20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians 2023 (+ 6 FREE Plugins)

Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

In this article, we’ll show you the best plugins for creating rock music in 2023. 

With all the variety of music production software out there these days, it’s easy to get confused. Rock remains one of the most popular genres in the world. And the great thing is that today you can easily create songs at home. But still, you should know what you need to have to do it.

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20 Best Plugins For Rock Music 2023 (Punk, Indie, Blues & Hard Rock)

1. Addictive Drums 2 (Drums 1)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

If you want to get not just a drum plugin but an entire drum production studio, then Addictive Drums by XLN Audio is for you.

XLN Audio is a reasonably well-known music software company based in Stockholm, Sweden. These guys are trying to provide their customers with plugins and products that will inspire music creation. If we take a look at XLN Audio’s assortment, we’ll find such hits as Addictive Keys, Addictive FX, different MIDI packs, and all that kind of stuff.

As for Addictive Drums 2, the creators made sure that this plugin has high-quality drum samples. That’s why they recorded the real ones, played by professionals in world-class studios. In general, with this software, we will be able to apply ready-made drum grooves and experiment with the sound, thanks to the built-in effects.

Addictive Drums 2 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

You will have a separate mixer at your disposal where you can balance drum kit parts, room, overheads, and more. In addition, you can apply compression, EQ, saturation, noise gate, and anything else you can imagine.

Addictive Drums 2 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

In addition to all this, choose a variety of presets. XLN Audio has taken care to give you separate collections for specific genres, including rock and metal.

Addictive Drums 2 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Otherworldly Kicks and Snares
    If you’re not happy with the sound of one part of the drum kit, you can always experiment by mixing it with another. For example, choose one voluminous kick and add to it another that has more punch. The result is a wholly new and unique sound.
  • Take Snapshots
    You can make A-B comparisons thanks to the Snapshot feature. Select the parts of the drum set you want, snap them into slot 1, then others into slot 2, and so on. Eventually, switch between slots and listen to which sound is perfect for your mix.
  • Complete Output Control
    Besides the fact that Addictive Drums 2 already has everything you need for a finished drum sound, you can go further to tweak it however you like. For example, you can send specific drum kit parts as separate outputs to any track in your DAW and apply your favorite plugins.
  • Customize any Beat
    We know that most often, you can influence the velocity in the DAW itself. But Addictive Drums 2 allows you to work on this directly in the plugin. You can affect the beat strength and the randomization to make it sound as natural as possible.
  • Use Your E-Drums
    You can compose songs or have fun in Addictive Drums 2 using your electronic drums. The plugin has a mapping feature that helps you sync the individual parts of your drum kit with the samples in the plugin. Just click the Learn button and select the drum and sample you want.
Is Addictive Drums 2 still worth buying in 2020?


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.


Several drum plugins are already considered an industry standard. The fact is that Addictive Drums 2 from XLN Audio can serve you as an excellent alternative to other well-known software. You will have everything you need to provide a mix-ready drum sound or change it however you want. The plugin uses actual recorded drum samples, so the sound quality here is appropriate. This whole virtual studio can surprise you.

2. Toonrack EZ Drummer 2 (Drums 2)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Ease of use and excellent sound quality simultaneously – that’s how we can describe this famous EZDrummer plugin from Toontrack.

Toontrack needs no introduction, as this Swedish company is the flagship manufacturer of sample libraries for music production. Their plugins have already become an industry standard if you need to quickly create a song demo at home or borrow quality drum sounds for a finished song.

Even though the last version of EZDrummer was released back in 2014, this software is still in demand among songwriters. And this is not strange because it was created to remove the technical barriers between users and creativity. The main emphasis here is to create a drum part as quickly as possible.

However, let us remind you that if you want more advanced drum software from Toontrack, you should take a look at Superior Drummer 3. With it, you’ll be able to influence more nuances as far as sound production is concerned. But still, let’s go back and break down the main features of EZDrummer 2.

Toonrack EZ Drummer - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Look for Your Grooves
    The Search Tab will give you a quick and easy way to search for drum grooves you have previously installed. You can sort them all using Genre, Power Hand, Sign, Type, and Play Style filters.
  • “Tap2Find” function
    Use your mouse or midi controller to tap the approximate rhythm on the virtual drum kit. After a few seconds, EZDrummer will provide you with all the similar grooves it has in its library. It will even show you a percentage of how much it repeats your performance. Great, isn’t it?
  • Innovative Song Creator
    If you don’t want to put together your song structure manually, the Song Creator feature can help. You drop in the desired MIDI track, and the plugin will divide it into individual song pieces structured by Intro, Verse, Chorus, etc. That way, you can have EZDrummer create an entire song for you.
  • Edit Play Style Feature
    This feature will help you customize your groove to your liking. For example, you can change the leading instrument, add opening hits, change the velocity, or even change the complexity of the grooves with the Amount knob. In addition, you can add additional parts of the drum kit here that were not previously present in the selected MIDI groove.
  • Built Custom Kits
    In EZDrummer 2, you can create your custom drum kits from the vast selection of drums in the installed Expansion MIDI Library. You can even influence their volume and tuning manually.


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.


With EZDrummer, you can write a song in 5 minutes, which is the main advantage of this plugin. In addition to that, you get excellent sound quality and a massive library of grooves from almost all musical genres, including rock, punk, and indie. That’s why this software has remained one of the favorites among musicians for seven years.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

3. Ample Sound – Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry (Electric Guitar)

More Info & Price

With the Ample Guitar VC plugin from Ample Sound, you get a great-sounding electric guitar in the form of a virtual instrument.

Perhaps you have always dreamed of owning a Gibson SG Vintage 61 electric guitar, but circumstances have not yet worked out to make it a reality. Don’t worry – you can get this instrument in plugin form. That’s what the Chinese company Ample Sound has taken care of, which has already released a vast amount of top-notch software.

The Ample Guitar VC plugin is relatively new, as it was released in 2020. It’s got a great sample library suitable for vintage rock’n’roll from the ’70s and ’80s. In general, there are sounds from neck and bridge pickups, amp and cabinet emulation, and other stuff that will help you make music quickly and easily.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Strummer mode helps you compose guitar patterns and tune your articulation. You can customize the rhythm as you like.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Compose riffs in Riffer mode. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to make your performance as realistic as possible.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Ample Guitar VC has an excellent cabinet emulation section. You can easily influence the character of your sound – whether it will be crunchy or more aggressive.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

You won’t need to apply an equalizer outside of the plugin – the 8-band EQ will be right there. Influence the frequency spectrum however you like.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Load tablature into the plugin or export your own. It is another beautiful feature of Ample Guitar VC.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Play Any Way You Want
    Ample Sound has worked on an intense sampling. It means that you get every possible articulation out of this virtual guitar. There’s Hammer On & Pull Off, Natural Harmonic, Sustain, Slide in & out, Legato Slide, and of course Palm Mute.
  • Double Feature
    If you record guitars, you know the technique where one part goes into the left channel, and the same part goes into the right channel. It is called doubling. With the plugin, we can do the same thing, only without the need to record double. Just turn this feature on and tune it out to get a massive stereo guitar sound.
  • Use the Capo
    Using a capodaster has never been so easy. Just twist the knob and move the capo around the fingerboard where you want it. You’ll immediately notice the difference between the positions because it sounds very realistic.
  • Amp Sim
    You will be able to influence the sound dramatically because you will have the emulation of guitar amps at your disposal. In total, you get six models, such as Lead 800 (Marshall JCM800), Metal Double (Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier), Jazz 120 (Roland JC120), Metal Treble (Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier), 57 Delight (Fender 57 Deluxe), and 65 Twang (Fender 65 Twin Reverb).
  • Different Cabs
    The Ample Guitar VC plugin lets you experiment with different cabinets, like 1×12, 2×12, 4×12. Not many people know, but the cabinet radically affects your guitar tone because it shapes the final frequency spectrum. Also, you’ll have the ability to change microphones by moving them around the speakers.
Ample Sound | Ample Guitar Vintage Cherry | Demo & Review


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, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.


Ample Guitar VC is another excellent plugin in the Ample Sound collection. With it, you can get that old-school guitar tone that many generations of rock music lovers grew up with. To be more precise, this software will open up possibilities to use sound similar to AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and many other legendary bands. You will have all the options you need to make it as authentic as possible.

4. Ample Sound – Ample Guitar Stratocaster (Electric Guitar 2)

More Info & Price

The sound of the legendary Fender Stratocaster, that’s what you’ll get with the following plugin from Ample Sound – the Ample Guitar SC.

Strat’s role in the history of rock music is evident. This guitar has become a symbol of the genre. And that’s because it was used by legendary guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Yngwie Malmsteen, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jeff Beck, and many others. The genre was born and shaped with this guitar.

It’s kind of a blessing that we can now get the tone of this legendary guitar in the form of a virtual instrument. And Ample Sound took care to make this one as accurate as possible. For example, we will have access to several sound pickupsMiddle + Bridge (Funk), Neck + Middle, Neck, and Bridge. The whole library of samples will take almost 10 GB.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Stratocaster - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Articulate as You Like
    As with other Ample Sound plugins, the articulation possibilities here are enormous. You can play with Sustain, Palm Mute, different variants of Legato and Slides. All of these features will be displayed on your MIDI controller or keyboard.
  • Make Your Sound Grainy
    You will have a unique opportunity to influence the graininess of the guitar tone. For example, make the attack more expressive or apply random humanization.
  • Built-In Amp System
    Ample Sound has a variety of guitar amp options for you to choose from. All models are available here, just like in the previous Ample Guitar VC plugin. With them, you can get an aggressive distortion or bluesy crunchit all depends on the type of the particular amp.
  • Shape Your tone With Cabs & Mics
    Switch between different types of guitar cabinet emulations to affect the guitar tone. There are options with different sizes and numbers of speakers. In addition, you’ll be able to play with mics, including options like the SM57, MD421, U87, and C414.
  • Hundreds of Presets
    You’ll have access to several hundred variations of ready-made settings. They are all divided into genres like Pop, Rock, RnB, Blues, and more. At the same time, each preset comes with a riff, so you can immediately hear the peculiarities of the selected sound.


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, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.


Ample Guitar Stratocaster is probably the most versatile plugin in the Ample Sound guitar line. While their other products are more genre-specific, you can achieve the most different results with this one. There’s a library of samples from different pickups that give you all kinds of possibilities. Plus, you can influence the sound in any way you want with amps, cabs, and mics.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)

5. Ample Sound – Ample Guitar Telecaster (Electric Guitar 3)

More Info & Price

An equally wonderful plugin from Ample Sound that brings you the sound of a Fender Telecaster is the Ample Guitar TC.

It’s no secret that the Telecaster is another legendary guitar model used in many genres from pop to rock, punk rock, indie, metal, and more. These instruments are known for their quick response and tight attack. On the other hand, these guitars are pretty limited in their sonic capabilities. Nevertheless, we can find thousands of cases where the Tele is best suited for modern music genres and more old-school ones.

Ample Sound decided to capture the John English Masterbuilt model in its Ample Guitar TC plugin. The library here is quite massive, with a total of 7.5 gigabytes of samples. Apart from that, you will find all the features, like in other guitar plugins of the Chinese company. These are several playing modes, all sorts of effects, cabinets emulation, amplifiers, and much more.

Ample Sound - Ample Guitar Telecaster - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Bridge & Neck
    This plugin’s sample library includes two types of sounds – Bridge and Neck pickups. It means that you can switch between them depending on what kind of tone you want. The Bridge will make it brighter, and the Neck will make it rounder and more expansive.
  • Random Riff Generator
    All Ample Sound guitar plugins have a feature called Dice and are part of the Riffer play mode. Thanks to it, you can quickly create riffs as a random algorithm does.
  • Shaping Thanks to EQ
    Use the built-in 8-band EQ to affect the sound even more. You’ll have real-time visualization of the frequency spectrum and intuitive control. In addition, you can listen solo to a specific band.
  • Give it Some Spatiality
    You will have the 6-Tap Echo function at your disposal. Here you can affect the six aspects of the echo individually with volume, pan, and feedback settings.
  • Add Reverb to Taste
    Another trick with which you can enhance the sound of your virtual telecaster is everyone’s favorite reverb. You will have 3D visualization of the spectrum and options such as Hall, Large Hall, Studio, and Room.


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, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.


You should consider the Ample Guitar TC plugin if you need a quality virtual instrument based on the Fender Telecaster. Its creators have worked hard to reproduce as much as possible all the tonal features of this guitar. You can use both Bridge and Neck pickups and apply different effects to your sound.

Related Reading:

Top 6 Electric Guitar Plugins (Best PAID & FREE Picks)

6. IK Multimedia Modo Bass 2 (Bass Guitar)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Best Physical Modeling Plugins (Synths, Pianos, Strings & Effects)

Modo Bass 2 emulates bass guitar and is one of the most realistic-sounding bass virtual instruments. 

It has 22 different types of bass instruments that it physically models, ranging from modern J-Bass to Horn bass, covering bass sounds of different genres and styles with elastic strings, pickups, effects, and other physical construction. In addition, the well-designed audio engine creates an easy workflow and organic sounds, which makes the plugin sound just like a real bass instrument.

The expressions can be captured and edited using any MIDI instrument, with a tweakable playing style and physical mechanics. Hence, you can play, record, and program bass in different genres, ranging from rock, funk, RnB, jazz, classical, and more

Key Features:

  • Highly Customizable
    In the Play Style section, you can tweak everything about the instrument, from choosing the playing as pickup, slap, or finger to mixing a muted texture to it for more percussiveness, using a single knob. In addition, you can tweak the amount of slide and detach noise, turn the Open String on or off, and many more options for customizing the instrument.
  • Strings selection
    You can create a bass of four, five, or six strings and extend its range by drop-tuning it. You can also select the lifetime and gauge of the bass strings, the material and build they’re made of, their length, and the distance between them and the fretboard. The complete string customization gives you an expansive physical model of the instrument that you can tweak to have complete sonic control over the sound.
  • Expressive playing
    The MIDI control section allows you to re-assign key switches or MIDI controls to automate and record artistic performance changes during playing, like playing style, phrasing, etc.
  • Alterable Micing & Pickups
    You can choose bass pickups from 32 different choices, and you also get active or passive electronic piezo pickups, along with dedicated rooms & adjustable mic positions on the two acoustic double basses.


For Mac, Modo Bass 2 requires a minimum of Intel® Core™ 2 Duo or Apple M1, 4 GB of RAM (8 GB suggested), macOS 10.13 or later, and is available in AU, VSt 2/3, and AAX formats. For Windows, it demands Intel® Core™ 2 Duo or AMD Athlon™ 64 X2, 4 GB of RAM (8 GB suggested), and Windows® 10 or later. In addition, requires an ASIO-compatible sound card and is available as VST 2/3 and AAX plugins. Lastly, it’s also available as a standalone instrument


The plugin is well-designed, taking music programming to the next level, with high-level articulation editing, playing styles, and editable physical behavior. Of course, that also makes things complex, but your control over your sounds is unbeatable. Depending on your creative workflow, you can use in-built patches and presets if you don’t want to spend time getting into the nitty gritty of sound design, as the presets are also well-made

Related Reading:

Top 9 Bass Guitar Plugins (And 2 Best Freebies)

7. Neural DSP Archetype: Cory Wong (Effects, Cabs & Sims)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

You can get from nice and crisp clean tones to biting overdrive with Neural DSP’s Archetype: Cory Wong plugin.

Finnish company Neural DSP constantly surprises its customers with different collaborations with famous artists. Their products have become real hits in the amp sim field. For example, you can see their incredible line of Archetype software, which includes Gojira, Adam Nolly, Tim Henson, and others.

Another nugget in this series is Archetype: Cory Wong, a collaboration with American guitarist and bassist, producer, and Grammy-nominated artist. This software incorporates his favorite equipment, including guitar amps, cabs, pedals, and effects. The plugin is unique and striking in its sound.

Neural DSP Archetype: Cory Wong - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

You get three amplifiers and three cabinets with the ability to switch between them. In addition, you will have microphone options that you can move around the speakers.

