10 Best Guitar VST Plugins For Metal 2024

Best Guitar VST Plugins For Metal

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Blood curdling, skull crushing, floor thumping, wall of sound guitar tones. It’s what every self-respecting metal guitarist wants.

To achieve these tones, there are certain tricks of the trade that need to be mastered. But having the right tools never hurt anyone. And it is possible to do it all with digital gear alone.

So, in this guide, we’ll be looking at the best guitar VST plugins for metal.

Amp Room by Softube – Best Overall

Amp Room by Softube – Best Overall

Softube’s Amp Room is considered the definitive pro-audio guitar and bass platform by some. Created with producers in mind, it gives you instant access to the high-end amps you can find in the best studios across the world.

Producer / mixer Tue Madsen found it easy to navigate and loved the quality, and producer Daniel Bergstrand thought it sounded great and more “real” than real!

The concept behind Amp Room is much like many of the latest all-in-one modular guitar plugins on the market. You can add high quality effects, mix and match amps and cabs, control mic selection and positions, and a great deal more.

The immediacy and sheer number of possibilities can be overwhelming at first, but quickly turns to exciting within moments of launching the work environment in your DAW and experimenting with the VST plugin.

Although we don’t feel the need to advertise Softube as heavily as they’ve done so in their own product description, it’s fair to say their analog modelling processes are up to snuff, they’ve worked with a lot of big names in the industry (Tube-Tech, Solid State Logic, Weiss Engineering, etc.), and they’ve included many of their own studios effects and amplifier plugins in Amp Room. Solid.

So, let’s look at what else is included:

Amp Room features copy and paste modules, Tape Echoes and TSAR-1R, solo/mute, nine amplifiers, 16 cabinets with multiple mic options, 15 effects pedals, three studio effects, eight utility modules, and 260 presets.

Just for reference, some of the amps include the Marshall JCM800, American Mainstayer 100W, Dual Tremolo 100W Silver, and Bass Standard V8.

If you can’t dial in some killer metal tones using Amp Room, well, you’re probably doing something wrong. Sure, it might take a little messing around to find your perfect sound, but there are enough high gain options to satisfy even the most discerning and biggest of metalheads.

Some producers feel Amp Room sounds considerably better than other guitar plugins in the same category.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

BIAS FX 2 Pro by Positive Grid – Best Premium Option

BIAS FX 2 Pro by Positive Grid – Best Premium Option

So far as all-in-one digital guitar workstations are concerned, Positive Grid’s BIAS FX 2 Pro has earned its place in the pantheon of rock-dom, in some cases outclassing the immortal premium digital multi-effects guitar hardware unit, the Axe-Fx (gasp). Whether it’s true or not is totally up for you to decide.

If the original BIAS FX wasn’t already groundbreaking, BIAS FX 2 Pro comes with several new features touted heavily by the manufacturer – a re-engineered high-resolutions DSP engine, Guitar Match and emulation technology, new amps, pedals, and HD racks, as well as Fuzz, Time, and Harmonizer modelers.

BIAS FX 2 features unprecedented levels of versatility and customization because:

In total, BIAS FX 2 features 60 new amplifiers, 100 new effects, 120 new factory presets, Guitar Match, HD racks, new custom artist presets, 100 “Rock Song” presets on ToneCloud, new MIDI / automation functionality, and a dedicated IR loader.

You also get a new DSP engine, new user interface, redesigned ToneCloud access, new looper / recorder functions, dual signal path with multiple splitters, MIDI function, preset migration, and more.

BIAS FX 2 Pro gets about as granular as you want it to get. As a metal guitarist, I’m not even sure you’ll need everything that’s here, but if you think you’ll need some added flexibility for other projects, and enjoy tweaking to the nth degree, you’re going to love everything that’s on offer here.

This baby can do far more than even Amp Room can, though it does cost a little more. It’s a shoo-in for our best premium pick.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

EFEKTOR DS3603 by Kuassa – Best Budget Option

EFEKTOR DS3603 by Kuassa – Best Budget Option

Not that there aren’t some other amazing budget options in this guide. But we felt to highlight this one!

So, you want to add even more gain to your signal chain. Hey, it’s metal. I know where you’re coming from!

