The late 2010s brought an era of the software guitar amp plugins – both custom designed or based on famous industry models. Today we are writing about the 10 best guitar amp plugins of 2022:
Many music producers, guitar players, and bands use amp emulators for recording a demo, re-amp references, or even the actual albums. The advance of technology is making the production process much easier and affordable, also much less time-consuming.
With it came innovative music styles and advances in processing guitar amp modulations. With the fine ax and little mixing skills, one can achieve (almost) industry-standard tone.
Let us help you to rock by diving into the top 10 list of guitar amp emulator plugins.
Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins 2021
1. Aurora DSP Rhino
This plugin is not only a complete one but also very visual and easy to understand.
It has a lot of different functions with a wide range of tones to choose from. The styles that this amp suits the best are the hard-rock and metal ones; even so, it can be used for more clean-like sounds and work completely fine.
The price to quality ratio of this plugin is excellent. It shines on home studios as it does a really good job, and having an amp and microphone that sound better is costly. It’s also available on both mac and windows.
This plugin is full of little knobs to interact with, but it’s also divided into sub-sections that expand. We will talk briefly about each one and what you can expect them to do.
Rhino has a lot of different functions to choose from, but the most important ones are its preamp, both effects modules, and the power amp/impulse response. Its variety is absurd, and it will surely deliver the sound you want, as you have lots of EQs and fine-tuning knobs to reach it.
First is the preamp, the most complex module, as it has four models to select and four pedals to choose from. Going from right to left, it goes from a clean sound up to a high-gain aggressive tone.
It also has a high pass and a low pass filter, and a three-knob EQ to reach your desired sound. Its four pedals are Scream (distortion), Brute (gives an extra bump of DBs, up to 23), Fuzz (dirty’s up to your sound) Push (Compresses the signal).
Next, we have both effects, mod, and time; these effects are flanger, chorus, phaser, and delay and reverb. b, and you get a lot of options to config each one of them. Although you can, you won’t need to use external effects since these got you covered.
Lastly is the pwr/ir module. Its presets range from an API preamp (studio) to a tube amp (live). On top of that, you have a descriptive impulse response section with categories for each sound; these categories are sorted with adjectives, making it easy to get the right tone.
Also, know that you can turn off any sub-section you want. Making it easy to listen to what you are modifying and helping you get to your desired sound.
This plugin has VST3 64 bit, standalone, or AAX support. It can be installed on both mac and windows but if you are not sure, it has a free trial that you can try out before purchasing.
To sum it up, the Aurora DSP Rhino is a beast. It has a ton of different nuances to choose from, and its sound quality is high. Its price is reasonable; this is the best amp for the price/quality ratio. It’s just that good.
2. Nembrini Audio – MRH810 v2
The re-designed MRH810 has brought to the digital form the famous classic British tone we all love.
Based on the iconic Marshall JCM800, the Nembrini Audio came pretty close to the same well-known tone texture and response the hardware one has. Even the visual design is almost the same. As aspected, the plugin has two channels: Lead Channel and Clean Channel, and it’s driven by four also emulated 12AX7 and four EL34 tubes.
There is a cleaner included with a usual noise gate to clean up some rumbling or harsh frequencies at the end of the line.
The MRH810 is a complete guitar software that will provide everything you need to get your guitar tone ready here and now. It’s very versatile and easy to use. Let’s take a closer look at this plugin from a beautiful Italian company.
- 2 channels
Iconic half-century-old tone heard in everyone’s favorites. If you want to rock the famous ‘British Steel’ and thrash some classic Metal, then Lead Channel is the way to go. On the other hand, Clean Channel lets you bring to life a well-known glassy clean tone and allow you to crunch it well to make a solid foundation for your favorite tube screamer pedal. Both channels had their many times seen EQ knobs, with Master Channel that includes a Presence knob for that bright high end and also a reverb knob.
- 6 different amp cabinets with 4 mic emulations
It’s possible to choose from 6 complete recording chain emulations of the famous amp cabinets: MHR 4x12 G12, MB Rect 4x12 V30, Orange 4x12 V30, BG 2x12 V30, Tweed 4x10 P10Q, and MHR 4x12 T75. It all goes with the four different microphone emulations, with up to two attached simultaneously, and its various characteristics: from dynamic to ribbon mic. Further, you can change the microphones’ positions and distance and blend two mics using the provided mixing features.
- Impulses response loader
If you don’t want to use the stock cabinet impulses, you have an option to load your ones, with a good browser added to the plugin interface – so you can search them from your hard drive.
- Practicality and good old tone for a low price
Just a few clicks and your famous shredding British 800 tone is in your practice room or studio. And you will not have to spend a lot of money on it because the plugin’s price is quite affordable.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.
MRH810 is a great tool to jam to your favorite rock classics, record your demo, or reference your tones for the later re-amping. And even with a few tweaks and add-ons, you are good to publish your music without any other amp.
Another advantage is that the MRH810 plugin has everything you need to get a mix-ready guitar tone. That is, you don’t need to use any other guitar software. Everything you need is here. Although, that’s up to you.
3. Chandler Limited GAV19T
The Chandler Limited GAV19T is another British monster that lets you get the authentic sound of a full tube amp completely in your DAW.
This plugin is based on the Chandler GAV19T amp head, inspired by gear from the legendary Selmer, Vox, and Marshall. We can use GAV19T thanks to a cooperation between Chandler Ltd. and Brainworx companies. And it’s worth saying that it came out versatile and good sounding.
The Chandler Limited GAV19T is a two-channel guitar amplifier that can achieve both classic slightly overdriven guitar tone and near-high gain sound. On the one hand, the interface is quite simple and concise, but you still have many options for achieving the desired guitar tone.
The most important thing about this will be the massive number of impulses based on the most famous types of cabinets and speakers. In addition, you will be able to change the character of your guitar sound thanks to the different bias options. Let’s take a closer look at the features of this plugin.
- Shape Switch
This switch is located on the front of the amplifier and will give you the ability to change the sound’s character dramatically. The Intense Shape position will take away a lot of the low midrange and make it sound more aggressive, while Normal will bring you a smoother sound.
- Drive options
You get several options to “warm-up” your amp with overdrive at once. There are two knobs in this section – Boost and Tone. The first influences the amount of drive, while the second influence its character. For example, there are Treble boost, Thick and Aggressive options.
- Different biases
One of the most exciting things about the plugin is the different biases. Position 1 is slightly over-biased, 2 is similar to a Marshall bias, 3 is identical to a Selmer, 4 and 5 are under-biased and adds sustain and character. By adjusting them, you also affect the character of the sound, as there is a shift between emulation of different tubes of the power amp.
- FX Rack & The Record Chain
This panel has everything that will give you a finished guitar tone. Here is the Noise Gate, the frequency filters, the Delay, and the IR loader. The latter has over 70 different IRs, making it possible to achieve guitar tone for any taste. In addition, you can upload your impulses here as well.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
The Chandler Limited GAV19T is an excellent plugin for getting everyone’s favorite British guitar tone with many opportunities for experimentation.
You have all the options you need to change the character of your sound, and over 70 built-in impulses will allow you to dive into mining your tone even more.
The plugin will be perfect for both country and blues sounds and the more biting AC/DC tone. You can even try to use it for something around metal, but the rock genre will still suit it best.
4. Brainworx Friedman BE-100
The Brainworx’s Friedman BE-100 is an actual piece of rock and metal history in an amp sim plugin. It’s got everything you need, both a raging and a singing Plexi sound.
Friedman BE-100 guitar amplifiers have long been legendary because of their rich sound, used in the arsenal of the world’s top rock and metal bands. For example, Alice in Chains, Pink, Bon Jovi, The Cult, and Foo Fighters, to name a couple.
And the nice thing about it is that the Friedman BE-100 plugin perfectly emulates the sound of this piece of guitar gear.
It is a two-channel plugin that emulates the growl of 100 watts, all amplified by EL34 tubes. You will get a punchy and dynamic tone that can cut through the mix. The Clean Channel, on the other hand, lets you get a nice and clean tone where you need it.
Speaking of settings, like in other Brainworx plugins, everything you need for a ready guitar tone is available here, including many impulses.
- Plexi controls
On the front panel of the plugin, you will see all the typical Plexi settings. In addition to the clean and high gain channel switch, you can control Presence, Bass, Middle, Master, Gain, and Clean Volume here. There are also tiny switches that allow you to influence the character of the sound even more. For example, Fat control will thicken up your low-end, C-45 will affect midrange, and Saturation scoops things out.