Neural DSP Archetype: Cory Wong - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Need to add grit to your guitar tone? You can do it with top-notch effects pedals.

Neural DSP Archetype: Cory Wong - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • D.I. Funk Console
    It is the name of the first amp of the plugin. With it, you get the classic “bubble tone,” as it is the sound of an electric guitar just connected to the console. However, you will be able to adjust Tube Saturation, EQ, High & Low Pass Filters.
  • Clean Machine
    The following amp will give you the cleanest guitar tone you can imagine. It will have a beautiful warmth in the upper frequencies. You will also be able to control the presence and other standard amp options.
  • The Amp Snob
    This third and final plugin amplifier is an emulation of a first-class tube amplifier. It can also give you a nice clean sound, but you will immediately hear that edge of breakup tone as soon as you crank the gain.
  • Use Your Wah
    What’s funk without a Was-wah pedal? The plugin also has this feature, and you can use it with the MIDI pedal. And if you don’t have one, you can use the auto-wah function.
  • Pre & Post Effects
    In the Pre-Effects section, you will have the opportunity to use four pedals: The Postal Service (Envelope Filter), The 4th Position Compressor, The Tuber (Classic tube overdrive), and The Big Rig Overdrive. In addition, at the end of your guitar chain, you can also use Delay-y-y and The Wash, a powerful reverb.


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.


Archetype: Cory Wong is a genuinely first-rate plugin that brings you the stunning sound of one of today’s guitar heroes. This software is perfect for fans of funk, indie, and other similar subgenres of rock music. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to experiment with your sound, thanks to various guitar amp emulations and the implementation of effects.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins (And 5 Best Free Simulators)

8. bx_console AMEK 9099 (Channel Strip)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

A virtual console like AMEK 9099’s bx_console is a good idea if you are serious about music production.

In the pre-digital era, consoles were the central heart of the studio, as engineers used them to both record and mix tracks. These days they are used less and less, as DAWs have taken over the primary role. But still, virtual analogs of consoles are used as plugins. They give you complete control over individual tracks, as they accommodate several functions at once, such as EQ, compression, limiting, saturation, and all that sort of thing.

The German company Brainworx has worked to digitize one of its most popular consoles, the 9098i designed by Rupert Neve. That’s how the fantastic bx_console AMEK 9099 plugin saw the world. You’ll find everything you need to give your mixes a quality sound.

bx_console AMEK 9099 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Musical EQ
    This plugin has its equalizer, which works in a “musical” way. It means that you get wide curves but the necessary precision to merge onto your mixes in the best possible way.
  • Take Care of Dynamics
    Your arsenal will include such fundamental tools as compressor, variable expander, limiter, and gate. In addition to all this, the sidechain function will give you even more possibilities.
  • Built-in Clipper
    This feature is indispensable for many professionals, especially when it comes to the mixing of drums. The AMEK 9099 plugin has its clipper to help you make your drums more “in your face.”
  • Tolerance Modeling Technology
    Thanks to this technology, the software emulates the analog console in the most accurate way possible. As a result, you get more width, depth, and dimension, exactly like with actual equipment.
  • Manageable Appearance
    A nice bonus of this plugin is that you can choose different themes of its appearance. There are three options: “Dark,” “Used,” and “New” modes.
Brainworx - bx_console AMEK 9099 - Walkthrough | Plugin Alliance


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.


The bx_console AMEK 9099 plugin by Brainworx is an excellent piece of software that will make you feel as if you are using an actual console. It’s practically an all-in-one thing with the most necessary tools for music production. All of them perfectly replicate analog equipment and help you sound more professional. Unless, of course, if you know how to do so.

Related Reading:

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins (And 2 Best Free Plugins)

9. Scheps Omni Channel Strip (2)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Another brilliant channel strip plugin created in collaboration between Waves Audio and the genius Andrew Scheps is Scheps Omni Channel.

Andrew Scheps is one of the most famous mixers these days. His massive discography includes such artists as Jay Z, Adele, Metallica, and many others. In 2018, he introduced the Scheps Omni Channel plugin in partnership with one of the pioneers in digital music production software, the Israeli company Waves Audio.

Scheps Omni Channel has all the necessary processing tools like the gate, compression, EQ, saturation, and more. In addition, you can influence the sequence of the plugin sections and thereby affect the processing in different ways. This software will give you plenty of flexibility and quality results.

Scheps Omni Channel Strip - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Saturate Your Signal
    Add different colors of harmonic distortion for a more expressive sound. You will have three types of analog saturation at your disposal. It will be located in the Pre module of the plugin.
  • Parametric or Surgical EQ
    You can also choose whether you want a surgical or a parametric Equalizer. In general, the plugin has a 4-band equalizer that will musically affect your sound.
  • Compression Module
    A great feature of the Scheps Omni Channel is that you can use three different compressorsVCA, FET, and OPT. Also, thanks to the quick switch between them, you can compare their sound.
  • Eliminate Hissing Sounds
    With Scheps Omni Channel, you don’t need to apply a separate De-Esser, because it will already be in your plugin. It is a very nice bonus that will allow you to work on eliminating sibilants quickly.
  • Built-In Noise Gate
    Another great feature is the built-in Gate module. You will have all the standard settings, as well as the ability to maintain a noise floor.


The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.


Many features in just one plugin – that’s how we can briefly describe Scheps Omni Channel from Waves Audio. It is full of indispensable features and those that are most often not found as part of a single software. In particular, we are referring to Saturator and De-Esser. We believe that this plugin can become indispensable for your everyday work.

10. SSL E-Channel (Channel Strip 3)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Perhaps the most popular channel strip plugin these days is the SSL E-Channel from Waves Audio.

Solid State Logic is a legendary console company that has helped to mix tons of musical masterpieces. Waves Audio decided to make a channel strip plugin based on the 4000-series console, which led to the appearance of the SSL E-Channel.

But let’s not forget that there is another similar plugin called SSL G-Channel. The difference is that E-Channel gives you a big console sound, while G-Channel brings a distinctive midrange punch ideal for guitars and vocals.

Still, speaking of SSL E-Channel, this software will also give you all the necessary components for mixing. It is an EQ, compressor, and noise gate in one plugin.

SSL E-Channel - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Filter Your Signal
    On top of the plugin, you will see two hi and low-pass filter knobs. They will be indispensable to remove unwanted frequencies from both sides of your spectrum.
  • Parametric EQ
    You will have a four-band parametric equalizer at your disposal. Just twist until you get the sound you want. There are also Bell buttons, which means that your bends will not be in the form of shelves, but bells.
  • Control Your Dynamics
    The dynamics section of the plugin includes an expander/gate and a soft-knee compressor/limiter. In addition, you can set them to work before or after your EQ.
  • No Need Make-Up
    The plugin has no Make-Up Gain knob in the compressor. And that’s because it is automatically adjusted here. It is all to give you a steady output level.
The SSL E Channel: How I Use It To Make Everything Sound Better


The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.14.6 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.


Great sound, many possibilities, and at the same time ease of use are, in our opinion, the main factors that made Wave Audio’s SSL E-Channel plugin very popular among musicians and producers. With it, you will have total control over the equalization and dynamics of your signal. In some cases, that’s all you’ll need for your work.

11. IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 (Amp Sim & and Guitar Gear Modeling)

More Info & Price

Or Buy Here (Support Integraudio)

If you need access to a huge number of virtual guitar amps and cabinets, IK Multimedia’s AmpliTube 5 plugin is the way to go.

The guitar tone is often the foundation of any rock mix. Its character will largely depend on the type of sound of your electric guitars. Therefore, having a few amps in your arsenal is not a bad idea for any musician or producer. What if we told you that you could have an incredible number of them, as well as effects pedals and cabinets? That’s what the following plugin on our list will give you.

AmpliTube 5 is a kind of “hub” of guitar gear. You can select the amplifiers and pedals you want and even mix them simply by drag and drop. Some models have been developed in official partnership with world-famous brands. And the sound quality is sure to surprise you.

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Intuitive Interface
    Version 5 of AmpliTube offers you a completely new, intuitive interface divided into three main sections: Chain, Gear View and Gear Selector. Thanks to this, everything is at your fingertips. Simply select the desired pieces of equipment and insert them into the chain.
  • Different Chain Configurations
    You can choose different configurations of your guitar circuit—for example, Mono Chains with one pickup and one or two cabinets. Two-Way Chain gives you the ability to combine two amplifiers and two cabs. The same goes for the Three-Way Chain feature. On top of that, experiment with Parallel Stereo Chain as well.
  • Massive Collection of Gear
    The amount of gear in this plugin is awe-inspiring. You get everything you can dream of, like stomps, amps, cabinets, mics, and effects. If you already have experience with previous versions, you know that the latest plugin has even more units.
  • Choose Your Cab
    More than a hundred redone cabs and a brand new cabinet section are other features you get in AmpliTube 5. In addition, the developers have added a new Volumetric Impulse Response to the plugin, which uses powerful technology to give you the most realistic sounding cabinets.
  • A Separate Mixer
    You get a separate mixer where you can work on all your signal paths. For example, the faders for the room channels, cabinets, and microphones are displayed here. Also, here you can add your D.I. signal and decide how the final sound will be.


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.


AmpliTube 5 from IK Multimedia will be a true paradise for those who like to dig and experiment with guitar equipment. You can get all kinds of combinations and find your unique sound. The developers made sure that you have a quality sound and a massive arsenal for it.

12. Pulsar Audio 1178 (FET compressor)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

The 1178 FET compressor from Pulsar Audio can be indispensable to you because of its character and sound quality.

Using compressors is an essential part of music production because it affects the dynamics of your tracks, but it can also help change a specific character. The wonderful thing is that today we can use outstanding digital copies of analog equipment with extraordinary ease. The French company Pulsar Audio has taken care of this by creating the 1178 plugin.

This type of compressor is similar to its big brother, 1176, but unlike it, it has a cleaner sound and more versatile use. Thus, it is ideally suited for more modern music. In addition, it is worth noting that such mixing legends use 1178 as Nigel Godrich, Yvan Bing, Chris Lord-Alge, and Bob Clearmountain.

Pulsar Audio 1178 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Fast & Bright Character
    You can use 1178 to temper your naughty transients, both during mixing and recording. It will be helpful to crush a drum room or apply a more gentle dynamic contouring – it all depends on what settings you choose.
  • Full-Featured Sidechain EQ
    Sidechain is an excellent technique if you want to get more control over your signal compression. Thanks to the Sidechain EQ feature, the plugin will allow you to adjust how much gain reduction will be on kick and how much on the snare.
  • Accurate and Modern Metering Section
    You get a good-looking and up-to-date metering of how the compressor affects your signal. For example, RMS meters monitor the volume, Peak meters speakers, and Scrolling View to look at attack and release.
  • Add Saturation to a Taste
    It is a great feature that helps you enhance the expressiveness and character of your signal. In general, the plugin has four flavors of saturation: Clip, Warm, Triode, and Tape.
  • Apply it to Anything
    You can use this plugin for almost anything. But it is most suitable for vocals, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, and drum overheads. In addition, it may well work just as well for bus and master compression.
Pulsar 1178, the most versatile FET compressor!


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2.4/3, AU, and AAX Native formats.


The 1178 plugin from Pulsar Audio is an excellent FET compressor with great sound, unique features, and versatility of use. You will get an indispensable compressor that will ideally influence the dynamics of your tracks and give them some character. Another great thing about this plugin is the built-in saturation function.

Related Reading:

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 

13. Kazrog True Iron (Vari Mu Compressor)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

An excellent way to add warmth and width to your mixes is to use the True Iron plugin from Kazrog.

As we know, adding analog coloring at different stages in digital music production is a great way to get a great sound in the end. All because, over time, audio professionals realized that this harmonic distortion is excellent for music and makes it more pleasing to the ear.

You can achieve the same effect with the True Iron plugin by Kazrog, the company founded by California musician Shane McFee.

In essence, this software gives us the ability to apply the emulation of the six classic transformers used in analog equipment. You can apply them to individual tracks and your masters and get more intensity and character in your sound as a result.

Kazrog True Iron - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Different Voicing Options
    You will have a separate switch between the available voicings. In general, there are six: UTC O-12, Marinair LO1166/A, Haufe V178, Western Electric 111C, Malotki E4M – 4001B, and UTC 108 X. Listen to which character suits your mix or track best.
  • Increase Your Strength
    In the center of the plugin, you will see the central knob called Strength. With it, you will influence how much the effect affects your audio signal.
  • Crush the Signal
    Do you want the effect to be more extreme? The Crush control will help you do just that. It will give you a pleasant and fat transformer saturation. In addition, you can double it thanks to a separate button.
  • Blend it to a Taste
    The Mix knob gives you the ability to adjust the ratio of wet and dry signals. Thanks to this, you can apply parallel processing.
  • Low CPU Usage
    The developers of the plugin ensure that it does not eat a lot of RAM. Therefore, you don’t have to be afraid to use it on every track – it shouldn’t affect the performance of your computer.


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2.4/3, AU, and AAX Native formats.


True Iron from Kazrog will come in handy to give you an expressive sound. You can apply this plugin to almost any instrument and genre. But still, it can become indispensable just for rock music, providing you with more drive, starting from an almost imperceptible level and ending with extreme saturation.

Related Reading:

The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins (And 2 Best FREE Tools)

14. Tone Empire OptoRED (Optical Compressor)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Tone Empire’s OptoRED plugin brings you the excellent sound of a classic American compressor.

Tone Empire was founded by composer and music producer Gaurav Dayal, who has worked with Skrillex and Selena Gomez. It also included talented programmers, designers, and DSP engineers, which allowed these guys to create music software based on first-class analog equipment. For example, you can find great-sounding processors at a comparatively reasonable price.

One of Tone Empire’s creations is the OptoRED plugin based on the famous tube compressor. Besides the fact that it is perfectly modeled from its analog ancestor, this software has many advantages, which makes it quite remarkable. As for the character of the sound, it’s clean and won’t give you any unnecessary coloring.

Tone Empire OptoRED - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Built-In Filter
    It is a beautiful feature that you won’t find in many other compressors. It is a low pass filter in the form of a separate knob. Thanks to it, you can quickly get rid of unnecessary low information.
  • Use While Tracking
    You can safely use this compressor not only for mixing but also for recording tracks. The plugin will give you a low latency that will be perfect for this.
  • Get Wet or Dry
    The Wet/Dry Mix knob is ideal for adjusting the ratio of the effect to the original signal on your plugin. Use it for parallel compression techniques.
  • Versatile use
    Since this plugin does not give coloration, it is ideal for use on vocals and bass guitar. But besides that, you can also achieve great results on other instruments like percussion and drums, synths, and more.


The plugin is available for Windows 10 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST3, AU, and AAX formats.


Having an Opto-compressor in your arsenal is a pretty good solution if you are serious about music production. Tone Empire’s OptoRED is a good enough plugin to do your job in the best way possible. It will give you clean compression and a significant influence on the dynamics of your tracks. In addition, the developers have put in there enough features that will pleasantly surprise you.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins For Transparent Sound

15. Kush Audio Goldplate (Reverb)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

You’ll fall in love with Kush Audio’s Goldplate plugin because of its sound and exciting features.

You may know the founder of Kush Audio, Gregory Scott, as the man is quite popular on YouTube for his fantastic educational videos. In addition, his talent is even more noticeable when you look at both hardware and software he has had a hand in. One of them is the Goldplate plugin, which will give you a fantastic reverb effect and valuable features.

The interface of this plugin is quite simple – you can see the knobs and faders. But beyond that, it gives you silky smooth reverberation and even the ability to apply harmonic distortion.

Kush Audio Goldplate - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Squish Your Reverb
    The Goldplate plugin has a Squish knob that allows you to add your reverb movements and get an excellent structure as a result. Your reverb will work with a kind of delay in this case.
  • Add Some Drive to the Effect
    Drive knob will help you do this. So you can add sweet distortion with warm and rich harmonics to your effect.
  • From Steel to Gold
    You will also be able to change the material of your Plate thanks to a separate slider. By changing it, you’ll hear how the more muffled Steel turns into a richer, more present Gold.
  • Focus the Midrange
    High and Low Pass filters are also present in this plugin. Thanks to them, you can make your effect less noticeable in the mix.


