**HASR TOP PICK**
Genres: Rock, Classic Rock, Hard Rock, Driven Blues and more
Uses: Rhythm, Lead, Crunch, Clean
SCORE: 7.5 / 10
The Poulin Lextac is a legendary plugin modeled after what I am pretty sure is the Bogner Ecstasy 101S. I owned the real version of this amp for a short time. I got it in a trade and in all honesty, I couldn’t wait to unload it because I couldn’t do a lot with it and my cab wasn’t a great match for it. In plugin land, we have access to just about any cab and mic combo possible in a studio so I was hopeful to find a a good match. The real deal is known pretty well for being a bit of a pain to dial in and I can attest to that fact.
This plugin is part of a very popular and high quality bunch of freeware amp sims made by Alain Poulin. The sims have been around for years but have been updated a few times in that stretch.
The looks of the Lextac are somewhere between the more dated Lecto and the HD upgraded Le456. It’s simple and crisp while not looking dated at all. I really like the level of realism and attention to detail without getting too crazy though. The controls are laid out nicely for a quick workflow.
I actually thought there was a lot more gain on hand with the plugin than I had experienced with the one I had owned. Perhaps it’s modeled from a modded ecstasy or just a different model ecstasy altogether. I had high hopes when I realized how much gain was on tap here but after giving it a good rip, I really couldn’t get the amp to give me a really great hi-gain tone.
Where the amp did excel however was in the mid gain and crunch departments. The Lextac is crunch heaven and it can be dialed in to cut like a knife. I had a lot more success with the blue channel than the red at first. Turn the gain up on the blue and you can create some really nice crunchy tones for rock or punk etc. The red channel was much better with gain back at about 4. I found every time I attempted a hi-gain tone, it felt like I was trying to pull the amp out of it’s comfort zone so I didn’t fight with it too long. I tried a few processing options and boosts but it just didn’t respond to me well.
One thing I will say about the Lextac is that you can create one hell of a ripping rock tone. It’s not a particularly tight amp in my opinion but if you really want to give the hi-gain a shot, it might work for you but I just found the red channel was diminished as the gain went up. There’s just no way to tighten it up enough to utilize the amount of gain on that channel.
It has a boost switch which is nice but using a boost to tighten up the Lextac is fine as long as you watch the treble, presence, mids and brightness controls. Don’t force it, it’s picky with boost pedals and you really have to take your time to find the right tones. They are in there but it’s not a plug and play scenario if you want to bring the best out of the plugin.
Like the other Poulin plugins, the Lextac requires an impulse loader an your own impulses. Finding impulses that matched up with the Lextac really depended on the application. Finding the best tones, finding the best impulses also took some time. I had the most luck with Bogner, Friedman and Marshall cabs. The Bill Kelliher 3 Sigma Audio pack really matched up well as did the T75 Anni pack from ValhallIR. Your guess is as good as mine. Do you have some suggestions for Lextac impulse matches? Email us!
UPS / DOWNS:
Another classic plugin that is still useful today. Like amps, software can also be built to stand the test of time. The LePou series of plugins has stood the test of time while providing a truly terrific starting point for a lot of people looking to give amp sims a try. They serve the market well because they are very good sims so they have been a real ambassador for the tech.
Posted Dec 1st 2018