Recently a new member of Recording Review, Aradaz, sent me a link to some free VST plugins he wrote himself. I don’t know too many guys who write their own plugins so I gave it a shot. I have to say that I’m VERY impressed with the Aradaz Amp2 White regardless of it being a free VST guitar plugin. (He needs a catchier name! When in doubt use Greek God or Roman names!) I’d called it the Aradaz Julius or something. Okay, maybe Amp2 white is better!
The Aradaz Amp2 White is not the most versatile guitar sound in the world. There is no button on it to simulate Vox, Fender, or Marshall. It’s just a crappy looking GUI (which I think is actually pretty cool, but most wouldn’t) with the usual tone controls. These tone controls remind of the tone controls of my Marshall Superlead. They aren’t very aggressive. They are more a salt and pepper type of seasoning while my Rivera Knucklehead has more of a A1 steak sauce type of thing with it’s tone controls.
With that said, this VST guitar plugin is very good. Everyone hear knows I was anti-direct guitar until about 3 days. I’m not an easy person to impress. I debated if I should include a real of real amp in thie shootout, but I decided against it. When I listen to this mix, I either way to say “yes, the mix sounds good” or “no, the mix does not sound good”. I don’t want to make this a big A/B fiasco.
This plugin is not versatile….in the convention “beginner” sense. It’s not comprehensive. It does distorted guitar. (To be honest, I didn’t even bother to see what happened when I backed the gain down.) I just wanted to know if it could do the money sound or not. I have a big section in my upcoming recording book about how I don’t believe in amp versatility. I believe an amp either sounds good or it doesn’t. The great amps sound good no matter what they are used for. Amps with no tone have no tone no matter what. (I kinda think of this whole amp thing like these modern direct guitars think of their impulses.) I must admit that I’m shocked how good this little plugin sounds.
The tone is smooth. It’s not as harsh as other guitar plugins I’ve used. I get the feeling that vocals would sit over this guitar sound nicely. On my Mackie HR824s I greatly preferred the the Aradaz Amp2 to Guitar Rig 2. Guitar Rig 2 was very aggressive and harsh. On my computer speakers (which are clearly noticed at 3-5K a bit compared to the Mackies) the Guitar Rig 2 sound was much more usable and the Aradaz was maybe a hair smoother than I wanted it to sound. This is more of an issue with my studio monitoring than the plugins, I guess.
Long Story Short
I hate writing reviews like this. The damn thing is free. Just try it out! I’m impressed.
I decided to compare the Aradaz Amp2 White with Guitar Rig 2. I was in the mood to go back to my roots with the old Offspring style punk type of thing. The drums are DFH Superior which I went pretty crazy with the Waves API plugins I’m trying out. (I think I may just have to buy those!) I put some new strings on my Jackson Kelly USA with EMG 81s (not my favorite pickup for this sound…it could be part of the smooth problem). For bass, I just programmed something with Quantum XP Bass samples.
Aradaz Amp 2 White
Guitar Rig 2 – Plexi
Guitar Rig 2 – Rectifier
Here is the link to download the Aradaz Amp 2 White