The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher and macOS 10.13 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.


Kush Audio’s Goldplate is a great-sounding reverb that will please you with its simple but effective functionality. You will be able to add drive to this effect, change the material of the plate, make it almost noticeable or rich and obvious. Goldplate can add fantastic color to your instruments and make them sound unique.

Related Reading:

How To Mix With Reverb: How Much Reverb Is Too Much?

16. Techivation T-De-Esser Pro (De-Esser)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Use Techivation’s T-De-Esser Pro not only to clean up your audio but also to improve sound quality.

Techivation is a U.K.-based company made up of programmers, music producers, and engineers. There are not many products in their range, just three de-esser plugins. Nevertheless, this software is professionally made to give you the best results.

Speaking of de-essers, it’s one of the essential tools in music production. When we compress vocals, there are annoying upper frequencies that need to be softened. Besides, you can use such plugins to fight unnecessary information on cymbals or distorted electric guitars. T-De-Esser Pro is just the thing to help you do it.

Techivation T-De-Esser Pro - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Wide Frequency Range
    You can use T-De-Esser Pro in a reasonably wide frequency range. There are special buttons to help you find unwanted frequencies in some signal areas: Low-Hi, Mid-Hi, High, and Hi-End.
  • Dial Into Amount of De-Essing
    In the center of the plugin will be a special regulator Processing, through which you can manually adjust the threshold. Below, you will see Intensity, which sets the compression ratio and the Sharpness, Attack, and Release knobs.
  • In-Built Saturation
    Saturation is something you don’t often see in plugins like this. In T-De-Esser-Pro, you can saturate the de-essing frequency, which can also serve as a tool for de-essing because it will smoothen the sibilants.
  • Lookahead Your Sibilants
    This switch will help you go even further and have even more impact in eliminating hissing sounds. With it, you simply catch unwanted frequencies before they happen.
  • Mid/Side Mode
    Another helpful feature of this plugin is to switch between Mid and Side. Use it to influence the frequencies in the middle and on the sides separately.
The BEST De-esser? - Techivation T-De-Esser-Pro and Plus review


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.13 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST/3, AU, and AAX formats.


If you want a De-Esser with lots of features and settings, T-De-Esser Pro is what you need. It will be something beyond the usual plugin like this. You’ll be able to saturate, scrupulously find unwanted frequencies or influence them before they happen. It’s a great thing to have in your arsenal if you care about sound quality.

Related Reading:

Top 7 De-Esser Plugins (And 4 Best Free Alternatives)

17. Brainworx bx_2098 EQ (Equalizer)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

A powerful equalizer that will help you achieve the best mixes and masters is bx_2098 EQ by Brainworx.

Sometimes we need a surgical EQ, sometimes with coloring, and sometimes an advanced equalizer to help us dive as deep as possible into the frequency spectrum to refine it. bx_2098 EQ is just one of those plugins. It was modeled after the Amek 9098 EQanalog equipment developed by Neve. But the point is that Brainworx worked on adding even more valuable features to their software.

Brainworx created bx_2098 EQ to meet the needs of today’s producers. You’ll have everything in your arsenal for complete control of the frequency spectrumfilters, shelves, working on the mids and sides, as well as the ability to isolate frequencies to better focus on them.

Brainworx bx_2098 EQ - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Mid/Side Manipulation
    The plugin will allow you to implement the Mid/Side technique, which is popular with many mastering engineers. You’ll be able to work separately on the frequencies in the middle and on the sides to provide some width and punch to your music.
  • Get Some Stereo Width
    You no longer need to use another plugin for Stereo Width because bx_2098 EQ has a unique knob for that. Just experiment with it to find the perfect spot
  • Control Your Distortion
    bx_2098 also has the THD parameter as a separate knob. It helps you to adjust the amount of controlled distortion and achieve results like on actual hardware.
  • Mono Maker
    Another superb plugin option that gives you the ability to exclude frequencies below the specific corner. Thanks to this, you can control the low end, which is very important for clean sound.


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.


A professional tool that will give you the ability to grind your mixes and masters. That’s how we can characterize the bx_2098 EQ from the German company Brainworx. Its main feature is the ability to work separately on the middle and sides. Knowing the right approach, you can significantly improve your sound with it.

Related Reading:

The 7 Best EQ Plugins For Mastering | Brainworx, IK Multimedia

18. SPL Vitalizer MK2-T (EQing, Compression & Stereo Expander)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Another equalizer that goes beyond the usual EQ is the fantastic Vitalizer MK2-T plugin by SPL.

SPL is a legendary German equipment manufacturer that has been in business since the early 1980s. Their own patented technologies managed to gain the trust of many producers and engineers. The company cooperated with Universal Audio and Plugin Alliance to convert some analog equipment to digital format. That’s how we managed to get the Vitalizer Mk2-T plugin.

You can use the Vitalizer MK2-T not only for both individual tracks and mastering. That’s because it’s not just an EQ but also a compressor, enhancer, and exciter that gives you the ability to make your instruments and the overall sound rich and exciting.

In addition to this particular plugin, we advise you to pay attention to another fantastic product from SPL – Passeq, one of the most powerful passive EQs. It will also provide you with a unique sound. But for now, let’s focus on the benefits of the Vitalizer MK2-T.

SPL Vitalizer MK2-T - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Glorified Exiter
    Note the Process knob. It amplifies all frequencies that are set on another knob on the side called Hi-Mid Tune. Experiment with them to get more power and clarity for your sound.
  • Make Your Sound Wider
    You will also have Stereo Expander control at your disposal. It is an attractive option to provide more stereo width to an individual track or the mix as a whole.
  • Low-End Control
    Control the amount of your low-end using a combination of Process and Bass knobs. On the last one, you can choose whether you want to hear the bass – Soft or Tight.
  • Enhance Highs Without Harshness and Sharpness
    The Vitalizer MK2-T can enhance high frequencies in a way that is pleasing to the ear. Use the two linked Intensity and LC-EQ knobs to do this. The latter one acts on the principle of Coil Filter EQ, which you can mostly find in some vintage analog gear.
  • Not to Mask, but to Improve
    It is the main feature of the plugin. It works on the opposite principle from any format compressionit does not remove unnecessary information but improves it.
The Secret to Crisp Highs & Deep Bass in EDM: SPL Vitalizer MK2-T


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.


The Vitalizer MK2-T is a fantastic plugin that will help you achieve a better sound when you have it in your arsenal. That’s because you can enhance the clarity of your frequency spectrum or amplify specific frequencies. It is ideal for use on many instruments (like a drum bus) or your stereo bus.

Related Reading:

7 Best Exciter Plugins For Mixing & Mastering

19. Klevgrand Brusfri 1.2 (Noise Reduction)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Eliminate unnecessary noise on almost any instrument with the Brusfri 1.2 plugin from Klevgrand.

Noise can be a real annoyance when mixing music. It may not seem so noticeable at first, but it will pop up immediately as soon as you need to compress the tracks. The Brusfri plugin from Swedish company Klevgrand can help us combat that thing.

Brusfri means “no noise” in Swedish, and that’s what this plugin does wonderfully. Its interface is super simple, so you don’t have to figure out how to get the job done. The plugin has just a few critical settings and a learn function. Let us tell you in more detail what is available there.

Klevgrand Brusfri 1.2 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Brusfri Can Listen
    It is probably the main feature of the plugin since it has the Learn function. Just select a quiet piece of audio where there is noise and press this button. Brusfri will learn the noise and just remove it. Easy.
  • Adjust the Noise Reduction
    On the left, you will see the plugin section labeled Attack, Threshold, and Release. These settings are similar to the standard ones in the compressor, but you can tell the plugin how to work more precisely.
  • Tonality Section
    Dive into the plugin’s tonality section, which is on the right side. There you will see three knobs that allow you to adjust Smooth, SC HPF, and Treble. In addition, you will have the ability to set the Gain and Mix level, which will determine how much reduction is present in your signal.


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.


The Brusfri plugin would be ideal for recording both voice and musical instruments. It can do its job ideally, even after processing a noisy audio signal. The Learn function helps you quickly identify and get rid of the noise. And if a little does leak out, you can influence it with the advanced settings.

Related Reading:

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins (And 3 Best Free Tools)

20. FabFilter Pro G (Noise Gate)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

The Pro G is a beautiful noise gate from FabFilter that will surprise you with efficiency and the ability to introduce creative solutions.

The main difference between the noise reducer and the noise gate is that the latter removes noise not during the signal itself but only in its intervals. Therefore, these things are just as crucial for quality music production. For example, to eliminate the noise of electric guitars or the leaks of other drums on snare or kick tracks. The famous company FabFilter created a fantastic noise gate, which is versatile in its use.

The Pro G plugin has everything you could imagine. It is a gate/expander that includes beautiful animated metering and design, tuned algorithms, channel linking, side-chain option, and much more. It will serve you well, both for recording tracks and directly during mixing. Let’s take a look at its main features.

FabFilter Pro G - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Ultra Flexibility
    With the Pro G, you get unusually flexible routing. You can work in any mode you want – stereo, mono, or Mid/Side processing.  And if you open the expert mode, you can also select the external side chain input.
  • All Possible Settings
    You will have all the settings you need to adjust the Pro G as accurately as possible. There is a knee, hold time controls, and adjustable range. In addition, you can switch between modes that are best suited for individual instruments. That’s vocal, clean, guitar, classical or upward.
  • Clear and precise metering
    The plugin has a spotless and accessible interface with all the necessary metrics. Here you will find a real-time level display, smart input/output level, and others. All this will help you better understand the operation of the noise gate.
  • FabFilter Goodies
    As with the other plugins from FabFilter, you get a lot of perks. In particular, this is a valuable help file, SSE optimization, MIDI Learn, perfectly tuned knobs, and much more.
Introduction to FabFilter Pro-G expander/gate


The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher (both 32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.12 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.


FabFilter has managed to win over many people with its excellent Pro Q equalizer, but as we see, the Pro G is not an exception here either. It is a mighty noise gate and expander, in which you will find a lot of valuable features. There are almost all kinds of settings to give you the highest quality results possible. Plus, the friendly interface will make you want to use this plugin all the time.

Related Reading:

Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)

6 Best Free Plugins For Rock 2023

1. MT Power Drum Kit 2 (Drums 1)

More Info & Download

Tight and nice acoustic drums entirely for free – is the MT Power Drum Kit 2 plugin from Manda Audio.

Having a virtual drum kit if you’re doing music production is an excellent idea. And the good news is that you can try one for free. The German company Manda Audio has taken care of that and decided to provide you with such a plugin.  Its advantage is that it has a pretty realistic sound and is perfect for rock, metal, and pop music.

MT Power Drum Kit 2 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

You get a pretty extensive set of drum kit parts, which is especially lovely. Since there’s also china and bell. Besides, you can adjust the balance of all of this in the built-in mixer.

MT Power Drum Kit 2 - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Pre-Processed Samples
    All drum samples here are pre-processed with EQ and compressor. So you won’t have any problem getting those drums through the mix. If you want even more control over the dynamics, you can experiment with the Compr button on each track in the mixer.
  • In-Built Mixer
    It is just a great feature of these virtual drums, as you will have complete freedom in balancing them against each other. In addition to the usual faders, you can also change the panorama, turn off unnecessary parts of the kit, tune the gain, or check individual instruments in solo mode.
  • Extensive Groove Library
    It’s hard to believe, but you also get a pretty extensive library of grooves with the plugin. There are hundreds of sorted rhythms so that you can make entire songs out of them.
  • Use the Composer Feature
    In your groove window, you will find a small Composer section. There you can quickly stack drum grooves by drag-and-drop. Other popular and paid plugins have the same feature. Isn’t it great?
  • Set the Mapping
    You can fully customize your MIDI mapping yourself. That is, which key of your keyboard will trigger a specific part of the kit. You can also play and compose the songs in real-time by synchronizing the plugin with the electronic drums.


The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher, macOS 10.5 or higher, and Linux Wine with VST bridge. It comes in VST and AU formats.


Kudos to the German developers for making the MT Power Drum Kit 2 plugin completely free. It’s worth noting that it’s not new, as it was available about ten years ago. But despite that, its sound quality is quite good. If you want to try to practice with a virtual drum instrument but don’t want to invest in it yetyou can safely try this software. In addition, it is quite suitable for creating song demos and has a vast number of valuable features.

2. Steven Slate Drums 5.5 FREE Version (Drums 2)

More Info & Download

Premium drum sampler without any investment – it’s possible with Steven Slate Drums 5.5 FREE Version plugin.

Steven Slate has already become a cult figure in music production with his beautiful products. His Slate Digital company produces virtual recording studios, microphone systems, and premium plugins with excellent sound quality. One such software is Steven Slate Drums, and you can get its free version.

There’s practically no catch. This free version is fully functional and will never expire. The only nuance is that in it, compared to the paid version, you only get one virtual drum kit called SSD 5 Deluxe 2. But that’s okay because it already has excellent sound quality. Plus, you get a few presets for a variety of sounds.

Steven Slate Drums 5.5 FREE Version - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Edit Your Drum Kit Parts
    You can edit each instrument of your drum kit. For example, the snare has three microphone positions: Top, Btm, and Rng. Plus, you can adjust the level of each of them and output to the individual channels of your DAW. In addition, you can set the articulation of each drum.
  • Dynamics Control
    The plugin also provides a function for adjusting the dynamics of your drums. You will see it in the upper right corner. In addition, there is ADSR control and pitch tuning of individual parts of the drum kit.
  • Plugin’s Own Mixer
    Dial into a mixer if you need to adjust the balance between the drum kit pieces. You will have control over volume, panorama, as well as the possibility of 16 mono and 16 stereo outputs.
  • Upload External Samples
    The wonderful thing about the free version of the Steven Slate Drums 5.5 plugin is that you can load and trigger your drum samples. It will be possible in a separate section called Samples.
  • Grooves & Presets
    You get a pretty extensive library of jazz, pop, RnB, and rock grooves. Just drag the desired rhythm to your track in the DAW. Also, apply three different presets that will change your overall sound. They are called Dry’n Tight, Edition, and Hugo.
Get Steven Slate Drums 5.5 FREE (SSD 5.5 FREE)


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.


Steven Slate Drums 5.5 FREE Version will give you a premium drum sound and enough options to customize it to your mix. There are three fantastic presets and plenty of ready-made grooves so you can compose songs quickly. The very sound of this drum kit is great for both rock music and pop.

3. Spitfire Audio LABS Drums (Drums 3)

More Info & Download

Spitfire Audio’s super minimalistic LABS drum plugin can enchant you with its character and sound quality.

Spitfire is a well-known British company based in London that produces high-quality virtual instruments and sample libraries in cooperation with renowned composers, engineers, and musicians. A few years ago, they released a free series of software instruments called LABS. It includes strings, orchestral, bass guitar, organic textures, and of course, drums.

As for LABS Drums, these drum samples were recorded at a studio in London by drummer Oliver Waton and engineer Stanley Gabriel. Moreover, they used top-of-the-range mics, which you can hear by the sound quality.  In the end, Spitfire created probably one of the simplest plugins you’ll ever see in your life. It works directly in your DAW and only has a couple of controls.

Spitfire Audio LABS Drums - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Stadium Reverb
    The big knob in the center of the plugin is the reverb. You can easily adjust the amount of this effect on the drums. If you turn it up, you get a huge stadium sound.
  • Control the Volume
    The slider to the left controls the volume. Therefore, you can adjust it not only in the DAW but also in the plugin itself.
  • Velocity Slider
    Next to the volume slider, a second one is responsible for the number of velocity levels. In the low position, your drums will sound soft, and in the high position, they will sound with the most impact.


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.10 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2/3, AU, and AAX formats.


LABS Drums by Spitfire Audio is a straightforward plugin that will quickly bring you quality acoustic drum sounds. You don’t need to understand the settings or get used to the interface – everything is very straightforward here. The main highlight of the plugin is a very cool-sounding reverb, which can come in handy in some mixes.

