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Top 10 Best Guitar Amp Simulator Plugins For Your DAW 2024

My New Microphone Top 11 Best Guitar Amp Simulator Plugins For Your DAW

We're currently living in the age of digital audio, and in-the-box mixing within a digital audio workstation is commonplace. With modern technology, we don't even need to mic up guitar amps to get the best guitar sounds.

Instead, it's completely possible (and perhaps even more cost-affordable) to plug directly into an interface and utilize one of the many superb guitar amp simulator plugins on the market.

In fact, there are so many guitar amp simulation plugins on the market that it can be overwhelming to pick just one to start with (or the next plugin to add to the collection). In this article, we'll look at what I consider the 10 stand-out guitar amp simulator plugins on the market today.

The Top 10 Best Guitar Amp Simulator Plugins Are:

  1. IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 Max
  2. Line 6 Helix Native
  3. Positive Grid Bias Amp 2
  4. Overloud TH-U Full
  5. Waves GTR3
  6. Softube Amp Room
  7. Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro
  8. Blue Cat’s Axiom
  9. Audio Media Research/Peavey ReValver 4
  10. Audiffex/Audified ampLion Pro

It should go without saying that any “top X” article is subject to bias. I would expect the next person's top 10 to be different from mine, but I hope there would be plenty of overlap.

That being said, I believe these plugins to be the best guitar amp simulator plugin options today. The criteria I used to judge these plugins include the following:

  • Sonic performance: how does the guitar amp simulator plugin sound subjectively/objectively?
  • Graphic user interface (GUI): how does the guitar amp simulator plugin look when loaded in the DAW?
  • Ease-of-use: how user-friendly is the guitar amp simulator plugin?
  • Functionality: how many different functions does it serve and/or how many parameters are available for the guitar amp simulator effect?
  • Accessibility/compatibility: how easy is it to acquire the guitar amp simulator plugin, and what are the system requirements?

To learn why they made this list, let's discuss each of the top 10 best guitar amp simulator plugins in greater detail.


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IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 Max

The IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 Max is a top-rated guitar/bass amp and effects simulator plugin with over 400 of the most sought-after guitar & bass gear ever.

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IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 Max

Compatibility

The IK Multimedia AmpliTube 5 Max is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and standalone formats.

Developed with top brands and artists, the AmpliTube 5 Max is a super powerful and versatile amp emulation plugin.

With proprietary DIM (Direct Impulse Response), DSM (Dynamic Saturation Modeling), VIR (Volumetric Impulse Response) and VRM (Volumetric Response Modeling) technologies, IK Multimedia has modelled hundreds of pieces of audio gear with remarkably realistic results. The over 400 gear models include:

  • Fender Collection 1 & 2
  • AmpliTube SVX 1 & 2
  • AmpliTube Orange
  • AmpliTube Mesa/Boogie
  • AmpliTube Slash
  • AmpliTube Jimi Hendrix
  • AmpliTube Brian May
  • Dimebag Darrell CFH Collection
  • AmpliTube Joe Satriani
  • Fulltone Collection
  • AmpliTube Leslie

This plugin covers the entire signal chain, offering virtual stompboxes, amplifiers, cabinets, rooms and rack effects. Route these devices whichever way you want inside the beautifully intuitive interface.

The drag-and-drop signal chain supports up to 57 simultaneous models with series and parallel routing and DI blending for virtually limitless tonal possibilities.

In addition to the extraordinary sonic flexibility, IK Multimedia's AmpliTube 5 Max is also its own standalone digital audio workstation (if you choose to use it that way).

The software features its own 8-track recorder and a looper, tuner, various practice tools and an impressive set of live performance implementations.

To learn more about loopers, check out my article What Are Looper Pedals (Guitar/Bass FX) & How Do They Work?

Though this software/plugin has everything you'd ever need in an amp simulator, it also offers a custom impulse response loader, which allows users to load, tilt and re-size their own impulse responses in place of any cabinet.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the AmpliTube 5 specs at IK Multimedia.

