Guitar VST’s are taking over the recording industry. So many amazing sounds have started being produced by plugging the guitar straight into the interface rather than miking up your own amp.
The great thing to this is that you can have the sound of extremely expensive equipment at an extremely affordable price. The one VST that stands out and keeps providing amazing content and gear, is the AmpliTube Custom Shop.
How We Reviewed Amplitube Custom Shop
For our main focus we wanted to show what key features AmpliTube has that makes it unique and professional in an industry striving for excellence. There are more components that make this program great other than these pieces we have for you today, but I hope what we have for you will peak your interest.
AmpliTube Custom Stop is a great home for any guitarist working digitally to create tones for clients or even their own personal tracks. They give the ability to cross into so many genres as well as having the option to work with basses on top of the guitars.
There are some great pieces of gear to get you started in working with AmpliTube Custom Shop. Remember even beyond what comes in the basic package, is some amazing amps, pedals, and effects that can be purchased and added to your collection.
In the AmpliTube Custom Shop free version, there are 9 pedals varying in use. Included is a chorus, flanger, overdrive, compressor, graphic eq, tremolo, wah, and volume pedal. Now I know it might seem strange to have a volume pedal digitally, but there are capabilities to have this feature controlled by an external piece of equipment.
Amplifiers and Cabinets
For amplifiers, it comes with 3 tube heads for guitar, as well as a solid state bass amp. When it comes to the cabinets, there are 4 amazing guitar cabinets varying in number and cone size, as well as one bass cabinet. All of these can be combined to make creative and innovative sounds.
In AmpliTube’s most basic version, you have access to 3 mic options that can be combined to get different sounds. You have the standard dynamic 57, a digital version of a Shure Sm57, and 2 condensers, the 414 and 87 which are digital representations of the AKG C414 and the Neumann U87.
One thing that always seems to be an afterthought in sessions is a tuner. Now I know every guitarist should have one, but it somehow falls out of the case or the batteries are dead every session. It is also important to have one tuner to use for every instrument just to make sure they are all tuned as close to each other as possible. This will add to the overall cohesiveness of the track.
AmpliTube Is great for its compatibility with pretty much any DAW out there. Beyond being used as a plugin, there is also a stand-alone program where you can record up to 2 tracks. This lets you use all of the gear you have without having to open and set up a session in your DAW.
If you want to know more about other DAWs and which one is best going to suit your purposes with AmpliTube, check out what we have to say here.
There are quite a few programs that run a similar setup of amps, pedals, and other equipment. There is the Eleven Rack from Avid, the GTR series from Waves, Toneforge from JST, the list goes on. Many of them go for their own emulation and version of classic amp heads or go innovative and create their own.
AmpliTube is the only one I know of that has directly worked with companies and created amp head emulators that are the direct copy of the real thing. You can see the logos and names that directly tie you into those products.
When it comes to pricing, Amplitube’s expansion packs are up there but are worth the pricing for the outcome. I’ve had a couple of opportunities to test some out and I gotta say, they’re great.
Notable Amplitude Upgrades
As I mentioned there are upgrades to the regular free version. Whenever you go with one of the upgrades, you get additional heads, pedals, and other equipment that you would have to otherwise buy separately.
- 9 Amplifiers
- 4 Microphones
- Acoustic Simulator
- 25 Amplifiers
- 12 Microphones
- 33 Stompboxes
- Customizable Speakers
- 80 Amps (including direct emulators)
- 4 Track Looper/8 Track Recorder DAW
Bonus & Extras
The actual level they went to in the customization is amazing. AmpliTube has so many options when it comes to mics, cabinets, speakers, amplifiers, and even stompboxes it’s mind blowing. And they only are going to add to it.
The way IK Multimedia works with companies like Fender, Orange, and Marshall is great for them and what they are creating, but it’s also great for the producers and musicians out there looking for the next sound without breaking the bank.
Feeling Professional Without Breaking the Bank
IK Multimedia knows how to make some creative emulators while still staying true to the original. They make it easy enough to understand while still having that professional edge and feel. One of the hurdles I had to get over as an engineer was recognizing that using tools such as virtual amps and effects didn’t mean I was cheating as a musician and in my music. It was just another tool I could use that was actually affordable.
If you would like to read more about VST’s or other types of plugins, we have a multitude of resources available for you here.
Jarrett is a hardcore Lover-Jazz Lover-Rock Lover-Blues Lover-just a music lover. He has the hair to match — Jarrett and provides in-depth insight into all things guitar and music engineering.