We recently ran a poll asking you, The Production Expert Community, to take part in a unique Vox AC30 blind listening test. We provided seven audio examples with one of the clips being a real Vox AC30 recording, the other six where produced using a number of popular guitar amp plug-in emulations. The first generation Vox amPlug headphone amplifiers plug directly into your guitar or bass, using analog circuitry to pump out convincing models of a wide range of classic amps and tones from around the world. The amPlug AC30 delivers the iconic Top Boost sound of the famous AC30 2x12' amplifiers.
The Vox amPlug was first launched in three variants: Metal, Classic Rock, and AC30. Since then, more versions have been produced, and we project more in the future as amPlug continues to spread its wings. Other versions currently on the market include Classic Rock, Blues, Bass, Metal, Lead, and Clean. This article, however, covers the Vox amPlug 2 AC30 review.
All versions have the same basic features, but the difference is in the sound that the musician is looking for. The concept behind Vox amPlug is that you plug the amp directly into your electric guitar, then insert headphones.
The AC30 is a guitar headphone amplifier, basically an extremely small portable amp, and allows you to hear the same sound as you would from a standard amplifier when you play via headphones, but in a smaller version.
With this compact amplifier, you can play your guitar in total silence when you are traveling or when you don’t want other people to listen to what you are playing.
- Who Is Vox amPlug 2 AC30 Made For?
- Features of The AC30 Amplifier
Who Is Vox amPlug 2 AC30 Made For?
If you always find yourself playing your guitar in crowded rooms, you and possibly the other people sharing the room will love the amPlug 2 AC30. The amplifier lets you practice at any time without interfering with other people, let them watch the TV while you noodle away. Plus, you will not feel self-conscious because no one else can hear you.
If you travel a lot, the amp provides a better way to continue playing your guitar without bringing a traditional big heavy amp with you everywhere you go.
If you are working to improve or enhance your skills, the Vox amPlug amp gives you the opportunity to play in silence. Your housemates or family members will most likely hate to hear the same sweep picking exercise 200 times, so the AC30 offers an impeccable way to practice.
Plus, if you like simple tones from a guitar straight through an amplifier without any effects, the AC30 provides a direct sound suitable for simple rock tones.
Features of The AC30 Amplifier
The amp will fit your palm comfortably. It is made of plastic and easily plugs into your electric guitar. It comes with a 6.35mm jack for use with different instruments. But because it plugs directly into the guitar, caution must be observed when putting the guitar down. It would be best if you use a guitar stand.
The amplifier is powered by two triple-A (AAA) batteries. There are two types of batteries that you can use for your amp- the zinc-carbon batteries, which can last up to 9hrs or Alkaline batteries that you can recharge after 24 hours.
The power switch is located on the side and comes with two settings – ON and standby. Some models have an FX option, though. Three control knobs are available for controlling volume, gain, and tone. By tweaking these controls, you can get anything from a nice clean tone to medium distortion.
The aux input allows you to connect different devices, including an MP3 player, smartphone, or an iPod, basically anything that has a 3.5mm jack. This is useful for backing tracks or drum machines.
You need to use the 3.5mm output jack to connect to your headphones. You can also plug the amp into any speaker system with a 3.5mm, such as computer speakers.
Ease of Use
Using the Vox amPlug 2 AC30 easy. Just plug it into your electric guitar and connect your headphones or speakers. You may have to adjust the controls from time to time, though to get the tones you are looking for.
If you are using a strat-type guitar or any other that has a jack on the face of the body; it will be easier because the amplifier will sit at a convenient position. With a guitar that has a jack on the side, such as a Les Paul or Telecaster type guitar, the amp will not be visible from a normal standing or seated position. So, you will have to flip your instrument over to use the controls.
This is only a small inconvenience, and once you find the right tone, you will not need to worry about it. The AC30 produces a simple sound. And because there are no preinstalled effects, you simply tweak the gain settings and tone to your desired sound, and that’s it.