- FX Rack
As in other Brainworkx plugins, this section contains Noise Gate with settings and Tight and Smooth controls, which stands for the high and low-pass filters. In addition, you get a Delay with tempo tapping and knobs like Feedback and Lo-Fi.
- Recording Chain
The number of built-in impulses in the plugin is enormous. You will find more than a hundred of all kinds of IRs with different combinations of guitar cabinets and microphones. In addition, there is an information window function that tells you what kind of equipment is present in a particular IR.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
If you want the legendary Plexi sound of a Friedman BE-100 guitar amplifier, this plugin will be the perfect solution for you.
You’ll get all the control you need to make it even “on steroids” thanks to the Fat, C-45, and Saturation controls. And over 100 cabinet impulses will send you on a journey to dial the guitar tone that suits you best.
5. Mercuriall Audio Software – Spark
The Spark plugin from Mercuriall Audio Software will be a real find for fans of Marshall guitar heads. It has quality sound and lots of good production options.
Mercuriall Audio is a Russian brand that has already gained an audience among quality amp sim plugins. The company is the creator of such hit software as Reaxis, Euphoria, and SS-11X. One of their most popular products is Spark.
This plugin contains four different guitar amps based on legendary heads: the JCM 800, AFD Slash Signature Head, JMP Super Lead, and JMP Super Bass. Each has its unique sound, as close as possible to the physical prototype. It is also possible to use effects, different cabinets, and microphone impulses. Besides, almost all have two channels each.
One of the essential features is changing the tube type of preamp and power amp. So it will be a fantastic opportunity to influence the character of your sound down to the most precise details.
It is also worth noting that the plugin uses simulation with the custom technology of Neural Networks.
- Stomp Boxes
If you don’t have enough power from your virtual amplifier, use the pedal overdrive emulation. It will allow you to strengthen the low end of your guitar tone or warm-up its overall character. In general, the plugin includes emulation of famous pedals such as TS808, 808Mod, TS HOT, and Mesa/Boogie Tube Slammer.
- Cab section
The creators of Spark have prepared for you a section of cabinets, where you can choose between two good-sounding 4x12 cabs – the first is based on Bogner Uber, the second – Marshall 1960 BE. You have a choice of speakers between 7-75, V30, JBL K120, and Greenbacks.
You will have everything you need to adjust your Chorus, Reverb, and Delay on the effects control page. By the way, In Spark, you can use them in parallel to get a more expressive effect without extra routing.
The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.
Four legendary guitar amp types in one amp sim plugin with great sound tuning possibilities – that’s precisely how you can sum up the Spark software from Mercuriall Audio Software.
The creators have done an incredible job of making the sound as close to the real thing as possible. Therefore, you can forget that you are using a plugin and not an actual amplifier during the playing.
In addition, you can immerse yourself in finding your tone even more with the emulation of guitar cabinets and microphones. And the effects section lets you experiment and get the sound you want.
6. Softube Marshall Plexi Super Lead 1959
This legendary head needs no introduction. The Marshall Plexi Super Lead was at the forefront of rock music. Now you can use it as an amp sim plugin from Softube.
The Super Lead guitar head is perhaps the most significant piece of gear in the history of rock ‘n’ roll and the evolution of guitar tone. Especially when Angus Young, Jimmy Page, Graham Coxon, Johnny Ramone, John Frusciante, Slash, Pete Townshend, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix were among those who used it.
It’s hard to get a hold of this vintage piece these days. But luckily, we can enjoy the legendary tone now in plugin form.
Softube created this software by borrowing an authentic Plexi Super Lead 1959 (a model number, not a year) from the Marshall Museum. In addition, the company called the legendary engineer Tony Platt, who worked with AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and a lot of other famous bands.
In cooperation with him, were created the cabinet impulses of this plugin. And it is not strange, because thanks to his experience Tony Platt know how to get the perfect sound of this amp.
- Detailed and versatile tone
Marshall Plexi Super Lead 1959 has two channels – lead and rhythm. Each has two inputs – high and low gain. What adds to the versatility of sound production is that you can combine these channels using patches.
- Cab & Mics
The IR of this plugin was based on the era-appropriate 1960BHW cabinet. Softube and Tony Platt captured the impulses with three vintage microphones – FET, Valve, and Dynamic. All can be panned and tweaked on the side of the plugin.
The channel strip section has an EQ that will give you even more control over the sound. The low end can work as a cut and a shelf, and the high end only as a shelf.
The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
The Marshall Plexi Super Lead 1959 from Softube will give you the perfect opportunity to experience a classic guitar tone in your DAW environment. It is the sound that created legendary rock masterpieces.
In addition, you can be sure that the guitar tone will be perfect, as AC/DC engineer Tony Platt, who helped create the premium cabinets impulses, has personally taken care of it.
7. Neural DSP – Fortin NTS Suite
If you want a real high gain monster in the form of an amp sim plugin, the next one on our list is what you need. It is the brutal Fortin NTS Suite from Neural DSP.
Finnish company Neural DSP is one of the top producers of amp sim plugins. Their list includes Archetype: Gojira, Archetype: Nolly, Archetype: Tim Henson, and many others. A few years ago, they decided to team up with Fortin to get one of the demon heads in plugin form.
The Fortin NTS Suite plugin is based on the famous Natas guitar amplifier. The name speaks for itself if you read it backward. Still, the software has absorbed all the power and fury of the physical prototype.
It’s a two-channel amp with additional gain settings, a pedal booster, and an excellent cab sim. In short, everything you need to get an aggressive metal sound.
- 6RIND & 6IRTH Controls
You will see these knobs on the front of the amplifier. These frequency selective gain controls interact with the 6AIN knob to control the saturation and distortion characteristics. With them, you can get a tight crunch or a complete high gain distortion.
- Grind, Zuul & Hexdrive
These are the pedals that are located in the chain before the amplifier. Zuul will give you Noice Gate, Hexdrive will act as an overdrive pedal, and Grind will add an amount of clarity and articulation to the sound, making every note defined and present, even when highly distorted.
The cabinet emulation in the plugin is very comprehensive and adaptive. In addition to good-sounding speakers, you can choose between six virtual microphones, which can be positioned around the speakers. In addition, you can load your impulses or disable this section altogether.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.14 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.
The Fortin NTS Suite from Neural DSP would be fabulous for those who want the most brutal yet clean and transparent guitar sound. Although, this amp sim is versatile and can also serve for dirty tones. It is where the 6RIND and 6IRTH controls help you.
Also, a good attraction of this plugin is the pedals for even more expressive distortion and the fantastic cabinet emulation section.
8. Overloud – T-HU
Imagine that you have many guitar amplifiers, effects pedals, and cabinets at your disposal. The TH-U plugin from Overloud will be just such a hub for you.
Overloud Audio Tools is an Italian company specializing in creating music production software, including amp sim plugins. In 2019, they introduced the T-HU plugin, which intends to be one place where you can build a ready-made guitar sound with lots of options.
First, the plugin has both amp modeling and capturing technology. In general, the creators included 239 models of different guitar amps. That’s 89 amps, which contains items officially approved by brands like Randall, DVmark, Brunetti, and THD.
Regarding effects, there are pedals as well as emulation of studio rig. And, of course, you can apply 18 different models of microphones to the cabs impulses. You will have a 3D model of the cabinets to move the mics on the speakers.
- Amp tweak pannel
This function allows you to change the tube models of the preamp and the power amp. It means that you can take any guitar amp in the plugin and affect the character of its sound to your liking. Such tube models are presented as 12AX7, 12AT7, D.SILICON, D.GERMAN, 6L6, EL34, KT88, and 5881.
- 3D cab simulation
In general, the plugin has 50 guitar cabinets. Thanks to the matrix of 4 microphones, you can place them anywhere on the speaker, change the angle and pan in the stereo field. A dual IR looper also allows you to load and mix IRs with the cab microphones.
- Creative effects
The developers of this software assure you that you can change your guitar tone however you want, thanks to the built-in effects. For example, turn it into an organ tone with the organ-tone-maker or create synth-like tones with the ring modulator.
The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher (32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AU, and AAX64 formats.
Overloud’s T-HU is a beautiful plugin with almost unlimited possibilities with experimentation on sound. The developers have done everything necessary to fill it with as many virtual guitar heads, cabinets, and effects as possible.
The plugin will come in handy for those who like to dig into presets with well-known guitar tones and create their own.
9. IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5
If you choose between giant hubs of virtual amps, cabinets, and effects, you should check out the AmpliTube 5 from IK Multimedia.
The Italian company IK Multimedia has been in business for quite some time – over 20 years. They produced both hard and software and were among the first to translate amp modeling to portable devices, thanks to iRig.
Their first version of AmpliTube, released in 2002, was the first guitar amp and effect plugin that simulates an entire rig. And now this software has received version 5, which has just an incredible number of different features.
With AmpliTube, you have complete freedom to create a signal circuit. And you can make it as easy as possible – by drag-and-drop, all the necessary elements from stompboxes to amps, cabinets, studio effects, and even the room. By the way, the number of units in the plugin is vast.
For example, in addition to the previous ones, the new version of AmpliTube got 130 new models, 23 new rack FX, and over 100 wholly re-captured cabinets.
- Realistic tones
AmpliTube 5 uses DIM and VIR technologies. It allowed the developers to capture as accurately as possible all the details of the sound of the equipment and translate it into digital form. As a result, you get even more realistic-sounding guitar tones.
- New mixer
The plugin features a new mixer that gives you complete freedom to mix different elements of your guitar circuit. Here you can experiment with the sound of different cabinets, mics, DI signals, and effects, including some from T-RackS 5, which allows you to add studio brilliance to your sound.
- Volumetric Impulse Response
The creators have added the Volumetric Impulse Response feature to the new version of AmpliTube. It allows you to radically transform over hundreds of cabinets in 143,000 impulse response measurements.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.
If you were satisfied with the previous versions of AmpliTube, the fifth version would please you even more. You’ll be surprised by the realistic sound quality, and the number of available gyrations will blow your mind.
The plugin will be helpful for those who want to get the sound of the world’s premium equipment in their DAW, try out ready-made presets of famous musicians, and experiment with new sounds.
10. Positive Grid BIAS Amp 2 Professional
Imagine designing an amplifier and picking out minor details of the sound yourself to sharpen the guitar tone the way you want it. It is what will be possible with the BIAS Amp 2 plugin from Positive Grid.
California-based Positive Grit has already made a name for itself among musicians and prosumers with its versatile owt. For example, Bias FX 2 allows you to use many different virtual amplifiers, effects, and cabinets.
The developers went even further and introduced the Bias Amp 2 plugin, which will be an absolute dream for anyone who wants to influence the minor details of their guitar tone.
Bias Amp 2 is a virtual guitar amp designer. Thanks to a Guitar Amp Modeler & Builder, you can swap preamps and power amps, tubes and transformers, tone stacks and filters, and speakers and mics in search of the ideal tone.
The developers studied the behavior of many boutique tube amplifiers, which allowed them to create dynamic tone control. It completely emulates the sound of a tube amplifier and gives you the most realistic tone.
- Cabinet module
Positive Grid has teamed up with renowned guitar speaker manufacturers Celestion to give their users the best guitar cab impulses. You’ll have access to IRs from stars like Pete Thorn and Scott Henderson to George Lynch. Other than that, you can forget about downloading individual files. Choose a custom Celestion’s virtual amp cab and start moving the mics around – Bias AMP 2 does the rest.
- Amp Match
This feature is suitable for those who do not want to spend a lot of time in the amplifier’s settings. You can ask Bias Amp 2 to match an approximate guitar circuit based on an audio file. You need to specify the desired genre, and the plugin will do all the work for you.
Working with Bias AMP will be even more convenient for you if you already use the BIAS FX plugin. The fact is that there is a direct integration between the software. It means that the guitar amps that you create with BIAS AMP 2 will be automatically available in Bias FX, providing the basis for your perfect finished tone.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (both 32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.10.5 or higher. It comes in VST2, AU, and AAX formats.
The BIAS Amp 2 from Positive Grid will allow you to create personal and customized guitar tones.
In addition to influencing almost every amplifier component, you’ll have access to premium cab impulses from Celestion. And if you don’t want to delve too deeply into amp settings, use Realistic Amp Match to get the sound you want.
The 5 Best Free Guitar Amp Plugins 2022
1. Audiority L12X Solid State Amplifier
If you remember that little but growling transistor head from Marshall called the Lead 12, know that you can get it as an amp sim plugin entirely for free. It is the L12X Solid State Amplifier from Audiority.
Marshall created the Lead 12 Solid State Amplifier in the late 1980s. It was a small head that could surprise with the amount of gain and push cabinets up to 4×12 and could easily sound like a JCM. Now this famous amplifier is available in amp sim plugin form from Italian company Audiority.
The plugin almost wholly replicates the appearance of the actual head. The creators slightly modified the chain by adding a Contour knob to get a more scooped tone and additional Boost overdrive stage.
In addition to that – built-in Marshall cabinet impulse with Celestion V30 speakers.
- Contour control
This knob is present in most guitar amplifiers. It allows you to scoop up the mids and make your tone more biting and aggressive.
- Boost mode
If you don’t have enough power in your guitar tone, the boost button always comes to the rescue. Turn it on, and it will give you more gain.
- Cab sim
The cabinet impulse is built-in here. It sounds pretty good and was designed by Seacow Cabs. But if you want to apply your own IR, that’s not a problem since you can disable the built-in impulse at any time.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.
If you’re new to the world of amp sims or don’t have the budget, the Audiority L12X Solid State Amplifier has you covered. It’s excellent free software from which you can get different guitar tones, both slightly overdriven and heavily distorted.
The plugin exactly replicates the sound of the Marshall Lead 12 head and has a pretty good built-in cabinet impulse.
2. Nalex – Amplex 4 (Guitar Tube Multi amp)
It’s hard to believe that the following plugin on our list is free, as it can emulate almost any guitar amp. It is Amplex 4 by NaLex.
Those of you interested in the no-cost amp sim plugins have heard of the software from NaLex. This guy provides his products for free on his blog page. Among the number of plugins, there are some based on Freedman, Mesa/Boogie, Diezel, and many other brands. Among them is Amplex, a Multiamp that can be all these heads at once.
This virtual amplifier comes with a folder with text documents with the code, which you can load into the plugin. These are the emulations of different guitar amplifiers – a total of more than 20.
The list includes amps based on Peavey 5150, Engl Savage, Orange OR120, Mesa Mark II, Diezel VH4, Randall Satan, Marshall JCM800, Bogner Ubershall, and Soldano SLO.
It is important to remember that NaLex software only comes as an amp sim head. It means that you will need to use your own IR loader and a noise gate to get the finished guitar sound.
- Power Amp control
The Amp Sim got an extra Power Amp knob. Thanks to it, you can rock your virtual amplifier more and get additional saturation.
- Low-end control
In addition to the Bass knob, you also have the Low-end knob. It gives you extra control over the low end, which is very important for fast guitar riffs with palm mutes.
The plugin is available for Windows XP or higher (32 or 64 bit), and macOS 10.5 or higher (32 or 64 bit). It comes in VST, VST3, and AU formats.
Amplex 4 by NaLex will be a real gift for fans of free software or those who do not have the budget for a fancy amp sim plugin. Here you can feel the character of the sound of the top guitar heads free and use them for your music production.
By the way, if you want to thank NaLex for such products, there are donation links on his page.
3. SoftAmp – PSA
If you are a fan of virtual preamps like the legendary SansAmp, this one will pleasantly surprise you. It is the SoftAmp PSA, and it’s completely free.
SoftAmp’s PSA is a virtual-analog guitar preamp, which, unfortunately, is only available for Windows. This plugin has five stages of distortion, complete with a noise gate and compressor. In short, everything you need to get an expressive guitar tone that shines through in the mix.
It is noteworthy that each overdrive stage in the plugin has a specific frequency shaping according to their names. For example, Buzz is responsible for low-end overdrive, Punch for mids, and Crunch overdrives the high frequencies.
In addition to the main controls, two more knobs are accountable for the speaker parameters simulator – Shape and Rolloff. If both are set to 0, the speaker simulator is completely bypassed.
Asymmetric and Soft-Clip
These buttons give you even more control over the gain structure. Asymmetric saturates the signal with harmonics, and Soft-Clip makes the distortion less sharp and helps fading notes sound smoother.
The PSI Denoiser is a noise gate with adaptive release time. It is equipped with the Learn function. It means that without playing anything on your guitar, it will detect the noise level itself and provide the appropriate threshold.
Squeezo Range compressor
This compressor is not linear but a musically sounding one. You can use it as both an upward and downward compressor depending on the gain and bias setting.
The plugin is available for Windows XP or higher 64-bit only. It comes in VST format.
