After reading a lot of good press on the TSE Audio plugins I decided to download their free TSE 808 overdrive plugin and I was impressed it is a great sounding drive pedal so I figured why not give their amp sim a go and I’m very glad I did!

The TSE X50 V2 is an amp sim but with a slight difference, for a start it only emulates one amp, the classic metal behemoth that is the Peavey 5150 (now the 6505) but as well as that it also includes cabinet emulation with a number of included IRs (Impulse Responses) from various cabinet and mic combinations that sound absolutely killer. Now that alone would be reason enough to shell out a few hard earned dollars for this plugin but TSE also included a Gate at the start of the chain, their TSE 808 drive pedal 2nd in the chain to slam the preamp of the X50 and also an effects rack loaded with a Tuner, Ping Pong Delay unit and an extremely useful EQ unit called the Aqualaser. The reason that the Aqualaser is so useful is that it includes a low and high pass filter to get rid of any unnecessary frequencies that make guitars muddy in the mix or just take up space used by other instruments, then it has a parametric eq section for 3 frequency bands so you can cut or boost certain frequencies to shape your tone further. Oh and I forgot to mention you can also change the tube emulation in power amp from 6l6 to el34 if you wish and bias the tubes hot or cold (or anywhere in between), plus you can tweak the impulse responses if you know what you are doing.

Now make no mistake this plugin is aimed pretty firmly at the Metal crowd, obviously you can get great rock tones from it too if you dial the gain back (after all the 5150 was designed by Mr Van Halen) but the cleans are pretty average. But who cares about clean tones when you have this much tonal brutality? Not me.

The TSE X50 V2 is quite expensive at 49.99 Euros, especially as it is a single amp geared for gain tones, but if you record a lot of metal or rock you will be very hard pushed to find anything that sounds this good out of the box so to speak. Also you can disable the preamp and/or poweramp in case you want to use a different amp sim with the X50 cabinet emulator and you can also load 3rd party IRs into the cabinet emulator. Personally I think it is worth the price to have a go to great metal tone for recording without having to tweak and tweak to get in the ballpark like I’ve experienced with other more expensive solutions.

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