Well, you might consider Kuassa’s EFEKTOR DS3603 if you need to take your distorted guitar tones to new plateaus. This baby includes five types of distortion to satisfy your various needs – Lead Distortion, Heavy Distortion, Metal Distortion, Classic Distortion, and Pro Distortion.

EFEKTOR DS3603 is simple in design, but it does include gain, tone, and output volume controls, a bypass switch button, dry-wet control, up to 8x oversampling, as well as CV inputs for automation.

Naturally, it would be wise to combine this digital distortion pedal with an amp sim of your choosing, but that’s all you need to achieve killer tones like in the video below:

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

QuickBass by United Plugins

QuickBass by United Plugins

What’s sometimes easy to overlook as a guitarist is just how important the bass sound is in relation to the guitar. With drop-tuned seven- and eight-string guitars becoming the norm, the low end can easily end up bunching, phasing, and muffled. It sucks when that body shaking chug and thump is what you’re really going for, and it’s nowhere to be found.

United Plugins’ QuickBass can help solve all your low-end woes. While you can capture a great bass sound direct (especially if you’re using a great sounding bass), It generally requires a little tweaking to get just right. QuickBass gives you access to EQ, compression, saturation, and other essential parameters to get your bass tracks sounding perfect.

QuickBass was made for bass and is an all-in-one effect that makes the use of an entire effect chain mostly unnecessary (save yourself a bit of CPU load). Regardless of playing style (pick, fingers, or slap), the EQ can help you quickly tap into the right settings for your bass.

This, along with compression, saturation, fatness, and other parameters, you can push and pull until that bass is sitting perfectly in the mix instead of detracting from them. Further, there are plenty of presets, be it Jazz or Death Metal, that offer a bit of instant gratification.

So, if you’ve been struggling to get your bass tracks sounding right in your mix, QuickBass might just be your ticket to full metal mayhem.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Klirrton Grindstein by Audiority

Klirrton Grindstein by Audiority

Created in collaboration with Klirrton Manufaktur and producer Kristian Kohle (Kohlekeller Studio), Audiority’s Klirrton Grindstein is a meticulously modelled death metal preamp along with some extra goodies to sweeten the deal.

Dial in your favorite tones from the 90s all the way to present day and take advantage of the Schnauze noise gate and Fleisch equalizer to fine-tune your tone and unleash an aggressive and heavy guitar sound on the world.

Klirrton Grindstein features two mixable channels (Bottomshaker and Chainsaw), boost based on the Lichtbringer circuit, phase switch, three-band EQ on Chainsaw channel, two-band EQ on Bottomshaker channel, the previously mentioned Schnauze circuit noise gate, five-band Fleisch EQ, and cab simulator with seven speaker combinations (selected by Kris Kohle).

As you’ll see in the video below, YouTuber Ola Englund thought the Klirrton Grindstein offered an instant Pantera tone.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

AmpKnob – RevC by Bogren Digital

AmpKnob – RevC by Bogren Digital

“So, wait… a knob? A single knob?! Is that what I’m paying for here?”

Yeah, it might seem a little crazy, but Bogren Digital’s AmpKnob – Rev C has received rave reviews.

Musician-producer Euge Valovirta said it felt like a real amp, producer-musician Dan Swanö thought it “ruled,” and musician-producer Ihsahn felt it sounded amazing.

Okay, so what’s beneath the hood?

The idea behind this plugin is to help you achieve a realistic, perfectly dialed heavy Rectifier tone (with studio processing already applied) at the turn of a single knob. Yep. That’s really it! And yes, this baby has already been used on top-tier productions.

So, how does it sound?

Obviously, tone is an objective thing and different people like different amps, settings, mics, etc. But for what it is, and the price that it’s at, we think AmpKnob – RevC sound amazing, and most reviewers agree.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Amplifikation Creme by Kuassa

Amplifikation Creme by Kuassa

In the developer’s own words, Amplifikation Creme is the ideal guitar amp sim for “modern high-gain guitar” sounds.

Peter Berlind Carlson thought it was much better than expected, Navire Creux loved the versatility and tone of the amp, and Tony Vincent said it was solid, especially at this price point.

This amp sim features a digitally engineered amp head along with a matching cabinet, and built-in overdrive sections based on three of the most popular overdrive pedals.