The amPlug 2 AC30 amp features 100 percent analog circuitry. Thus, if you do not like digital modeling technology, the Vox amPlug AC30 might suit you. Despite being a compact device, the amp produces an excellent tone.
It produces the AC30 style sound. Remember this device is designed primarily for silent practice, and even though you could use it to record, do not expect the highest quality sound-wise, this is fun, cheap and cheerful, not studio quality.
The amplifier does not have enough gain for heavier metal tones, which is the reason it comes in different models suited for various styles. If you are looking for a high gain setting for metal, consider a metal version.
Similarly, if you like to play the lead, a lead version would suit you. As noted earlier, all amPlugs share a lot of the same features and quality, so you can choose the version that suits your style of music.
We found this amp to be perfect for rhythm parts and had a lot of gain for a simple classic rock or pop tone. We felt that the lead sound required some slight gain because it was quite thin. Nonetheless, everyone player is different. So, this shouldn’t put you off.
Being made of plastic, the AC30 can easily break or damage. It would be great to see a version made from metal, although this would make it costlier. So, you need to be careful when putting your guitar down while the amp is connected.
Also see: Pignose Legendary 7-100 Review
Vox amPlug 2 AC30 Pros & Cons
- Three channels for different tones.
- Comes in several modes for different sounds.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Comes with a tremolo circuit.
- Produces a clean and organic sound.
- Does not require a separate cable.
- The lows are wooly when using heaving distortion.
- The plastic construction is prone to break or get damaged.
- Quite expensive.
Differences Between The Vox amPlug 2 AC30 & The Standard Vox amPlug AC30
When it comes to built and design, both models look and weigh almost the same. All amPlug amps are super light, but also sturdy. The plastic casing has a solid built, although it may break if it hits the floor very hard.
Both models use two AAA batteries, but the difference between the AC30 and the regular model is that the former comes with an On/Off button while the latter has a switch. Although not a major improvement, it lets the amp power off automatically.
Other Portable Options
Not sure if you want to go as small as the amPlug? No problem, check out our reviews of the Best Mini Amp, the Best Portable Guitar Amplifiers, the Best Modeling Amps, and the Best Guitar Amplifiers under 200 Dollars currently available.
Also of interest might be our review of the Fender Super Champ X2 Tube Amp.
The Final Verdict
The Vox amPlug 2 AC30 is an ideal device for musicians who do not want to carry a lot of accessories and makes simple practice incredibly quick and easy. The amp is a built-in device and doesn’t require a separate cable, just plug it into your guitar and use it. The advanced analog circuit produces bright and organic tones that are similar to those produced by an actual AC30.
Additionally, the modes, setting, and effects allow you to experiment as much as you want, and find your desired sound. Plus, if you are one of those people who forgets to turn your amp off, the auto-power off function will come in handy.
The Vox amPlug 2 AC30 is worth every dime!
If you’re a guitarist, you’ve probably had the common problem of wanting to make professional music from the comfort of your home but not having the right setup to do it. Your recording will end up sounding less than stellar if you aren’t able to create a good setup with your amps. This is where an amp simulator could step in to save the day.
There are multiple reasons why an amp simulator might be preferable over a standard guitar amp. One major reason is the neighbors. If you live in close proximity to anyone who doesn’t have a tolerance for loud noises, the guitar amp isn’t going to be ideal. Others aren’t well versed in the fine art of professional recording. Then there are those who don’t have the money right now to buy the equipment that will give them a professional sounding result.
No matter what your reason is for considering an amp simulator, there is a wide variety of options currently available for all styles of guitarists. We’re going to go over some of the best electric guitar VST’s today so that you can narrow down which one will work for you.
