If you love the sound of a cranked Marshall tube amp, but don’t like the noise complaints from your neighbors that come along with it, Softube may have you covered. At NAMM this year, the company announced the release of its new Kerry King Signature amp simulator plug-in, based on the now-discontinued Marshall 2203KK 100 watt tube amp. The amp itself is a modified Marshall JCM 800 with KT88 power tubes instead of the EL34 tubes you’d typically find in a JCM 800, plus an optional EQ boost and gate circuit.
The beauty of this plug-in, much like a real Marshall, is you turn it on and it just sounds good. We opened the plug-in with the default settings, heard one chord play through it, and guitarist/composer Rich Tozzoli said, “It sounds perfect! Hit record!”
The interface is extremely straight-forward, featuring your standard presence, bass, middle and treble controls for tone shaping, plus a master volume and pre-amp volume control for dialing in the perfect amount of crunch. Things get really fun when you hit The Beast button. This engages the extra EQ boost circuit, boosting the upper midrange and high end, tightening up the low end, and adding additional gain going into the preamp. The Assault Intensity knob allows you to dial in how much of this boost you want, from fairly subtle when all the way down to full-on brutal when cranked all the way up. The Beast mode also adds an incredibly easy to use and fantastic-sounding one knob gate to help cut out any noise introduced from all that extra gain. Just adjust the gate’s threshold to your liking and you’re good to go.
Moving on to the cab section of the plug-in, Softube gives you a ton of options to shape your sounds to your exact needs. The first tab in the cab section features five mix-ready preset mic combinations created by legendary engineer Terry Date at Henson Recording Studios, giving you a variety of tones with a simple click. The next tab gives you access to Kerry King’s live tone, with an impulse response captured by FOH engineer Chris Paccou at a 2018 Slayer show. If these presets aren’t working for you or if you prefer to get a little tweaky with your tone, the third tab has you covered. Here, you have control over seven different mics on Kerry King’s personal Marshall Mode Four 4×12 cabs. You can tweak the volume, pan, and phase of each mic, allowing you to create your own signature sound.
The real beauty of this amp sim is how much fun it is to play; Rich Tozzoli commented how every time we dialed in a new tone, the sound of the amp would inspire him to come up with the perfect guitar part for the track. From blues and country to rock and metal, this amp gave all the tone and inspiration we could ask for.
Don’t think that this amp is only for guitars though. We also ran B3 organ through it for some super crunchy keyboard parts inspired partly by the sounds of Deep Purple’s Jon Lord. In addition to this, we also used it on bass in some heavy rock tracks. By blending a cleaner, more traditional bass tone with a copy running through the Kerry King Signature amp for some distortion, we were able to get a monstrous bass tone that could stand up to and cut through a massive wall of guitars and drums.
Softube • www.softube.com