IK Multimedia

IK Multimedia is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Plugin (VST/AU/AAX) Brands In The World.


Line 6 Helix Native

The Line 6 Helix Native brings Line 6's award-winning HX Modeling technology to a super powerful audio plugin.

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Line 6 Helix Native

Compatibility

The Line 6 Helix Native is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and standalone formats.

Like its hardware counterparts, the Helix Native plugin offers remarkably authentic tones with 60+ vintage and modern amplifiers, 30+ cabinets, 16 microphones (and 23 recording distances), and 100+ effects.

Preset compatibility makes it easy to transfer user-defined and stock presets between all devices of the Helix family, including the Helix Floor, Helix Rack, and Helix LT hardware units (link to check them out at Sweetwater).

Workflow is made fast with an intuitive interface. Instant access to the entire signal chain makes dialling in the perfect tone as straightforward as possible.

Like the aforementioned AmpliTube plugin, the Helix Native offers everything you'd need, but in the off chance you need more, the plugin also supports 3rd party impulse responses.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Helix Native user manual.


Positive Grid Bias Amp 2

The Positive Grid Bias Amp 2 is a fan favourite fully customizable virtual amplifier designer with versatility in design that extends right down to the component level.

mnm Positive Grid Bias Amp 2 | My New Microphone
Positive Grid Bias Amp 2

Compatibility

The Positive Grid Bias Amp 2 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and standalone formats.

The advanced modelling of the Positive Grid Bias Amp 2 takes things well beyond a wide range of impulse responses. This super customizable plugin allows users to swap out virtual vacuum tubes and tailor preamps, power amps, transformers, and tone stacks to their exact liking.

Send the signal through open/closed-back virtual cabinets and choose from a variety of virtual mics (with different mic placements) to achieve limitless sonic possibilities.

This intelligent plugin can even match the tone of any miked amp or recorded audio signal. Use the Bias Amp 2 to recapture the magic from sessions past or even improve upon what would otherwise be the best tone from your hardware amp.

Download and share tone within Positive Grid's online ToneCloud community. Offer your own masterful setting or opt to use custom virtual amps created by world-renowned artists, session players and guitarists.

Check out the Bias Amp 2 specs at Positive Grid for more information on system requirements and authorization instructions.


Overloud TH-U Full

The Overloud TH-U Full is a superb amp simulation plugin that includes both amp modeling and capturing technologies to capture the entire sonic performance of a real-world guitar rig.

mnm Overloud TH U Full | My New Microphone
Overloud TH-U Full

Compatibility

The Overloud TH-U Full is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and standalone formats.

Overloud's TH-U Full models an impressive 89 guitar amplifiers and 4 bass amplifiers, 50 guitar cabinets and 2 bass cabinets, 77 pedal and rack effects, 18 microphone models, and up to four mics on each cabinet.

With authorized modelling (45 fully authorized models in total) from brands such as Randall, DVmark, Brunetti and THD, it's no wonder this plugin sounds so amazing.

The cabinet modelling technology is particularly spectacular. Fluid Convolution functionality offers a full matrix of 4 microphones, which can be placed anywhere in the virtual 3D space in front and even behind the cabinet for a superb stereo response.

Additionally, ReSPiRe 2 technology allows users to choose between the real response of the cabinet and a processed version optimized to fit into the mix.

Though not as meticulous as the Bias Amp 2, this Overloud plugin does allow customization of its preamp and power amp tube models.

More than 8000 rigs are made available in Overloud's massive library, and the TH-U can use any of the TH3 user presets.

Choose the best presets for your sound and further refine each preset with Scenes functionality, which instantly recalls different model configurations within any given preset.

The impulse response loader of the TH-U Full allows users to load two different IRs and blend them for even greater tonal variety. Moving beyond standalone and plugin versions, the TH-U also comes in a mobile app.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the TH-U user manual.


