Free emulators of guitar amps gain momentum


There’s quite a few musicians around who wish that free Linux alternatives to Guitar Rig were easier to use and fun looking. Good news, everyone: Guitarix is now available as LV2 plug-ins with fancy skins.

Recently Hermann Meyer introduced the first version of Guitarix featuring LV2 versions of some of the amps/cabinets, both mono and stereo versions:

  • GxAmplifier tube 12ax7 tonestack sovtek cabinet 4x12;
  • GxAmplifier-II tube 12AT7 tonestack soldano cabinet AC30;
  • GxAmplifier-III tube 6C16 tonestack bassman cabinet 1x15;
  • GxAmplifier-IV tube 6V6 tonestack soldano cabinet mesa;
  • GxAmplifier-V tube 6DJ8 tonestack ampeg cabinet HighGain.

That’s quite handy if you don’t need the typical ultra-flexibility of JACK hosts' connections and simply want to use the effects.

GxAmp I

GxAmplifier as an LV2 effect

These LV2 plug-ins rely on same backends as Guitarix itself (like Zita Convolver) and use graphics by Richard Dalton. We shot a simple demo featuring GxAmplifier-IV applied to the second track in a simple Ardour 3 session.

The plug-ins aren’t perfect yet. There’s still an issue with threaded design which makes it impossible to freeze a track with a Guitarix LV2 plug-in on it (basically, it makes Ardour crash). Hermann is already looking into that.

The next version of Guitarix is likely to feature more LV2 plug-ins: AutoWah, Wah, Booster, and Tube Screamer are already available in the Git repository. Their visuals would do with some more work, though.

Wah plug-in

GxWah effect applied to the same audio track with automation

You can grab Guitarix at SourceForge. Note that LV2 plug-ins aren’t built by default, you need to run ‘./waf configure’ with ‘–build-lv2’. LADSPA versions are still available, same as standalone version of Guitarix.

Around same time Tim Goetze resumed his work on CAPS plug-ins (currently only LADSPA) that emulate various amps and cabinets as well. The amount of changes is huge, here are just some of them:

  • complete rewrite of AmpVTS;
  • more tonestack models
  • CabinetIV added, CabinetIII restored;
  • more filters for AutoFilter.

Tim provides rather verbose documentation on the website and as a separate download. Do check it out.