Overall, you get three selectable channels (Clean, Lead I, Lead II), built-in overdrive section with three selectable amp types (Sharp FMV, Full Midtone Baxandall, Big Heavy), five types of 4×12 cabs with four microphones, adjustable dual-miking configurations, noise gate, limiter, impulse loader, A/B switch, support up to 96000Hz sample rate, and more.

No, this amp can’t do everything Amp Room or BIAS FX can do. But it’s a specialized piece of gear tailor made with metalheads in mind. And it is, as Tony Vincent says, insanely affordable. It’s worth a look if your budget is tight but you still require some killer tones to leave your fans in awe with.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Solidus Randy 250 by Audiority

Solidus Randy 250 by Audiority

Ever wanted an analog sim of the Randall RG100ES from the late 80s, and the RH150 from the late 2000s? These solid-state amplifiers have a ton of gain and huge low end that ended up defining an era of heavy guitar sounds.

Developer Audiority meticulously modeled these amps to create Solidus Randy 250, and added some handy tools for fine-tuning and sound shaping – noise gate, two EQs (six-band graphic EQ and three-band parametric EQ), a post-amp five-band EQ, a modern overdrive, and a dual cab loader.

The RG features two channels (green and red) and an overdrive channel boost, while the RH comes with two channels (clean and overdrive), clean channel boost, and overdrive channel with dual gain.

For classic Pantera style tones, the Solidus Randy 250 is an excellent choice.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Solidus VS8100 by Audiority

Solidus VS8100 by Audiority

Audiority’s Solidus VS8100 is a recreation of the 1991 Marshall Valvestate 8100 amplifier. As the first “Valvestate” amplifier, it came with a 12AX7 tube for the distorted channel. The amp also came with a normal and boost channel for clean and distorted tones, respectively.

Having meticulously modeled the original, developer Audiority also added a fun bag of tricks to help you carve out your perfect guitar tone – EQ / booster, noise gate, post-amp five-band EQ, and a cab loader.

Although you may need to spend some time dialing in your perfect tone (be sure to take advantage of all the parameters, features, and settings), Solidus VS8100 sounds mean, aggressive, and powerful.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

Heavy Pedal mkII by Audiority

Heavy Pedal mkII by Audiority

Any rock or metal guitarist worth her salt will instantly recognize the design of Heavy Pedal mkII and know exactly what it’s supposed to be emulating. That’s right – it’s an analog modelled sim of the classic BOSS HM-2.

Not content to model any Swedish Chainsaw distortion floor pedal, Audiority hunted down a pristine 1984 Japanese version of the stompbox to aid with the creation of Heavy Pedal mkII.

Heavy Pedal mkII comes with independent tone (low and high), distortion, and level controls, pre and post effect chain, mix control, noise gate, nine circuit types, distortion bypass, and a resizable interface.

Understandably, the HM-2 isn’t for everyone, but as the video below demonstrates, you can get some mind-blowing, heavy tones out of it, especially combined with your favorite selection of Impulse Responses.

Learn more: Plugin Boutique

What Should I Look For In A Guitar VST Plugin For Metal?

Metal is more than just cranking up the gain and pounding out the riffs. There’s so much more that goes into capturing and crafting the perfect recorded sound. So, I probably don’t need to tell you that choosing your gear is key to getting the sounds you want.

In choosing your gear:

  • Listen closely to the VST plugins presented here. There are both video demos and audio samples for each. Reviews can also be helpful, but don’t get too caught up in what other people are saying when making your final decision.
  • Consider the feature set. The more you pay, the more you usually get. But do you really need 100+ amp and cab combinations? It’s up to you to decide, and if the sound is what you want, there are no arguments to be made. But do have a close look at the features of each VST, because some are obviously more limited than others, where some are capable of considerably more.
  • Use your budge to filter out options. If money is a concern, remember that you can get a lot of tone on a budget. Avoid going into debt for music related purchases. Save up for what you need, and you shouldn’t have any regrets.

Top Guitar VST Plugins For Metal, Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, metal is individual. A lot of young guitarists like to go after more familiar tones, or the tones of their heroes, but at the end of the day, there are so many ways to get a tone that totally crushes and turns heads.

So, use the above not as a rule sheet but rather as a guide. Explore, experiment, and use what works for you. Discard the rest.

Ultimately, we know the above plugins are top notch, and they can all help you get your perfect metal tones dialed in, in different ways. Enjoy!

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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