Waves GTR3

The Waves GTR3 is somewhat of a gold standard guitar amp simulator plugin that also works tremendously well as a standalone software thanks to the host-free Standalone ToolRack.

mnm Waves GTR3 | My New Microphone
Waves GTR3

Compatibility

The Waves GTR3 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST, AudioSuite and standalone formats.

Waves Audio is a big name in the plugin game. The GTR3 ups the ante, bringing in other huge names such as Fender, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie and Vox. With expertly modelled versions of the finest vintage and contemporary amps from these brands and more, the GTR3 earns its spot on this list of the best guitar amp simulator plugins.

Fender, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie and Vox are all featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Guitar Amplifier Brands In The World. Fender and Mesa/Boogie are also featured in the Top 11 Best Bass Guitar Amplifier Brands In The World.

This outstanding plugin models 32 Amps, 30 Cabs, and 25 Stompboxes. Sure, these may seem like small numbers compared to the previous plugins mentioned in this article.

However, 87 ultra-realistic models are still superb. Waves combine quantity with quality in this stunning guitar amp plugin.

Less is more when it comes to this plugin. Having fewer high-quality options is often better than scrolling through hundreds of settings you'll never use. Speaking of superb workflow, the GTR3 is super user-friendly, with all controls laid out in a straightforward interface.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the GTR3 tech specs at Waves.

Waves

Waves is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Plugin (VST/AU/AAX) Brands In The World.


Softube Amp Room

The Softube Amp Room is more than just an amplifier simulation plugin. It offers a full professional studio's worth of virtual processors.

mnm Softube Vintage Amp Room | My New Microphone
Softube Amp Room

Compatibility

The Softube Amp Room is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats.

In addition to a wide variety of classic Marshall amps and cabinets, pedals, and mics, Softube's Amp Room provides emulations of legendary compressors and EQs.

It's everything you need and more to get the optimal guitar or bass guitar tones in any application.

Softube has made a name for itself, emulating top-level hardware with superior precision.

The Tube-Tech and Trident processors included in Amp Room are exemplary of this faithfulness. Upon teaming up with the legendary amp manufacturer Marshall, it's no surprise that Softube's amp simulations are among the best in the world.

Tube-Tech is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Compressor Brands In The World, while Trident is featured in the Top 10 Best Studio Recording/Mixing Console Brands.

The Softube Amp Room comes with the following features:

  • 6 amplifiers, component modelled to perfection
  • 16 cabinets with multiple microphone options
  • 10 effect pedals from distortion to delay and reverb
  • 3 studio effects as modules
  • 8 utility modules, such as short delay for phase aligning
  • 260 presets in many different genres and styles

Mix and match in whatever way you like via the stunning user interface to achieve the perfect tonal results. All Softube amplifier plugins can be loaded in Amp Room with heads and cabinets as separate modules.

The comprehensive utility modules make adjusting gain, volume, pan, phase alignment and frequency-splitting easy. It also offers filters and mute options. There is a built-in gate. The Headphones Mode of the plugin adds subtle room ambience in stereo when you're working with headphones.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Vintage Amp Room at Softube.

Softube

Softube is featured in My New Microphone's Top 11 Best Audio Plugin (VST/AU/AAX) Brands In The World.


Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro

The Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro is a compact guitar amp simulation plugin with a straightforward interface and remarkably great sound.

mnm Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro | My New Microphone
Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro

Compatibility

The Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in RTAS, AU, VST and standalone formats.

Using Studio Devil's proprietary ToneBrain digital vacuum tube modeling technology, this software models amp hardware to provide an authentic sound. The interface is super straightforward, with practically all parameters in a single window, making it somewhat limited in tonal variety but superb at what it offers.

The Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro offers the following features (I've included links to in-depth articles on the processes/effects when applicable):

Looks are deceiving with this plugin. Check it out for yourself and marvel at the surprising versatility of this superb amp simulation plugin.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Amp Modeler Pro user manual.


Blue Cat’s Axiom

The Blue Cat's Axiom is a powerful multi-effect/amp simulation modeling software.

