Platform: Win/Mac – (also available for UAD interfaces)
Uses: Rhythm, Lead, Crunch, Clean
SCORE: 8.5 / 10
I was asked to do this review because the Engl Retro Tube used to be my main amplifier for stage use. A friend of mine told me about this sim and I had GAS hit me so hard I almost flipped over in my chair. The price was also great at the time so it was a must own. The retro tube was like a brother to me on the road for months at a time so this is a review I was pumped to do.
The retro tube is a two-channel jack-of-all-trades. I personally used the real thing for three different bands with very different styles. I used it in a rock band that did mostly classic rock, a metal band similar to Necrophagist and a modern hard rock band. What I am going to do here is use the same guitar and processing that I did when we recorded and then A/B them with Brainworx fantastic Metric AB plugin to see what the differences really are.
I used the same settings I use to use normally and they were impossible to tell apart. The warmth was already there but I had to give it a shot of tube saturation to give it the same punch. It was effortless to get very close to my regular tones once I found the right impulses for the job.
Onstage I used the real thing with a Krank Rev 412 loaded with eminence speakers. My colleague had some Krank Rev impulses to share and after I tried those, I was set for whatever I wanted to do. It was literally the exact same tone. I couldn’t believe how bang on the tones were. It’s a nice feeling finding plugins that are really high quality and accurate to a tone you are really familiar with.
The first channel is essentially a clean channel that you can add some dirt to. The cleans are incredible but the crunch you get with a little dirt or boost on the clean channel is where the amp really starts to earn it’s keep. The thing about the crunch that is nice is that it’s really warm and it cuts phenomenally well. Add some post EQ to really have it cut in the specific spot you feel is best. That said, be careful not to boost too much as the amp is already pretty mid-voiced. You really have to work with the amp and pedal to find a match.
Channel #2 can be what you want it to be really. As you add gain, you unleash the beast inside this calm looking amp. You might not look at the 765 and think metal from the beginning but trust me, it has gain for days, a gain boost button and when you add a TS or boost, you really focus it to where it can tear a hole in a brick wall. For crunch, rhythm, lead, clean and beyond, it’s a really nice sounding plugin. Like the last channel, be careful with how much you boost really any mid-voiced amp.
UPS / DOWNS:
Rhythm, lead, clean, crunchy, whatever you need, it’s in here. I love the real amp, I love the sim and it’s going to be a go-to for me for a good while. Brainworx never fails to deliver an insanely high quality product and this is no different. It’s reliable just like the rest of their plugins. Great job!
The every day price is a touch pricey but every plugin at Plugin Alliance goes on sale at some point and when they day they go for crazy low prices. Download their trials, figure out what you want and join their mailing list for monthly sales. It’s worth it.
Posted Dec 1st 2018