The 10 Best Guitar Amp Plugins In The World

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Whatever sort of music you’re making, everyone needs at least one of these amp modelling / guitar effects plugins in their studio toolbox.

One of the great things about guitar-style effects and processors is that they’re at least as useful for treating vocals and other instruments as they are for guitars.

Most of the selections here are the top-end versions of each plugin – ‘Pro’, ‘Platinum Edition’ etc.  – but most also come in various stripped down / cheaper / ‘elements’ flavours too, so you can always find a version to fit your budget.

Also bear in mind that, like the real-world gear that they are modelled on, none of these plugins are perfect, they all have their strengths and weaknesses – better high-gain amp sound emulations, or better racks of effects, for example.

Anyway, enjoy – and leave a note at the bottom – especially if I forgot your favourite..? – thanks!

Update note: After a couple of questions about best places/prices to purchase these plugins and other equipment, I’ve included links for each item to the relevant pages on zZounds.com and Amazon. The zZounds site is one of the longest-serving and most straightforward music gear online stores, especially for guitar-related stuff – you can trust I’ll always send you to the right places :)

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1. IK Multimedia Amplitube 3IK Multimedia Amplitube

In my opinion, the daddy of guitar amp modelling plugins. Over 160 different pieces of virtual gear, and the new Custom Shop feature from IK Multimedia means you can buy individual new amps and effects units from their website, “like visiting a real guitar store”. Just without the guy playing Stairway in the corner.

More info here. Buy Amplitube at zZounds here.

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2. Waves GTR3Waves GTR3

With licensed emulations ofMarshalland Mesa/Boogie equipment, Waves delivers the goods.

More info here. Buy Waves GTR3 at Amazon here.

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3. Line6 POD Farm 2.5 PlatinumLine6 POD Farm 2.5 Platinum

A sort of plugin descendant of the original and much-loved Line 6 hardware POD.

More info here. Buy the Line6 POD Studio package (includes POD Farm with a USB interface) at zZounds.

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4. NI Guitar Rig 5 ProNI Guitar Rig 5 Pro

Another good all-rounder, and the Control Room feature allows you to point up to eight mics at your virtual cabinets for a lot of “hands-on” tweaking.

More info here. Buy Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 Kontrol Edition (Pro plus foot pedal) at Amazon.

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5. Softube Metal Amp RoomSoftube Metal Amp Room

This one is great for delivering the raw but focused aggression required for heavier sounds. It can be quite difficult finding a plugin that delivers a truly authentic, “can’t tell the difference from the real thing” sound for this kind of tone, but Softube are onto something here.

More info and purchase/download from Softube here.

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6. Peavey Revalver MK IIIPeavey Revalver MK III

You kind of know that Peavey, one of the biggest companies in the guitar / music equipment industries, wouldn’t spoil things by putting their name to a ropey plugin. So, Revalver – now at MK III – is pretty awesome.

More info here.

Buy Peavey Revalver Mk III at zZounds.

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7. Overloud TH2Overloud TH2

Not as well-known as some of the others here, but the emulations of classic gear and effects are really good. Definitely worth checking out.

More info and purchase/download from Overloud here.

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8. Studio Devil Amp Modeller ProStudio Devil Amp Modeler Pro

This one reminds me of Reason: it looks like a toy, but in the right hands it sounds amazing!

More info and purchase/download here.

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9. LePou pluginsLepou LE456LePou 8505 Lead2

The mysterious LePou (if that is indeed your real name…) is awesome: he makes loads of really good amp emulator plugins, with very cool and classy front panel graphics; and best of all they are available for free from the LePou website.

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10. Avid / Digidesign ElevenAvid Eleven

“This one [quite literally]goes to eleven…” :)

Also check out the edition of Pro Tools that comes with Eleven and a specially designed audio/guitar interface.

More info here.

Buy the Avid Eleven Rack guitar interface (includes Pro Tools 10) at Zzounds – this is my choice for the ultimate compact guitar setup, as you literally don’t need anything else other than your computer to lay down complete, professional tracks.

 

If you found this post useful, you’ll probably also be interested in some of my other list posts:

The 10 Best Compressor Plugins In The World>>

The 10 Best Free VST Plugins In The World>>

16 Of The Best Saturation Plugins In The World>>

8 Comments

  1. My personal order would have been :
    1- LePou plugins – just awesome, I use only them for my tracks. Especially Le456.
    2- Revalver
    (those two are, I think, the best for high-gain sounds)
    3- Guitar rig
    (Immense for it’s multiple effects possibilities, step sequencers, input signal, etc… clean sounds are also quite nice)
    4- JamVox
    (Good for the bright, a bit overdriven on the edge, nearly clean sound)
    5- Amplitube
    6- The others

  2. Martim Durão on

    You are forgetting a great one. After checking several Amp Simulator i found the Kuassa Amplifikation One to be the best. Just delivers great tone, their main focus and the reason they are not giving tons of fxs.

    I made a video that shows several presets of their latest version.

    It costs only 49.95$ and beats Amplitube, Pod Farm, Guitar Rig …

    Video: http://youtu.be/lG2xqaA4Inc

    Martim

  3. I love Onqel’s work, especially the recent TSE x50, which from what I understand is a 6505 based model. This thing is incredible and can deliver some serious tone when combined with a certain selection of impulses. The Serina Experiment blows just about every one of these sims away, if you haven’t shot them out, I highly suggest you put on that pot of coffee and wrap yourself around a mix, don’t even look up say hello. +1.

    • Completely agree. TSE owns hi gain quality, yet the X50 (and let’s not forget the x30) can do classic tones as well. Great feel to these sims, quite surprisingly, and practically all inclusive with a cab IR and pedal suite.

  4. no no no, this post is old:
    for me the best plugins for guitar now are:
    1.steinberg’s vst amp rack
    2.studio devil amp mercuriall jcm800 & harlequin
    3.brainworx rockrack
    4.the free ones like lepou legion the TSE plugins are good, or those of Ignite amps
    6.overloud th2
    7.IK amplitube 3
    8.guitar rig 5 jamvox revalver

    I missed Eleven rack that I never tried but for what I listened I would place it under vst amp rack

    • Thanks caccamo, good choices, and yep, there will be some updates to all the GTPS lists in the near future, taking into account the most recent releases and versions for 2014. Cheers!

  5. Having worked with several plug-ins, I’ve found Guitar Rig has many capabilities for otherworldly sounds and pads/washes, and Reactor, Line 6 and Amplitude have a nice mix and match layout, but they ALL suffer serious latency issues unless you’re running on a high end dedicated server or separate computer (and even that computer should have at least 8gb RAM). The reason I’m posting is the fact that Boss’ VS 20 was not mentioned. It’s laid out similar to the ME 50, dirt simple to use, has the good to great reliable BOSS/Roland tones with no lag or latency issues. I’ve even used it on gigs plugged into the audio/RCA inputs at the desk with nice results and several compliments!

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