Top 13 Electric Guitar VST Instruments
1. Softube Metal Amp Room
The Softube Metal Amp Room is a bit of an upgrade from the Softube Vintage Room. It was developed with Patrick Jensen, better known as the guitarist for the Swedish metal band The Haunted. It features a variety of brutal and aggressive guitar tones right out of your DAW. One unique feature is that it can be run in mono if you want to tighten your sound, or run it in stereo to let it fill up the stereo spectrum.
It comes with the same continuous mic placement as the Vintage Amp Room, and they have added on adjustable stereo panning and twin microphones. To get heavy palm-muting in, you can use the high-quality gate. It has a super fast opening, more so than any hardware gate. You can play as fast or as slow as you want, as the gate is program dependent.
The cabs were measured by Tue Madsen in the Flames Studio. He created a wide variety of presets, each meticulously designed to give you the best metal tones possible.
- Exciting collection of aggressive guitar tones ideal for metal
- Super user-friendly
- Uses continuous mic placement
- Lacks versatility
2. Heavyocity Scoring Guitars 2: Gravity Pack 05
Heavyocity has been developing VSTs that are worthy of the big screen for many years now. Scoring Guitars 2 will give you 5GB of high-quality content that can be utilized for a wide range of cinematic productions. You’ll be able to develop some truly atmospheric tracks with tools like driving pulses, complex pads, cinematic phrases, and ambient guitar beds. With this VST Heavyocity strays from its mainstream guitar roots to explore some edgier sounds.
You’ll have the opportunity to experiment with a great selection of guitar tones, including chunky rhythm pedals and a multi-sampled semi-hollow body. There’s also a new set of keys to play with, including D and G, which can take your sound to a different dimension. These sounds come from high-end guitars like the 335, Stratocaster, and others. The sounds are boosted with the help of a collection of American and British amps and cabs and the other pro outboard gear utilized by Heavyocity. You’ll be impressed by the amazing depth and warmth that we’ve come to expect from analog equipment.
If you are at all interested in scoring, this is an absolutely must-have VST. It’s also great for those who want to explore some edgier guitar sounds with some versatile guitar software.
- An abundance of presets to choose from
- Super detailed samples and effects
- User-friendly keyswitches
- Melodic phrases are quite ambiguous
3. Audified Audified Live Guitar and Bass Bundle
The Audified Live Guitar and Bass Bundle is a great value for everything that’s included. Audified gives you just about everything you could ask for, including seven power amps, eight microphones, thirty effects, twelve speakers, and nine top-notch guitar preamps. With all these pieces to work with, the possibilities for guitar tones are almost endless. You can easily utilize it in your DAW. You also have the option to use it as a standalone application whenever you are playing live in rehearsal or on stage.
The Gallien-Krueger amps and speaker setups were designed with bass players in mind. Audified faithfully replicates the features that were originally found on the amplifiers like all the filters and the bi-amp design. The bundle includes the InTone 2, which is perfect for adapting your preferred plugins to live performances. It’s essentially a multi-in and multi-out product mixer that has the capability of playing digital instruments.
We don’t want to overlook the bundle of pedals that is also included. The selection of pedals is sourced from a release Audified made over 10 years ago. This release just so happened to mark Audified as the first to introduce professional guitar software. If you don’t want any limits when you are exploring guitar sounds, the Audified Bundle is highly recommended.
- The sound is incredible
- Impressive collection of awesome presets
- Beautiful interface
- Requires great effort to find the best tone
4. Softube Vintage Amp Room
If retro tones are your thing, you will definitely want to check out the Vintage Amp Room bundle from Softube. The amps you’ll find in this guitar plugin emulate vintage amplifiers from incredible names like Vox, Marshall, and Fender. You can authentically replicate tones that sound like they are straight from hits of the 60s and 70s. Softube has built a strong reputation based on their impressive sound applications, and this VST does not disappoint.
