical order)

AXP / SOFTAMP FM25 (freeware – windows only)
Image result for Axp fm25
  • FREE
  • Terrific cleans / driven cleans for any style
  • Great for vintage and modern sounds.
  • Works amazingly well with a loader and 3rd party IRs

BRAINWORX BASSDUDE
  • Great for guitar or bass
  • Capable of everything from swing to skate punk
  • Amazing canvas for drive, boost and effect plugins

FUSE AUDIO LABS F-59
  • Extra gain available when needed
  • Huge range of tone applications
  • Very affordable considering the high quality
IGNITE AMPS NRR-1 (freeware)
Image result for ignite nrr1"
  • Based on the famed Soldano x88r preamp
  • Great for really any style or genre
  • Much better when used with a power amp plugin like the TPA-1
  • Requires an impulse response loader like Ignite Amps NadIR 2.0

KUASSA AMPLIFIKATION CALIBURN
  • One of the best Marshall-inspired plugins on the market
  • Three 2-channel amps based on the 800, 900 and JTM45
  • Very easy to dial in quickly and efficiently for most uses

KUASSA AMPLIFIKATION MATCHLOCK
Image result for amplifikation matchlock
  • Features three 2-channell Fender-inspired amps
  • Provides a number of high quality clean and driven clean tones
  • Arguably Kuassa’s best product to date!

LINE 6 HELIX NATIVE
Image result for line 6 helix native"
  • Feat: Fender, Vox, Marshall, Matchless, Dr.Z, Soldano & many other
  • Massive list of components modeled from vintage drive and effect pedals
  • Great selection of bass components for any style
  • Overall best full-suite plugin and then some
  • Tones for literally any style of player

MERCURIALL AUDIO SPARK
Image result for Mercuriall audio spark"
  • Four 2-Channel Marshall Amps (JMPx2, JCM800, Slash)
  • Highly realistic across the entire plugin
  • Includes a solid selection of boost / OD pedals
  • Post-FX section includes delay, reverb, chorus and more

NEMBRINI AUDIO BST100
Image result for nembrini audio bst"
  • The highest quality Soldano SLO100 inspired plugin on the market
  • Capable of doing anything from blues to metal
  • Pulls off all the Soldano SLO100 signature tone traits
  • Detailed cabinet section with a variety of options / mics

NEMBRINI AUDIO MRH810
Image result for mrh810"
  • The most realistic and highly detailed Marshall amp sim I have ever used
  • The JCM 800 2210 model has 2-channels and more gain on tap
  • One of the best amp sims ever made for rock tones
  • A nice selection of additional features

NEMBRINI AUDIO SOUND MASTER

  • The only plugin based on the Fender Tone Master
  • Next-gen level realism and authenticity just like the other Nembrini Audio offerings
  • High quality cab section with 6 cabinets and 4 mics
  • Terrific for everything from vintage thrash to blues, country, hard rock and a lot more
OVERLOUD TH-U
Image result for overloud th-u"
  • Feat: Fender, DVmark, Orange, Marshall, Hiwatt and many more
  • Rig pack expansions for vintage tones / genres
  • Highly realistic tones for any application
  • A huge arsenal of effects, processing and various other components
  • Several great sounding bass components

SCUFFHAM S-GEAR
  • Feat: Soldano, Marshall, Fender and more
  • Believed by many to be one of the best amp sims ever made
  • Designed ideally for classic genres and tones
  • Includes very high quality post-FX w/ reverb, delay + more
  • Amazing for clean, dirty and vintage style high gain tones

SKNOTE DELUXE1 & SKNOTE TWINR
Image result for sknote twinr
  • The TwinR has my personal favorite clean tone on the entire market
  • Absolutely authentic Fender Twin controls and tones on both
  • Timeless amps good for modern and vintage applications
  • Affordable and very high quality

STL TONES – TONALITY Howard Benson / Mike Plotnikoff
Image result for Tonality benson
  • Feat: Bogner, Marshall, Fender and Wizard amps
  • The best vintage-aimed multi-amp suite on the market
  • Pre and post effects pedals
  • Highly realistic amp sims w/ condensed controls

