Over the past couple of years, the VST plugins have gained more and more attention in the guitar community. The questions of could the VST plugins replace the traditional amp and effect pedal is already a long debate that led to no answer.
In case you are not familiar with the term VST plugin, the VST stands for Virtual Studio Technology and it represents a software interface for audio plug-ins that incorporates software synthesizers and effects units into digital audio workstations.
Every day there are more and more plugins that are being used both by professional and amateur musicians and producers. The quality of the sound you will get completely depends on how much you are willing to spend the time to do the research. Of course, better plugins will require a bigger budget, but still, there are many great plugins that are budget-friendly.
Top 7 Guitar VST Plugins 2023
Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 Pro
The Guitar Rig 6 Pro by Native Instruments is their latest release of this plugin. Chances are if you googled the best guitar VST plugin you will stumble upon this one. For most people, this is one of the first plugins they use and learn on.
Besides Guitar Rig 6 Pro, there are other instances of the same plugin (i.e. Guitar Rig 6 Player and Guitar Rig 6 LE) but the Pro version comes with additional amps and effects for a wider tonal palette.
What is great about the Guitar Rig 6 Pro is that it can accurately recreate guitar sounds by using intelligent circuit modeling and machine learning. The plugin itself is designed in such a way that it is easy on the eyes and will help you get to your desired tone faster. Whether you are a seasoned musician or just a beginner, the Guitar Rig 6 Pro will suit everyone’s tonal needs and desires.
IK Multimedia Amplitube 5
Standing right beside the Guitar Rig 6 Pro is the Amplitube 5 by IK Multimedia. It features a truly unique set of possibilities for a bang for the buck. Apart from being used as a VST plugin in workstations, you can also use it as a standalone application which is perfect for live performance.
Among the many different VST amp modelers, the Amplitube stands out from the crowd with one of the most realistic amp cabinet simulation models. For the most lifelike guitar virtual instruments, the entire signal chain utilizes dynamic response modeling. It can also be used as recording software since it has 8 tracks built into a standalone application.
PositiveGrid Bias Amp 2
Out of all guitar VST plugins, none will give you the option to customize the number of things as the Bias Amp 2 by PositiveGrid. Most plugins will come with the option of switching out the effect pedals or mics. The Bias Amp 2 will allow you to change everything.
With this plugin, you can the mic array, and types of mics and even change the tube of the amp itself. This way you can get a truly unique sound. It also has a great community with the ability to share virtual amps and sound via ToneCloud.
This plugin really focuses on bringing the amp to life so it feels like a real thing. This is the closest you can get to the real amplifier. You can also upload any audio file and your guitar will match the tone of the audio.
Line 6 Helix Native
If you are into guitar multi-effect pedals, chances are that you heard about the Line 6 Helix. To complement the amazing multi-effect pedal, Line 6 introduced a Helix Native for all of those bedroom musicians.
This product is mostly made for all of those guitarists who own one of the Line 6 products such as Helix, Helix LT, or any of the POD instances that can support amp simulation and impulse response technology. It can be used to create and load the presets onto your device.
Still, you do not have to own any of the mentioned to use the Line 6 Helix Native. It can be used as a VST or standalone application like other plugins from the list. An overall great choice for guitarists who like to experiment with different types of sound and explore the world of amplifiers and effects.
Neural DSP Archetype Plini
This may be the one that is not as infamous as the other plugins from this list but it is worthy of being on it. I have personally used almost every single one of the plugins from the list but none left the impression as the Archetype Plini by Neural DSP.
In terms of the effect and overall design of the plugin, it is fairly simple and on first look, there is nothing too much about it. With this plugin, there is a lot going on under the hood. It comes with three different types of amp models and effect pedals.
This plugin truly captures the feel of a real amp. I would recommend this plugin for players who are just entering the world of guitar VST plugins since it has a really simple and straightforward user interface that everyone will be able to understand.
Softube Amp Room
The main goal of the creators of the Amp Room was to put focus on capturing the classic feel of a traditional amp. Each amplifier, cabinet, and effect in Amp Room has been meticulously picked to provide you with the finest sound from the best equipment available. Amp Room has a natural feel to it since Softube has been modeling analog equipment for a very long time.
An interesting fact is that they collaborate with big names such as Marshall, Tube-Tech, and many different so they can make sure they are doing things correctly. This plugin should definitely be part of your DAW experience since it is not an amateur plugin, but rather one on the professional level which will without a doubt make your sound amazing.
The Waves GTR3 is the veteran plugin and one of the first guitar plugins ever made. With 25 modeled guitar amps and 7 bass amps, GTR3 Amps is inspired by big names like Fender, Marshall, Mesa/Boogie, Vox, and more.
You may choose the amp type, as well as up to two cabinets and two microphones, using the straightforward amp head interface. No matter whatever amp you start with, the Drive, Pan, Phase switch, and Delay settings are the same for all amps.
The world of VST plugins is huge and choosing the best plugin is not an easy task. Luckily with today’s DAWs, you can have as many as you want, even use multiple at the same time if your computer can handle it of course.
Every day there are new VST plugins that feature more and more options for creating a tone that will suit your playing style. With these plugins, the possibilities are limitless and everyone can have the sound of a professional musician for a fraction of the price of a real guitar rig.