To determine the best djent guitar VST we need to have a look at the best real-life amps for djent. The leading amps for this style of music are the big dogs for pretty much any modern metal genre.
Some examples that spring to mind are a Peavey 5150 or a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier. These are just a few of many that are capable of producing the tight yet saturated distortion necessary for djent. Any amp sim that does a good job of replicating these real-life amplifiers would make a great VST for djent.
Our favorite for djent is Amplitube 5. It is the most recently updated of the key players in the amp sim world and has officially licensed amp sims. Many of which are perfect for djent.
In this article, we are going to review amp simulators. If you are looking for midi guitars you can check out the electric guitar sims in this article. To get a good tight metal tone, I would go with an unorthodox combination. You could use NI Session Guitarist Deluxe run through one of the amp sims from this review.
The pickups of the sampled Les Paul in that sim are not really hot enough for djent. However, the huge range of sounds and control makes it the best for mapping technical guitar parts that sound natural.
For this purpose, the Bias Package is probably best. You may be able to find a way to get Guitar Match to work with the midi guitar for even more control over the tone. I didn't try this out, I am much more interested in playing a real guitar so don't take my word for it.
Now that we've got that out of the way let's dive into the reviews.
This is our favorite in this category for its huge range of djent capable amp heads. These are of course immaculately sampled and sound great. IK Multimedia has been one of the biggest names in VST instrument simulators for a long time. They have a prestigious reputation when it comes to guitar amp simulators too.
A big difference between this amp sim package and some of the others is the officially licensed simulators. For example, they actually have a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier head. There is no guesswork about which amp the sim is emulating. It also means the sim has to sound real enough for the actual manufacturers to sign off on the software.
An official seal from Mesa Boogie, Engl, and Dr. Z are particular standouts when talking about djent.
All three of these manufacturers are common to see on stage at a show for some of our favorite artists. This makes it easier to recreate the tones of such artists. Copy their amp and settings. Easy peasy.
There are also official certifications for Marshall, Fender MetalHead, and Leslie among many others.
There are of course plenty of 'based on' amp simulators too. It is from these you will be able to access other metal-friendly sims such as a Peavey 5150 and some Randall models. These are just as capable as the official models at creating a quality tone too.
There are also more than enough cabinets, stompboxes, rack effects, and even microphones. This allows you to recreate pretty much any guitar tone you want.
It can be a little overwhelming at times as there is so much to consider. Those that love to experiment will have hours of fun tinkering with minuscule settings.
You can set the signal path to travel between completely different amps and effect chains. Awesome for when you switch between dirty and clean channels. This makes it super easy to play along with almost any song or create your own unique sound.
I like a lot of reverb, post-amplifier, on my clean channel. Yet I want my dirty channel to be free from post-fx so this system works well for me. I'm sure you have your own preferences that would be difficult (or expensive) to create with real-life gear. This sim makes it easy.
On the other hand, if you just want to plug in and play straight away there are plenty of amp presets as a starting point. I tried out the ENGL Powerball with its basic preset and got a fantastic djent tone straight away. Obviously, you could mess around a little with these presets, but, there is no need to do anything drastic with most of them.
The only real downside of Amplitube for djent is that you need the most expensive version to get the best simulators.
The heaviest sim included with the free version is for a Marshall JCM900 which is -okay- but not exactly what you need.
It is only the MAX version that has the officially licensed heads. It also has much more effects than the other versions.
Effects are especially important if you want to mess around with a clean signal too. Progressive metal and clean djent artists such as Plini often have quite a few effects in their signal chain. Therefore, having access to as many as possible would ensure you can recreate their tones.
An alternative to buying the MAX version - with its hefty price tag - is adding smaller packages to the free version. For example, if you know you are going for a Triple Rectifier sound you could buy the Mesa Boogie pack for around $150. This is less than half the price of Amplitube MAX. There is also a Metal pack that has some unofficial yet great quality heads for $99.
Buying Amplitube in this way makes it much more expensive if you were to add every feature in MAX piece by piece. I would only go this route if you know EXACTLY what you want so you don't pay for unnecessary bells and whistles.
This is a guitar amp simulator package with a lot to offer. It's our top pick as an overall package but since we are talking about djent, it moves into second place. Amplitube has more options on offer when it comes to making a tight and modern sound.
In spite of this, there are still enough virtual metal amps in Bias FX to be a worthy consideration. In fact, this came in at number 2 of our picks as the cheapest tier comes with 7 high gain model amplifiers!
This means you get access to quite a lot of metal friendly tones for much cheaper than the Amplitube MAX package.