There are three amp emulations included in the Vintage Amp Room. If you like the sound of the Fender Twin, check out the Brown Amp. The Green Amp emulates the Vox AC30. And if you’re a fan of Marshall, the White Amp replicates the famous Marshall JCM800. With these three awesome amps, you can pretty much dial in any classic sound you can think of. With the simulated studio setup, you’ll also get speaker cabinets and a flexible microphone setup.
This VST works great for live performances, and it can be used to re-amp guitars that need a little more power. The Softube Vintage Amp Room gives you all the tools you need to bring authentic vintage sounds to your guitar recordings.
- Super user-friendly
- Impressive amplifier simulations
- Incredibly authentic mic positioning
- A lot of money for only three amps
5. Audiority Tube Modulator
You can achieve a completely new vibe simply by adding some vibrato or tremolo to your guitar sounds. If you’re interested in exploring this idea yourself, check out the Audiority Tube Modulator. It offers a great selection of tremolo, vibrato, and spatial position effects circuits. You’ll find everything from 50s-style tube bias tremolo effects to psychedelic vibe pedals from the 60s.
The spatial effects in this VST include a wide stereo “wow and flutter” simulator for fans of tape, a user-friendly panner to create space for your guitar in the mix, and a rotary speaker. The XY scope will help you understand the spatial position, and it will show your current amplitude. It gives your original signal that classic warmth that you can only get from a tube.
The Tube Modulator gives you amazing vintage effects along with an incredibly impressive interface. The GUI looks super realistic. Just a warning, the interface is so distractingly beautiful that you might forget the project at hand.
- High quality stereo treatments
- Cool leslie-style effects
- Stunning, realistic interface
- If you’re looking for modern parameters, you might be disappointed
6. vir2 Electri6ity
Maybe you’re not a guitarist but you still have a need for some high-gain, shred-style guitar for your tracks. In this case, you’ll need to enlist the help of a VST like the vir2 Electri6ity. On the Electri6ity you’ll find eight of the most popular guitar tones that have ever been played. Vir2 accomplished this by combining more than 24,000 24-bit samples of each guitar. The guitars are more versatile than you would expect. Each one has three separate pickup options and plays a range of articulations to give you realistic guitar sounds.
A few of the available articulations are pull-offs, hammer-ons, harmonics, upstrokes, downstrokes, releases, ghost notes, slides, and mutes. The interface keeps things simple, but you have the option of crossing over to the more complicated side if you want to go a little further. On the performance page you’ll find the most essential playback settings like vibrato, strum behavior, and overall volume.
If you want to explore the settings page, you’ll discover incredible control capabilities. You can tweak every little detail of the guitar sound if you so desire. You can go even further with the effects page if you truly want to take your sound to a higher plane. You have your choice from a variety of stompboxes, and you also have your standard delay and reverb units. However, if you don’t want to get into the trenches with shaping the sound, this VST will also essentially take care of everything for you.
- Amazing selection of tones and styles to choose from
- Unbelievably detailed performance capabilities
- Nuances are super authentic
- Mastering it will take time and effort
- Requires a lot of RAM
7. Line 6 Helix Native
Line 6 has a reputation for creating modeling amps that are among the best in the industry. Line 6 amps are a great starting point for those just starting out because they don’t cost too much and offer an expansive library of sounds to work with. The Helix Native captures all of the great qualities of Line 6 in software form. If power and versatility are high on your list of priorities, the Helix Native has you covered.
This VST gives you an overwhelming amount of guitar emulation options, including 37 cabinets, 72 amplifiers, 16 microphones, and 72 amplifiers. You have everything you need to let your creativity run wild. The intuitive interface makes the whole process much more natural and efficient.
The Helix Native also supports third party impulse responses, which gives you some more flexibility when it comes to tone. If you’re already a customer of Helix hardware, you’ll find that the integration is tight. It’s also super easy to transfer your presets from your home to the stage. Line 6 checks all the boxes if you’re looking for a realistic electric guitar VST that comes from meticulous component and behavioral modeling.