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Blue Cat Audio Blue Cat's Axiom

Compatibility

The Blue Cat's Destructor is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU and VST formats. It is also available as a standalone application.

This powerful amp simulator offers virtually endless options for bass and guitar tones.

Axiom includes 32 module slots that can host any of the 44 superb built-in effects or third-party AU or VST plugins.

There are even 3 dedicated slots for virtual instruments (cue the metronome, drum machine, sequencer, or whatever else you like).

This flexible routing features 2 parallel amp simulation channels with effects along with input and master sections. The integrated precision tuner and brickwall limiter make this software even better.

To learn more about limiters, check out my article What Is The Difference Between Audio Compression & Limiting?

Whether you decide to tinker with the amp edition to build your own custom tone or search for the perfect sound within the hundreds of loadable presets, this excellent zero-latency amp simulator will not disappoint.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the Blue Cat's Destructor user manual.


Audio Media Research/Peavey ReValver 4

The Audio Media Research ReValver 4 is a top-of-the-line amp simulator offering exquisitely component-modelled guitar amplifiers, stompboxes and effects.

mnm Audio Media Research ReValver 4 | My New Microphone
Audio Media Research ReValver 4

Compatibility

The Audio Media Research/Peavey ReValver 4 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and standalone formats. It is also available as a standalone application.

ReValver provides unmatched realism, dynamics and tone in a super intuitive software package. The proprietary RIR 2 Cabinet Modeling technology takes convolution cabinet modeling to a whole new level.

The trademarked ACT (Audio Cloning Technology) provides precise instrument modeling at the input and perfect tone matching at the output. ACT can clone the sound of instruments, speaker cabinets, amps and even recorded tracks and mixes.

Create and load amp clones in the ReValver ACT Combo module and host your favourite third-party AU or VST plugins directly in the software. Thanks to full MIDI control and GIG Mode, the ReValver is equally at home as a studio plugin and on the road.

Whatever guitar tone you're after, you can make it happen with the excellent ReValver 4 amp simulator.

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out ReValver 4 at Audio Media Research.


Audiffex/Audified ampLion Pro

The Audiffex/Audified ampLion Pro is an ultra-precise amp simulation plugin/software with an intuitive interface and stunning tonal opportunities.

mnm Audified ampLion Pro | My New Microphone
Audiffex/Audified ampLion Pro

Compatibility

The Audiffex/Audified ampLion Pro is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and standalone formats. It is also available as a standalone application.

Audified's ampLion Pro offers the mixing and matching of 9 guitar preamps, 7 power amps, 12 speakers, 8 microphones and 30 effects.

With meticulous modelling of world-class amps, this software provides tones indistinguishable from the variety of top-level hardware.

These emulated hardware preamplifiers include such big names as:

  • Fender Super Reverb
  • Fender Deluxe Reverb
  • Fender Bassman '59
  • Marshall JCM800
  • Marshall JCM900
  • Mesa/Boogie Dual Rectifier
  • Engl Ritchie Blackmore Signature
  • Engl Tube Preamp 530 (Lead mode)
  • Engl Tube Preamp 530 (Clean mode)

And power amplifiers such as:

  • Mesa/Boogie Dual Rect (solid state)
  • Mesa/Boogie Dual Rect (tube)
  • Fender Bassman
  • Fender Super Reverb
  • Marshall 100W
  • Marshall 50W
  • Fender Deluxe Reverb

The virtual amplifier output signal can be split and processed by 2 independent speakers. Cabinets are miked by 7 different microphone types with the simulation of distance, position and axis.

Chose up to 8 virtual stompboxes in the pedalboard to unleash effects from subtle to extraordinary.

To learn more about pedals and pedalboards, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
Ultimate Guide To Setting Up A Guitar Effects Pedalboard
How Many Guitar Effect Pedals Is Too Many?

For more information on system requirements and authorization instructions, check out the ampLion Pro at Audified's downloads webpage.


