Top 5 Guitar Amp Modeling Software Products

Just like with analog gear, the tone you get from plugging your guitar into your computer depends greatly on the gear that you use to model the amps.

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Just like with analog gear, the tone you get from plugging your guitar into your computer depends greatly on the gear (in this case, software) that you use to model the amps. There are a variety of applications available for computer-using musicians, and here, in alphabetical order, are a few of the best.

AmpliTube

IK Multimedia has made a franchise from its AmpliTube line of guitar amp modeling software. Currently the company has six productsAmpliTube 2, AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix, Ampeg SVX, AmpliTube 2 Live, AmpliTube Metal, and a new product AmpliTube X-Gear.

AmpliTube 2 is the flagship product in the line, allowing you to choose between seven amps, 16 cabinets, and six microphones. You can also add effects like Chorus and Flanger (and 19 others) to the effects chain to mold your tone just the way you want it.

The truly great part of AmpliTube is that it allows you to configure two separate guitar chains in one preset. This means that you can configure a dirty sound, a clean sound, and then play them separately or at the same time. Obviously, with a setup like this, the combination of tone changes is almost endless.

The amp modeling is pretty good with all of the AmpliTube products. They will do you particularly well if you're looking for a high gain tone.

Eleven

Eleven is the newest product from Pro Tools-maker, Digidesign. The Advanced Instrument Research group at Digidesign made Eleven as an amp modeling-only plug-in for Pro Toolsthere are no effects included.

What this means is that Digidesign focused on the tone you get from the amp instead of trying to dress it up or hide defects in the modeling by dropping pedals over the tone. And they did an incredible job doing it.

That doesn't mean you can't add effects to the recording track itself. Most digital audio workstation software includes effects like Chorus that can be added to the track, so the option is there for you.

Eleven focuses on amps from Fender, VOX, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie, and Soldanoseriously, if you were going to buy an amp, one of these would most likely be on the list.

Gearbox

Line 6's Gearbox is a flexible piece of software that allows you to configure most aspects of your guitar tone. Using Gearbox you have access to 72 guitar amp models; 24 guitar cab models with four mike options each; 28 bass amp models; 22 bass cab models with four mike options each; over 90 stompbox and studio effects; and six mic preamp models.

If you can't build a quality tone with all of that gear at your disposal, then there is definitely a problem.

Guitar Rig

Guitar Rig is without a doubt one of the premiere pieces of software for amp modeling on the computer.

Guitar Rig 3 has a very nice user interface that is split vertically between your presets on the left and your rig components on the right. You have 44 classic and modern guitar effects, 12 tube amps, and 12 matched cabinets.

Matched cabinets is a new feature for users who want the standard sound of a company's amp. If you choose a JCM 800 amp, Guitar Rig will automatically insert the matching Marshall cabinet.

The brilliance of Guitar Rig is the ability to create so many different tones. This is in large part due to the variety of amps that are modeled in the software. You have a choice between Citrus, Ultrasonic, High White, Tweed Delight, Plexi, and Lead 800, among others. I'm sure you can guess what Native Instruments' clever amp names translate to in the real world.

Guitar Combos

Guitar Combos is a small package of amps from Native Instruments without any included effects.

This is perfect for the purist that is just looking for the amp sound. Amps included in the package are the AC Box, Plexi, and Twang. You adjust the Volume, Presence, Bass, and other knobs the same way you would with a real combo amp.

There are 100 included presets in the combo package, which give you a good starting off point, but you can easily build your own tone and save that too.

Features common to all combos is a Noise Gate, Amplifier, Cabinet, Mic, Limiter, and a Tuner.

Guitar Combos is a quality set of virtual amps that will give you the ease of configuring your tone quickly.

ReValver Mk II

ReValver is a valve modeling package with amps and stompboxes, but this piece of software goes a step further than the others.

In addition to changing amps and adding effects, ReValver allows you to dig into the power amp rectifiers and output transformers. There just isn't a piece of this software that you can't configure in one way or another.