4. Ample Bass P Lite II

More Info & Download

Ample Bass P Lite II is an excellent plugin with good sound that you don’t have to pay money for.

The Chinese company Ample Sound has given you an incredible opportunity to try a virtual bass instrument for free. It is based on the legendary Fender Precision Bass guitar and captures all the sound characteristics of this instrument as accurately as possible. You can use this bass both for demo versions of your songs and finished compositions.

Ample Sound is always very detailed in sampling when they create their virtual instruments. And Ample Bass P Lite II is no exception. All in all, it includes 443 samples, which together weigh 450 megabytes. Although, in this plugin, you will not find any amplifiers and cabinets emulation section. But that’s okay because Ample Bass P Lite II will still give you a good sound.

Ample Bass P Lite II - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Rich Fingering Noise
    Thanks to quality sampling, you get a virtual instrument with a rich fingering noise. It is one of the main nuances that will bring you a realistic sound.
  • Play Any Way You Like
    All the most essential articulations for playing the bass guitar are available here. For example, you can use Hammer On & Pull Off, Sustain, as well as Accents.
  • Suitable for Different Genres
    This bass is perfect for genres like rock, blues, and indie. But since it is an emulation of the Fender Precision Bass, it can also be helpful for pop and country music since this bass guitar is prevalent for different genres.
  • Handy for Tab Users
    If you don’t want to spend a long time typing the bass MIDI part, but you have the tablature of the song you want, everything will be easy for you. You can load it into the plugin, and it will play the whole bass line.


Ample Bass P Lite ii - Free Bass VST Plugin


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, AAX formats, and as a standalone host.


The Ample Bass P Lite II plugin will give you a pretty realistic and rich sound. And it’s just incredible, even though it’s completely free. It has all the essential articulations and playing settings. You’ll have to fiddle around a bit more to mix it right, and you’ll get a full-fledged bass guitar in the mix.

5. ML Sound Lab Amped Roots Free (Amp Sim 1)

More Info & Download

A complete working high-gain amp sim entirely for free – is the following plugin on our list called Amped Roots by ML Sound Lab.

ML Sound Lab is one of the top amp sim plugin developers based in Finland. If you love guitar sound production, you can find many exciting things, from their emulations of the world’s most famous amplifiers to fantastic IR packs. The nice thing is that ML Sound Lab decided to give you one of their products for free. And it is one of the Amped Roots plugin amps.

This plugin was created in collaboration with YouTuber Ryan “Fluff” Bruce and included 4 of his guitar heads. As a freebie is the first one on the list, it emulates the EVH 5150. It has a great powerful sound and enough settings to get you the tone you want.

ML Sound Lab Amped Roots Free - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • High-Gain Right Out the Box
    This guitar head has no clean soundyou get heavy high-gain distortion right away. But even so, you can twist the plugin’s knobs and bring it closer to the tone you have in your head. There’s an equalizer, Gain, Master, Input, and Output settings.
  • Go Even Further
    A nice bonus of the plugin is a virtual pedalboard. There you will see four pedals, such as Noise Gate, Drive, Delay, and Reverb. Use Drive if you want to make your lows tighter.
  • With Cab or Without
    The plugin has a built-in cabinet emulation, which is pretty good. But if you don’t like it, you can load your own IR into the software. Or disable it to use a third-party plugin with cab impulses.
  • Be Punky or Djenty
    You can play around with the plugin presets to hear which tone works best for you. In general, there are 8: Punk Rock, Dad Rock, Alternative Rock, Thrash Metal, Nu Metal, Metal Core, Djent Kid, and Fluff’s Preset.


The plugin is available for Windows and macOS. It comes in VST3, AU, AAX (Mac only) formats, and as a standalone host.


If you want to try a high-gain amp sim plugin without any investmentAmped Roots Free might be a fantastic option for you. It has extraordinary sound quality, a built-in IR loader, pedalboard, and other settings. It’s great for punk rock, alternative, metal, and different genres.

6. NaLex Ninja (Amp Sim 2)

More Info & Download

Amp sim plugin Ninja by NaLex will be a real find for fans of free guitar software.

NaLex is widely known as a developer of completely free amp sim plugins. On his Blogspot page, you can find many emulations of famous guitar heads and links to download them. One of them is Ninja, which is a modern, high-gain amp.

Remember that this is only an emulation of a guitar head. It means that you will need to use some additional plugins yourself to achieve the finished guitar tone. Namely, to insert into the guitar circuit a noise gate plugin and an IR loader. Sure, you can listen to Ninja sound as it is, but it won’t sound suitable for sure.

NaLex Ninja - Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (Hard, Indie, Blues & Punk Rock) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Two-Channel Head
    It’s a two-channel guitar head. Therefore, you have a switch between Clean and Drive. And that’s great because you won’t be limited to just one distorted sound.
  • All That a Real Head Has
    You will see all the necessary settings, just like a typical guitar head. Especially as far as the equalizer is concerned. There is Bass, Middle, Treble, and Presence. So, you can easily adjust your guitar tone.
  • Power Amp Knob
    A nice bonus of the plugin is the presence of the Power Amp knob. You can use it to add saturation to your guitar sound as if you were warming up your amplifier’s real tubes.
  • You Don’t Need Any Overdrive
    In the plugin release, NaLex pointed out that it is his development, which does not need an overdrive. It means that the sound will be tight in the lower frequencies, and you won’t need to warm it up with something like a tube screamer.
FREE Metal Guitar Tone 2020 - This is too good to be free.


The plugin is available for Windows XP or higher and macOS 10.5 or higher, both 32 and 64-bit. It comes in VST/3, and AU formats.


If you want a tight and powerful high-gain sound for your guitar for free, NaLex’s Ninja plugin will be great for you. True, you’ll have to fiddle around a bit by adding a few additional plugins to get your guitar tone ready. Nevertheless, the plugin will give you a good sound that you can use in your rock mixes.


OverLoud TH-U (Amp Sim Collection)

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

We round out our list with a beautiful bonus plugin with dozens of different amps, cabinets, and effects – the TH-U from OverLoud.

The option to choose an incredible amount of different guitar riffs can be a real treasure trove for you. Because it always gives you creative freedom and the opportunity to experiment. So, we decided to include another plugin TH-U from the Italian company Over Loud, in our list.

TH-U is another guitar hub that will give you the ability to get a fully finished guitar sound. It includes a total of 239 different models. In particular, guitar amps, cabinets, mics, effects pedals, and studio units. But that’s not all. You can even capture the sound of your physical rig.

Key Features:

  • Form Your Guitar Chain Easily
    In the main window of the plugin, you can easily shape your guitar chain. Select the units you want and drag and drop them where you want them, just as you would do in real life.
  • Huge Amount of Units
    The developers assure that this is the plugin with the most significant number of guitar units available. For example, it has 92 guitar and bass amp models, 52 cabinets, 77 high-quality effects, and 18 microphones.
  • Capture the Sound of Entire Rig
    It’s hard to believe, but with OverLoud technology, you can capture the response of an entire rig, including amplifier, cabinet, mics, mic preamps, and even the sound of the room. You’ll be able to reproduce every nuance of your tone.
  • Tweak Your Amp
    The plugin has a Tweak Amp panel that allows you to influence the sound of any amplifier. For example, you can change the pre and power amp tube models and adjust the voltages.
  • Pretty Versatile
    Thanks to a lot of features, you can use this plugin for any genre you want. In addition, it has a virtual bass rig, so you won’t be limited to just using it for electric guitar.


The plugin is available for Windows Vista or higher (both 32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.


The TH-U plugin will be a guitar rig lovers’ paradise. It contains everything you’ll ever need, from amps to microphones. An excellent bonus will be the ability to influence the amplifier tubes and thus experiment with the coloring of the sound. Also, capturing the sound of an entire guitar rig is what makes this software stand out.

How Did Rock Music Start?

The roots of rock music go back to the 1940s in the United States. At that time, the two most popular genres were country and blues. With the advent of electric guitars, the influence of jazz and folk, they formed something new with the sound of overdriven guitars and a relatively static drum beat. Soon this genre was called Rock’n’Roll.

What Are The Basics Of Rock Music?

We can distinguish several basics in rock music. First, there is the use of the electric guitar. In general, it is still the most crucial attribute of this genre. In addition, we can name acoustic drums and electric bass, which make up the rhythm section and often complement each other. And of course, what is rock music without vocals, which can be both calm and on edge.

Why Is Rock So Popular?

The most important thing is that rock music is always full of energy thanks to its instrumental component. It is often associated with protest, rebellion, and in general, something that is avant-garde. That’s why it’s so popular with teenagers who are going through emotional turmoil.

Still, over time, rock music has evolved into something more than just “protest.” It’s an art and a whole way of life, which is what makes it so popular.

What Makes Punk Unique?

Punk rock took shape before the mid-1870s in Great Britain, the United States, and Australia. At that time, this musical and cultural phenomenon resisted the pomp of mainstream rock. Therefore, its main features were political and nihilistic lyrics, aggression, epatage, and DIY ideology.

Musically, punk rock is much simpler than traditional rock music. It uses a fast tempo, simple accompaniment, and an uncomplicated song structure. Regardless, the genre is particularly energetic and beautiful.

How To Produce Rock Music?

Producing rock music is pretty easy these days. Of course, if you have specific knowledge and skills for that. The fact is that with the development of digital technology, music production has become much more accessible. In simple words, you can plug your electric guitar into an audio interface in your home, load an amp sim plugin, and create a song.

Even if you don’t have a real guitar, you can use a virtual instrument. The same goes for drums and bass. But recording instruments is one thing, and full production, which includes mixing and mastering, is something else entirely.

In this article, we’ll show you the best plugins you can use for both recording instruments and mixing and mastering them. And it will be useful for both beginner musicians and experienced producers.


As you can see, in this article, we have collected almost all the best plugins that will help you create rock music, whether you are a beginner or even an experienced producer. You need to decide what you need for your work or creativity. But how do you make the right decision? Let us give you a few hints.

First, decide on a budget and whether you need an all-in-one solution or if one thing is enough for you. It’s also worth understanding what is missing in your music production – whether it should be an instrument or whether you need to improve your arsenal of plugins with an effect plugin, equalizer, or compressor.

For those who need virtual drums, we can recommend plugin #2 EZDrummer from Toontrack. But the thing is that this software will shake your wallet a bit. So if you want to try some plugins out, you can use number 2 from our list of free plugins – it’s Steven Slate Drums 5.5 FREE.

If you need a quality amp sim guitar plugin, definitely pay attention to the premium software number 7 – Archetype: Cory Wong by Neural DSP. For all-in-one lovers, we recommend #11 AmpliTube 5. And with number 5 of the free Amped Roots list, you can play without any investment.

Speaking of processing software, the choice of our editorial board is the Scheps Omni Channel Strip plugin number 9, which will surprise you with its functionality. We also advise paying attention to the beautiful compressor #12 – 1178 from Pulsar Audio and #15 – Kush Audio Goldplate Reverb.

Let us also remind you that plugins are only creative tools. In most cases, it depends not on the software but on you. Use your ears, instincts, and you will succeed in the music industry. Good luck!

Related Topic:

Today, we will talk about the 11 plugins that we believe are best for metal music in 2023.

The digital revolution took place in the second half of the 90s when all the physical equipment began to translate into plugins and virtual tools. Now we’ve reached a point where we have almost everything we need at our disposal: guitar amp emulations, effects, virtual electric guitars, bass guitars, sample libraries, and so on. And the best part is that it’s all still going strong.

But how not get lost in all this diversity? That’s why we have prepared for you an overview of the best plugins that are now available. With them, you can experiment with sounds and copy known tones just for fun. But the best part is that with these plugins, you can easily create metal music in the digital realm with high-quality results.

The 11 Best Plugins For Metal Music 2023

1. Ample Sound – Ample Metal Hellrazer

More Info & Price

The following plugin in our list is an absolute monster in the form of a MIDI instrument that is perfect for Modern Metal guitar riffing. That’s how you can characterize the Ample Sound – it’s Ample Metal Hellrazer.

It is an almost 6 GB sampled library with tons of features and options based on the Schecter Hellraiser 9-string guitar. Many guitarists know this famous USA brand as one of the top electric guitar manufacturers in the world.

The most famous artists using Schecter’s instruments are Disturbed, Avenged Sevenfold, The Cure, Papa Roach, Seether, Prince, Stone Temple Pilots, Nevermore, and Black Label Society.

Many musicians may be skeptical when it comes to using electric guitars as MIDI instruments. Like, why do it with the variety of Amp Sims and cab IRs that are now available on the market? But the point is that this plugin can really surprise you with the sound quality and how accurately it conveys the instrument’s sounds. 

Ample Metal Hellrazer provides #C, #F, B, E, A, D, G, B, E tuning. It can chugs low, making it ideal for metal genres such as Metalcore, Progressive Metal, and Djent. Besides, there is an emulation of guitar amps and cabinetswhich will give you a ready sound. But let’s break it all down in order.

Ample Sound - Ample Metal Hellrazer Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Play Styles
    The plugin gives you all possible styles of play that you will need to create metal music includes sustain, palm mute, hammer on and pull off, tapping, legato slide, slide in and out, pop, legato at random length, and pitch & poly. You also can adjust the nuances of the playing technique through articulation parameters. In general, you can create rhythm, solos, and even clean guitar parts, thanks to the plugin. Speaking of technology, here are Poly Legato and Slide SmootherMultiple Capo Logics, and Grainy – which dodges the grain of the attack and gives the sound a casual humanization.
  • AI Generator
    AI generator is a new option in Ample Metal Hellrazer. It’s pretty simple to use: choose the key, how many notes you want to be played, and choose an arpeggio or riff. In a blink, the system generates the tune you want. Of course, it may be a little far from what you have in mind. But that’s okay because then you can make your adjustments to the melody and get the best possible part. This feature is ideal for quickly creating riffs and melodies.
  • FX
    Built-in AMP System is another feature that makes the plugin great. There are six classic amp modelsMetal Double (based on the legendary Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier), Metal Treble (Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier), Lead 800 (Marshall JCM800), Jazz 120 (Roland JC120), 65 Twang (Fender 65 Twin Reverb) and 57 Delight (Fender 57 Deluxe). Cabinet section includes 7 items: 1×12 57D, 2×12 65T, 2×12 120, 4×12 60A, 4×12 60B, 4×12 Ro and 4×12 Ri. You also get 8-band EQ with intuitive control of frequency response, 2-Line Compressor, 6-Tap Echo, and IR Reverb with Room, Studio, Hall, and Larger Hall options.

Character & Sound:

You can change the character of the sound in the plugin based on the variety of amps and cabs emulation. For example, with the Metal Double amp, you get the most aggressive Modern Metal toneJazz 120, 65 Twang, and 57 Delight will be suitable for clean tones.

But considering that we initially had a 9-string guitar, the answer is obvious – distorted metal sounds are the most optimal option here.

Ample Metal Hellrazer | Demo & Review | Free Giveaway!


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats, and as a Standalone host.


Ample Metal Hellrazer is the perfect plugin for getting both rhythm and solo modern metal guitar tones in MIDI conditions. The sampling quality here is excellent that you can hardly distinguish the sound from a real person playing a real instrument.

Now let’s try to answer the question, “who could benefit from this library?”. First of all, guitar players who don’t have access to a guitar but want to write a riff. It can also be used by vocalists and drummers who are more familiar with MIDI than with guitar. AI generator will do all the work for them and help create new song ideas.

2. Solemn Tones – The Loki Bass 2

More Info & Price

The Loki Bass 2 plugin from Solemn Tones is a real find for those who want to get a modern metal bass’s beefy and massive sound.

Solemn Tones is a company based in Vilvoorde, Belgium, that has already won over metal fans with a wide range of plugins. Their product range includes everything you need for music production: clippers, reverbs, saturators, compressors, MIDI electric guitars and basses, and drum groove libraries.

As for Loki Bass 2, this MIDI plugin is based on samples of the famous Dingwall NG2 Bass, a signature model of Adam Nolly from Periphery. And this already says a lot because the band is one of the founders of Djent. They made a massive impact on the development of modern metal in general.

