There are many amp simulation plugins available for Mac & PC and I have demonstrated a lot of them here on Guitar Noize. I’m always looking for new sounds so when my friend Marcel Yammouni told me about the Brainworx bx_rockrack a while ago saying it was the best amp plugin he’d used I had to check it out. Just a quick note, for the intro I had the Noise Gate engaged but not for the rest of the demo where I run through various tones which is why you hear a bit more noise, this can easily be eliminated with the noise gate.

Pricewise this plugin is on a par with say Guitar Rig or Amplitube as it is developed by a reputable company who make world class plugins used by lots of producers. The plugin may seem more limited than some of the competition at first but what Brainworx have done is to include enough to get great clean, crunch, metal rhythm and sustaining lead tones without over complicating the process. Rather than separate Cabinet & Mic options they have instead included a set of preset Impulse Responses of their own from famous cabinets like an Orange 2×12 or a Marshall 4×12 with a few mic options. Again it simplifies the process for getting your sound quickly so you can get on with playing of recording.

There are a few amps setups available, this is the list that is printed on the Plugin Alliance site where you can purchase this plugin from:

  • Clean Marshall® JCM800®
  • Lead Marshall® JCM800®
  • Clean ENGL® 530
  • Lead ENGL® 530
  • Clean American Jazz Amp
  • Crunchy American Jazz Amp
  • MesaBoogie® Rectoverb®

In the plugin these are named differently such as ‘Clean 800’, ‘Lead 530’ and ‘Modern Rock’ for the MesaBoogie. I assumed that the jazz amp was based on the famous Roland JC120 but having read some of the fine print I think it may actually be a Fender amp. Either way it doesn’t really matter, what does matter is that it has great clean and crunch tones. The JCM 800 as you probably know can be a little harsh and ice-picky but choose the right recording chain and use the FX rack’s smooth and shred controls and you can round off the sound nicely. The 530 is very versatile and I got some really nice crunch cleans right up to face melting metal very easily. So really all bases are covered with just this small selection of amps.

The FX rack has a number of useful features including a tuner, a noise gate, delay, two preamp filters: a tightness control to reign in low end frequencies and a smoothness control to roll off some highs and finally a Shred control which adds warmth and a more analogue sound to the amp model.

Although I have recorded an intro track with a high gain sound I was extremely impressed by the tones I got from the Clean 530 and Clean 800, especially the Clean 800 with the gain up full. When I played with my fingers I felt like I was getting the response of a real tube amp it was pretty inspiring to play with and you don’t normally get that feeling from a plugin which is why I tend to focus more on the higher gain settings. Of course the bx_rockrack does an extremely good job with the high gain amps whether you choose the 530, 800 or Modern Rock amp and there are plenty of tonal possibilities available from the recording chain setups.

If you are looking for a very responsive, natural sounding guitar amp modelling plugin I would definitely recommend you check out the Brainworx bx_rockrack and if you are going to do a lot of double track recording check out the bx_shredspread too which adds a whole new dimension to your guitar sound, look for the demo on that plugin soon!