Some of the high gain models included in the standard package are a Triple Rectifier, Peavey 5150, and ENGL Invader. These are all industry standards for creating a heavy guitar sound. Therefore, there are plenty of options to create a fat, rich, and distorted tone.
These amps also sound pretty good on the clean channel too. You also have the option to use a completely different amplifier when you switch channels though. The signal chains are very easy to manipulate with this amp emulator.
A stand-out feature of Bias FX 2 is Guitar Match. With this feature, you can model other famous guitars. I can make my Schecter Damien have a guitar tone of a Telecaster. It's a pretty cool selling point for this guitar amp sim.
You probably don't want your guitar to sound like a Tele for djent, but it works both ways. If you don't have a guitar with hot pickups you could use Guitar Match to make your guitar sound like an ESP Eclipse for example. If this is the case for you, definitely get the premium version of Bias FX over Amplitube.
Cabinet options, rack effects, stompboxes, and microphone control for this sim is very similar to Amplitube. This is true across each tier of the sims. So you would neither package would disappoint you in this regard.
There are lots of preset pack options in this software. It comes with 70 in the basic versions but you can also download other uses presets with relative ease.
As this is the same software that is in the incredibly popular Spark there is a huge user-made library of tones. This is perfect if you don't feel comfortable tweaking settings to make your own sound. You can load up and go. Perfect for someone that is more of a guitar player than a gear head.
It is important to address the difference between this pack and Bias Amp. Bias Amp is for building your own virtual amp at an internal level. It would still be great for getting the right tone but don't get them confused and buy the wrong one.
I'm going to give a quick shoutout to Guitar Rig. It falls a little short on options for heavy music when compared to the two top picks. However, the impulse response is on point and you have a lot of pedal and effects options.
The only reason I would go for this sim over the others is for producing melodic synth sections in your tracks too. This is because you can get Guitar Rig as part of the Komplete Native Instrument pack. This is pricey but has so many tools that will help you produce tracks. It has a plethora of virtual instrument packs, simulators, and mastering suite software.
It has enough djenty virtual gear to get by but not as much as our 2 top picks.
You may or may not know of the YouTuber Stevie T. Since you're looking for djent gear it's pretty likely. He builds most of his content around the metal and djent scenes and is somewhat of a meme lord. Although he dedicated most of his videos to being funny, the boy can also play (I'm a little jelly of his skills).
The free version of the Stevie T signature VST is a single amp head with a matched cab. The amp model is literally called Djent God so it's safe to say it suits what you're looking for. ML says this sounds like a "hot-rodded UK amp with US tightness". So, you can expect hot rod Marshall type overdrive with Fender dynamics.
There is a pedalboard included which has a noise gate, drive, delay, and reverb. Not a huge range like the paid sims we've reviewed but definitely enough to get you started. For a free VST, it's actually a very good range of audio extras.
They offer this sim for free to get you hooked and to upgrade to the paid version. The extra amps in the paid version will add more variety to the tones you create. The addition of a clean amp is definitely much needed. This is because the clean signal on the Djent God has some room for improvement.
The full version only costs $59.99 which is not going to break the bank. However, for around the same price, you can get the standard version of Bias FX 2 which has a lot more features. Still, if you like the free version it is definitely worth looking into the upgrade after a while.
You should aim to use amp sims designed to copy a metal amp. You wouldn't use a Fender Bassman for djent in real life so why would you virtually? That is why we said to go for the premium versions of the all-in-one options. There are more amp heads to potentially create the tone you are after.
In terms of adjusting the amps, boosted mids are quite common among many different metal genres. Many artists swear by avoiding this as well and crank their bass a little instead. You will have to experiment to find what works best for you.
If you're uncomfortable with messing with settings run through as many presets as possible. Do so until you find something that is close to what you want. Take note of the settings. Rinse and repeat.
You will eventually come to understand what you like and why. This is one of the joys of using a VST system instead of a real-life amp.
It is completely fine to use a combination of free VSTs instead of a paid package. For instance, there are some decent free pedal sims you could pair with the Djent God sim. However, you need to be aware of the capabilities of your PC and soundcard if you were to do this. Running too many plugins at once may overload them. This will sound horrible and glitchy.
You could have a separate free amplifier for each sound you are trying to create. A separate one for bass and so on.
Go for Amplitube MAX if the cost is not a problem. It has the most to offer for djent musicians.
The budget version of Bias FX 2 is awesome for its price. Much better than the equivalent option from IK Multimedia. Go for this one if you have a limited budget.
The other options mentioned in the article would do a fine job too. Yet, your best options are hands down these two.