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Best Free Guitar Amp Simulator VST/AU Plugins!

bpb Freeware Studio: Best Free Guitar Amp Simulator VST/AU Plugins

Today’s addition to BPB’s free VST directory features a list of the best free guitar amp sim VST/AU plugins for Windows and Mac.

Until just a few years ago it was very hard (if not impossible) to get a decent guitar sound without miking a real amp. But things are different now – guitar amp sims are getting closer and closer to perfection and many talented developers are releasing amazingly accurate sounding virtual guitar amps as freeware plugins!

The list below is split in two parts – the main section with my favorite plugins and the bonus section which features some older or more peculiar plugins which are still pretty cool and definitely worth checking out.

IMPORTANT: Please keep in mind that some of the amp sims listed below come without built-in cab sims. That is like listening to a guitar straight through the amp, without using a cabinet. Which is actually a good thing, since it gives you the opportunity to use your favorite virtual guitar amp with your favorite cabinet.

I will soon be publishing a list of free guitar cab sims and IR loaders. Until then, I advise you to install LeCab2 or NadIR (both are zero latency and work well for tracking and live performances) and pair them up with the IRs listed in BPB’s round-up of the best free guitar cabinet impulse responses. Place the cabinet emulation after your virtual guitar amp and jam away!

Follow the links for screenshots & download info:

Extended list: Amps, AradazAmp2Brackenbury-1 Tube Amplifier, British Valve Custom, California Sun, Combo, Cortex Stack, ExtremistGreenMachine Amp II, NoAmp!, Pink, Saro, ScorchCrafter C120, Slego, SoftAmp GTSoldano SLO-X88, Torpedo PI-FREE, Tube Amp.

HyBrit and SoloC are my two favorite Poulin Amplification plugins, but pretty much everything in the LePou Plugins series sounds absolutely amazing! That’s why I’ve simply included them all in the list and I recommend you to try them all. Definitely among the best free amp sims out there!

HyBrit by Poulin Amplification.

HyBrit by Poulin Amplification.

TSE X50 by TSE Plugins is a freeware emulation of the Peavey 5150+ guitar amp with a fantastic sound and some pretty cool features like changeable tubes! The plugin is still in beta, but this doesn’t affect the functionality apart from a somewhat higher CPU hit.

TSE X50 by TSE Plugins.

TSE X50 by TSE Plugins.

Plektron has done an amazing  job with the free edition of their Guitar Amp 2 virtual guitar amplifier. It is a superb little effects suite for guitarists, with great sound and enough features to make high quality guitar tracks. It comes with a built-in british amp, a cabinet simulator, several effects, and also features a full blown bass amp!

Guitar Amp 2 by Plektron.

Guitar Amp 2 by Plektron.

NRR-1 and The Anvil are two brilliant freeware guitar amp sims developed by Ignite Amps. The Anvil is basically my number one choice for cleaner tones (although it has a great high gain tone, too!). The clean channel sounds very convincing and you can hardly beat it when paired up with a proper cabinet IR. NRR-1 works great on high gain settings.

NRR-1 by Ignite Amps.

NRR-1 by Ignite Amps.

AcmeBarGig have been perfecting their guitar amp sim programming skills over the years and the Shred suite is their current flagship plugin. It is a collection of six unique guitar amp heads which you can combine and create your own FrankenAmp.

Shred by AcmeBarGig.

Shred by AcmeBarGig.

Amplitube 3 FREE, Guitar Rig 5 Player and POD Farm™ FREE are free versions of well-known commercial guitar amp simulation plugin suites. When going for classic guitar tones, I do prefer using individual amp sims and cabinet impulse responses – but when I’m in the mood for experimenting and building crazy effect chains, these three plugins and their built-in amps and pedals are great fun to work with!

Guitar Rig 5 Player by Native Instruments.

Guitar Rig 5 Player by Native Instruments.