It is a great free plugin if you are a Windows user and want something similar to the famous SansAmp. The obvious advantage will be the different stages of distortion, which are responsible for different frequency spectrum ranges. Also, here there are such good things as an adaptive noise gate and compressor. This software is suitable for working with both guitar and bass.
4. EXE Consulting – Classic Thirty
The following free plugin on our list is quite simple but has pretty extensive functionality. It is Classic Thirty by EXE Consulting.
Classic Thirty is also available for Windows users only and emulates the famous Vox AC30 combo amp. This plugin has many effects, a speaker section, a compressor, a separate graphic EQ, and more.
It’s an all-in-one plugin that can provide you with a great classical guitar tone for free. And we’re talking about both clean and overdriven sounds. In the developer’s words, the plugin has accurate circuit modeling and stereo capability, but it uses some CPU.
This knob allows you to increase the stereo width of the sound field dramatically. You can quickly get dubbing of the left and right rhythm sections from a single DI recording with the width control
The number of effects in this plugin is awe-inspiring. Among them are Phazer, Flanger, Chorus, Vibrato, Delay, Reverb, and Tremolo. And each one has extensive settings.
The plugin is available for Windows 64-bit only. It comes in VST format.
If you want to get a pretty good emulation of a Vox AC30 combo with lots of effects and features for free, this plugin can serve you well. It has everything you need to get a finished guitar sound. But the disadvantage will be its use only for Windows and the limited number of available formats.
5. GuitarML – Chameleon
You can also pay attention to this free plugin, Chameleon from GuitarML, as it is straightforward and has three channels.
The Chameleon is a virtual vintage-style amp type head that has three channels. Green will give you a clean tone, and Gold means crunch and Red for a heavier distortion. The interface here is as simple as possible. On the left are the channel selector and the gain control. Then you will see all the usual knobs like Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, and Master.
It is essential to know that this is only an emulation of the guitar head. Therefore, you will need to use your own IR loader and a noise gate to get the finished guitar sound.
- RTNeural engine
The core of the Chameleon plugin sound is a neural network engine that allows the plugin to masquerade as a high-end tube amplifier. This software uses the modern RTNeural engine, which reduces CPU usage.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (32 or 64-bit), and macOS 10.11 or higher. It comes in VST3, AU formats, and as a standalone host.
A vintage virtual head with three channels is how you can characterize this plugin. It is as easy to use as possible but requires additional software to get the sound ready. So if you’re new to building your guitar circuit, it can get a little tricky to use.
2 Bonus Plugins:
1. Brainworx bx_rockrack V3
What if we told you that you could get eight different guitar amps from crystal clear to high gain raging monsters in just one plugin? It is bx_rockrack V3 by Brainworx and Plugin Alliance.
The German company Brainworx became popular with its UAD-2 emulation amplifiers of relatively high quality. Not only do their plugins sound like tube amps, but they feel the same when you play them.
The company especially delighted many of their fans with their bx_rockrack software, which includes eight amps and excellent guitar tone capabilities.
The bx_rockrack V3 amp is based on such legendary pieces of equipment as the Marshall JCM 800, ENGL 530 preamp, and Mesa Boogie Record-o-Verb. There is also a custom Brainworx metal amp. Each has its character of a sound, which will fit from jazz to death metal.
In addition, you get 40 impulse responses recorded through Brainworx’s NEVE VXS72 console in Germany.
Like other plugins from this company, it has everything you need to get a finished guitar tone – namely, noise gate, high and low-pass filters, delay, and more.
- Graphic EQ
On the front panel of each amplifier, in addition to the usual knobs, there is also a graphic equalizer. It will allow you to immerse yourself even more into your sound production and sharpen your guitar tone.
- FX Rack
Here you can customize the Noise Gate as you like it. Also available to you is the Delay with tap and tune function for mix, feedback, and lo-fi levels. And high and low-pass filters help bring the sound closer to mix-ready.
- Recording Chain
Implied here is the possibility of choosing different cabs and mics impulses. There are a large number of them per amplifier. For example, Brainworx created an IR based on such famous cabinets as Diezel, Orange, Engl, and many others.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
The bx_rockrack V3 plugin will give you the incredible ability to use different guitar amps in the form of only one software. With them, you can choose everything from clean and crunchy guitar tone to brutal and massive.
What’s unique here will be the high-end pulses of the cabinets and mics. So you’ll have a lot to choose from to get what you need.
2. Mercuriall Audio Software – Tube Amp U530
Another excellent work from Mercuriall that we decided to put as a bonus on our list. It is the Tube Amp Ultra 530.
The Russian company Mercuriall Audio Software constantly surprises you with its products of incredible quality. The U530 is no exception here. This plugin is based on the famous sound studio preamp ENGL E530 and has a wide range of tones.
It means you can go from powerful hi-gain to bright crunch and crystal clear tone.
Mercuriall used the most realistic modeling here. The Tube Amp Ultra 530 is a complete digital replica of the E530 preamp.
It means that no waveshapers or equalizers were used in its construction. In addition, the U530 has additional features like a stereo chorus and a cabinet section.
- Preamp section
Here, you will choose between the Clean, Crunch, Soft Lead, and Heavy Lead channels. You also have a 3-band EQ for Clean and Crunch and a 4-band EQ for Soft and Heavy Lead. Plus, you can switch between 12AX7-RCA, 12AX7 Tung-Sol, and 12AX7-RSD tubes.
- Amp section
This Class A tube amplifier is based on a 6V6 pentode with a feedback loop and Presence control. A remarkable feature here is that the power amplifier section considers the cabinet’s resonance properties. It means that if the cabinet simulation is disabled, the power amplifier section operates in neutral mode, allowing you to use your own IRs.
- Cab section
The IRs here are assembled from the world’s top-notch cabinets. For example, the plugin uses Bogner Uberkab 412, Marshall 1960B, and MESA/BOOGIE 412 RECTIFIER based responses with CelestionV30, JBL K120, and Greenback speakers. Mercuriall used a Shure SM57 microphone to capture all these impulses.
The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher, and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.
Tube Amp U530 is an excellent amp sim plugin, which can boast an extraordinary sound quality. You can get almost any guitar tone out of it, from clean to high-gain distortion. A nice bonus is the Chorus, which lets you add depth to your guitar parts.
As you can see, the variety of guitar amp plugins these days is incredible. You can get almost any sound and experiment with it, making it unique. It all depends on your taste, what kind of distortion or overdrive you prefer.
If you want to have a premium plugin in your arsenal, perfect for the heaviest metal subgenres – number 6, the Fortin NTS Suite from Neural DSP will be the ideal solution for you. Or maybe you’re a fan of the legendary Friedman BE-100 tone?
In that case, you’ll love the #3 plugin on our list, which is the Brainworx Friedman BE-100. We also can’t help but think of number 5 from Softube, based on the famous vintage Marshall Plexi Super Lead 1959.
For those who like to have as much virtual equipment as possible in the form of just one plugin, options such as #7 T-HU from Overloud and #8 AmpliTube 5 from IK Multimedia will do.
And if you do not have a budget at all for amp sim plugins – download units from our list of free plugins – these are #1 Audiority L12X Solid State Amplifier and #2 Amplex 4 from NaLex.
To know what kind of plugin you need, try to figure out the purpose of using it and the musical genre. Depart first and foremost from what tone you have in your head or your favorite guitar amps. That will help. Then experiment and have fun. Good luck!
Closely Related Topic:
Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins 2022
There are many ways you can get a decent digital bass sound nowadays, from the many native DAW plugins to more specialized paid and free ones. Today’s article is about the top 10 best bass amp plugins available today.
Players are getting more used to recording directly through the interface by the day, simply because of its practicality, compared to setting up a considerable amount of gear. Just load up a good amp simulation plugin, and you’re good to go for conveniently recording, practicing, or just jamming.
Although guitar players generally get the most amp plugins, we list the best bass amp plugins, including free ones.
1. Plugin Alliance – Ampeg V-4B
This plugin is a digital emulation of one of the most iconic tube bass heads ever, the Ampeg V-4B, a big powerhouse sound present on many records since introduced in 1971.
Just like the OG version of this amp, the Ampeg V-4B plugin is highly versatile and faithful to the classic Ampeg sound. Simple controls, yet a vast range of timbres, from the famous Ampeg beefy low-end to much more shrill, gritty treble frequencies.
Many bass players have reported that this sounds better and more rounded than an actual Ampeg V-4B plugged in.
