**HASR TOP PICK**
Genres: Rock, Hard Rock, Punk, Thrash, Shred, Death Metal + more
Uses: Rhythm, Lead, Crunch
SCORE: 8.5 / 10
If there is such a thing as a legendary amp sim, the Poulin series of plugins would be just that. These plugins are about ten years old, they have had several revisions but they have not been updated in a few years yet they still keep up with the market. These are not only the best freeware amp sims out there but they out perform many paid plugins. Not all of the LePou plugins made the 64-bit update cut. The Solo remains in 32-bit exile 😦
This one is the Hybrit. It was one of Alain Poulin’s first creations. As mentioned, it’s had a few overhauls and improvements since it’s inception. A common misconception with the Hybrit is that it was modeled after a specific Marshall amp. I have seen many mentions of the plugin with users stating it’s an 800 or JMP etc. The actual idea here was two Marshall amps in a sort of Franken-brit type deal.
One of the things the LePou/Poulin sims all have updated over the years has been the graphics. The Hybrit’s graphics and aesthetics are really crisp. The looks hold up and don’t look the least bit dated even with the next generation sims coming out. The layout is all there and easy to navigate. The control values and the countless ways you can alter the tones from the Hybrit make it a versatile beast.
The controls and their values are unique in that you have two channels but there’s a way to blend the two channels and adjust the mix between the two. What you get with all these options is a metric ton of tone possibilities that range from clean to blistering hi-gain. The transitions between effective tones just require some patience and a good ear for what you are trying to achieve. Generally with any Marshall amp or amp sim, you want to watch your treble and presence controls and how much you dial in. The Hybrit has miles of highs so dial it to where you like it but be prepared to be adjusting it a lot as you roll through impulses.
The Hybrit is really great at being a chameleon type amp sim. What I mean by that is that there are amps and amp sims in the world today that can be tweaked to sound similar to sound like other amps and no I don’t mean modeling amps. In this case the Hybrit manages to sound like a whole bunch of different Marshall amps. I hear the JCM 800, the JMP, a Super Lead and a bit of something more modern. I was thinking maybe the AFD100 but the timelines might not make sense. It’s pretty convincing and doesn’t drop in quality to blend in either. I jammed for two hours on this plug recently and I think I covered everything from warm Skynyrd and cutting Alvin Lee type tones to searing Megadeth and even stopping off for some almost solid-state Florida Death Metal brutality.
Now, onto my favorite thing about the Hybrit. It has been one of my main weapons for lead and solos for years for one main reason and that is its ability to cut through a mix like a razor blade in a good way. No matter what I have been working on, no matter what genre or style of playing, the Hybrit has always been that amp I could reach to when nothing else was catching my ear. It cuts better than any sim I have ever used for lead guitar applications.
Boosting the Hybrit is awesome and it responded really well to a lot of tube screamer plugins. If you boost it, again, mind the amount of level and tone you are feeding in. Distorting the Hybrit with distortion, fuzz, muff and the might HM2 brought great results. The Kazrog Stockholm, Kuassa Efektor Distortion plugin and Audified’s Multi-drive pedal pro all brought so many killer tones to the table.
The Hybrit like all LePou / Poulin plugins requires your own impulses and impulses loader as well as pedals and processing. I tried a lot of 112, 212 and 412 options and it was a lot of fun. The Hybrit matched well with almost everything I tossed at it. The standout impulses were the Redwirez Soldano EV 412 and the Bill Kelliher impulse pack from 3 Sigma Audio.
UPS / DOWNS:
For a freeware plugin to have this kind of quality is insane to me. For that same plugin to still be kicking ass and taking names for so many years is equally nuts. If you don’t have the Poulin plugins in your arsenal, you are missing out. I consider these plugins to be like amp sim royalty and they still deliver.
Posted Dec 1st 2018