The Top 5 Best Amp Modellers for live and studio is our roundup of the virtual amp rigs you should consider for your guitar rig. Taking raw DSP power and turning it into an ultra-believable amp-like feel and tone. In this modern age we are spoilt for choice, so which ones should you consider?
Top 5 Best amp modellers for live and studio
Thankfully, the world of virtual guitar amps is just getting better and better. In terms of portability, flexibility and ease of use, both live and in the studio, they are hard to beat. The modelling amp is one of the greatest pieces of modern-day guitar gear and with so many great systems on offer it can be hard to work out which one is best for you.
This roundup takes the five we are currently most impressed by. We have marked them on reliability, sound quality, ease of use and flexibility. Plus, are they receiving regular updates and will they handle the rigours of touring?
Many modern-day amp modellers include the ability to use Impulse Responses which can make them a go-to piece of gear in the studio for when you want to record. The formats available now are both varied and useful for different scenarios, so we have included a few different types for you to look at.
The list is not definitive, as we wanted to distil it down to the ones we think will offer some of the best value for different situations and at various price points.
Be sure to let us know your favourite modelling and virtual amplifiers in the comments section below and why you like them.
Line 6 Helix
The Line 6 Helix is possibly one of the most popular modelling amplifiers on the market, plus it has regular updates that make it hard to beat. It has an easy-to-use interface and a slew of handy input and output connections, which make it a joy to use.
Live & Studio
The Helix system is perfect for live work, as it is built around a solid metal chassis. It is also the perfect studio tool, with many great user patches available online, which cover a wealth of great guitar and bass tones.
Below is the Thomann bundle which includes the official Line 6 Helix Backpack that makes it easy to transport to venues. Plus, there are many versions of it available now including the Helix Rack *, Helix LT *, HX Stomp * and HX Stomp XL *. Making the Helix family a great place to start for amp modelling and virtual effects setups.
Line6 Helix Guitar Processor Bundle
Neural DSP Quad Cortex
Next up is the relatively new Neural DSP Quad Cortex and this compact floor unit offers some very powerful DSP processing that includes 2 GHz dedicated DSP from the Quad-Core SHARC architecture. Again, this system has regular firmware updates and is also built like a tank, making it worthy of this list.
The system is a very powerful processor and as it is one of the latest modelling amp systems to be released, it should be pretty powerful for a very long time. It is one of the more expensive units, but the bang for your buck cannot be denied, as it covers so many bases.
Neural DSP Quad Cortex
Kemper Profiler Stage
The Kemper Profiler Stage system takes snapshots of real amplifiers called ‘Profiles’ and uses these to give players an amp-like experience. The Kemper family of products is similar to the Line 6 Helix, in that it comes in many formats. The Profiler Stage is one of the newest iterations and places the system in an easy-to-use floor pedal format. Though they do it as a rack * or as a head * if you prefer those formats.
The way that it can capture essentially the DNA of any guitar amp is its greatest strength and puts it in a unique position amongst this bunch of amp modellers. Certainly, one to check out if you have access to some nice amps.
Kemper Profiler Stage Bundle 3
The Boss GT-1000 is their top-of-the-line floor modeller and is packed with great features and is based around 32-bit/96 kHz processing. It also works for both guitar and bass, so it is pretty flexible. Having Bluetooth control for wireless editing of iOS and Android devices is also a really handy benefit for many musicians.
Both amps and effects can be routed in numerous series and parallel combinations, plus it has very fast patch switching and delay carryover. Having the ability to use it as a USB audio and MIDI interface for computer-based recording and editing is also a key feature for many users. Making it perfect for stage and studio.
Having access to all those classic Boss effect algorithms is also a massive bonus with this one.
Finally, the Mooer GE150 is the perfect amp modeller for players on a restricted budget, but who need more flexibility and amp models. This compact floor pedal includes everything you need to record with and play live.
It could well be the cheapest on this list, but don’t let that put you off as it is packed with great features.
This little floor pedal includes 55 amps, 26 cabinets and 151 effects built-in, which makes it pretty flexible. It also supports third-party Impulse Responses, so you can tailor it to your tastes. I like that even at this price point it still includes USB connectivity for use as a recording interface to your DAW.
In fact, this little aluminium box has plenty going for it and it is certainly one to check out.
Mooer GE150 Amp Modelling & Multi
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- Line 6 Helix: Thomann
- Neural DSP Quad Cortex: Thomann
- Kemper Profiler Stage: Thomann
- BOSS GT-1000 Guitar Multi-effect: BOSS
- Mooer Audio GE150 amp modelling and multi-effects unit: Mooer