Solemn Tones created samples of the plugin through a world-class recording chain. You can hear the premium Darkglass B7K and Parallax from Neural DSP on the finished presets. However, Loki Bass 2 will give you a pretty large selection of mix-ready tones as well as the ability to tweak them to your liking.

Also, there is an opportunity to use all the drop tunings. So it is wonderfully useful both for musicians who want to quickly write bass parts and those who do not have the opportunity to get a physical instrument at all. Let’s take a closer look at what advantages the Loki Bass 2 has.

Solemn Tones - The Loki Bass 2 Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Play Styles
    Loki Bass 2 gives you access to 20 different articulations. The plugin includes slapthumb slapfinger pluckmuted plucks, and left-handed taps. In addition, there’s fingerpickinghammer-onspull-offsslidesslides from-to notesbendsharmonicsmutes – anything you can ask for a bass. The settings variation is also quite extensive. For example, bend intensitydecay intensitytune. Also, here you can adjust string noiseleft-hand noiseand mute noise, all included with a “Human Error” switcher. It would add some realism to your bass track. The Force Slap knob will give you various mods for slapping.
  • Tonal Options
    You can choose between clean DI or five mix-ready tones. But if these options don’t suit you either, you can still customize the sound to your taste. Settings include lowmidhigh, and air knobsOverall output along with Enforce – this knob will add a clean low-end to your sound to give you more consistency for mixing.
  • Standalone plugin
    Many libraries need separate sample players, like Kontakt. Loki Bass 2 doesn’t need any 3rd party software. The developers emphasize that you can only buy the plugin and use it right away in your DAW, making quality metal bass tones at ease.

Character & Sound:

The sound of the Loki Bass 2 will vary depending on the preset you choose. A clean DI will only give you the rawest possible sound of the Dingwall NG2 samples, which still does not prevent it from being very clear and pronounced.

At the same time, you can get an overdrive, but the transparent tone with the LokiGlass 1 and LokiGlass 2 presets. And the Grindmeister preset will help you get the dirtiest, most powerful sound, which at the same time will cut through the mix.

ALL OF THE LOW END! Solemn Tones Loki Bass 2!


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.


Loki Bass 2 is a versatile, easy-to-use plugin that gives you quality metal bass guitar tones. It has all the necessary styles of play and articulation and the ability to configure various options to your liking. Another advantage of the plugin is the five mix-ready tones and a clean DI if you want to process the bass sound in your way.

The plugin will be just the perfect solution for modern metal music production such as Prog Metal, Deathcore, Metalcore, Djent, and many others.

3. Ample Sound – Ample Metal Ray5

More Info & Price

Want the classic Nu Metal bass sound in midi format? Stop here because this is the Ample Metal Ray5 from Ample Sound. This plugin will give you everything you need for a powerful low-end.

Ample Sound is a Chinese company known for its wide selection of string midi instruments. They offer more than two dozen plugins that include everything from folk instruments to heavy guitars and basses. 

Ample Metal Ray5 is a sample library of the famous Stingray 5 bass guitar from Earnie Ball Music Man, released in 2009. This bass has its characteristic aggressive tone and volume, which makes it perfect for metal music.

The characteristics of the virtual instrument, which have been ideally sampled, are good, but the emulation section of the amplifiers and cabinets add even more consistency to the plugin. It gives you the ability to get a “mix-ready” sound for your songs at ease.

Plus, it has all the necessary play articulation adjustments you need to create a classic Nu Metal song. What defines precisely the sound of a Nu Metal bass guitar, you may ask. Of course, it is a low tuning and the slap technique. And this all includes the Ample Metal Ray5. Let’s take a closer look at its characteristics.

Ample Sound - Ample Metal Ray5 Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Play Style
    Ample Metal Ray5 lets you choose your bass tuning from standard E to low A. That is, it has all the necessary techniques for Nu Metal. The plugin library, which is 3.3 GB, includes seven velocity layers that trigger slapped notes, soft fingerpick, hard fingerpick, medium slap, hard slap, and hard pop. There are settings such as sustain, palm mute, hammer-on and pull-off, legato slide, and more regarding articulation. The plugin also has a Pick Attack Accentuation feature that can configure to simulate the sound of a pick, creating more variation and realism. Multiple Capo Logics will give you a variety of automatic fingering logics for different types of performance, such as solo, chorus, and so on.
  • FX
    You are provided with built-in amplifier and cabinet emulations to get the most realistic “production-ready” bass guitar sound. Besides, you can choose between Vintage-15Bass-500Bass-Pro amp models. The range of cabinets includes 1×15, 2×10, 4×10, 8×10 Four cabinets. Each cabinet has four mic options: U87, C414, MD421, and SM57 and room mics. If you want to dive more into sound manipulation, you have an 8-bend EQ, 2-Line Compressor, 6-Tap Echo, and IR Reverb in your arsenal of instruments. The latter provides types such as Room, Studio, Hall, and Larger Hall and 3D visualization of the IR spectrum.
  • Presets
    Presets are another cool feature of the plugin. Let’s say you want to create a cover of a famous nu Metal song from the 90s or early 2000s, but you don’t have time to research the characteristics of what the musicians used back then to get the proper tone. Ample Sound has created blanks for you based on the type of songs you know. For example, there is an emulation of the sound of the legendary For Whom The Bells Tolls by Metallica. But still, most of the presets are related explicitly to Nu Metal. There are Did My Time, Divine, Freak on a Leash, Got The Life by Korn. And for Limp Bizkit fans, the developers prepared presets like Hot Dog, My Generation, My Way.

Character & Sound:

Ample Metal Ray5 has a voluminous, powerful, and aggressive bass guitar sound. Characteristic is a peculiar rattle in the sound of the strings. It’s like they are just bouncing and very loose. But this is what makes the sound of this MIDI instrument suitable for Nu Metal.


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats, and as a Standalone host.


Ample Sound’s Ample Metal Ray5 plugin is the perfect solution if you want a virtual bass guitar with the characteristic sound of the 90s and early 2000s. The company took care to sample the sounds of the famous Stingray 5 bass guitar from Music Man Earnie Ball as accurately as possible. So, you can get the sound just from your midi keyboard.

The versatility of using the plugin is definitely added by the vast number of settings that apply to both the articulation and the sound production in general. And more presets based on well-known songs will make your cover creation process fast, exciting, and as accurate as possible.

4. United Plugins – QuickBass

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Let’s say you have a bass line already recorded, and you want to process it as quickly as possible with all the necessary tools for musical production. In that case, QuickBass is the perfect solution for you.

QuickBass is a relatively new product from United Plugins, whose creators include JMG SoundFireSonicSounDevice Digital, and MeldaProduction. It is the second plugin in a series from the Instant Audio Team that gives you a one-stop shop for specific instruments.

The fact is that QuickBass here is not just a pretty name. Thanks to its interface and features, the plugin is an all-in-one solution for working as fast as possible.

The design can seem a little embarrassing: it’s in the form of a guitar body with all the settings on it. All that is just hitting you in the face. But that’s what makes the plugin very fast to use if you understand the settings well and know what you want for your bass part.

In this case, you will not be confused by the number of tabs and will have everything at your fingertips. It also means that you do not need to use different plugins. In addition, the plugin also includes a fairly extensive number of presets. And the CPU usage of the QuickBass is very low.

United Plugins QuickBass Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • All-in-one solution
    The first thing that catches your eye on the main panel of the plugin is the EQ section with Low Cut, Bass, Deswamp, Mids, Highs, and High Cut knobs. Here, you can tune everything manually and choose presets based on your playing style – Finger, Slap, Millerize, and Pick. Next, we see a compressor with Vari Mu, Opto, and Fet mixing capabilities. There is also the Sub Bass enhance knobSaturation, and Doubler.
  • Presets
    According to the creators of the plug-in, it was developed by bass players for bass players. So, in addition to being able to configure everything yourself, you can use presets. In general, there are three folders of presets: in the root folder, you will find those standard ones like Deep PickDouble FingerMarch of the PicksRock PickSaturated Pick, and many others. But besides that, there are two other folders of presets by Colin Edwin from Porcupine Tree and the producer and composer Nick Bassett.
  • Intelligent sleep on silence
    Another advantage of the plugin is that it automatically detects when it is necessary to activate processes. It means that if there is nothing for the perform, it turns on the sleep mode. Therefore, the plugin will save the computer’s CPU for other processes. It would come in handy if your machine is a bit old and can’t boast high performance.

Character & Sound:

The character of the QuickBass plugin sound is very diverse. The extensive EQ and compressor settings can give the sound as many different colors as possible. The developers claim that the plugin is suitable for all genres, from Jazz to Death Metal. It is also ideal for almost any bass guitar. The main thing is to use a good quality DI signal.

Bass Tone Secrets | United Plugins QuickBass


The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher (both 32 and 64-bit) and macOS 10.10 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.


QuickBass by United Plugins is designed to help you get the job done faster. This plugin has plenty of tweaking options to help you shape your tone the way you like it. This all-in-one software can take your bass line, do EQ, compress it, and let it easily cut through the mix. All the variety of settings makes this plugin versatile for use in almost every genre, including metal.

5. Three-Body Technology – Heavier7Strings

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Heavier7Strings by Three-Body Technology is another guitar MIDI plugin that can come in handy for creating metal songs or demos. It’s all thanks to its powerful sound and a vast number of settings.

The plugin was released in 2017. The development itself was four years. This 7-string virtual instrument includes full effects rack, a library of patterns in all styles of metal. All in all, there were 10,000 samples recorded on quality equipment.

Heavier7Strings includes its sampler, so you don’t need any third-party players. This software also boasts a built-in DSP Engine called THRASH (Tonal/Harmonic Reconstruction and Shaping). It provides different tone adjusting functions that affect the guitar doubling, pitch modulation to give as much reality to the sound as possible.

Despite the plugin’s rather rugged design and character, you can use it to create guitar parts for metal, rock, and pop music. All thanks to the extensive library of patterns and sound variations. Also, one of the crucial things is that Heavier7Strings is equipped with a massive number of amplifier emulations, cabinets, and presets. Let’s take a closer look at it all.

Three-Body Technology - Heavier7Strings Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Play Styles
    In Heavier7Strings, you will find all the styles of play you need. Samples include Infinite sustainPalm-muteHammer-on & pull-offLegato slide in/outGlissPinch harmonicsTremoloPolyphonic legatoUp/down picking, and more. There’s also Strumming – deduce complete chords from part of composing notes. Overall, the plugin is loaded with 300 factory MIDI patterns. Sound styles include metalrock, and pop, along with non-rhythmic noise and ambient.
  • FX rack
    A fully equipped effects rack is probably the tremendous pride of the plugin, besides the number of recorded samples. This feature is most responsible for the finished guitar tone. Here you will find 31 effects like ScreamerEQ12AMPFlangerWahPing-Pong delay, etc. Also, there are 16 amp emulations from clean to high gain distortion and another 66 cabinet pulses. But that’s not all. The plugin also has 200 factory presets, along with a separate preset manager. By the way, you can create your own presets as well.
  • True doubling
    Let’s say you want to create a song with the classic guitar dubbing technique, where two identical rhythm parts are split into right and left channels. Heavier7Strings will allow you to get two individual parts that have particular random note delay and RR selection. It will let them sit well in the mix and give you a powerful stereo sound.

Character & Sound:

Since we are dealing with a 7-string MIDI guitar, the overall character of the sound is heavy and brutal. Moreover, among the amp emulations, we have such high gain monsters as Dual Rectifier, Peavey 6505, and Soldano SL100. But despite this, you can get a clean sound and use delay, reverb, chorus, and other effects.

However, despite many samples and settings, you can still hear in the sound of this plugin that it is a MIDI instrument. There is a specific robotic thing. But do not take this as a disadvantage. It can be perfect for industrial or electronic music, where you need a transparent and heavy electric guitar.

【Heavier7Strings】Official Demo song, Old Moon


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher (both 32 and 64-bit), and macOS 10.9 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.


Heavier7Strings will be a godsend for those who need the heavy sound of a 7-string guitar but don’t own a physical instrument. The amount of recorded samples and amps-cabs emulations here is just incredible. One gets the impression that the developers wanted to give this MIDI tool as much advantage as possible. That’s why it took them four years to develop it.

6. Ugritone KVLT Drums 2

More Info & Price  

Many producers and fans of heavy music complain that modern metal production in recent years has become very polished and even generic.

What if we told you that you could quickly get a raw, underground metal sound by making music at home? Ugritone KVLT Drums 2 is just the right plugin to bring that to your music.

Ugritone is a company created by two Finnish guys Ron D. Rock and Toni Kauko. They create plugins, virtual instruments, and sound packs for music producers at pretty affordable prices. Their goal is not to develop perfect-sounding software but to make it as exciting and new to customers as possible.

The assortment of drum samples and VST plugins on their website includes six items: the first and second versions of KVLT Drums and RIOT DrumsDieswitch Drums, and Northern Artillery Drums. Also, there are many drum MIDI packs of any style, such as Skate PunkGrindcoreDeathcoreMelodeathMetalcoreThrash MetalIndustrialProgressiveNu Metal, and many more.

The developers claim that KVLT Drums 2 is a drum sample library created to cover all 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s underground metal drum sounds. The samples have an unpolished beauty and a raw, natural sound. So this is what makes it an excellent alternative to the industry standard of drum samples libraries.

Ugritone KVLT Drums Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Sampler Engine
    The plugin features an advanced sample engine that includes many Round Robins and Velocity layersIt will give you the most realistic virtual drumming experience. The Ugritone Drums Plugin also makes use of modern scripts combined with dynamic sampling techniques. It means that you won’t get any robotic sound, but just the opposite – as close to the actual playing as possible. If we talk about sampling, it’s worth mentioning that it was recorded from drum kit pieces of Mapex, Ludwig, Sabian, Ziljdian, and Wuhan brands.
  • Interface & Mixing
    You will control settings such as Gain, Pan, and individual Microphone Levels of each part of the drum kit. The interface will allow you to do this both in groups or individually. With these features, you’ll be able to choose the perfect mics combination for you and adjust the overdrive levels, room, and effects channels. In addition, the plugin can mix the IR’s of different rooms. It also has built-in EQCompressorDelay, and Saturation control.
  • Kit Presets
    This feature comes in handy if you have no experience in crafting your drums sound in the box. Or if you just don’t have the time to do it. Ugritone has your back with a wide range of presets. Their names speak for themselves: MetalFinland2002, NorwegianChickenShack, Seattle1991, St.Ranger, Thrash1989, MysteriousSatan, etc.

Character & Sound:

Raw, underground, almost basement sound is the main thing of KVLT Drums 2. However, thanks to the built-in EQ, compressor, and saturator, you can polish the sound to your liking. All you have to do is dig into the settings and experiment with the sounds.



The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.9 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU and AAX formats.


You’ll fall in love with the KVLT Drums 2 in case you’re tired of the perfect modern sound of metal. Or if you’re just nostalgic for your basement rehearsal times. But let’s remember that DIY sound dictated the direction of many metal genres and is an integral part of the history of rock and metal music.

So to have such software in your arsenal will always be helpful, especially if you are a metal producer.

An even more pleasant bonus in products from Ugritone is their relatively low prices. Therefore, this software can afford novice musicians and producers. If you are looking for more advanced drum plugin, we would also recommend you to check Addictive Drums 2 by XLN Audio.

7. Audiority Klirrton Grindstein

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

If you are also tired of generic and boring guitar metal tone – Mr. Kristian Kohle and Audiority have prepared a Klirrton Grindstein plugin for you. It will be the dirtiest, most brutal, and sinister you’ve ever heard in your life.

Kristian Kohle is a well-known German metal producer and musician. A few years ago, he and Klirrton company developed the real physical Grindstein guitar preamp. It is a two-channel unit, where you can mix classic old-school Swedish HM2 tones and more modern ones.

However, later Kohle cooperated with the Italian plugin manufacturer Audiority to create a digital version of this preamp. All to make these sounds available to users who like the digital field and just those who can’t afford a physical copy.

The development of this software took a year and a half. All in all, it went through more than 50 revisions, which made it the most fantastic sounding.