- Amazing selection of effects and presets
- Impressive automation capabilities
- Great live hardware integration
- Quite expensive
- Adding your own impulse responses can be challenging
8. Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 5
The Native Instruments Guitar Rig Pro 5 provides incredible versatility and functionality. The first version of the Guitar Rig software was introduced in 2004 with just three tube amp simulations. That doesn’t compare at all with this impressive VST that gives you control of a range of virtual cabinets, amplifiers, rooms, and effects. Specifically, you’ll have 27 virtual cabinets, 17 amplifiers, and no less than 54 effects pedals.
The Guitar Rig Pro 5 utilizes Dynamic Tube Response technology to offer a legendary collection of guitar tones. Unlike many of its competitors, this VST is set up to look like a virtual rack configuration instead of a pedalboard, cab, and amp configuration. This works well because it makes it easier to view all of the elements at once.
From humble beginnings, the Guitar Rig Pro has become one of the most powerful amp simulators in the game. Any guitarist will benefit from having this comprehensive guitar software in their collection.
- Thorough list of presets
- Very versatile
- Control Room Pro works well for developing customized tones
- Can take up too much CPU
- An abundance of amateur-sounding models as well
9. AmpleSounds Plugins
AmpleSounds has a notable selection of playable electric guitars and amps. They also have multiple guitar emulations that could easily be included in this article. But we’re going to look specifically at their Metal and Electric guitar plugins. The Metal Series includes the Stingray Classic Bass emulation and the Metal Eclipse ESP emulation. The Electric Series has the LP Gibson Les Paul, the SC Fender Telecaster, SJ Gibson SJ-200, and others.
Each one of these guitars offers various sounds for diverse playing styles like fingered and picked. The guitars on the plugin were recorded with two adjustable mic positions, and they were also recorded in both stereo and mono playback modes. You have complete control over these sounds with customizable fret noise, resonance, velocity sensitivity, and more.
This VST utilizes automatic doubling with spacing control. There’s also a range of effects for you to play with, including EQ, phaser, reverb, overdrive, chorus, delay, and others. The key switches feature enables you to switch between some different articulations like palm muting, hammer-ons, and popping and sustain, among others. Another feature is the Strummer, which is a sequencer that will allow you to move between chord progressions. AmplSounds Guitars is an awesome option if you want a comprehensive guitar VST with authentic progressions.
- Customizable interface
- Extensive library of sounds
- Very realistic guitar VST
- Not very intuitive
10. IK AmpliTube 4
AmpliTube was first introduced in 2002, and it has since evolved to become one of the most comprehensive guitar amp VSTs that money can buy. There are lots of pieces to work with, including 33 stompboxes, 25 amplifiers, 15 rack effect units, 29 cabinets, and more. There’s a good selection of AmpliTube gear designs in addition to emulations from other big names in the amplifier realm like Marshall, Fender, Vox, Mesa/Boogie, and Roland.
Its cab room emulator lets you choose from a variety of cabs, and you can also go further in adjusting the mic positions, speakers, rooms, and other factors. The user even has the option to mix in everything, which simulates a professional recording environment. You will get almost every tool you could hope for to help you shape the best guitar tone for your mix.
IK has outdone themselves with this latest version of AmpliTube with tons of features, expansive control options, and authentic emulations of electric guitar and bass sounds. It’s definitely worth checking out.
- Stunning sound quality
- Fantastic cabinet and room options
- A great selection of extra models that can be purchased and downloaded
Vox Ac30 Vst Plugin Free
- Purchasing extra models can add up
- Most presets will need to be adjusted to get a good sound
11. Positive Grid BIAS lineup
Vox Ac30 Vst Plugins
Positive Grid BIAS might not be near the top of many people’s guitar VST lists, but it probably should be. As one of the most sophisticated modelers currently available, it’s a seriously underrated piece of software. The BIAS will allow you to build your own amplifier with a number of customization options, including transformers, preamps, power amps, tone stacks, and tubes. There’s also various microphones to choose from and the option of closed or open back cabinets. BIAS makes the amp of your dreams a virtual reality. With all of these possibilities, you could literally spend all day tweaking.
