AMPLITUBE 4 MAX
SCORE: 7.5 / 10
The Amplitube series is a phenomenally popular line of full amp suite plugins. With full suites you get tons of pedals, amps, cabs and many other features that usually supply a full signal chain inside the one plugin. My first experience with amp sims came from the early versions of Amplitube and eventually my needs outgrew the plugins for the most part but I keep it around for leads, small parts and clean tones.
With the full deal you get 80+ amps, 92 cabs, 80+ pedals and some other pretty useful processing stuff. The entire rig is customizable to a reasonable degree. It’s a really fun plugin to write with.
Amplitube’s realistic graphics and licensed name brand associations make the plugin a serious looker. The attention to detail and graphics for the amps is exceptional. The pedals look pretty decent as well but the amps are the stars of the show. The layout is solid and as a result the workflow is pretty reasonable.
Overall the GUI looks great and provides a really easy way to go from amp to amp and setting to setting. It’s very easy to create a full pre to post rig from scratch but you can also use the 100+ presets as templates and a guide. The GUI makes it easy to understand the full signal chain for beginners but also makes it easy for more experienced players to set up their signal chains.
With the max bundle you get everything you could ever need or want in a full suite plugin. Amps modeled from products made by Dr.Z, Mesa Boogie, Peavey, Orange, Ampeg, Trace Elliot, Marshall, Engl, Jet City, Soldano and so many others are included. The gear included is a mix of Amplitube branded and fully licensed components.
A few of the amps you can tell just sound better and more realistic than the others. The difference in quality between the amps really varied for me as I went from amp to amp. Some of the amps provide the basic tone characteristics of the amps they represent but some of them left me scratching my head. The Dr.Z amps for example don’t sound anything like the real thing but some of the Orange amps are pretty close. The quality does vary from amp to amp.
The clean tones I put together were incredible and I would recommend them to anyone. The Amplitube branded VOX amps included are the best of the bunch for cleans. Crunch wise, the Orange and Soldano amps all did the job nicely but when I started attempting hi-gain tones, the quality took a pretty good drop. Even when I tried processing the hi-gain stuff, it just didn’t come together. Lead tones were possible but usually for lead tones, I reach for nothing but Marshall and the Marshall amps in the max bundle didn’t do it for me.
I was told that I absolutely had to review the parallel amp feature. This feature enables the user to create and use two completely customizable rigs. This feature is in fact worth mentioning because it really is quite cool. That said, every feature of any plugin depends on the quality of the core tones and with Amplitube 4, the quality hovers around “average” so the features do as well. You can put two, three, four or however many guitar tracks you like but if the quality is average, your tone will still be average.
The pedal selection is pretty cool. Most of the pedals are Amplitube branded offerings but there are also licensed Wampler, It also showcases some licensed brand usage but the pedal selections from some of the pedal companies is strange. The pedals like the amps are just so-so, they will get you there but they never really provide a wow factor. That said, there’s a ton of stuff included that will get you reasonable versions of some pretty good tones.The Soldano amp was the only amp I really liked for lead and hi-gain.
The cabinet/impulse section looks and operates really well. The selection of mics and cabinets to choose from is strong for sure but when I went into the preferences and turned on the global cabinet bypass in favor of my own loader and selection, I had way more luck in the clean and crunch departments. The quality improved overall with my own loader but not enough to save the hi-gain. Amplitube does get marks for the global bypass though, that to me is huge.
Amplitube 4 max includes a lot of bass gear. It all looks cool and sounds just sort of passable. I don’t find it poor and I have used the bass gear on a few recordings but it really lacks warmth and body to me. With a little processing, the bass tones are pretty reasonable but overall, like the rest of Amplitube, the sound is average at best. Ampeg is well represented graphics wise but the tones lack a little authenticity wise.
UPS / DOWNS:
The Amplitube software is a good way to get into amp sims because they are easy to use. They also have the brand names and graphics that can really draw in customers. The price for Amplitube Max is actually pretty good when you consider all the licensing and so on but still, I say wait for it to go on sale. IK Multimedia will often put stuff on sale so stay tuned.
If I can call Amplitube 4 anything, it would be average or passable. It’s not professional grade software, it doesn’t sound like professional grade stuff but I also don’t believe that has ever really been the goal for the plugin.
That said, if you want a full suite jammed with fun gear to just jam on at home or maybe do a little modest recording with, grab it. The graphics are cool, everything you need is inside the box and they seem to be releasing more expansions all the time. If you are going to buy Amplitube, the MAX bundle is the way to go if you want the most for your buck. You get all the expansions and fun add-ons in one pack. Amplitube 4 max is possibly one of the most fun recreational experiences you will find but if pro quality tones are what you are after in a full suite, you may want to continue your search.
Go into this looking for fun, you will enjoy yourself but go into it looking for tones to compete with higher grade amp sims and you will regret your purchase. Your call but either way, we support your decision!
HASR FAVORITE AMPLITUBE PACKS
- Amplitube Mesa Boogie
- Jimi Hendrix
- Amplitube Slash
- Fender Collection
- Amplitube Orange
Updated Jan 15th 2019