This plugin can give you everything you need, from vintage Swedish Death metal, through Florida Death metal tones, all the variety of fuzz guitar tones, to something that sounds more modern. But still, it will be dirty and exciting.

And the best part is that it’s all in full digital format. By the way, the plugin is also equipped with many presets with names with a sense of humor, like Kohle Modern Grind, Kohle Very Swedish, Kohle Deadly Mids, Kohle Pure HM2, Kohle Dark Doomy Fuzz, etc.

Audiority Klirrton Grindstein Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

With the Grindstein plugin, you get a complete guitar rig. All you have to do is plug your guitar into your audio interface, and you’re good to go. The heart of the software is the preamp section. Next, you have Gate – it’s a digital emulation of the Clear Tone Schnauzer pedal.

It gives you the ability to get the signal quiet in between playing, regardless of the amount of distortion it can provide. It also has a volume booster in the Noise Gate.

In addition, the plugin has an EQ and a cabinet section. The latter has 7 IRs, which Kristian created with different cabinets and microphonesStill, you can disable the IR section and use your impulse responses. But Kohle claims that his ones will make you very happy anyway.

Audiority Klirrton Grindstein Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Grindstein preamp
    This section has a Mix knob in the middle that allows you to blend two channels. On the left side – the lower channel, which is called “the bottom shaker channel.” If you go to the right side, you will only hear the upper channel, the “chainsaw” based on a legendary Boss HM2 pedal. Also, we have here a Boost knob for both channels. And finally, we have a Master. One more cool feature here is the FX loopYou can send any signal into your Grindstein from another plugin in your DAW, and it will blend it with a Chainsaw channel.
  • EQ
    Kristian calls this section “most idiot-proof EQ you will ever see.” Here we have Chainsaw knob, Blade, which is more like a presence knob on a power amp and adjusts grindy highs of the tone. There is also a Dozer knob that controls low-endCleansing, and Scoop knobs, bringing you more to the 90’s metal tone. All of them go just in one direction, which means that you can only cut or boost. In addition to the names of the knobs, the design of the EQ is also quite evil. We can see here a butcher pig with a giant cleaver.
  • Cab section
    The seven IRs here give us everything we need for a brutal guitar tone of different variations. In the middle, you will see Modern gore, which is the most “normal” sounding. The more you go left or right, the more extreme your sound will become. Here we have Modern disgust, emphasizing the middle frequencies, a little bit of honky, but still aggressive. More gore gives us a very underground sound. Filth and slime are more direct and aggressive. Other impulses are called Bloodpath, Wolverine, and Northwards and provide more Swedish sound.

Character & Sound:

The main character of the plugin sounds tight yet dirty. In the same way, with the Grindstein, you can get a lot of tones: roomy, sludgy tones up to traditional death metal tones. You can play any metal with it in general. But it just will make it a little more gritty and less clean and dull. 

Audiority Klirrton Grindstein - In Depth Walkthrough


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, and AAX formats.


Klirrton Grindstein is an absolute monster, a brutal and dirty-sounding guitar plugin that will not leave the valid price of metal tones indifferent. It is definitely based on many years of experience of Kristian Kohle himself, a very talented metal producer who knows his stuff.

The plugin is simply stuffed with everything you could want for a massive high-gain guitar tone. You can either experiment and search for your sounds or use presets, and your sound will be as evil as possible but at the same time very musical and high quality.

8. Neural DSP – Archetype: Gojira

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

A collaboration between one of the leading amp sim companies and one of today’s top metal bands. What else could be better for those who need a quality heavy guitar tone? It is Archetype: Gojira by Neural DSP.

Neural DSP is a Finnish amp sim company founded in 2017. In recent years they have become one of the major players in these products on the market, providing software of very high sound quality.

Neural has become very popular thanks to their collaborations on plugins with artists like Adam Nolly (Periphery), Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders), Plini Roessler-Holgate, and Cory Wong. They also created other amp sims that immediately won the hearts of producers and guitarists – the Omega Ampworks Granophyre, the Fortin lineup, and more.

The release of the Archetype: Gojira plugin in early 2021 was a tangible furor, both among fans of this French metal band, musicians, and metal producers alike. This software got three amplifiers and three cabinets that you can combine

But the real trick is the effects that you can activate both at the beginning of the guitar chain and the end of it. The developers also made sure that the plugin could be used not only by those engaged in recording music. That’s why they provide it as a standalone version as well.

Neural DSP - Archetype: Gojira Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Amp section
    Among the number of amplifier emulations available, Clean is the firstIt was based on a vintage tube amplifier, both with clean tones and the ability to get a natural tube saturationSecond on the list is Rust, a crunch amp featuring one of the most significant gain sweeps Neural DSP has ever worked on. The last amp is the high gain Hot. It is the main one and will give you that most famous Gojira metal guitar tone.
  • Cabsim
    The cabinets emulation section of the Archetype: Gojira plugin, which includes three units, is the well-known Adam Nolly from Periphery. It contains seven virtual microphones, which can be easily placed on the speakers. In addition to the hundreds of IRsyou also can load your impulse responses.
  • FX
    Archetype: Gojira is equipped with Pitch Effects, including Wow, a MIDI-programmable pitch shifter pedal with three different modes, and Oct, a polyphonic Octaver pedal capable of adding two independent octaves. The Pre Effects section has an Overdrive pedal, Distortion, Phaser, and Chorus that you can adjust to your liking. There are also Time Effects with Delay, and Reverb, and a 9-band graphical EQ.

Character & Sound:

Gojira is known for its heavy riffs and massive sound, like a wall of sound crashing down on you. The plugin perfectly captures the whole character of the French metal band’s sound. But the developers assure that despite the possibility to copy the Gojira sound, you can also create your unique guitar tone in the software. Just dive into the settings and experiment with the sound.


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.


Archetype: Gojira will be an excellent find for those trying to reproduce the sound of a French band, as well as for those looking for their heavy tone. You’ll get access to three premium guitar amp emulations and extensive options in the cabinet section.

The “cherry on the cake” will add a wide selection of pre and post effects. Even more variety and fun will be added by the possibility of using the virtual Wow pedal with a guitar MIDI pedal and experiment with the sound in real-time.

9. IK Multimedia AmpliTube Metal

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

A collection of top-of-the-line virtual metal guitar gear with which you can get the sound of the industry standard. That’s exactly what is possible with AmpliTube Metal from IK Multimedia.

When we talk about IK Multimedia, it is impossible not to pay tribute to these guys’ contribution to the development of music production in the digital environment. The company was founded in 1996 in Modena, Italy, and was among the pioneers in the emulation of amplifiers, guitar effects pedals, and other equipment.

They were also the creators of the famous iRig, which allowed us to connect guitars to iPhones and iPads. Today, the company produces both physical and virtual musical equipment.

The first AmpliTube plugin was released back in 2002 and created a furor among musicians because it allowed you to get the sound of your amplifiers and cabinets right on your computer. Of course, the sound quality was far from what we have today.

Still, it was the hard road to perfection that IK Multimedia started. Now version 5 of the AmpliTube plugin is available, an extensive hub of all the necessary guitar equipment. AmpliTube’s Metal series is a true “metalhead guitarist’s dream.” 

It includes 13 effects pedals, five classic and modern amplifiers, five cabinets, and three reek effects. The creators claim that among them are rare Japanese originals, classic British and American essentials, including models based on the Electro-Harmonix, Digitech, BOSS, Randall, Peavey, and Mesa Boogie gear.

IK Multimedia AmpliTube Metal Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Amps & Cabs
    AmpliTube Metal includes Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier emulations – green and red channels. Also available here is the Metal Lead V model, which is based on the no less legendary Peavey 5150 guitar head. In addition, you can get pure metal mayhem thanks to the Randall Warhead 300 emulation. And fans of classic rock and metal will do Vintage Metal Lead, based on Marshall JMP100. All cabinets in the series are 4×12. Here you will find IRs from Fender, Mesa Boogie, Peavey, and Marshall.
  • Stomp Effects
    The collection of guitar effects pedals here is extensive. You get everything you need for a meta sound, such as an overdrive pedal in front of an amplifier. Also, there are four distortions, among them emulations of the legendary HM2 and Big Muff. You can also experiment with flangers, wah, and Wharmonator, based on Whammy by DigiTech. And the ten band graphic EQ will help you polish the frequency spectrum even more.
  • Presets
    If you don’t want to go to the trouble of building your guitar circuit, that’s no problem. IK Multimedia has prepared several presets for youwhich you can search by keywords and attributes. All thanks to the advanced built-in preset browser. You can also create and save your settings separately. And the Preset XChange service allows you to post and share the presets you’ve created with the community of AmpliTube users.

Character & Sound:

AmpliTube Metal gives you the ability to get both classic and modern guitar high gain tones. If you want to sound more 80’s, use Randall and Marshall head emulations. If you wish for the ’90s or more modern sound, using Mesa Boogie and 5150 heads will be the right option for you.

In general, despite the somewhat limited range of rigs, compared to the full AmpliTube capabilities, you can still get different options that will be ideal just for metal and rock.

Ola Englund - AmpliTube 4 and MESA/Boogie In-depth


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, and AAX formats.


With AmpliTube Metal from IK Multimedia, you can get everything you need for a high-gain guitar tone in one plugin. It’s a complete virtual guitar rig that includes amps, cabinets, and mics selection, as well as an ample selection of effects pedals. 

This collection will suit amateurs who want to play guitar with their computer and professional composers and producers.

10. Mercuriall – ReAxis

Buy Here (Trial Available)

During the incredible development in recent years, the creators of amp sim plugins have taken tube guitar heads and cabinets and programmable preamplifiers as their foundation. That’s how Mercuriall’s Reaxis was made.

This plugin is based on Mesa Boogie’s famous programmable preamp called Triaxis. At one time, it became a game-changer, as it made it possible to use all of Mesa’s heritage of guitar tones as a unit that easily fits into a rack. Among the musicians who have used this equipment are James Hetfield of Metallica and John Petrucci of Dream Theater.

Russian company Mercuriall has created some wonderful plugins that have not left musicians and producers indifferent in recent years. For example, you can find emulations of ENGL E530 preamp, Bogner Ecstasy 101B, Marshall tube amps, and others. In addition, Mercuriall provides some plugins for free, which is a great credit to them.

The ReAxis looks very similar to its physical Triaxis ancestor. The same digital EQ and selection of mods are highlighted in green, yellow, and red. There we have two clean channels, three with medium gain and three with high gain. In the center, we see a tab where we can visually select cabinet emulation and microphones. And in the tabs on the sides, we have the pre and post effects.

Mercuriall - ReAxis Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Pre FX
    The first in the chain of pre-effects is Noice Gate. Next, we see the Wah-Wah pedal, which is based on the Dunlop Crybaby 535. The last one is the overdrive. We choose between pedals based on Ibanez TS, Boss Super Overdrive, and Grid Slammer from Mesa Boogie.
  • Amp & Cab
    In this section of the plugin, you can choose between different cabinet models and speakersAll 4×12 cabinets are divided into Modern and Vintage types with speakers such as V30, T-75, G12M, and K1205You can experiment with sound even more by moving virtual microphones around the speakers. There’s also a power amp section where you can choose between 6l6 and EL34 tubes and thus influence the character of the tone.
  • Post FX
    The post effects section gives you control over Chorus, Reverb, and DelayChorus will provide you with the ability to use an excellent stereo widening effect and feel the spirit of 80’s rock. In Reverb, we have all the necessary settings: RoomChamberSpring and HallStadiumCaterpillar. The Delay has fewer settings such as Roomy Slapback, Echo Space, Huge and more.

Character & Sound:

Thanks to this plugin, we can get everything we love about the sound from Mesa/BoogieIt’s the growling, powerful metal sound with the scooped up midrange that we’ve known so well since the ’90s. In addition, the ReAxis mods allow us to experiment with less extreme, overdrive guitar tones that are great for rock and blues.


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats.


ReAxis by Mercuriall will be a perfect find for you if you’re obsessed with Mesa/Boogie gear. It is very compact and self-explanatory. But at the same time, it gives you a pretty large field for experimenting with your guitar tone. The sound of the plugin is also of high quality. ReAxis will suit fans of metal as well as other lighter genres.

11. Positive Grid – Bias FX 2 Pro

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Suppose you are constantly experimenting with sounds and want access to many virtual amps, cabinets, speakers, pedals, and rack effects. In that case, Positive Grid’s Bias FX 2 is the perfect solution for you. It’s a true All-In-One Guitar Powerhouse.

Positive Grid was a pioneer in amp sim software that you can use on your mobile devices. In addition to plugins, this Californian company, with satellites in Italy, Germany, and Taiwan, also produces physical hardware.

Trendy are its Bias FX products, which are a set of virtual guitar equipment with many possibilities. Bias FX 2, which came out a few years ago, has many new features, unlike its previous versions.

The plugin uses a new higher-resolution DSP engine with hundreds of improvements to deliver the ultimate responsive, detailed, and varied guitar tones. There’s also an incredible collection of amps and effects, where the whole guitar circuit is entirely at your disposal.

You can even experiment with the sound of different speakers. And the icing on the cake is the hyper-realistic Guitar Match feature.

Positive Grid - Bias FX 2 Pro Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Pedals
    Bias FX 2 has thousands of effects pedals. It has everything you could ever need: overdrives, delays, reverbs, noise gates, compressors, EQ, and much, much more. The cool thing is that you can expand foot pedals by downloading thousands of shared, custom foot pedals from ToneCloud, Positive Grid’s worldwide social network of players, engineers, and producers.
  • Guitar Match
    The second version of Bias FX Positive Grid introduced a brand new Guitar Matching TechnologyThe system analyzes your sound and suggests which guitars you can emulate. For example, it means that with a Fender Stratocaster, you can sound like a Gibson Les Paul. And it’s just unbelievable.
  • Speaker Selection
    Positive Grid has collaborated with Celestion, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of guitar speakers. It means that Bias FX 2 has a massive selection of World-Class Cabs. Their impulse responses (IRs) are the favorites of guitarists ranging from Pete Thorn and Scott Henderson to George Lynch.

Character & Sound:

With a massive selection of units, you can get almost any guitar tone from blues, jazz, and country to grindcore. Metal lovers will especially love the selection of high-gain guitar amps, which are plentiful here. There are emulations of Marshalls, Mesa Boogie, Peavey, and other famous monsters. So the field for experimentation is vast.

Positive Grid Bias FX 2 Review


The plugin is available for Windows 8 or higher (32 or 64-bit), and macOS 10.12 or higher. It comes in VST2, AU, AAX formats, and as a Standalone host.


A massive selection of features makes this one of the most versatile plugins. It is ideal for those who want to get their unique sound, unlike anything else. But beyond that, for those who want to try playing the world-famous guitar tones. It all depends on your goal and desire.

The 4 Best Free Plugins For Metal Music 2023

1. NaLex – Crunchman 3 Amp & Preamp

More Info & Download

NaLex plugins are the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about free guitar software. And it’s one of the best things you can find on the Internet without spending any money.

You can find NaLex Software plugins on the Blogspot page of the same name. You can download them for free. And if you want to thank the author – there are links for donations. They have more than a dozen plugins now, including guitar amp sims based on Mesa/Boogie, Diesel, etc.

It is important to note that the NaLex’s amp sim plugins only emulate the amp itself. That is, you have to build a complete guitar circuit yourself to make it work. You can start with any Noice Gate, then an overdrive pedal plugin (if you need an amp boost), then the NaLex plugin itself and IR loader after it.

It may be difficult for people who have no work experience in DAW, but it will be pretty easy for others. As for the Crunchman plugin alone, it is based on the legendary Friedman BE100 head. It is a 100-watt monster with a British basis in sound.

It was used by such bands as Alice in Chains, Pink, Bon Jovi, The Cult, and Foo Fighters.

