best amp sims (best guitar amp sim on a budget)

Getting the right guitar tone through what we consider to be the best guitar amp sim for your projects is one of the most important aspects of home recording that you will come across. Amp simulator plugins are not only popular, here to stay. The proof of this is that there are tons of great guitar amp sims that are available on the market. We have selected 5 of the best amp simulators for you to take a look at for your next track, album or project.

What to look for in an amp sim

There are a few things that you should be looking out for in your studio or on stage when it comes to getting the best guitar tone possible. The most important thing is look at the actual quality of the sounds and tones coming from the amp sim itself.

If you can’t get a sound that’s clean, clear and realistic then what’s the point? We suggest you check out the user reviews on the plug-in before purchasing, as this is one of the best ways to get a good idea of what it’s like. You should also look at how flexible and easy to use the interface is. If it takes too long to understand then what’s the point?

Velocity response of amp simulators

This is an aspect of amp simulators that not many newcomers are aware of. It’s common sense that the note velocity will change depending on how hard you play it. For a more realistic experience, you should look for an amp model that allows this feature in both the clean and distorted tones to get the ultimate guitar sound.

amp simulator Input options

Some of these plug-ins allow you to add your own guitar tone into the mix for a very unique sound. You should always look to see if this is an option and how it’s done, as this can be a lot of fun when you’re creating your own sounds.

Flexibility in tone shaping

The versatility of these plug-ins are also key to their success. The more options you have at your fingertips when it comes to shaping the sound, the better. This is because there are many ways to achieve a guitar tone that’s different from one style of music to another.

Some musicians want a clean and sparkly blues sound while others want a crunchy distortion tone that can emulate classic rock bands. Of course, you’re also going to be able to find the classic amp models themselves among these plug-ins for a great starting point with your next track.

guitar amp Compatibility

Finally, you should always look for compatibility when purchasing an amp model. This is one of the reasons why we’ve recommended all VST format plug-ins in this article as they’re compatible across all DAWs. If you’re a Mac user then there’s no need to worry about this as it should be fine – just check your system requirements before buying!

You may not be aware of how crucial getting the right guitar tone is for your home recording projects.

The proof of this statement lies in the fact that there are so many great sounding, top quality guitar amp simulators available on a budget! These five choices will get you started with a sound to suit any style and genre from rock n’ roll all day long, to folk acoustic melodies – we’ve got it covered.

The five different amp models we recommend are all virtual plug-ins so you won’t need to invest in any hardware.

  • Waves PRS Archon
  • Ignite Amps Emissary with NadIR
  • Audio Assault Hellbeast
  • AHM 5050
  • TSE x50

#1: Ignite Amps Emissary

Ignite Amps has produced another fabulous sounding plug-in at a budget price. The Emissary is an accurate emulation of the most popular Marshall amps used by many famous bands and artists over the years. Guitar players love this because they can use it to create their own, signature sound from a classic Marshall amp.

#2: Audio Assault Hellbeast

Audio Assault is well known for it’s high quality amp sims and the Hellbeast is no exception as it puts out some great tones and features that can easily be used within your DAW of preference.

The interface is very user friendly making this an ideal choice for beginners. You get 4 different amp models and more than 30 speaker cabinets to choose from, as well as the option to blend between them for a unique sound that’s all your own.

Hellbeast is billed as the amplifier from hell.  Inspires a brutal and versatile amp, with a grind and chunk that cuts through heavy mixes.

HellBeast has a dual IR loader, a screamer pedal, and an effects rack that make it easy to craft the most brutal of tones!


Three stomp boxes are included before the amp so you can customize your tone. 

You can remove noise from your signal with a gate pedal, shape the tone with a boost pedal, and make your amp even more aggressive with a drive pedal.

FX Rack

Featured in the FX Section are a 10-band graphic EQ, delay, and reverb.

Dual IR Loader

IRs can be mixed with the IR loader included.

A microphone can be moved freely on any IR.

Last but not least, tweak the mix with dual filters, and if you’re using the amp in stereo mode, adjust panning too!

#3: AHM 5050

The Guitar Amp Head is an easy to use plug-in for anyone who wants a great amp sim on their computer for their home recording projects. The interface is very user friendly and easy to understand, making it ideal for beginners or advanced users alike. It features a great collection of amplifiers in the classic 50 watt mode – enough to get you started on your next project.

#4: TSE x50

TSE Audio have created the ultimate amp sim with their x50 option. The audio quality is excellent and gives you the chance to blend your sounds together for a very unique mix. The plug-in also features great emulations of popular single coils and humbuckers, giving guitar players all the classic tones they could possibly want.

#5: Waves PRS Archon

Waves have created an affordable amp sim with the PRS Archon. The interface is very easy to use, making it ideal for beginners who are new to this type of thing. It features 3 classic tones from a vintage mode and tube power section, giving you all the sounds you could want in one plug-in, taking up minimal space on your computer.

How to decide which amp sims are right for you?

When looking for the best guitar amp sims on a budget, there are many things to consider. First and foremost is compatibility with your digital audio workstation of choice.

There’s no doubt that VST format plug-ins will be compatible across all DAWs, so this one should not have you worried if you’re a Mac user – just make sure it’s supported by your system requirements before purchase!

Next up is sound quality which can vary greatly depending on what type of music genre or style you want to emulate through your recording projects.

It doesn’t matter whether we’re talking about clean blues tones or crunchy rock distortion sounds; these five options provide an excellent starting point for any guitarist who wants their own signature tone in their next project.