Guitar amp sims are one of the greatest tools for home recording. You can have all your favorite amps on your laptop and record when you want it.
As time goes by and technology improves, the sound of amplifier emulators becomes more advance and realistic. Hence recording has become much easier.
In recent years we’ve seen the emergence of new companies that make modern amp sims but there are some good old ones too.
If you are looking for the best amp sims for recording, then you came to the right place. This list consists of amazing guitar amp VSTs that are perfect for recording.
Also, if you are interested you can see the list of the best bass amp sims.
What’s The Best Guitar Amp Sim?
I have played and tested some of the best guitar amp sims and made a list for you. Each amp sim emulates a very realistic sound and offers great sound options. Each software works perfectly with every modern digital audio workstation.
1. Fortin Cali Suite
Fortin Cali is a three-channel amp sim and one of the most diverse ones. Has clean and two overdrive channels. The app itself has stereo and mono modes, oversampling, and gate functions. More sound shaping is available with different switches such as bright, thump, and hair. The sound of the amp is very realistic.
The app has more to offer. Other than the amp, it has effects on pedals like overdrive, noise gate, reverb, and delay. Also has an onboard 9-band equalizer to shape the sound even more. And another great feature of Fortin is the cabinet and mic options. The cabinet with four speakers and six mic options that can be positioned around the speakers. Fortin Cali is an amazing-sounding and feature-rich VST guitar plugin for recording.
2. Amped Dual
Amped Dual by ML Sound Lab is based on the famous Dual Rectifier amp by Mesa Boogie. Includes eight amp settings in total and consists of clean, modern, vintage, and raw channels. This amp perfectly emulates Dual Rectifier and sounds very professional and realistic. The plugin includes effects pedals and a cabinet. One of the best guitar amp sims you can find.
The pedals are also from ML Sound Lab and the pedalboard consists of a noise gate, compressor, drive, chorus, reverb, and delay. You can choose from five different cabs and four mics. Mics can be placed in front, back, or at an angle. The options Amped Dual offers are great. The sound and flexibility make it a great recording plugin.
3. Bias Amp 2
Bias Amp 2 is one of the most recognizable amp sims. This app is dedicated to the amp and cabinet. You can change almost everything and create your custom amp with a unique sound. You can change tubes, transformers, mics, speakers, shape preamps, power amp sections, and more. Also, includes a tone match feature to capture and use your favorite amp tone.
The amp, speaker, mic, and component library are huge. The app includes famous clean and dirty amps, recording microphones, guitar speakers, and much more. You have almost unlimited capabilities but it doesn’t include effects pedals. If you want to have them, you can use Bias FX, which includes amps and effects.
4. Amplitube 5
Amplitube 5 is the last iteration of the famous guitar amp plugin. The tone, amp, and effects library, features, and flexibility is great with this app. In the app, you will find famous Fender, Orange, Marshall, and Vox guitar and bass amps. They sound very authentic. But Amplitube 5 goes further.
The library consists of effects pedals, cabinets, speakers, mics, and so on. You can choose the room for your cabinet, position mics, create your signal chain, etc. Also, in the application, you have a tuner, looper, and 8-track built-in DAW. This allows you to record your demos without additional software.
5. Overloud THU
Overloud THU is an underrated application for guitar recording. The features and tone quality is superb in this VST plugin. It’s one of my favorite guitar amp sims and I use it all the time. It has a really intuitive interface and great options to create great guitar or bass tones. Has a massive amp and effects collection.
Overloud includes 80+ guitar amps, 4 bass guitar amps, cabinets, effect pedals, mics, and everything that is needed to create amazing tones. You can import your cab IRs, change preamp and power amp sections, etc. It also has a mobile app. Software gets regular updates and they often add new gear.
6. Guitar Rig 6
Guitar Rig 6 is perhaps the most famous amp sim. It’s well-known for its huge amp and effects collection. Also, has a free version. I wasn’t a big fan of this software because of the sound but the last version is much better. Has a better sound and it works great as a recording tool. Also, love the new interface.
With the amp, you get amps and effects based on famous gear. Twenty-one guitar and bass amps in total. You can use matched cabinets and control room features to customize your sound. The effects library is huge in Guitar Rig 6 and you can create a huge variety of guitar tones or use presets.
