The 12 best virtual guitar amplifier plugins: top amp modelling software for guitarists and producers

(Image credit: Line 6)

There is tons of tube and solid-state guitar amp modelling hardware on the market today, but if your budget doesn't stretch to buying a brand new amp, then there are plenty of software options available.

Whether you're looking to find licensed, or even un-licensed emulations of well-known branded products, there are plenty of plugins to choose from. Some include full effects chains, cab sims, IR loading capabilities and you'll even find fair few bass emulations too.

Most of the products in this list will work on all platforms, while some are only available in certain formats such as Universal Audio's UAD platform.

Here we have, in no particular order, the 12 best guitar amp and cab sim plugins in the world today.

Studio Devil Amp Modeler Pro

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Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX |$149

(Image credit: Studio Devil)

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.

Studio Devil website

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 4

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX |From $179.99

(Image credit: Future)

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.

IK Multimedia AmpliTube 4 Deluxe review

Positive Grid Bias Series

Positive Grid Bias Amp 2

(Image credit: Positive Grid)

Mac/PC/iOS | VST/AU/AAX |From $99

There are multiple elements to BIAS: Bias Amp simulates amp and cab units, while Bias FX lets you build complex chains of stompboxes, amps and cabs. Bias Pedal, meanwhile, lets you model pedal effects processors at the component level.

Positive Grid BIAS Professional review

Waves GTR3

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX |$129

(Image credit: Waves)

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.

Waves website
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Universal Audio Fender 55 Tweed

Mac/PC | UAD-2 |$199

(Image credit: Universal Audio)

UAD virtual amps are becoming pretty focused, epitomised by this latest classic Fender offering. With three speaker types, twin micing and Unison support, virtual tweaking is still enjoyable, as is its extremely realistic (and awesome) sound.

Universal Audio website

Audified ampLion Pro

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX |$99

(Image credit: AUDIFIED)

This one gives you an 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.

Audified website

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 Pro

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX |$199

(Image credit: Native Instruments)

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.

Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 Pro review
The beginner's guide to creating a virtual guitar amp rig

Overloud TH-U

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX |$299

(Image credit: Overloud)

Features include a scrollable and zoomable drag and drop interface and endorsed amp models alongside proprietary versions of classic gear (over 203 components). An improved and redesigned Cabinet IR module is included in the latest version, along with 14 new cabs and 15 new amp models.

Overloud website

Brainworx ENGL Amps

Mac/PC | UAD |$149

(Image credit: Universal Audio)

Two of ENGL’s amp heads have been exquisitely modelled 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.

Brainworx ENGL amplifier bundle review

Softube Vintage Amp Room

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX/UAD |$149

(Image credit: SOFTUBE)

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 pedalboard, tone shaping is limited to the amp controls.

Softube Vintage Amp Room review

Audio Media Research ReValver 4

(Image credit: Peavey)

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX/standalone |Free (in app purchases)

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.

Peavey ReValver 4 review

Line 6 POD Farm 2.5

Mac/PC | VST/AU/AAX |$99

(Image credit: Line 6)

The intuitive split-screen 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.

Line 6 Pod Farm 2 Platinum review

Electronic Musician

Electronic Musician magazine is the ultimate resource for musicians who want to make better music, in the studio or onstage. In each and every issue it surveys all aspects of music production - performance, recording, and technology, from studio to stage and offers product news and reviews on the latest equipment and services. Plus, get in-depth tips & techniques, gear reviews, and insights from today’s top artists!