Other Guitar Amp Simulator Plugin Options

Other amp simulator plugins to consider are:

  1. Amp Designer [Logic Pro X stock plugin]
  2. Black Rooster Audio Cypress TT-15
  3. Blue Cat Audio Blue Cat's Re-Guitar
  4. Brainworx ENGL Amps
  5. Ignite Amps Amp Simulation Plugins
  6. JST Toneforge
  7. Kuassa Amplifikation 360 Bundle
  8. LePou Amp Sims
  9. Line 6 POD Farm 2.5 Platinum
  10. Nembrini Audio Amp Simulation Plugins
  11. Neural DSP Amp Simulation Plugins
  12. Scuffham S-Gear
  13. Shattered Glass Audio Ace
  14. SimulAnalog Guitar Suite
  15. ToneLib GFX
  16. Universal Audio Fender '55 Tweed Deluxe
  17. Voxengo Boogex
  18. Waves PRS SuperModels

Former Top Amp Simulation Plugin Picks

Here are plugins that used to be on this list and the reasons they are no longer. Currently, there is only one plugin on this list.

Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 6 (Discontinued/Upgraded)

The Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 6 (discontinued/upgraded to version 7) is a big name in the amplifier simulation/virtual guitar effects world, and for good reasons.

mnm Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 6 | My New Microphone
Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 6

Compatibility

The Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 6 is compatible with Mac OS and Windows OS and comes in AAX, AU, VST and standalone formats.

This super powerful software is available in the plugin and standalone versions. It's highly customizable and offers an incredible amount of processes. More specifically, the NI Guitar Rig comes with the following number of modules:

  • 21 amplifiers
  • 4 cabinets
  • 7 delay/echo effects
  • 15 distortion effects
  • 12 dynamics effects
  • 5 EQs
  • 10 filter effects
  • 12 modulation effects
  • 5 pitch effects
  • 12 reverb effects
  • 7 special effects

Additionally, the Legacy Cabinets and Mics model various cabinets, the microphone's type and position, and the room response from previous Guitar Rig versions.

On that note, 54 of the original world-class effects have been brought forward to this most recent edition.

This inspiring plugin offers the best of the best effects and virtual amps. There are numerous presets to choose from as well if you don't want to fall down the rabbit hole of this deeply versatile software.

But if you do want to customize your tone, the intuitive drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to select and route modules as needed. On top of that, each module itself offers its own controllable parameters. All in all, this plugin has limitless sonic potential worth exploring.


Choosing the best audio plugins for your DAW can be a challenging task. For this reason, I've created My New Microphone's Comprehensive Audio Plugins Buyer's Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next audio plugin purchases.


Other Top Audio Plugin Articles

Here are additional My New Microphone articles regarding the best audio plugins by type:
Top 11 Best Distortion Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best Saturation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best Digital Equalizer/EQ Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Digital Parametric EQ Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Dynamic EQ Plugins For Your DAW
Top 8 Best Graphic EQ Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Linear Phase EQ Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Parametric EQ Emulation Plugins For DAWs
Top 8 Best Passive EQ Emulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best Digital Compressor Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best FET Compressor Emulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Optical Compressor Emulation Plugins
Top 10 Best Multiband Compressor Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best Variable-Mu Compressor Emulation Plugins
Top 11 Best VCA Compressor Emulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Limiter Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best Channel Strip Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best Chorus Modulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 9 Best Flanger Modulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 9 Best Phaser Modulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 11 Best Tremolo Modulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Analog Delay Emulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Digital Delay Plugins For Your DAW
Top 10 Best Tape Delay Emulation Plugins For Your DAW
Top 12 Best Reverb Plugins (Spring, Plate, Algorithmic, Convolution)
Top 9 Best Stereo Imaging Plugins For Your DAW
Top 7 Best Noise Reduction Plugins For Your DAW


Leave A Comment!

Have any thoughts, questions or concerns? I invite you to add them to the comment section at the bottom of the page! I'd love to hear your insights and inquiries and will do my best to add to the conversation. Thanks!

This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.

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