Amp Modeler Pro
This simple package features no manufacturer-endorsed amps or fancy graphics, but the sound is excellent and there’s a selection of tone-tweaking controls and rack processing including chorus, tremolo, reverb, gate and wah-wah.
One of the most established packages available, with a vast array of endorsed amps, pedals and cabs complementing home-grown modules. Flexible routing, twin rigs and speaker cone selection give it plenty of sonic flexibility.
There are multiple elements to BIAS: Bias Amp simulates amp and cab units, while Bias FX lets you build complex chains of stomboxes, amps and cabs. Bias Pedal, meanwhile, lets you model pedal effects processors at the component level.
This bundle comprises several individual plugins — Amps, Stomps and a Tuner — and GTR Tool-Rack, a host for combining up to six pedals, two amps and the tuner. Overall, there are 30 amps, 25 stomps and 30 cabs, all based on classic units.
Fender 55 Tweed
UAD virtual amps are becoming pretty focused, epitomised by this latest classic Fender offering. With three speaker types, twin mic’ing and Unison support, virtual tweaking is still enjoyable, as is its extremely realistic (and awesome) sound.
This one gives you independent selection of preamp and power amp, output to independent cabinets. An eight-slot pedal board precedes the amp section, and a six-slot effects rack sits after it, just before the cabinets.
Guitar Rig 5 Pro
Arranged as a virtual rack interface rather than in an amp, cab and pedalboard configuration, Guitar Rig includes no branded or endorsed components, but it’s a serious contender that sounds great – and can get MIDI CC involved.
Features include a scrollable and zoomable drag and drop interface, and endorsed amp models alongside proprietary versions of classic gear (over 203 components). The built in convolver can also import IRs.
Two of ENGL’s amp heads have been exquisitely modeled and are available for UAD either individually or as a bundle. Like other Brainworx virtual amps, cabinet and miking is handled by pre-captured recording chains.
Vintage Amp Room
This plugin covers three classic amp sounds — Fender, Vox and Marshall — with adjustable single mic placement for the cabinet. The sound is very good, but with no pedal board, tone shaping is limited to the amp controls.
FREE (Pay per component)
Peavey’s hardware know-how has allowed them to develop an incredibly accomplished processor with highly tweakable amp, cabinet, stomp and rack effect capabilities. Its ‘audio profiling system’ can also transform the sound of your source.
POD Farm 2.5
The intuitive splitscreen interface offers drag-and-drop rig construction, preset browsing and component editing across either single or dual signal paths. Opt for the Pro package ($299) and you’ll get over 100 guitar and bass amps.