7. TSE X50
TSE X50 is a special gem I’ve found a few years ago. It’s an American-sounding amp with great sound and features. Has clean and dirty channels with a bright and crunch switch. Additionally, it offers pre and post-gain controls with separate low-end knobs. The opportunities to shape your sound are huge with the TSE X50 amp sim.
The sound of this amp sim is one of the best. You have the option to choose between EL34 and 6L6GC tubes. The amp has the oversampling option and uses very low CPU power. But that’s not all. With TSE X50 you get a power amp section, preamp section, cabinet section, and pedalboard section. You can use pedals such as overdrive, noise gate, phaser, reverb, delay, etc.
Emissary by Ignite Amps is a free guitar amplifier plugin for metal musicians. Although it can produce great clean tones, the main use of the amp is for heavy tones. The options and sound quality is superb. Very realistic and high-quality free guitar amp emulator. It comes with a free IR loader and you can use your favorite cabs with it.
Both channels have separate control knobs. Additionally, both channels have a Bright switch and the lead channel has Deep and Shape switches. The amp also has master volume knobs for both channels. The sound quality of the Emissary amp is amazing. It’s a great guitar plugin for recording heavy music.
Crunchman by NaLex Software is one of my favorite guitar amp sims. It has a very high-quality and realistic tone. It’s based on Friedman amps, has a beautiful tone, and options, and looks cool. You will need some kind of IR loader, it’s just an amp head. The plugin has a stereo routing option.
With Crunchman you get a general preamp section with bass, middle, and treble. And these knobs work and shape the sound. Also, it has a presence, power amp, and gain controls. But important options are channel-type and two amp tone switches. You can add more low-end with the FAT switch. The plugin has an oversampling feature for better sound quality.
Lextac by LePou is a great and very diverse guitar amplifier plugin. This is a Plexi-style amp and you can dial in different types of guitar tones. It has three channels and you can create crisp clean, bluesy, crunchy, and really heavy tones. And I find it the best for lead tones. It sounds juicy and cuts in a mix perfectly.
It’s a three-channel amp. Has clean, crunchy, and heavy modes. But also has a pre-EQ switch where you can brighten the tone. Other options include boost, stereo routing, oversampling, gain structure, and Plexi switch. Lextac is a very colorful and diverse guitar amp sim. Requires an IR loader or guitar cabinet emulator.
Uber is a king among free heavy guitar amp sims. It’s developed by NaLex Software and sounds amazing. The amp is simple to use and produces heavy and rich guitar tones. This is not a clean amp. The best usage of this amp is for metal and heavy music recording.
The tone is quite beefy and has a good amount of low-end. You can control it with a dedicated knob. Like every NaLex plugin, it has a stereo routing option. In addition to that, it has a power amp knob. Uber is one of the best-sounding amp plugins for heavy music.
12. Cypress TT15
Cypress TT15 is a little plugin that can produce a huge guitar tone. Developed and designed by Black Rooster Audio, it’s a great amp emulator and it’s based on Orange amps sound. Great plugin for clean, crunchy, and heavy tones. I love this plugin and it is one of the best guitar amp sims for those who love the Orange sound.
The amp is very simple to use. It has three knobs – gain, tone, and volume. You can choose between low and high output. Also, it comes with a good, built-in 2×12 guitar cabinet. But you can turn it off and use your favorite cab or IR loader. Great amplifier plugin for recording beefy tones.
13. ToneDeluxe 2
ToneDeluxe 2 is another great free guitar VST that has a beautiful interface, sound, and features. The amp design reminds you of classic Fender tube amps and I love the aesthetics. Offers clean and dirty sounds, emulates ECC83 and EL34 amp tubes, and is very lightweight. Great way to record guitars for free.
The VST has standard controls like EQ, drive, volume, and gain but also you can choose between dark and bright tones. Includes built-in reverb with two different tones which sounds cool. And what amazes me is that it has the option to choose different amp cabinets such as 1×12, 4×12, 2×12, and some bass amp cabinets too.
Guitar amp sims are perfect recording tools for home studios. Amplifier sims are very convenient, more affordable than real amps, and sound great. You can have your favorite amps on your PC or laptop and create clean, crunchy, or heavy guitar amps and quickly record them without hassle.