**HASR TOP PICK**
Genres: Any genre needing gain
Uses: Rhythm, Lead, Crunch, Clean
SCORE: 9 / 10
I could not have been more excited about this plugin well in advance, so many people I knew bought it day one. The original X50 is a freeware amp that could be one of the best ever made as far as freeware goes so the new version was received well overall.
Skip to present day for the review because a little while after it came out, the X50 V2 got a massive update that turned it from incredible to godlike and legendary. This is one of my personal favorite plugins on the market today and it has been since the day it was updated.
The graphics are simple and effective but also detailed and well done. Everything you use, looks close to the real thing which I appreciate. The layout is a few panels that feature pedals and pre-FX, the amp, the loader (Impulsive) and post-FX. It’s really easy to figure everything out quick.It takes almost no time at all to get a good tone with the X50V2 which is the same with both the amps featured inside.
The TSE X50 v2 is built inside it’s own suite. The suite features a ton of really nice gear and usable gear. First there’s a pedal section with pedals based on the 808, RAT, HM2 as well as a great gate, phaser and more. All of these pedals are great without question. There’s literally not a single thing wrong with any of the included stomps and I have used all of them on several recordings.
Moving onto the amp section some might be surprised to see that there’s a whole second amp included in the suite. While the suite is based around the main X50 amp sim, there’s also the X30, which is a sim inspired by the Engl E530. Both of these amps can provide high quality tones for really any genre that requires distortion. From low gain crunch, punchy mid gain and topped off with some of the best hi-gain tones in any amp sim ever made. You can absolutely find some solid cleans in the X50 suite, especially with a great open back impulse but the E530 and older 5150 amps weren’t really designed with shimmery cleans in mind.
Next is their IR Loader (FIRE) which TSE AUDIO later developed into a modified standalone version for 3 Sigma Audio called Impulsive. TSE also includes a massive high quality selection of impulses from 3SA, Fat & Lazy cabs, Chop Tones, Sinmix and many others but if they aren’t for you, the loader can be used to add whatever impulse you like from your collection. My personal favorite impulses included with the suite are from 3SA and SinMix.
The post effects section includes delay, verb and more. I will rarely use their onboard delay and verb because amp sims need processing and I prefer not to put processing after delays and verbs. (Remember, watch your signal chains, especially when using effects built into amp sims or suites.)
The X50 sounds like a 5150 and the realism, picking response and note articulation are all very much on point here and the plugin should really be in every guitarist’s collection. Many people think it’s a strictly high gain amp sim but it’s capable of so much more.
A feature I really enjoy is that you can switch the X50 to EL34 tubes which gives it a sort of 6534 tone that I like a lot. I feel the 6534 is one of the more underrated amps out there in my opinion so it’s kind of a hack that you can build one in the X50 suite as well as Revalver. You can add some warmth and a bit of a British edge with the EL34 switch. The back panel “poweramp” tab also gives you the ability to crank the bias up on the amp.
The X30 is the Engl E530 modeled preamp available in the suite. The E530 is one of the most modeled amps in the game but yet I always seem to be happy to see them when they come up. The X30 is solid though I don’t find it to be nearly as good as the X50. he cleans are usable but the crunch is really nice. It’s really incredible because you really could come up with a ton of different tones inside the full sim.
UPS / DOWNS:
It’s very well priced in comparison to other high quality suites, it’s seriously versatile and needless to say, full of great tones. I like the graphics, the various layouts and the workflow a lot. This is another sim that I think everyone needs because of its wide range of capabilities and strengths but it is a few years old now and with the wave of super high quality sims coming, I am really curious to see what TSE has in mind for the X50 3.0.
The X50 has been around in various forms for some time now and it absolutely holds up to today’s standards. With expectations higher than ever in the plugin world, the TSE X50 2.0 is not the slightest bit out of place beside beside even the newest amp sims.
Review updated April 6th 2019