**HASR BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK**
**HASR TOP PICK**
OVERALL SCORE: 10+ / 10
Thermionik is a large collection of very good amp sims that come in one package with some great pedal plugins as a nice bonus or two. This review will be a little different. We have spent a considerable amount of time with all of the amps in this collection so when it comes to the just experience portion, we will split things by amp while keeping the rest of the review the same. This is a full package that should appeal to any and every style of player because of the very wide variety of amps that have been modeled.
WHAT YOU GET:
- 30 amp models spanning all eras and styles.
- 5 classic overdrive pedals.
- 20+ cabinet IR models with multiple mics and positions. (UPGRADE AVAILABLE)
- Every channel, knob, and switch of every amp is emulated.
Keep in mind, all of this stuff is separated. It’s a bunch of individual plugins rather than a multi-amp suite where everything runs inside one plugin. The amp sims do not have onboard impulse loaders or effects so you will need to use your own. The suite comes with Kazrog’s Recabinet loader and small impulse selection.
BEFORE WE BEGIN:
In many of the following reviews, I turned off the presence control for everything but clean tones. I also turned off the depth in many instances. Many of the sims in this collection sounded considerably better with the presence switch turned off while using any gain or distortion which can be done by clicking the options tab and then the presence and/or depth switches. Don’t just turn the presence down; turn it OFF in the options. It will also save you in CPU usage. The depth I found useful here and there but the presence just added thing to the tones and sound that I found degraded things a bit when the switch was on combined with any gain. The presence was nice for cleans though so you may end up toggling a bit. I wish more amp sim developers would make this an option because whether an amp or a sim; I don’t personally find the presence knob adds anything good when there’s a lot of gain involved.
A really awesome feature the developers have included in every amp sim in the collection is a saturation knob. You can use it to further saturate your favourite high gain amps or add a modern gainy twist to the more vintage or lower gain amps. The “SAT” knob really to me more so adds boldness and makes things more full but I try not to dime it because I generally don’t like to turn anything to 10 on any amp sim because it always just seems to make things worse somehow. Tweak slowly and patiently with Thermionik. Watch your gain and saturation settings from sim to sim. They both come in really handy across the collection.
All Thermionik amps require a separate impulse loader and impulses. Thermionik includes the Recabinet 5 loader and a small selection of their recabinet impulses but Kazrog Recabinet has a huge collection of really great impulses that are very affordable, especially when the Thermionik bundle is so damn cheap. We reviewed recabinet and the recabinet impulses separately.
I remember the day I first sat down with these plugins. They were easy to install, incredibly simplistic to look at and dial in, the ease of use was great and it was clear that the emphasis was put on the sound quality rather than flashing lights and eye candy so I knew the tone was going to be good. Kazrog put the full bulk of their resources into what’s important; THE SOUND!!
You also have to love the kid in a candy store feeling when you have 30 amp sims to jump into. In the list of amps covered by Thermionik there really is something for everyone and every style of playing (See the listr here).You have fire breathing high gain monsters, powerful rock amps, legendary blues amps, country picking amps and tons more. Then there are the boost and drive pedals that mesh really well across the board.
The looks are not going to be a factor with these plugins. Kazrog focused 100% on the sound while using a sort of universal layout and graphics. They make it very clear that Thermionik is about the tone, not the looks. You get a simple but detailed and easy to use layout throughout.
A few of us tested every sim in the pack with and without a gate, processing and so on but I would advise you use a good gate plugin or pedal any time you are using an amp sim with a good amount of gain. These are actually really quiet plugins if you watch the gain, sat and input levels.
I am always one to explore presets but the presets with Thermionik really are just templates. Remember that all presets you use with any plugin are only meant to give you a good starting point rather than being something meant to be a final product. Take your time dialing in each sim and you won’t be disappointed.
Now for the fun part!!