If there is one place that ReValver doesn't match up with the competition it would have to be in the graphics. However, this is about guitar tone, not how pretty the application isReValver is a keeper.

Thanks for the info to Gibson.com.

22 comments sorted by best / new / date

    thejones99
    For those who are looking, I've tried many and here is what I think of the ones I've tried. - Line 6 GearBox is cool, but lacks the tonal range of the Pod Farm product - Line 6 Pod Farm is great if you get the additional models from Line 6, but the stock stuff is good enough. Hands down this is the best value, though not the best tube tone in my opinion. - Peavey ReValver had some of the best tube modeling, but I had problems with clicks and pops occasionally. - M-audio JamLab w/DSound was a toy. tones were fun, but nothing serious. - IK's Amplitube is an awesome product. Pricey, but you get what you pay for. Models are solid and running dual setups makes the tonal possibilities rock - Guitar Rig is also a great product. slightly different flavor as Amplitube, but in all the same quality. Once again $$$ gets you more. - Haven't tried Waves GTR yet, but the samples are compelling. A word of advice, modeling software is only as good as your guitar, so don't expect to get pro tone with a $99 squier strat. The models do just that, and a Marshall Bogner mod JTM sounds like crap if you plug in a cheap axe too. I hope this helps. For those who worry about bias, I am not affilated with ANY of these companies. Also, try the free versions of the software, which are available from just about every company, if you are unsure of what to get. You can't beat that price.
    TheKingMan
    Yeah, I understand what you said. That we can't expect pro tone with a $99 squier strat. What's your opinion about the Fender American Standard Strat. Can I get good tones from it?
    Mufassa
    old article but i saw this and ill reply.. even a strat or LP can sound dead.. my squire probably sounds better than a strat but that's subjective.. and I have also added $300 of electronics,custom wiring scheme,new hardwareI call it an ultra-strat.. not my only guitar i own but is by far the most versatile.. for modeling i like GR4
    willieturnip
    Everyone shut up. It's just a ****ing run down of most modeling software. It's a good article.
    Thumbsey
    anyone know which ones would be good for metal? id like to go back and forth between metalcore and softer indie rock
    TheKingMan
    Most of the softwares serve good for all kinds of genres (that's what they're for ) Amplitube has a special version for metal tones. It's called amplitube metal. Hope I helped. And btw I can help you get it or anything else for free.
    GisleAune
    Can't you just turn the volume to 0,5 or 1 on your gigging amp?
    TheKingMan
    It works but overdrive and distortion and high gain stuff don't usually work good on low volumes with the valve amps.
    Jamma
    I have recently been thinking about getting a stack for gigs to get great tone but was worried about how I would practice because I don't have the room or the money for practice amps and gig ones and a gig one would be far too loud to practice with. But having such good guitar amp modeling software is perfect, since I can just shove my gig amp in the corner of my room and when I'm practicing, just link my guitar up to my computer! I can't believe I didn't think of this before! And I don't think that the article is too biased, you can't expect them to go over every piece of software out there.
    Spay
    Gibson...should have known. I really wish I could trust this not to be bias
    shredderkidd
    any one know where i can possible get these programs for free and by free i ment like from things like limewire and other websites for example?
    DUY
    Try out DUY's DaD Valve and DaD Tape... www.duy.com/plug-ins
    j-e-f-f-e-r-s
    Is UG being sponsored by Gibson or something? Not meaning to cause offence, but there is absolutely no point to this article whatsoever.
    IlikeMetal
    I love it when a company tells me what I should use. I'd say something but I don't feel like getting banned for it again...
    darrenhigh
    One big omission - GTR by Waves. It's not quite as flexible nor does it have as many options as GR3, but the sound quality is excellent. Does a great job modeling the classic amps (Marshall, Fender, Vox, Mesa) and all the classic stompboxes you would expect. Allows you to save multiple presets and has a nice graphical interface. I find myself switching back & forth between GR3 and GTR depending upon what sound I'm looking for. I prefer both to Amplitube which I had the demo for.