Furthermore, you also get access to 65 different Recording Chains that feature well-engineered combos of classic microphones and lots of other emulations of boutique studio gear, running through a Neve VXS72 soundboard console.
- 65 different recordings chains
If you want to record your bass through DI correctly, Brainworx has you covered. The plugin Alliance – Ampeg V-4B comes with a great library of speaker cabinets like the 4X10 SVT410HLF, the 8X10 SVT 810E, and many others, plus another library of microphones, from condensers to dynamics. It also comes with lots of different outboard gear emulations that will help you capture even classier sounds—all of that running through a Neve VXS72 console.
- FX rack for effects
The Alliance Ampeg V-4B plugin offers an FX Rack for additional control of effects, such as a filter control, which has two options, tight, which filters the bottom end spectrum, around 50Hz, and a smooth option, which scoops the top end, about 21 kHz, both of them with a three-way knob, post, pre or off. There’s also a noise gate with threshold and range controls for clearing the frequencies and a horn on/off function for the different cabinets’ emulations.
- Unique mid-frequency control
You get the standard three-band equalization controls, but a particular feature is the switchable midrange-frequency one. The Equalization Midrange knob cuts the mids at 200 Hz or boosts them at 3000 Hz. That is a potent tool for sharpening your tone as much as necessary. It also has three buttons on the upper part of the head, with one in the middle. You can choose between 220 Hz, 800 Hz, or 3000 Hz. And with the other two, you get Ultra-low and Ultra- High controls if you want the sound either way.
The practicality here is impressive. With it, you have the chance to get the sound of one of the most famous bass heads from the ’70s, with just a couple of clicks. It is the exact emulation of the original 1971 model, which is incredibly rare. It is an excellent tool for recording in your home studio with top-level quality, designed and approved by Ampeg itself.
The Alliance Ampeg V-4B plugin is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3 ,AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
The ultimate go-to amp simulator is available today for bass. The traditional consecrated sound of the V-4B tube bass head at the tip of your fingers, ready to go, no matter where you are.
2. Nembrini Audio – Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier
The most modern-sounding bass amp plugin that you can find today. Based on the Alpha Omega 900 bass head made by Darkglass Electronics, the Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier will get all the complex dynamics required for a modern bass sound.
Nembrini Audio designed it with the ambition to help players get a dirtier, more contemporary bass timbre. They did that by combining new technologies such as Impulse/Response, or just IR, which is a technology that enables a precise emulation of acoustic behavior and acoustic settings.
Custom-tuned overdrive/distortion circuits, a flexible six-band graphic equalizer, and a studio-grade VCA compressor optimize the bass signal before it hits the six-band equalizer makes for a much more sculpted bass tone.
Using the Beta Gamma Distortion circuit, you also get a blend control for turning your clean sound into a solid and defined overdrive or even into a full-on distorted sound.
- Cabinets and mics simulations
To get a good-sounding and usable recording-bass-tone, Nembrini Audio incorporated a recording chain with four different bass cabinets, which are the classic SVT 4X10, the B15 1X15, the HRTK 4X10 TW5, and the SVT 8x10; along with also four microphones emulations, a Cardioid RE20, a Condenser NU47, a Dynamic MD421, and a Dynamic D12.
- Parallel D.I. Output
You also get a D.I. Out signal with a console-style compressor that you can use to blend your signal with three ambient sounds. The controls for the D.I output signal are a Tone knob, a Low Cut knob for trimming the frequencies up to 2K Hz, and a High cut knob from 120 Hz up.
- Impulse / Response Loader
This is a groundbreaking technology appearing on multiple digital emulation software and hardware. It allows for a faithful emulation of speakers and cabinets. You just load up two different 3rd-parties impulse response signals and blend/mix them to your taste with your D.I output signal.
- Bass Enhancer / Noise Gate
These are two unique controls included in the Blackice Beta Gamma plugin. First, the Bass Enhancer, inspired by a bass resonance tool for mixing called the “Little Labs Voice Of God, “was made by Universal Audio. And, the Noise Gate with Threshold and range controls for getting rid of the “hum” noises when playing with a distorted tone.
The Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier plugin is available for Windows 7 or newer, 64-bit DAW, and Mac OS 10.9 or newer 64-bit DAW. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX, or AudioUnits compatible host.
If you want the most modern/powerful bass amp plugin, this is the right choice for you. It will lead to complex playing and distorted tones—a powerful tool for everyday bass tone enthusiasts.
3. Brainworx – bx_bassdude
In third place, we got the emulation of one of the most famous amps ever, the Fender Bassman. A legendary amplifier that became industry standard for bass and also guitar tones.
The Fender Bassman was first conceived as a bass amp, but it also gave way to many guitarists’ rigs. Still, the bass in the name stands for what this amp is all about, defined clean vintage tones, full of bass and presence.
The bx_bassdude plugin is directly inspired by one of the most acclaimed versions of this amp, the 1960’s model #6G6-Bor. And Brainworxs did a fantastic job in keeping the plugin sound faithful to this particular model.
The bassdude is one of the only amp plugins that do an A-class work of emulating the warm, clean tone that you get from a tube-based Fender tweed amp like a Blues Deluxe or a Bassman with not much gain on.
- Early 1960’s Fender amp
The practicality of having the sound of a vintage prestige Fender amp accessible just by a plugin is a feature that separates it from any other of its kind. Enhanced by its Impulse / Response technology, the quality of saturation and dynamics is terrific and similar to what you would expect from a tube-driven vintage Fender amp.
- 35 IRs by Dirk Ulrich
As a result of a personal effort of Brainworx’s CEO Dirk Ulrich, these IRs were recorded using several speaker cabinets, nine high-end vintages, and modern microphones, all running through his NEVE VXS72 console of the rarest consoles in existence. Only nine of them exist.
- Exclusive features
Some of the features here are not found in the original amplifier like its onboard effects included here are exclusive. They have a Noise Gate which can be a potent tool for keeping your signal clean, High and a Low pass filters for filtering unwanted high and low frequencies, a lo-fi delay, which is just a modern take on the delay circuit, and a Power amp Simulation to boost even more your bass sound.
The Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier plugin is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
A truly classic amp design eternalized in a plugin simple to use and satisfactory also. A wise choice if you’re going for a tube-oriented amplifier style, with the practicality that only a plugin can offer you.
4. Plugin Alliance – Ampeg B-15N
This is another plugin made by Brainworx and another Ampeg emulation. It emulates the circuit of the Motown-famous bass head B-15N made by Ampeg.
If you want the tone of 60s and 70s rock, soul, or funk, this is the plugin for you. It precisely captures the original amp’s dual 6L6-powered circuit as well as its simple, two-band Baxandall EQ. You can use the Volume knob to get either rich, murky tones, perfect for the soul, R&B, and jazz, or turn up the Volume for a fatter, more harmonic field sound.
Ampeg only made approximately 250 units of B-15Ns bass heads, making it one rare and expensive amplifier, but still, there are different versions on the market from other years.
With that in mind, Brainworx decided to insert the knob left to the power control, which lets you choose between two different famous versions of this amp, 1964 one and the 1966 model.
- Two distinct preamp options
You can choose between two different preamps options of preamps, 1964 which has a 25-Watt cathode biased circuit with a soft touch, while 1966 offers a 30-Watt fixed bias circuit, with the mids accentuated and with more headroom. Both are legendary sounds.
- FX Rack for effects
The onboard effects that come with the Ampeg B-15N plugin are significant. They include a Noise Gate, with threshold and range controls, a horn on/off function for the different cabinets’ emulations, and a Tight and a Smooth filter, both with a pre/post knob.
- Power Soak knob
It includes something handy for recording bass, a Power Soak knob. Its function is to reduce the power to the speaker without altering the quality of the harmonic series of an overdriven tone. Doing that allows you to use more distortion on your bass tone without compromising your output signal.
- Baxandall Bass and Treble
Another cool feature is containing a Baxandall Tone control circuit. What it does is that it provides a maximum cut of 10Db at 10kHz, and a boost of also 10dB at 50Hz—providing a true Bass and Treble boost to your output signal.
The plugin Alliance – Ampeg B-15N is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
In short, the Plugin Alliance – Ampeg B15N is an excellent choice if you are looking for a vintage-sounding amp, with all the organic punchiness that you hear on hit classics from the sixties and seventies.
5. Softube – Eden WT-800
Another iconic Bass amplifier head, the Eden WT-800, is a proper powerhouse gear that has been known for moving a lot of air without much effort. And this digital emulation of the Eden WT-800 designed by Softube replicates all that power.