I must also mention the SimulAnalog Guitar Suite which used to be THE freeware guitar amp simulation suite until a few years ago. The competition is much larger nowadays, but it’s still a very cool set of plugins with decent guitar sound and ultimate ease of use.

There are many demos on YouTube showing most of the amp sims listed above in action – I’ve selected this one by , showing what NRR-1 can do:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Yp4Z1NQ9oI

And that’s all for today! What are you favorite guitar amp sims? Favorite guitar cab IRs? Any secret tips you’d like to share with us? Leave your answers in the comments section below!

Also, please support BPB by spreading the word on your favorite forums and social networks! Thanks everyone and happy guitar playing!

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16 Responses to “Best Free Guitar Amp Simulator VST/AU Plugins!”


  • MegaVST.com - Free VST Plugins

    i prefer NI Guitar RIG

  • I’m a rock guitar player and my favourite amp is Le Pou’s LeXTAC. It’s just perfect for medium to high-gain tones: very thick and creamy sounding while keeping amazing articulation.

    • bedroom producers blog

      yes, LeXTAC is another great one by LePou. all his amp sims are amazing.

    • I don’t know how you manage it. I tried all the Lepou sims and none sounded good, nothing even approaching a Marshall. They sounded more like the awful Fender amps, only worse.

      • I have ran into the same thing with Lepou sims. They just sound awful in my Reaper. I use the JS duel amp sim and I have tried them all and I keep coming back to JS. I have loaded a bunch more Impulses into it and so far I have been happy with it.

      • Kids you need an impulse loader and somo EQ with all the amps simulators to sound good!.

  • I have been searching for hours and I haven’t found such awesome work.

  • Mr Le Pou’s work is above all. Be sure to send him $$ if you use his stuff. Mixed with the right cab IRs he hits it out of the ballpark … check out his ENGL …

  • Another +1 for LePou. My fav of his is the Le456.

  • please take an istrument sogtware fer elementry ejucation…basic ones

  • Hey Tomislav,

    you mentioned SimulAnalog Guitar Suite, but did you know that there is an excellent skin for it, & stereo versions of all the plugins? I swear it makes it sound better having an awesome GUI, LOL! ;)

    You’ll find links to download them here; http://requietus.blogspot.co.uk/2008/12/simulanalog-guitar-suite-gui.html I opened both RAR files & they’re clean & safe.

    Breath new life into the excellent SimulAnalog Guitar Suite with these top notch GUIs!

    Regards,

    Jack.

  • I was using the lepou lecto and the lecab in logic X and they don’t sound right at all. I’m hearing allmost exactly the dry guitar tone as if the plugin wasn’t there or wasn’t on. Yes im sure it is on.

    as for the lecab, as soon as i turn it on it explodes ( in a bad way.)
    if i turn the volume all the way down it’s silent but if i creep it up it will stay silent untill it blows up again.

    anybody else getting this?
    maybe i should reinstall it

  • Anyone serious about grabbing a good free guitar amp simulator should also visit this blog: http://www.grebz.fr/simulator_freeamp_eng.php

    The guy is a guitar nut (in the good sense) and has demos of what most of the amp sims sound like. He also has some of the older free versions which don’t seem to be available elsewhere (ie. acmebargig which seems to have vanished).

    Personally, my favourite amp sim at the moment is the wagner aharp from Nick Crow http://nickcrowlab.blogspot.com.es/ It doesn’t have the nicest looking interface but to me it sounds great.

    I found the lecab sounds good but it is too CPU intensive (for my machine) when I have multiple instances of it so I use reverberate LE instead. You have to tweak the settings with the IR’s but you can make it sound good if you do.

  • you guys are awesome
    you rectofuzz is amazing

  • Not free, but cheap (for Nebula users only) are these babies here:
    http://www.thesessionguitarist.com/nebula-programs.html

    nebula works with dynamic impulse response, means it emulates also the dynamic behaving and harmonic distortions of the guitar amps, which is so important for a natural play feel and sound.

  • Line 6 POD Farm Free is now available on the Mac.

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