The BIAS utilizes a dynamic tube engine with a touch response that almost perfectly simulates that of a tube amplifier. The reformulated speaker module puts dynamic tone control in your hands. Amazing guitar sounds can be created for any genre—classic rock, metal, blues, acoustic, jazz, and any other.
What BIAS users love is the extensive online community of fellow users on the ToneCloud website. While there you can find, share, and download custom amplifier settings contributed by some of the best guitarists and artists in the industry. Oh, and we can’t forget to mention the BIAS FX plugin, which is included in your purchase. You can use it to add rack and pedal effects to your amp to elevate your sound even higher.
- Super responsive tones
- Editing options for days
- Top notch Impulse Response software
- It’s going to cost a lot of money to get the whole experience
12. Overloud TH-U Full
TH-U Full is an innovative product by Overloud that promises to take amps and FX to new realms. This is the most expansive guitar software that you can buy right now with an incredible 239 models to pick from. On this one VST you’ll find 50 guitar cabs, 4 bass amplifiers, 89 guitar amplifiers, 2 bass cabs, and 77 effects in both pedal and rack form. And that’s still not everything. You’ll also have your choice of 1,000 presets in various styles, including metal, rock, blues, jazz, and more. Not to mention the 18 pro microphones you can utilize with as many as four microphones on each cabinet.
Overload gives you some of the best authorized models in this collection like THD, Randall, DVmark, and Brunetti. One of the most notable features is the Amp Tweak technology, which gives you the ultimate control over customizing the power amps, pre amps, and more. The Rig Player feature also allows you to simulate real setups with your choice of 20 factory rigs.
ReSPiRe 2 technology is utilized to ensure all of the emulations from the cab IRS to the advanced cabinets are on point. The sound chain makes it possible to apply effects directly to your signal or use parallel processing to integrate them in the mix. TH3 users have the bonus of their software being compatible with TH-U. This guitar software can help you achieve all your guitar sound goals with a truly impressive library of sounds.
- Very realistic amp tones
- Incredible versatility
- Expansive selection of presets
- Can be a bit overwhelming
13. Waves GTR3 Amps
If you love Waves as much as we do, the GTR3 is an essential tool to have in your collection. You will be amazed at how much versatility you get for the cost. You’ll have access to an exciting library of vintage and modern amp tones from names like Fender, Marshall, Vox, Mesa/Boogie, and many others. Their professional sampling technology stands toe to toe with the more advanced modeling methods that are used by many of their competitors.
Users will love that this VST is ultra-low latency, which makes it ideal for use in live performances. There’s plenty of options to pick from, including 30 cabinets, 25 stompboxes, and 30 guitar amplifiers. Awesome news for rock guitarists—25 of these are focused on high-gain sounds. One feature that we particularly like is that you can play through two separate cabinets at the same time. This gives you even greater freedom to diversify your tone.
You’ll be impressed by the top-notch selection of stompboxes, including phaser, reverb, flanger, chorus, delay, and pretty much any other stompbox that you can think of. The MIDI controller makes it super easy to adjust their settings or bypass them completely. It’s definitely not the best option in terms of authenticity, but it’ll work well for demo projects that require guitar sounds.
- Huge library of guitar tones to choose from
- Interface is consistent across all amps
- Ideal for use in the live realm
- MIDI setup is a little confusing
- Lacks floorboard integration
Guitar Tones Go Digital
The electric guitar VSTs that we’ve just mentioned virtually eliminate the need to lug cumbersome rigs around to various gigs or mic up amplifiers in the studio. Now you can create almost any guitar tone imaginable with just your computer and some software. No, it’s not the same as standing in front of actual tubes and speakers, but it’s incredible how close these guitar plugins come to emulating that experience.