The Eden WT-800 bass amp plugin is a remarkably versatile and wide-ranging tool. It has incredibly high fidelity sound throughout, and it allows you to achieve not only those harsh, stern vintage bass tones but also some of the immaculate, crisp sounds required for Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop sounds.
- “Enhance” and “Crossover”knob
A large portion of the quality of it comes from this feature. By dialing the “Enhance” knob, you get a specific EQ curve that resembles a “smiley face” that scoops out the mid-frequencies and makes the sound more robust and bigger-sounding. As for the “Crossover” knob, you draw a line of where you want your frequencies to crossover. Meaning, via the “bi-amp” function of the plugin, you split the signal so that the low frequencies go to one cabinet, for example, the 1x15, and the high frequencies go to the other, the 4x10.
- Easy bi-amping
At all times when you’re playing through it, you have two distinct cabinet models to choose from, a 1x15 and a 4x10 laid down on a mixer that allows you to blend them to your taste. And not only does the world tour offers you to use simultaneously two different cabinets, but you also can select a cutoff frequency and send your high and low frequencies to the different cabinets.
- Troy Antunes approved
All the mics available were positioned and selected by legendary bassist and producer Troy Antunes (Justin Timberlake, NSYNC, Pharrell Williams, and Al Green). Troy has also provided some expertly designed presets, using four top-of-the-line microphones, together with the flagship version of the Eden World Tour 800 amplifier, running through both the 1x15 and the 4x10 Eden cabinets.
The Eden WT-800 by Softube is available for Windows 10 64-bit and Mac OS X 10.13 or newer 64-bit. And it comes in VST, VST3, AU, or AAX formats.
Overall, this is a highly versatile and reliable bass amp plugin, and it truly delivers what is necessary for getting a wide variety of timbres. If you’re looking for something with lots of possibilities, this is it.
6. Overloud – Mark Studio 2
Mark Studio 2 is the compilation of several classic Markbass amps, cabinets, and pedals. The emulation of the best of the best by the notorious Italian brand, developed by Overloud.
The Mar Studio 2 is very straightforward, easy to use, and intuitive. You can dial great bass tones without much effort. The versatility factor is a big one also, from quiver subs to fuzzy, distorted tones. Indeed, you’ll find the perfect fit for your sound in the wide variety of options of Markbass amps available.
- Six amps and nine cabinets
The bass amps available are the TA501, the Classic 300, the R500, the TTE500, the MoMark, and the Little Mark Tube. As for the cabinets, the list is long but some of them include a STD 151HR (rear-ported 1x15″), a STD 152HR (rear-ported 2x15″), a STD 104HR (rear-ported 1x15″), a STD 104HF (front-ported 4x10″), and a STD 106HF (front-ported 6x10″).
- Full pedalboard equipped
Chorus is really similar to what you would expect from a BOSS chorus, such as the CS-2. You get a full pedalboard with the most practical effects a bassist can have: an Octave pedal, a game-changer tool for bass, especially soloing. An Envelope Filter, another excellent tool for getting a lead bass sound. 2. A Distortion pedal, which of course, brings out an instant metal machine. And of course, the most important tool for a bassist, a Compressor, which is really the best way to make your bass sound cut through the mix.
- Ultra-flexible signal path.
You can use multiple microphones simultaneously if you want to, you can use a main (woofer) for capturing the low end, a tweeter, which is good for accentuated mids, and, if you feel the need to, you can use the third mic, you can also use a rear bass reflex (port). You can fully adjust to your liking the signal path as far as the balance between the Direct input, the Line Out, and the Mic Output levels, which gives you full autonomy for controlling your input and output levels.
- Mix controls
A unique feature of it is its Mix window. You get in it four different faders for controlling four signal inputs. Respectively: Direct, for the DI signal, Tweeter for the treble speaker that is designed to produce high audio frequencies, Room, which would be your room sound, as if a mic was capturing it from a certain distance. And lastly, Rear, which is the simulation of a microphone also capturing the sound, but from behind the speaker.
The Mark Studio 2 by Overloud is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 64 and 32 bit, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and above 64 bit. And it comes in VST, AAX64, AudioUnitAU, or AAX formats.
Suppose you want something efficient where you don’t have to worry about dialing your tone right and taking too much time setting everything up. In that case, this is an excellent option, without mentioning the variety of different amps that you would end up getting with just one plugin.
7. KUASSA – Cerberus
The Kuassa bass amp plugin made by the Indonesian company Cerberus is their latest amp simulation plugin. A low-budget plugin but with all the low-end necessary.
The Kuassa Cerberus delivers on-point bass tones for your home studio. You start with three different options of preamps, a Valve one, which brings out a vintage-style tube-driven tone, a FET, which has a little more color to it, and finally, a Drive option, which has a super distorted tone, really fuzzy-like.
All three of them with gain, compress, and contour controls. The cost-benefit of the KUASSA is one of its’s key points certainly, much cheaper than most of the plugins on this list.
- 3 Distinct preamp options
The Valve option sets up third and second harmonic overtone distortions, giving you a vibrant, tube-driven sound. The drive channel takes it to multiple higher harmonics, giving a vintage flavor to your tone, almost a 70s vibe. Lastly, the FET option, which has the most character, is super distorted, with a robust third-harmonic distortion. With it, your timbre will get an almost synth-like fuzziness. Super useful for modern tones that don’t feel like a traditional bass guitar sound. You also get an EQ with low and high boosters, each with its frequency selector.
- Flexible setup
Besides having multiple cabinets and mics emulations, you can also multi-use them in any way you might like. For example, you can set up a different mic for each speaker on the cabinet you chose and PAN, mix or blend them in multiple ways. An excellent option is sending your usable low frequencies to one cabinet, capturing it with a condenser mic, and the upper-range frequencies you capture with a dynamic mic and sending it to a different cabinet. This will give a ton of new possibilities sonic-wise.
- Input section
The input section is full of features itself. The features contain A Noise Gate for cleansing the frequencies and removing the “hum” sound. Input Channel selection lets you select where you want certain frequencies to go (L, R, Stereo, or Sum).Dry/Wet mix options will give you two distinct possibilities regarding the general EQ curve of your bass sound. Hi-Quality mode for keeping everything running at max capacity, Input metering, for keeping in check your input signal, so it doesn’t clip, and finally, a Global bypass, a true bypass system that won’t let your signal chain get compromised.
The Kuassa Cerberus is available for Windows Vista or Later (64 bit) and Mac OSX 10.7 or later (64 Bit). And it comes in VST/VST3/AU/AAX formats.
One of the best low-budget options on the market today, superb Bass Guitar tones for much less money than the market average. If you take the time to go through the possibilities of cabinets and mics, you’ll find a wide variety of tones at your disposal.
8. MAGIX – Vandal
The Vandal virtual guitar & bass amplification, made by MAGIX, is essentially a guitar amp plugin with a foot in the bass world. One versatile bass amp emulation, as good as the guitar-dedicated ones.
There’s only one bass amp emulation here, but with all the potential and features necessary to create a wide variety of timbres. It is resourceful enough to cover a lot of ground sonic-wise.
- Speaker break-up controls.
The plugin offers control knobs for adjusting where you want your Speaker break-up to happen, which is when a tube amp pushes beyond what it was designed to tolerate. If you don’t want your distorted tones to be a little harsh or ratty, you can try a cleaner speaker that doesn’t experience breakup as early. The cleaner speaker will be able to hold together better and longer, producing a more articulate sound.
- Cabinet damping
Another control inserted in the spanner icon to the right of the speaker section is the Cabinet Damping control. What it does is emulates the main effect of damping in a loudspeaker. If you want that stuffy sub-bass tone, this could be an excellent tool for it because it will simulate the effect of a very loud speaker running almost to its Break-up point but still controlled and limited.
- Multiple gain stages / Outboard gear
While it lacks various amp models, the numerous gain stages available make up for it. Modeled after the classic circuits found in lots of bass amps, this will allow you to get somewhat of a variety timbre-wise. Especially, together with all the outboard gear, it features, which is: a 3-band EQ, two distinct mic simulations, and an FX loop with several effects, like a vintage compressor. All of which is an excellent tool for tone-shaping.
- Cabinet and FX racks
Just below the bass head, there are two separate racks. One controls the cabinet simulation, with selectors for Speakers, for Enclosure, and two separate mics. You can control the axis, the distance, the PAN, and the levels for each separate mic. The other controls up to two separate effects simultaneously. For example, an EQ and a Vintage Compressor. And, of course, four knobs each for specific controls of each effect.