WAVES PRS DALLAS
Image result for prs dallas plugin"
  • Very strong from clean to mid-gain crunch applications
  • The only PRS Dallas amp sim ever made
  • An internal boost pedal with shaping options
  • Really excels with the use of 3rd part impulses
  • Comes in a 3-pack of plugins w/the PRS Archon and Blue Sierra

PEDALS

This list could be huge so I will try and condense a little bit. In full-suite type plugins like Helix Native and TH-U, there are stacks of very nice pedals to work with. There are however many standalone pedal plugins modeled from some magnificent stomps.

AUDIFIED MULTI-DRIVE PEDAL PRO
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  • A revolving door of OD, boost, distortion, fuzz and more
  • High quality across all of the options inside
  • Presets for each pedal to help get the feel and tones needed
  • GUI makes everything a breeze to dial in

AUDIORITY PEDALBOARD DISTORTIONS
Image result for audiority pedalboard distortions"
  • Feat: HM2 Heavy Metal, Fuzz Face, Big Muff and DS-1
  • Available separate or in a bundle
  • All very authentic in how they sound and operate
  • Regular updates with mod selections in the GUI
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
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  • Each plugin has a number of pedals inside
  • Plugins for fans of drive, boost, delay, modulation and processing stomps
  • High quality modeling across the entire series
  • Modern and vintage options included throughout series

SKNOTE PEDALBENCH SERIES
Image result for Sknote pedal plugin"
  • A very large collection of plugins based on classic stomps
  • Every single plugin in the series is of very high quality
  • Less drive/boost options but a lot of modulation, delay and more
  • Warm, detailed and generally wonderful to work with

TC ELECTRONICS VINTAGE GUITAR PEDAL BUNDLE
Image result for tc electronics vintage guitar pedal bundle"
  • High quality plugin versions of very expensive pedals
  • Sought after by many tone gurus in hardware form
  • Said to be “meticulously close to the originals”
  • Unique effects with a very signature sound to them
  • Useful for modern or vintage applications

BASS

Don’t worry bass players, no one forgot about you! While the bass amp sim market severely lacked for many years, there are now some great options. Some of these options are great for more classic styles but they are all capable of a lot.

BRAINWORX B-15N
Image result for brainworx ampeg b 15 n"
  • Possibly the best bass plugin today for all classic and vintage genres/tones
  • Two different versions of the amp in one plugin
  • Unique and versatile selection of controls with a lot of value
  • Includes a great list of IRs and additional processing features

BRAINWORX AMPEG V4-B
Image result for brainworx ampeg"
  • High quality and authentic tones for nearly any style of bass
  • Same preamp as the original Ampeg SVT plus all tube power section
  • Controls from the original are all very well represented in the plugin
  • Includes cabinet section, HP / LP filters and more

BRAINWORX AMPEG SVTVR
Image result for brainworx ampeg"
  • All of the classic Ampeg tone characteristics
  • Versatility across modern and classic genres / styles
  • Plugin includes a small but great selection of post-FX tools
  • My personal favorite bass amp sim on today’s market
  • Better for the grittier side of classic bass tones

KUASSA AMPLIFIKATION CERBERUS
Image result for Kuassa cerberus"
  • Better for modern bass but capable of easily fitting into classic genres
  • Very affordable for any budget
  • A great selection of ways to shape and enhance the tones
  • Solid cabinet section, onboard compression and more
TSE BOD – FREE
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  • 100% FREE
  • Based on the timeless and versatile SansAmp Bass Driver DI
  • Works as an OD pedal, 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

NOTE ON IMPULSE RESPONSES

For vintage-inspired impulse responses, nearly every developer has something to offer. There are many famous guitar and bass cabs from throughout history. Most of them have been captured into IR packs, likely several developers so nothing is that hard to find. Google up the best cabs / speakers / mics and positions for the genres you play most. After that simply hit the developer pages in search of specifics!

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