JST Toneforge Misha Mansoor Review

Joey Sturgis Tones Toneforge Misha Mansoor Review

When Joey Sturgis Tones teamed up with Misha Mansoor, they created one of the hottest plugin releases of the year. Developed by JST and Misha to get his signature guitar sounds, it has proven to be a hugely successful plugin. Let’s take a look and see why it’s so popular.

Inside The Toneforge

The first thing to say is this plugin is huge. There are a lot of options for altering your tone so I will try to quickly cover all of the main ones.

JST Toneforge Misha Mansoor Precision Drive

The first stage is a virtual edition of Misha’s own Horizon Devices Precision Drive pedal. To be honest, they could have released this as a standalone plugin and it would have sold like hotcakes. The basic idea was to replace the overdrive pedal a lot of guitarists use to tighten up their tone with a pedal specifically designed for the purpose. It does its job very well and having controls designed to make it easy to dial in the right amount of tightness works much better than using a regular overdrive. The real pedal is fantastic and the digital version works just as well.

JST Toneforge Misha Mansoor Amp

Moving on to the amplifier section. This is a three channel head which features a unique Infinity Gain knob at its core. This unlocks a massive range of sounds by changing the amps internal architecture as you turn it. There are three section per rotation and four rotations for each channel. In use, you choose a channel, rotate the knob until you get a sound you like, then adjust the gain in that section. It gives you a lot of choices but it’s easy to forget which sounds you like as you keep spinning the knob.  On the main amp panel, you also get the regular amp controls such as low, mid and high EQ but there are some additions you probably won’t be familiar with.

The Character section has controls for tightness, saturation and purr. Now you can probably work out what tightness and saturation do but purr isn’t something I’ve seen before. It basically changes how the amp reacts when you mute. At it’s lowest setting the notes will cut off cleanly. Turn up the purr control and there is a purr from the amp after you have muted. It’s a popular effect in Djent-style music and works surprisingly well.

The Top End section has a presence knob along with a range knob to control the range of the presence knob. On the far right, there are a couple of sliders. One adds compression before the amp section while the other controls harmonics after the amp section. This is great for bringing out extra texture from the signal and works very well to add some sparkle to clean tones but can also work just as well to liven up distortion.

The cabinet section gives you a number of ways to change the tone once it has left the amp. These include different speaker cabinets, a range of microphones, an IR loader and the JST Matched Cab. To be honest, the matched cab sounds so good I didn’t bother using any of the other options. It’s nice to have the ability to change it if you like but I always went back to the matched cab.

JST Toneforge Misha Mansoor Effects

The FX section includes delay, chorus and reverb pedals. These are incredible sounding pedals and offer a huge range of sounds. The chorus pedal sounds great but I really love the delay and reverb. You can tell JST spent a lot of time and effort on these pedals because they are some of the best sounding effects I’ve heard inside a plugin.

Next, we have the EQ section. This is a four channel parametric which lets you do anything from making subtle alterations to your tone right through to major tonal changes. If you have your basic tone set correctly on the previous sections, you shouldn’t need to use the EQ too much but it’s nice to be able to dial out some low end if needed or add some highs. It’s also useful if you need to really mess with your sound for a special effect.

JST Toneforge Misha Mansoor Compressor

Lastly, we have a compressor. This is very effective at levelling your sound and glueing it together. It’s another unexpected but nice feature.

In Use

Firstly, let me say that this plugin sounds fantastic. If you’re looking for the perfect plugin for a wide range of Djent/Modern Prog tones then this could be the perfect plugin for you. Anything from sparkly clean through to heavily distorted is available and can be fine-tuned beyond belief. The amp reacts very well to picking dynamics and sounds great in a mix. The added effects really add to the versatility. The Precision Drive is the perfect pedal for shaping your tone before the amp and the three effects in the FX section sound superb.

All of the tone shaping options do however come at a cost. There are so many options it can be hard to know where to start. For something as simple as adding a little more treble, you could turn up the bright control on the Precision Drive, you could increase the high control in the amp EQ section, you could add more presence, you could increase the harmonics, you could change the tone setting on any of the effects you’re using, or you could use the parametric EQ. All of these would increase the treble in a slightly different way so which would be the best option? You’re likely to have the same dilemma with many simple tasks. Naturally, it’s great to have the ability to fine control your tone but there is definitely a learning curve involved in working out the best way to achieve the desired outcome. This is probably why there are some mixed opinions on this plugin if you read through the guitar forums. I don’t think the sound quality can be questioned, but by adding so many controls there is a trade-off against usability. I think this is probably why some people have found it difficult to get the sounds they are looking for.

Having said that, if you’re willing to put in the time then this is a tone tweakers dream. Every control works well in opening up a different way to alter your tone in ways other plugins are missing. Controls like Purr and Harmonics are great additions. They’re definitely something I can imagine other plugin makers trying to add to their own products.

Conclusion

For the tone tweaking Djent guitarist, this is likely to be the only plugin you’ll ever need. Based around a great sounding three channel amp, the variety of tones and the level of detail available for crafting your ideal tone is amazing. The included effects are some of the finest I’ve heard from any plugin and the parametric EQ and compressor really help you to get your tone mix ready. All of the options available do make it a more difficult plugin to use though, so if you prefer simple amp simulations then this might not be the plugin for you.

Rating 8/10

The JST Toneforge Misha Mansoor is available from – https://joeysturgistones.com/products/toneforge-misha-mansoor for $149

Joey Sturgis Tones Misha Mansoor Demo Video

Joey Sturgis Tones Toneforge Misha Mansoor

8

Rating

8.0/10