The Vandal, made by MAGIX, is available for Windows 10 or 8 (64 bit and 32 bit) and Mac OSX 10.7 or later (64 Bit). And it comes in VST2 and AU formats.
Not precisely a dedicated bass amp plugin, but it certainly does the job, especially if you play both instruments, then this is a perfect match. The effects, eq, and general controls are significant and very much easy to get on.
9. Audified – GK Amplification 2 Pro
The GK Amplification 2 Pro is a compilation of some of the best Gallen-Krueger bass amplifiers and cabinets ever.
Only a couple of brands have the prestige of Gallen-Krueger bass amps, used worldwide; GK amps are synonyms of sonic quality. For this reason, Audified decided to pick the most wanted ones and emulate them in one plugin.
It features a 3-band EQ, two distinct mic simulations, and an FX loop with several effects, like a vintage compressor. All of which is an excellent tool for tone-shaping.
- Track player and recorder
Built-in, a Track Player with Speed Controls, allows you to slow down or speed up a particular track for practice purposes. There’s also a Recorder to keep the ideas stored; Record your precessed bass sound or mix with the track player.
- MIDI compatibility
You can play live with the GK Amplification 2. Instead of taking vast amounts of gear to every gig, there is the option of taking your laptop with the GK Amplification installed and controlling it using a MIDI controller. For lots of players, this could be a life-saving feature.
- Multiple Gallen-Krueger amplifiers
One of its critical features certainly is the quality associated with the Gallen-Krueger name. You can’t go wrong playing one of their amps. And getting multiple models all together in one plugin is a big deal. The amps simulated here are the following models: MB150, 800RB, and 2001 RB, all of which come with Gain, Edge, Bottom, and Level controls, and a 4-band Active Equalization.
- Multiple Gallen-Krueger cabinets
Just like its amp heads, the Gallen-Krueger cabinets are synonyms of quality worldwide. The simulated cabinets include NEO 412 (Full Range), NEO 412 (Bi-Amp – Woofer), NEO 412: (Bi-Amp – Tweeter), NEO 412: (Bi-Amp – W +T), RBH 410: (Full Range), RBH 410: (Bi-Amp – Woofer), RBH 410: (Bi-Amp – Tweeter), RBH 410: (Bi-Amp – W +T) and MB 150.
The GK Amplification made by Audified is available for Windows 7 – Windows 10 64 and 32 bit and Mac OS X 10.9 – macOS 11.1 64 and 32 bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX 32b, AAX 64b, AU 32b, AU and AudioUnits formats.
One of the best compilations of bass amps on the market, with all the functions of the original Gallen-Krueger amps, and a couple of extra resources, this is a highly reliable tool for recording, practicing, or just jamming.
10. IK Multimedia – AmpliTube 5
The latest version of the AmpliTube series, made by IK Multimedia, is famous for its extravagant collection of amps, pedals, and all kinds of recording gear.
The Amplitube 5 is another plugin that works great both for Bass and Guitar. Although most of the features offered are dedicated to guitar, many basses preset are ready to go, from fuzzy distortions to bumpy “Fenderly” sounds.
This version of the Amplitube offers a powerful new workflow, more realistic sounds, tons of new gear models, and more creative sound-shaping.
Redesigned from the ground up, now, Amplitube is much smoother, and it’s divided into three parts: Chain, where you organize to your taste the signal chain, Gear view, where the head of the amp is displayed, and finally, Gear Selector were you choose each model of amp, cabinet and effect pedals.
- All-new, All-in-one interface
The new, re-modeled interface in AmpliTube 5 can support up to 57 simultaneous simulations of every kind of gear available in series / parallel routing or blended DI signal. Not only that, but with only the standalone version of AmpliTube 5 comes an 8-track recorder, + DAW, looper, tuner, and MIDI compatibility for live performances.
- New VIR
The new Volumetric Impulse Response used in the cabinets simulations offers the most realistic cab sound possible. IK Multimedia measured 600 distinct IRs on each speaker for each cabinet to capture the most tone variations possible. And its powerful new “Volumetric Impulse Response” brutally transforms all 129 new cabinets into 143,000 new possibilities of Impulse Response measurements and sounds.
- New Gear
All legacy gear displayed in Amplitube 5 converges in an entirely new mixer section where all the signals from each signal path, plus D.I, can be mixed for all kinds of possible textures. Not only that, but it also comes with 129 brand new models, including 2 new stomps, 5 acclaimed amps, 2 new rooms, 23 new rack FX, and over 100 completely re-captured cabinets. It also comes with 23 new mixing effects, including T-RackS, to add that final studio-grade quality master to your tracks.
The AmpliTube 5 made by IK Multimedia is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit and Mac OS 10.10 or later 64 bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, and AAX formats.
One of the most famous amp plugins ever, truly a classic now much more resourceful in this latest version. Pedals, amps, cabinets, speakers, microphones, rooms, effect racks, all in one interface.
The 6 Best Free Bass Amp Plugins 2022
1. Lostin70s – Bass Deluxe
The Bass Deluxe is one of the most used free bass amp plugins. The Bass Deluxe made by Lostin70s, based on a tube bass amp, will help your bass sound stand out and give it more character.
It has a very fat sound but is also versatile enough also to have a very funky sound. The amp takes the graphic design of Modern Deluxe, but the preamps are flat, the distortion, amplification, and compression are suitable for a wide variety of possible bass sounds. The Bass Deluxe also has two identical channels and a switcher that lets you change them on the fly.
- Adjustable Pedalboard
The Bass Deluxe comes with two independent identical channels, each with an adjustable and super well-ordered pedalboard, with the following effects: Vibrato/Chorus, a Compressor, a Tone Drive, a Digital Reverb, a Tremolo, and a Delay. You can also change their order in the signal chain. Both channels come with a Compressor with fast and slow releases, a Boost switch that turns on the drive setting, a 9-band EQ system, a master presence control, and below that, a window where you can choose different cabinets.
- Beatbox player
The beatbox player features simple but effective grooves for practicing. It also comes with a player with several drum machine grooves and a looper so that you can practice it. You can even set a recorder to record exactly how many bars you want.
- Adjustable presence
Not every plugin comes with a Presence knob, and it is an excellent tool for dialing the dynamics in your playing. You can make it, so every nuance in your picking or thumping is heard. Usually a feature present on guitar amps, but present on this bass amp simulation.
The Bass Deluxe made by Lostin70s is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit and Mac OS 10.10 or later 64 bit. And it comes in VST, VST3, and Audio unit formats.
The most versatile choice for those with no budget, reliable, and usable sounds for no money at all. With features that you’ll only find in paid plugins, this is an excellent option, even for pro-players.
2. Bass Professor – Mark II
The Bass Professor MK II made by Sonic Anomaly sounds great on D.I bass guitars, even when standing out against paid plugins. It offers a 7-band EQ and lots of dynamic controls.
First off, The Bass Professor adds 64 samples of latency, so you may not want to record with it turned on, or you may not want to use it in a live situation. But still, this works great as an effect.
- Profess fader control
A unique feature is its Profess fader control; this slider controls how much of the 7-band leveler EQ is processed—giving a sort of output control to your EQ. With this tool, you can get a boost by dialing up the profess knob—just eq your sound to lift the proper frequencies. for penetrating more in the mix.
- Fullness EQ controls
A unique mixer of the seven in the EQ section is the Fullness fader. If you add too much of this, it may make your bass sound a little too muddy. But it can be a powerful tool for sharpening the pitch of the note you’re playing.
- Dirt module
Right next to the Profess control, you’ll find the Dirt module, which adds a tube-style full-on distortion to your signal, a mighty tool for making the sound bigger and rougher. In a way, it works just like the “Profess” knob, but instead of roving an EQ boost, it, of course, boosts the distorted overtones of your sound.
- 7-band EQ section
It’s got a 7-band EQ section, divided into Sub Bass, which controls your sub-bass frequencies, Lo Bass, which contains the usable low bass frequencies, Hi Bass, which arranges the upper range of the frequencies; Fullness, which adjusts how much space it occupies in the mix, Artic., which stands out for articulation, adjusts the level of details in your playing. Presence controls the aggressiveness of your bass, and finally, Treble, which contains the overall brightness of your sound.
The Bass Professor MK II made by Sonic Anomaly is available only for Windows 7 or later 32 and 64 bit. And it comes in a VST format.