NaLex Crunchman 3 Amp & Preamp Review - The 4 Best Free Plugins For Metal Music | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Channels
    The plugin has two channels – BE (Brown Eye) and HBE (Hairy Brown Eye)With BE, you get less gain and more crunch. And if you drive the gain knob down, you will get a cleaner sound. The HBE channel refers to the high gain. It will give us everything we need for a heavy and aggressive guitar metal tone.
  • Power Amp
    The virtual amplifier also has a Power Amp knobThe more you turn it up, the more you get the warm and saturated sound of a tube amp. The middle position will help you get a more articulate, crisp sound, ideal for fast riffs of modern metal.
  • EQ
    The EQ section of the plugin is the same as its physical prototype. Here we have Bass, Middle, Treble, and Presence. These knobs are pretty sensitive and have a good effect on the sound you want to achieve.

Character & Sound:

With Crunchman, you get everything that made his physical copy famous – an aggressive yet creamy and rich guitar distortion. It’s perfect for rock and grunge as well as more modern genres of metal.

Nalex Crunchman amp plugin (Free!) || How does it sound in a mix? || Trying both BE and HBE channel!


The plugin is available for Windows XP or higher (both 32 or 64 bit), and macOS 10.5 or higher (64-bit only). It comes in VST and AU formats.


Crunchman will be a good solution if you’re getting used to the world of amp sims and want to try something free. However, even though the plugin is free, it has a pretty good sound that you can easily use in your metal mixes. Just experiment with the settings and the guitar chain, add some good-sounding IRs, and you’re ready to go.

2. Mercuriall Audio MT-A Metal Area

More Info & Download

Many remember the legendary Boss Metal Zone pedal. It was one of the most affordable distortions and brought up more than one generation of metal guitarists. This sound is available in the form of the MT-A Metal Area plugin from Mercuriall entirely for free.

The MT-2 metal zone is one of Boss’ most popular pedals that was introduced in 1991. With its enormous mid and low frequencies and ultra-saturated sound, this stompbox can give you some of the most overdriven, insane distortion tones. With this, you can get a guitar tone suitable for both rhythm parts and solos.

You can download the MT-A Metal Area plugin from the Russian company Mercuriall entirely for free on their website. However, it is worth noting that this plugin can only provide you with a bare distorted sound of your guitar.

It means that to use the software for your mixes fully, you need to finish the guitar chain with your impulse response loader and noise gate.

Mercuriall Audio MT-A Metal Area Review - The 4 Best Free Plugins For Metal Music | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • EQ
    The plugin has virtually the same EQ as its physical prototype. Here we see treble, low, middle knob that boosts or cuts the frequencies, and another Mid freq knob that sets the frequency of the midrange knob from 200 Hz to 5 kHz. All these settings have a very similar effect on the sound as they would have on an actual Boss Metal Zone pedal.
  • Dist knob
    This knob, like the original pedal, is responsible for the amount of overdrive on your signal. The more you turn it to the right, the dirtier and more compressed the sound becomes. Perfect for the most brutal genres of music.
  • Presets
    In addition to the fact that the plugin is free, Mercuriall also decided to give you a couple of presets so that you do not waste time turning pedal knobs. There are such ready-made settings as Hard Rock, Over Drive, Heavy Metal, British Rock, Rock & Roll, Fuzz, Rock One, and Rock Two.

Character & Sound:

With MT-A Metal Area, you can get the nastiest guitar tones suitable for extreme subgenres of metal. But still, the plugin can give you less distorted tones for rock and alternative music as well. Just find the right balance with the Dist knob.

Mercuriall Metal Area MT-A Free Distortion Pedal || METAL DEMO


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.7 or higher. It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.


The MT-A Metal Area from Mercuriall would be perfect for nostalgia and those who want to remember the “sound of their youth” without reaching for a physical pedal.

But apart from that, the plugin can be safely used in metal production, especially for the heaviest subgenres. Just use the right cabinet impulses, and you’ll get from this virtual pedal all the best it can give you.

3. TSE BOD 3 Bass Overdrive

More Info & Download

Many bass players are familiar with Tech 21’s famous SansAmp preamp, which provides various tones for both stage and recording. But not many know that this preamp is also available as a small plugin for free. It is the BOD 3 Bass Overdrive by TSE.

This pedal was and is the best friend of many bassists. You can hear SansAmp tones on hundreds, if not thousands, of albumsAll because it can provide you with vintage tube tones, bright modern sounds, gnarly distortions, and everything in between.

SansAmp capabilities are now available in the form of digital software as well. All these thanks to TSE Audio’s company, which put a completely free version of the BOD 3 Bass Overdrive on their website.

This plug-in can be applied to already ready-made DI bass guitar parts, or you can record them with it enabled. The main advantage of this software is that you’ll get a bass tone that will cut through the mix with ease. In other words, this pedal is everything you need to get a finished bass guitar tone.

TSE BOD 3 Bass Overdrive Review - The 4 Best Free Plugins For Metal Music | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Easy to use
    The plugin interface is just an activation button, six knobs, an Input, and Output adjustment. You won’t find anything else here. But this is precisely the kind of simplicity you need to get the right bass guitar tone as quickly as possible without getting bogged down with many options.
  • Two-channel EQ
    The equalizer in the plugin consists of two knobs – you can only adjust the bass and treble. And that’s only what you need since it’s enough to add body to your bass parts or cut them more through the mix.
  • Blend
    The Blend knob will be helpful to adjust exactly how much of the signal from the virtual preamp will be used on your bass line. For example, you can mix a clean DI into your overdriven signal and thus adjust what ratio will be ideal for your mix.

Character & Sound:

With the BOD 3 Bass Overdrive, you can get a nice gritty rumbling distortion without any horrible fizz. It will be perfect for rock and metal. However, the possibilities don’t end there because, with this plugin, you can quickly get an expressive bass guitar sound for other genres like pop, indie, alternative, and others.

TSE BOD v3 - Best free bass amp sim VST plugin for metalheads?


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher, and macOS 10.8 or higher, both 32 and 64-bit. It comes in VST, VST2, AU, and AAX formats.


BOD 3 Bass Overdrive will be a real boon to amateur musicians and those involved in music production. Thanks to this free plugin, you will quickly get everything you need for a good bass metal tone.

That’s because you won’t have to spend a lot of time figuring out the settings but turn a few knobs to your liking. Moreover, it will be even easier if you have experience using a physical SansAmp preamp.

4. ML Sound Lab – Amped Roots Free

More Info & Download

When this plugin came out, it was hard to believe that you could free use such a quality guitar tone. But it turned out to be very real. Here is Amped Roots Free from ML Sound Lab.

ML Sound Lab, led by its creator Mikko, is a Finnish company that is one of the top producers of amp sim plugins. It already has more than a dozen different software based on some of the most popular guitar amplifiers.

The most popular products are the Amped ML5, Amped ML800, Amped Super Duper, Amped Dual, and Amped Flagship plugins. In addition, ML Sound Lab produces packages with excellent IR, both top cabinets and rare ones.

In 2020, the company collaborated with the famous American blogger Ryan “Fluff” Bruce and created an amp sim plugin based on four amps from his collection. First on the list is Fluff 5034 – the model, based on the EVH 5150, became completely free.

It provides a high gain guitar tone, perfect for modern metal chugs. In addition, the Fluff 5034 is equipped with a built-in IR and pedalboard.

ML Sound Lab - Amped Roots Free Review - The 4 Best Free Plugins For Metal Music | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Interface
    The interface of the plugin is simple and exactly like a guitar head. Here we have two controls Input and Output, Gain, Low, Mid, High, Presence, and Volume knobs. We also have FX and IR Switch. Creators say they wanted everyone to experience the amplifier’s simulation quality and Plug’n’Play type design. Therefore, precisely as with real amplifiers, users will not spend much time setting this up.
  • Presets
    If you don’t want to set up the amp sim yourself in any way, ML Sound Lab and Fluff have prepared you several presets for certain styles. On the list, you can find Dad Rock, Punk Rock, Alternative Rock, Thrash Metal, Nu Metal, Djent Kid, Metal Core, and Fluff’s Preset – almost anything that can satisfy a fan of both classic and modern metal.
  • Pedalboard
    Another cool feature of this free plugin is the presence of a Pedalboard. Here we can activate the Noise Gate and Drive – if you need to “warm-up” your head a bit, in the same analogy as they do with the physical equipment. There’s also Delay and Reverb, which allows you to experiment more and get even ambient sounds.

Character & Sound:

Amped Roots Free is perfect for both classic metal sounds and modern guitar tones. No overdrive – it’s a true high gain monster that helps you create powerful, juicy, and rich riffs.

Amped Roots | Free ML Sound Lab Amp Sim!


The plugin is available for Windows, and macOS. It comes in VST3, AU, AAX (mac only) formats, and as a Standalone host.


Thanks to the accessible version of ML Sound Lab’s Amped Roots plugin, you can fully experience all the incredible development that amp sims have now reached. You get a virtual high gain guitar head with built-in IR and can easily use it just for fun as well as in mixes. An extensive number of presets and a pedalboard will make the process even more enjoyable.


1. UJAM Virtual Drummer BRUTE

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

We couldn’t help mentioning this plugin, as it will be a real boon for those who want to get a powerful drum sound for metal very quickly. It is the Brute Virtual Drummer by Ujam.

Ujam is a German company that produces virtual instruments and effects plugins. They have enough plugins that have already gained confidence among musicians with their excellent quality, simplicity, and at the same time, versatility.

The company’s products are suitable for fans of electronic music and rock, metal, and less extreme genres. For example, they have software for beatmakers, virtual guitars, bass guitars, drums, groove libraries, and stuff like that.

Virtual Drummer Brute came out fairly recently – about a month ago. This plugin is suitable for hard-and-heavy music genres in loud, wild, edgy drum styles and cutting through the mix. It can give you all the drum sounds you need from early 90’s grunge to early noughties Nu Metal.

You get drum sets for five genres and six mix presets 31 playing styles, each with 23 phrases. With the plugin, you can program MIDI drums manually or use ready-made grooves separated by tempo, style, and categories like intro, verse, chorus, breakdowns, specials, and endings.

UJAM Virtual Drummer BRUTE Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Drum Kits
    You can choose between 6 drum kits based on different styles, which means they will cover a wide area of different aesthetics. The Dirty kit will be perfect for Punk rock. Prime will give you the broad, unleashed sound of the ’90s. And the Noble kit is designed if you need a vintage drum sound. The Tight one will also provide you mini snare and a deep but dry bass drum. And the Dark kit would be perfect for dirty but organic and natural at the same time underground drum sound.
  • Mix Presets
    You can apply a specific sound style to each drum kit, thanks to the Mix Preset section. Gentle will be polished and enjoyable, perfect for ballads and pop music. If you want a garage sound that is Pumping & cranked with lots of compression, the Slam preset will help achieve that. Bite stands for less bass, more midrange, and correspondingly aggression – suitable for fast punk rock. Also on the list are Crush, Bounce and Wide presets.
  • Amount & Smack faders
    Need to add more power to your drums? That’s where the Amount fader helps you. It controls the level of parallel compression and saturation. On the other hand, the Smack fader will give a maximum transient response and attack. As the developers say, it is a more organic alternative to using envelopers. For example, you have a ready-mix, but the sound of the drums is a bit drowned out by the guitars. The Smack fader will bring back balance and an organic sound.

Character & Sound:

The nature of the sound of this plugin is punchy and crisp. It’s perfect for both fast rock and slow metal. However, the developers claim that you can also get drum parts for aggressive electronic music if you play around with the settings.

Walkthrough | Virtual Drummer BRUTE


The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher, and macOS 10.11 or higher, both 64-bit only. It comes in VST, AU 2, and AAX formats.


Brute plugin can be helpful, both for amateurs and professional musicians and producers. Professionals recorded the drum samples of this software, so the sound quality here is relatively high. Therefore, you can create and both your demos and ready-made compositions.

The plugin is suitable for many genres of rock and metal, especially those that were popular in the 90s. So if you’re tired of the polished sounds of today – Brute is what you need.

2. Audio Assault – Hellbeast

More Info & Price

What if we told you that you could get a real aggressive, diabolical amp sim at a very affordable price? That’s exactly what the Hellbeast from Audio Assault is.

Audio Assault is a Mexican company that produces affordable amp sim plugins, effects, IR loaders, and packs. The software on their website is available at a lower price than the more significant players on the market. In general, they have plugins based on famous guitar heads such as EVH and Revv. It’s worth noting that the design of the software itself is pretty good.

As for Hellbeast, this is the second version of this plugin available from Audio Assault. This guitar head has three channels. The first one is high gain and is based on the famous Randall Satan amp. Crunchy channel based on the Fortin Natas amplifier – is the second one. 

And the third channel is just a clean one. The plugin has all the functionality you need to get the sound ready for your mixes. You can experiment with IRs, boost your tone, and add effects.

Audio Assault - Hellbeast Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Stomps
    In addition to the head, you have three stompboxes at your disposal, through which you can refine your tone. There is Noise GateBoost, which can push the lows and tops, and Drive. The last one acts similarly to the Tube Screamer, enhances the amp’s front end, gives it more saturation, and helps control the muddiness in the low end. It will be indispensable for use in more modern genres of metal.
  • Dual IR Loader
    One of the main features of the new plugin version is that the IR loader here is now double. You can use the default cabs here or your own and blend themThere is also a function of moving the microphone over the speaker in the loader. In addition – a high and low pass filter, a pan, and a level knob.
  • FX Rack
    A 9-bend graphic EQ is available in this section of the plugin. It will be an excellent tool to tailor the sound even more after the amp. In addition, there are Delay with mile-second settings, BPM sync, Feedback, Width, and Mix knobs. Also, you can add Reverb to your sound with size, decay, tone, pre-delay, and mix settings.

Character & Sound:

Hellbeast is very aggressive and perfect for the most extreme subgenres of metal. And it’s not strange, as it is based precisely on the high gain monsters. Plus, you can add even more evil to your guitar tone thanks to the Kill switch on the front of the head. It adds a boost to the upper mids, tightens up the sound, and adds extra aggression to it.

However, apart from that, you can get good crunchy sounds here – turn down the gain on the second channel a little bit. The clean channel is also available to you. So there’s a lot of room for experimentation and sound crafting.

Audio Assault - Hellbeast - In depth demo - metal


The plugin is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux, all 64-bit only. It comes in VST, VS3, AU, RTAS, and AAX formats.


Hellbeast would be a great solution if you want to try an amp sim plugin, but you’re not on a big budget to afford top-of-the-line plugins. Audio Assault has prepared everything you need for a complete guitar rig, along with Double IR Loader, effects, and more. In short, it’s decent software for its price.

This virtual guitar head will be the perfect solution for fans of the heaviest metal. But still, it has the versatility to achieve other guitar tones as well.

3. Audiority – Heavy Pedal mkII

More Info & Price (Trial Available)

Audiority’s Heavy Pedal mkII is another legendary guitar pedal in plugin form. Attention all fans of classic Swedish Death Metal, this software is based on the famous Boss HM-2.

Boss released the HM-2 distortion pedal in 1983. Even though it was not very popular in those years, it has become a target for many collectors. That’s because it was pretty affordable and defined the main sound of Scandinavian Black and Death Metal. Yes, it was the same sound that started to be called “chainsaw.”

Now you can get this sound in the Heavy Pedal mkII plugin from the Italian company Audiority at a very affordable price. This virtual pedal is straightforward to use and even more so for those who have experience with its physical copy.

It is worth noting that this software is only a distortion effect. It means that there are two ways to use it: the pedal in front of the clean or lead channels of your amp sim. A clean channel will give you a more normal distorted guitar tone. At the same time, a combination with a lead one will bring you precisely those chainsaw sound.

All that because the Heavy Pedal mkII will work in the same way as Tube Screamer does, as an extra boost for your tone. You will need some IR loader in your guitar chain as well.

Audiority - Heavy Pedal mkII Review - Top 11 Plugins For Metal Music 2021 (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects) | Integraudio.com

Key Features:

  • Interface
    The plugin interface is as simple as possible and has only a few knobs, like Level, L and H Color Mixes, and Dist. The last control is the main one to make your sound nastier, more compressed, and aggressive. At the bottom of the pedal, there is a selection of mods, Gate, In, Out and Mix knobs..
  • Mods
    The Heavy Pedal mkII has many mods that can help you achieve exactly the sound you want. For example, MJI Japan, Filth, FX 56, SMM-1, SWEDE!, Wampler, and Zed mods are available here. Each one has a different sound character. Just experiment with them and see what it can give you.

