** HASR TOP PICK **
** HUGE VALUE **
Genres: Anything requiring high or mid gain tones
Uses: Rhythm, Lead, Crunch
SCORE: 8 / 10
Audio Assault has developed some very affordable and effective plugins but when it comes to their guitar software, the Grind Machine 2 is their strongest offering to date. The first Grind Machine seemed like just someone having fun blending amp sims together but the sim had a lower sound quality. Grind Machine 2 looks to be a significant upgrade. You get 16 amps and 15 cab impulses with the Grindmachine II on it’s own but the comes the impulses!
The graphics and control panel are so streamlined and professional looking. Very simple, easy to work with and the workflow of this plugin is great. The other AA plugins we tried had simple and lower quality graphics but this thing looks like it’s sitting right in front of me in hardware form.
First, it’s more than just one amp. Inside the Grind machine 2 is a nice selection of amps plus I got the sim with the Discharge and Hidden Gems expansions, which can either be a lot of fun to go through or really boring. I was really expecting just a bunch of high gain amps and there’s a few in there for sure but you can also build tones for pretty well any genre requiring gain of any type.
What I like here is that AA worked hard to make sure the amps were at pretty optimal settings as you scroll through. They also give you a selection of impulses that work really well from amp to amp which makes finding a good initial tone quick and painless. The amps all sound really good and don’t require a lot of processing to fit into a mix nicely. I have used GM2 for high gain, crunch and clean tones with good results that didn’t require a lot of tweaking. AA seems to have focused the values in their controls to be useful but not to stray too far from the amps optimal settings which can sometimes be annoying but in this case it was done in a way that makes the amp more effective.
For a boost I used Audio Assaults Dirt Machine. I did a separate review for this awesome pedal plugin. It’s basically a selection of boost and distortion pedals. The dirt machine goes really well paired with GM2, they compliment each other well, I would suggest buying both. There’s a one touch bypass for all the components if you want to use your own gate or impulse loader etc. I found many of the amps also meshed well with my impulses but there was a pretty considerable volume drop when I opted to use my own loader. This seems to be a thing with all the AA sims that the developer might want to look into fixing but it’s not a giant issue for me.
HIDDEN GEMS EXPANSION PACK:
The first expansion for GM2 that we got into was the hidden gems. It adds 12 amps and 15 cab impulses to the selection. It’s more of the same high quality stuff, more high gain, some mid gain options and also some cleans. This pack gives GM2 some more versatility and flexibility. You can find some rock and hard rock type tones in here as well.
DISCHARGE EXPANSION PACK:
The next expansion pack adds 8 more amps of high gain greatness. That brings the GM2 total to 32 amps if you grab everything. These amps just bring more variations to the table that is already full of great stuff. It’s like someone bringing you more good news when you just got good news. Does that make sense?
DOMINATOR CABS EXPANSION:
It’s a pack of extra impulses for use with GM2. If you already have the rest, why not grab this too right? Remember, you can never have too many impulses 🙂
UPS / DOWNS:
This is one hell of a bang for the buck product because you get a ton of truthfully useful stuff for a really low price. I feel the name Grindmachine 2 is really limiting the way people see this amp sim because the name sort of insinuates that all it does is high gain. Grindmachine 2 is actually a really versatile and high quality amp sim. Easily AA’s best work across the board. My only suggestion for their next professional level suite is to name it something that really speaks to it’s total capabilities.
Bottom line here is that the GM2 is a must have for everyone. It’s super cheap and very high quality. Everyone here at HASR has the GM2 in their list of favorite products.
See our review on the Audio Assault Dirt Machine pedal plugin HERE!!
Posted Dec 1st 2018