The Bass Professor will give you a nice result if you’re after a free good-sounding bass amp simulation. Much better than trying to run a direct line through your interface.
3. TSE Audio – TSE BOD v3.0.0
A reliable emulation of the very well-known SansAmp Bass Driver DI pedal by Tech 21. And the purpose of it is to give you a great bass tone that immediately sits in the mix.
Not like all the other simulations shown in this article, this is just a stompbox simulation. This Version 3.0 brings many new features, including a Stereo processing support, Extra oversampling options, Re-modeled circuits of the entire pedal, Updated GUI, and a Fixed broken AAX support.
- Authentic SansAmp emulation
The pedal that TSE BOD V3.0 is based on is genuinely legendary for Bass preamps. You can’t go wrong with something as concentrated as this. It will produce an authentic-sounding overdrive effect, adding warmth and grit to your bass sound. Really similar to what a soundboard type of saturation would do, not too much distortion and just the right amount of compression.
- Few, simple controls
If you’re the type of player that appreciates simplicity and on-point controls, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to find the right tone, this is undoubtedly an excellent option to think about. It’s got straightforward yet functional control knobs to shape your bass tone: Level, Drive, Low, High, Presence, and Blend. So you can hear a wide range of sounds, even if your bass doesn’t have EQ controls on it.
The TSE BOD v3.0.0 made by TSE Audio is available for Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 32 and 64 bit, and Mac OS X 10.8 or higher 64 and 32 bit. And it comes in a VST, VST2, AU, and AAX format.
The TSE BOD is great for players looking to fill their mix quickly with a decent bass timbre, with no extensive efforts. It is essentially a stompbox on your screen, and that’s all you need.
4. IK Multimedia – AmpliTube 5 CS
The free version of the Amplitube 5 is the CS version. You get more than 400 models of gear available for you to test before actually buying it.
First, you get 41 different cabinets, amps, pedals, and effect racks to use the way you want to record with it or just use it. These are 100% free. There already lies endless possibilities for your recording chain.
If you do the math for the amount of good gear that you get for free when downloading The Custom Shop version of Amplitube 5, you’ll see it is worth it with the possibility of upgrading to the full version only if you feel the need. Besides, it lets you play and experiment with every single paid option, you can’t record with it, but you can try it out and see if it works for you.
- New technologies
All the new tech involved in the full version of AmpliTube 5 is also present in the CS version. It includes DIM™, DSM™, and the new VIR™ from IK Multimedia. They deliver super-realistic, real-world simulations.
- Interface re-modeled
The new interface that comes with the CS version of Amplitube is divided into three parts: Chain, where you organize to your taste the signal chain, Gear view, where the head of the amp is displayed, and where the general control knobs are displayed and finally, Gear Selector where you choose each model of amp, cabinet and effect pedals.
The AmpliTube 5 CS made by IK Multimedia is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit, and macOS 10.10 or later 64 and. And it comes in a VST2, VST3, and AAX format.
A great place to start if you never bought or downloaded free plugins, the AmpliTube 5 CS will be a wise choice for you.
5. Ignite Amps – SHB-1
The SHB-1 by Ignite amps stands out as a free plugin because of its analog-modeling coupled triode stages. It is ideal for metal since it is modeled after the real SHB-1 “Extreme Bass Head.”
Based on the real SHB-1 built for Federico Fulceri, bassist of the Italian thrash-metal band “Subhuman,” this plugin is meant to be used in live situations and for tracking as well.
It features mono and stereo processing support, selectable oversampling rate, and fully automatable controls.
- Preamp switches
With the Deep selector, you can control how deep and full-sounding you want your tone to be. With the Bright selector, you adjust the level of dynamic details in your playing. And with the Shape selector, the element of articulation is altered. You can make it so that every nuance in your playing is heard. Also, a cool feature is the Stereo/Mono selector, which gives you the capacity to split your DI signal into a stereo output.
- Lots of gain
Of all the dedicated bass amp plugins, this one is undoubtedly the one that has the most gain. If you dial it to a noon position, the amount of compressed distortion is already insane. That’s why it is a perfect choice for metal.
- Preamp switches
The SHB-1 made by Ignite Amps is available for Windows XP/Vista/7/8 (32/64-bit) and Mac OS X 10.5 64 bit. And it comes in VST and AU formats.
The perfect choice for metal. Like the name says, it is an “Extreme Bass head” made for extreme players, modeled after a monstrous 1300W real amp.
6. EXE Consulting – ClBass F
The CLBass F made by EXE Consulting is a bass guitar amp simulator with the same aspects as the Classic F guitar amp plugin. But re-imagined for bass.
It is somewhat intuitive and sounds excellent. It’s got a fat, big sound and has a lot of good-sounding effects built in it. With the OD control, which stands for overdrive and almost boosts your sound, you can get many different sounds. There’s also an onboard eq that helps fatten things up.
- Will Pirkle effects
The effects available with the ClBass F were designed based on Will Pirkle, the legendary audio engineer and author of the book “Designing Audio Effect Plugins In C++.” He is certainly one of the main people in the world when it comes to this matter, and the effects available are Distortion, EQ, Phazer, Flanger, Chorus, Vibrato, Delay, Reverb, Compression, and Tremolo.
- Versatile selectors
You can select between Stereo or Mono how your output routing should be. That’s a good thing to have if you’re trying to shape two different tones and PAN them. You also get a Full/Economic quality, which gives you the option of running your plugin in an economic model that doesn’t require so much of your CPU usage.
The CLBass F plugin made by EXE Consulting is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit, and macOS 10.10 or later 64 and. And it comes in VST and AAX formats.
Overall, a good bass amp simulation for free. The list of effects is vast, and they have outstanding quality.
Native Instruments – Guitar Rig 6
As a bonus, the Guitar Rig 6 plugin made by the famous Native Instruments is worth mentioning. A vast workstation for both bass and guitar, with some cool features.
Most of the presets are dedicated to guitar, but a few like the Bass Invader or the Bass Pro do the job of getting a punchy, vintage, solid-state bass sound.
With Bass pro, you get a 9-band EQ, Gain, Bass, Mid, Mid freq, Treble, drive, and master volume controls.
With the Bass Invader, which is another bass preset available, you get a 4-band active EQ, voicing filters, and distortion control that sits perfectly on the mix in a rock n roll set, just like how you would expect from a tube-driven Bass amp.
- Crush Pack
The effects available are endless and divided into multiple presets of three effects each. One of them is the Crush Pack. It comes with a Bit Crusher, which gives a FET style sound, a Distortion effect, which obviously distorts the signal, and a Frequency Shifter, used a lot by bass players to get a nice soloing timbre. All of these are great for bass, giving you a contemporary twist in your playing.
- Mod pack
Just like the “Crush pack,” the modulation effects that come can help you create both vintage and creative modern sounds easily. They include a Chorus, a Phaser, and different Flangers. All were designed after famous consecrated pedal circuits from brands like BOSS, Tc Electronic and Behringer.
- Vintage Compressors
The collection of emulations of popular compressors is fantastic here, including the accurate and punchy VC 76 FET compressor, smooth and tube-like VC 2A optical compressor, and the heavy and dirty VC 160 VCA compressor. With these three models of compressors, you get some of the most popular rack-style compressors in studio history.
The Guitar Rig 6 made by Native Instruments is available for Windows 10 64-bit and macOS 10.14, 10.15, or 11. And it comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Another resourceful guitar/bass amp plugin, with a world-class quality of all its gear, is made by one of the world’s most renowned music-related software companies. Worth it, again, especially if you play both the guitar and bass.
Of all the endless options presented in this article, there’s certainly a fit for all kinds of bassists, from plugins modeled after crazy-vintage gear like the Plugin Alliance – Ampeg V-4B to exciting modern ones filled with new technologies, such as the Nembrini Audio – Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier, or the Amplitube 5.
And from costly and resourceful ones like the Softube – Eden WT-800, to free and at the same time also filled with good stuff other ones such as the Bass Deluxe made by Lostin70s.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these plugins that we came up with on this list, each with unique sound and features. But all serving the purpose of a great bass tone!
Try them all, and indeed, you’ll find the perfect fit for your home studio.
Other Plugin Roundups:
Reverb & Delay Plugins:
Amps & Preamps:
Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility:
Processing & Sound Design:
Ilarion Ivanenko is a remote mixing and mastering engineer from Ukraine, a musician with more than 15 years of experience. Specializes in rock, metal, progressive and the other genres. He can’t imagine his life without music, as it is the biggest passion in his life