Character & Sound:

The character of the Heavy Pedal mkII can be safely called aggressive, fuzzy, and nasty. This distortion pedal provides biting mids and a lot of low end. The thing is, it’s not very compatible with most genres. You will need to experiment with the most appropriate amplifier to get the sound you want.

But still – the pedal is perfect for the same genres that guitarists used with its physical copy – Black and Death Metal.

Tone Chasing #2 - Audiority Heavy Pedal mkII with Scott Elliott


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, and AAX formats.


If you’re a Scandinavian metal fan and want a classic guitar tone in the digital realm, or if you’re a metal producer tasked with helping musicians achieve a legendary sound – using Audiority’s Heavy Pedal mkII will be a great solution. This virtual pedal is easy to use and very close to the sound of the original.

However, it can be challenging to build a complete guitar chain that works just for you. Fortunately, some users have already done similar experiments with Audiority’s amp sims and achieved pretty decent results. So you can easily find those videos on YouTube and teach yourself how to do that.


As you can see, the variety of plugins is extensive. You can get almost any instrument and create a finished song or an entire album. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re an amateur musician, a beginner, or a professional metal producer.

To help you choose a particular plugin, we can advise you to decide on a budget first. Some options are free. But you need to understand that sound quality is always worth paying. Still, there are budget options that will do the job just fine.

For example, if you need an amp sim but are on a low budget, you can safely try the free Amped Roots from ML Sound Lab. If you like it, you can eventually buy the full version of the plugin with three more amps, which costs €59. 

If you want a premium amp sim and are on a budget, Archetype: Gojira by Neural DSP would be a good solution. As for the drums – the ideal budget solution would be Ugritone KVLT Drums 2. If you need a MIDI programmable bass – The Loki Bass 2 will do the job well.

And you can process the ready bass parts quickly and easily, thanks to the QuickBass plugin.

We also advise you to figure out precisely what kind of sound you are looking for. Will it be classical or modern metal? Maybe alternative or hardcore? Or perhaps you want to get the raw underground tones? Either way, all of the plug-ins we’ve featured on our list can do the trick. Then it’s up to you. Experiment, listen and create your masterpieces.

Readings that you may like: 

Guitar/Amp Focused:

Top 10 Guitar Amp Plugins (And 5 Best FREE Simulators)

Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins (And 5 Best Free Simulators)

Top 9 Preamp Plugins (For Vocals, Guitars & More!) + Free Preamps

Can I Put Nylon Strings on a Steel-string Guitar?

Do Electric Guitars Sound Good Unplugged?

Buying Your First Guitar: 2 Things To Know

Are Tube Amps Worth It? (Tube vs Solid-State Amps)

How Often Does A Guitar Need a Setup?

Can I Play Classical Guitar On A Steel-String Guitar?


How often guitar necks need reset?

Can You Play Two Guitars Through One Amp?

Can a 6 String Bass Be Tuned Like A Guitar?

Can I leave My Guitar Tuned Down a Step? Yes, But Is It Safe?

Should I Learn 4, 5 Or 6 String Bass Guitar & Why?

How To Know If your Guitar Amp Is Broken?

How To Fix Distorted Bass Guitar Sound?


Do Fender Guitars Appreciate In Value?

Should You Put Stickers On A Bass Guitar?

How Acoustic And Electric Guitars Are Made?

Is Electric Guitar Too Loud for an Apartment?

Does a Preamp Improve Sound Quality?

If I Learn Acoustic Guitar Can I Play Electric Guitar?

How Many Hours A Day Should You Practice Bass Guitar?

Do I need an AMP/DAC To Run Bookshelf Speakers?

How to Record Electric Guitar Into Logic Pro X?

Do headphones get worse with age?


DAW Related:

Best DAWs For Musicians Available (With FREE DAWs)

How To Develop DAW Software?

What’s The Most CPU Efficient DAW? – 5 DAWs Compared

How To Make Music Without Using A DAW?

Pro Tools Guide: How To Use AutoTune & Pitch Correction?

Ableton Review: Is It Worth The Money? (Cons & Pros)

Logic Pro X Review: Is It Worth It? (Cons & Pros)

How To Use Auto-tune & Pitch Correction In Cubase?

How To Fix Ableton Crackling, Crashing & Freezing? Step By Step


Plugin Related:

What Are Audio Plugins? Different Types of Plugins Explained

What Are The Best Tools To Develop VST Plugins & How Are They Made?

Cost of Developing Audio VST Plugin: Several Factors (With Table)

VST, VST, AU and AAX – What’s The Difference? Plugin Formats Explained

Complete Guide To Noise Gate – What It Is, What It Does & How To Use It?

How To Clip My Drums? Here Is How & Audio Teasers (Before/After)


Complete Guide To Limiter: How To Use It (+ Best Plugins & Analog Limiters)

Mixing With Reverb: How To Add Life To Your Mixes

Linear Phase vs Minimum Phase EQ – Full Guide

Difference Between LUFS, RMS & True Peak Loudness Meters

How And When To Use Algorithmic And Convolution Reverb In Your Mix?

Difference Between Active EQ, Passive EQ and Dynamic EQ


Headphones & Studio Monitors:

Do headphones get worse with age?

Monitors vs Studio Headphones For Mixing & Mastering

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 

Does Heat Damage Headphones?

Are Noise-Canceling Headphones Good For Music Production?

Can Headphones Break in Cold Weather?

Why do headphones & cables get sticky?


Can Wearing Headphones Cause Hair Loss?

How Do I know If My Studio Monitor Is Blown?

Side Effects Of Sleeping With Your Headphones On

Do You Need Music Amplifier For Studio Monitors or Studio Headphones?

Do Headphones or Earphones Damage Your Brain?

Can Headphones or Earphones cause Deafness or Toothache?

FarField, MidField & NearField Monitors – Their Uses, Pros & Cons


MIDI & Synths:

Should I Buy A MIDI Keyboard Or Synth? (Are Synths Worth It Anymore?)

Why Is Audio Gear So Expensive? (Especially Synths)

Top 12 Synth Brands – Analog, Digital & Modular Synth Manufacturers

11 Tips How To Choose MIDI Keyboard 

Should I Buy MIDI Controller Or Keyboard? Cons, Pros & Tips


Recommended Gear:

Top 12 NearField Studio Monitors On Any Budget

Top 10 Midfield Studio Monitors For Home Recording

Best Biggest Studio Monitors (FarField Monitors)

Top 10 Guitar Pickups for Low Tunings 

Top 10 Analog Compressors For Mixing & Mastering (On Any Budget)

Top 12 USB Audio Interfaces Under 150$, 200$, 300$ 400$ (Any Budget)


Top 12 Hardware Equalizers (Analog EQs For Mixing & Mastering)

Top 6 Analog Hardware Limiters 

Top 6 Solid State Bass Amps (On Any Budget)

Top 6 Ribbon Mics On Any Budget (For Vocals, Drums & Guitars)

Top 6 Cheap Dynamic Mics For Vocals Under 50$, 100$, 200$ & 300$


Top 6 Chorus Guitar Pedals (On Any Budget)

6 Best 61-Key MIDI Keyboards (On Any Budget)

9 Best 49-Key MIDI Keyboards Under 100$ & 200$

Top 5 Best 25 Key MIDI Keyboards (On Any Budget)

Top 12 Acoustic Drums (Best Kits/Sets On Any Budget)


Plugin Roundups:

Genre Focused:

Top 10 EDM Plugins  (And 10 Best FREE Plugins For EDM)

Top 10 Plugins For TRAP Beats (And 5 Best FREE Trap Plugins)

20 Best Plugins For Rock Musicians (+ 6 FREE Plugins)

Top 14 Trance Plugins (Uplifting, Tech, Progressive, Vocal, Dream, Hard)

Top 10 GOA & PsyTrance Plugins (Best Psychedelic Trance Tools)

Top 7 Plugins For Dubstep (With 10 Best FREE Effects & Synths)


Top 20 Synthwave Plugins (+ 11 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 15 Plugins For Techno, House, Electro, Tech House, UK Garage

Top 6 Plugins For Latin Music  (And 4 FREE Tools)

Top 12 Plugins For Hip-Hop (+ Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 7 Plugins For Game & Film Scoring  (+ 6 Best Kontakt Libraries)

Top 10 R&B And Pop Music Plugins & KONTAKT Libraries 

30 Best Free Plugins For DnB, EDM, IDM & Experimental Music 


EQ Plugins

Top 12 Free EQ Plugins For Precise Mixing & Mastering

Top 9 Mid/Side EQ Plugins  For Mixing & Mastering (+ 2 Free Tools)

Top 7 Graphic EQ Plugins  (With 3 Best Free EQs)

Top 7 EQ Plugins For Mastering In | And Best FREE Mastering EQs

Top 6 Passive EQ Plugins (Klevgrand, SPL, UAD, Waves, IK Multimedia)

Top 11 Plugins For Making Metal (Best Guitars, Drums & Effects)



Top 5 Audio Metering Plugins (LUFS, RMS, LRA, True Peak)

Top 6 Spectrum Analyzer Plugins  – Spectral Analysis Tools

Top 6 Oscilloscope Plugins To See The Waveforms

Top 5 Key Detection Plugins & Software  (+ Best FREE App)


Kontakt Libraries

20 Best Kontakt Libraries For All Categories (Synths, Drums, Vocals)

Top 7 Drum Libraries For KONTAKT (And 4 Freebies)

Top 7 Trap Music Kontakt Libraries (And Best Lo-Fi Kontakt Library)

Top 7 Metal & Rock Kontakt Libraries (Best Guitars & Drums)

Top 10 Guitar Libraries For Kontakt (Acoustic, Electric, Bass & Freebies)


Top 7 Trailer Scoring Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 

20 Best Free KONTAKT Libraries For Various Instruments

Top 9 Piano Kontakt Sample Libraries  (And 5 Best Free Pianos)

Top 10 Percussion KONTAKT Libraries  (And 3 Freebies)

Top 7 Kontakt Libraries For Horror & Thriller Scoring (No VSTs)


Audio Restoration, Calibration & Utility:

Top 6 Noise Reduction Plugins (And 3 Best Free Tools)

6 Best Audio Restoration Plugins & Software 

Top 7 Phase Alignment Plugins To Fix Your Bass & Drums

Top 10 Room Calibration & Headphones/Speakers Correction Plugins 


Instrument Plugins: 

Top 6 Vocoder Plugins (Effects & Synths + FREE Vocoder)

11 Best Rhodes VST Plugins (AND 5 Free Rhodes Plugins)

Top 12 Randomizer Plugins Including FREE Plugins

Top 6 Kick Drum Plugins (Best Kick Designer Tools)

Top 12 Woodwind Plugins (And KONTAKT Libraries)

Top 10 Double Bass Plugins (Best Upright Basses)

Top 5 Strings VST Plugins (AND 4 Best Free Instruments)


Top 6 Sampler Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Classical Guitar Plugins & Kontakt Libraries (And FREE Guitars)

Top 7 Wavetable Synth Plugins 

Top 12 Sub Plugins (Best 808 & Bass Tools For Massive Low End)

Top 10 Plugins On PluginBoutique (And 7 Best Free Plugins)

Top 11 Plugins On Plugin Alliance 

Top 7 Acoustic Guitar Plugins (And 4 Best Kontakt Libraries)


9 Best Bass Guitar Plugins (And 2 Best Freebies)

Top 6 Electric Guitar Plugins (Best PAID & FREE Picks)

Top 10 Arpeggiator VST Plugins (Best Synths, MIDI Effects & Tools)

Top 10 Modular Synth Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Plugins)

Top 6 Choir Plugins & Sample Libraries (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

11 Best Percussion & Drum VST Plugins (And FREE Plugins)


Top 8 Piano Plugins (Best Sounding Pianos & 5 FREE Piano Plugins)

Top 6 Organ Plugins Ever Made  (And 3 Best Free Organs)

Top 14 VST Plugins For Beginners (And 9 FREE Plugins)

Top 9 Drum Machine Plugins (And Groovebox Plugins)

4 Best Banjo Plugins (Best Banjo Instruments)


The 5 Best Ukulele Plugins & Kontakt Libraries 

Top 13 Synth Plugins (And 5 Best FREE Synths Plugins)

Top 13 Sequencer Plugins  (Synth, MIDI & Step Sequencers)

The 10 Best Multi-Effect Plugins (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 12 Plugin Bundles For Musicians (Synths, Mixing & Mastering)



Processing & Sound Design:

8 Best Lo-Fi Plugins (PAID & FREE)

Top 11 Plugins For Mixing Vocals  (For Home Studio)

Top 12 Saturation Plugins (Best Mixing & Mastering Tools)

Top 6 Pitch Shifter Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Pitch Shifters)

Top 6 Chorus VST Plugins For Musicians (And 3 FREE Plugins)


Top 6 Limiter Plugins For Precise Mastering & Mixing

The 8 Best Filter Plugins For Precise Cuts & Boosts (+ 5 Free Filters)

6 Best Autotune Plugins To Improve & Enhance Your Vocals

Top 10 Transient Shaper Plugins (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 7 Enhancer Plugins (For Bass, Drums, Vocals & Harmonics)


Top 6 Flanger Plugins (And 5 Best FREE Flanger Emulators)

Top 7 Phaser Plugins (And 3 Best FREE Phasers)

Top 10 Plugins For Mixing Drums (And 3 Best Free Plugins)

Top 7 Bitcrusher Plugins (And 4 Best FREE Bitcrushers + 3 Bonuses)

Top 6 Plugins For Voice-Over & Dialogue Cleaning (Post Production)

Top 10 Stereo Imaging Plugins (Best Old & Modern Picks)


Top 5 Multiband Limiter Plugins 

Top 7 De-Esser Plugins For Better Vocals (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 7 Clipper Plugins (Best Limiter Alternatives)

Top 6 Chord Generator Plugins That Inspire Melodies (+ FREE Tools)

7 Best Exciter Plugins For Mixing & Mastering

Top 7 Channel Strip Plugins (And 2 Best Free Plugins)


Top 11 Distortion Plugins (And 4 Top Free Plugins)

Top 5 Comb Filter & Resonator Plugins | Melda, Kilohearts, Tritik

The 7 Best Vibrato VST Plugins | Audec, Audiority, Melda

The 7 Best Tremolo Plugins | Eventide, Melda, SoundToys, Kuassa…

The 7 Best Harmonizer Plugins | Eventide, Melda, Aegean Music

7 Best Sidechain Plugins (VST, AU, AAX) | Xfer, Cableguys..


Top 10 Noise Gate Plugins (And 6 FREE Free Gate Tools)

The 6 Best Ring Modulator VST Plugins | KiloHearts, Melda

7 Best Autopan VST Plugins | CableGuys, Melda, Waves, Soundtoys

The 6 Best Frequency Shifter VST Plugins

Top 11 Granulizer Plugins For Future Sound Design

29 Best Sound Design VST Plugins


Compressor Plugins

Top 11 Free Compressor Plugins (VCA, Vari-Mu, FET, Digital)

Top 7 Multiband Compressor Plugins (And 4 FREE Plugins)

Top 5 Diode-Bridge Compressor Plugins 

Top 6 Mastering Chain Plugins: Complete VST Solutions 

Top 10 FET Compressor Plugins 

The 7 Best VCA Compressor Plugins (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 11 Mastering Compressor Plugins (And 2 FREE Plugins)

Top 10 Opto Compressor Plugins For Transparent Sound

The 7 Best Vari-Mu Compressor Plugins (And 2 Best FREE Tools)


Reverb & Delay Plugins:

Top 12 Reverb Plugins (And 5 FREE Reverb Plugins)

The 6 Best Spring Reverb VST Plugins | AudioThing, GSi, u-he, Eventide

Top 12 Delay Plugins For Music Production In (VST, AU, AAX)

Top 10 FREE Delay Plugins (VST, AU, AAX)

The 10 Best Convolution Reverb Plugins 

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