Linda Audio put out the RockAmp plugin some time ago now but the plugin never really got the praise it deserved and sort of just got steamrolled by the masses of high quality guitar suites coming out from more popular developers. Producer/guitarist Martin Linda has now re-released the plugin in collaboration with Audified with a very different GUI, better sound and a much better sounding IR section. When the two companies announced the team up on this plugin, it showed that the plugin had even more promise than originally expected given Audified’s great track record of very solid plugins for guitar and bass.
The plugin is made up of a simple three-channel amp and a simple but effective cabinet section for a very reasonable price.
The GUI is easily the most noticeable change from the original Rock Stack and boy does it look great in comparison. Every single control is on the same single panel so there’s nothing really important that is hidden anywhere or hard to understand. This factor makes Rock Stack one of the best amp sims I have come across for newer and beginner plugin users while also being neat/tidy and versatile enough for even the most experienced users.
The controls might not look like the average set that most users are used to seeing in an amp sim but rest assured, nothing is really that different. The three channels share controls for pre and post EQ, “tight”, “fat” and “body” settings, brightness and gain with a channel selection switch nearby. I found each and every control and switch to have a fairly realistic impact on the tone which makes tone chasing with Rock Stack pretty much effortless. Take the proper time to get to know everything in the control panel and there won’t be a lot that isn’t possible tone wise.
The amp is not specifically modeled from any single analog amp but more of a Frankenstein amp (or in the words of developer and producer Martin Linda; a “dream amp”) created with a custom design in mind. The clean amp is straight up glorious from the first moment. It’s crisp, warm and full sounding while being very useful for almost any clean application.
The plugin includes a few stomp type tools but instead of a stomp, the effects are simply built into the amp. Users get access to a chorus effect that can be used either before or after the amp to provide different applications for the effect. The “Mod/Chorus” section has two types and the pre-post selector. Next in this area is a very strong delay offering that is locked into the post-FX position. Everything functions easily and effectively without a hitch but the extra step of an overdrive component before the amp would add even more versatility to the 3-channel amp.
All three modes provide some truly nice tones. The clean section can pull off most clean applications with little to no tweaking needed, though some additional effects may be required. I had a great time driving the clean channel a little bit to create everything from rockabilly, modern country, blues and southern rock or just clean and pristine tones with a world of shimmer. The rock mode is very usable with a range that does anything from classic to modern rock genres, indie, pop and really anything that requires a nice low to medium amount of grit. Where the amp lost me a little bit was the metal mode. The developers might have a bit of a different idea of “metal” than most as the amount of gain offered really doesn’t allow for higher gain tones. Even with a screamer to boost, the metal mode didn’t do metal as much as it provided a lead channel. Perhaps labeling the channel as “lead” instead of “metal” might be a better mode name as it does provide some nice rock lead tones with sustain and warmth.
The cabinet section is simple but for the currently market standards, it’s too simple. The cabinet section consists of two very nice sounding files that can be blended with an A/B blending control but there are no other options beyond that. There are no mics, mic positions, additional cabinet options or even the ability to load your own IRs. The included IRs sound terrific but this section loses points for just being just too basic for the average user.
UPS / DOWNS
Audified / Linda Audio’s Rock Stack sounds terrific on every end of the plugin and it’s a very easy way to get some really great rhythm or lead tones for jazz, blues, classic rock, hard rock, punk and so many other genres/styles. Heavier tones are easy to achieve with the plugin but to get them, an outside boost / distortion option is needed and ideally there are better plugins available out there for these tones.
The down sides are really just a few things that the plugin does not have that could make it even more effective. The cabinet section is a bit too bare-bones and really could use a few more features like a few more cabinets and the ability to load user IRs in even a very simplistic way. The “metal” setting could use some more gain to really pull a bit more from the plugin but as it stands, it’s still a solid mode for hard rock.
For anyone from beginners to professionals, Rock Stack can be very handy to getting a number of very useful tones. It’s not complex to use and end up with some very good tones within minutes of getting the plugin going. It’s an inexpensive way to achieve great sounds for a number of genres and styles.
See more: Audified release video for Linda RockStack