neural-dsp-archetype-abasi-Review

Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi Review

Neural DSP are back with another new Archetype plugin, the Abasi. As the name suggests, this time they’ve teamed up with Tosin Abasi. The prog-metal legend has a unique style, so does this translate to a unique plugin? Let’s find out.

Archetype: Abasi

Open the plugin and you’ll find the familiar Neural DSP GUI. There are no surprises here and that’s a good thing. The layout is clear, simple and easy to use. I won’t waste your time running through everything because you’re likely to know where everything is already.

The three amps have been built from the ground up by Neural DSP with Tosin Abasi to cover all of the tones he needs. The clean amp does exactly what you’d expect. Pure cleans with a beautiful richness and a hint of dirt at higher gain settings. It’s very easy to get a whole range of clean tones from thin and funky through to warm jazz. It doesn’t get very dirty though so that’s where the Pathos comes in useful. Surprisingly, the clean amp with the Pathos also provides some of the best high gain tones in the plugin. The way the Pathos combines with the clean amp really is something special and just playing with these two parts of the plugin opens up a whole world of tones. This amp has another trick up its sleeve via the Blend control. As you turn it up it begins to blend in a piezo style tone. Just to avoid any confusion, it’s not an acoustic guitar tone, this is a pure piezo tone so it’s ideal for Tosin style percussive playing and crystalline cleans. It gives a very unique sound and it didn’t take long to find some interesting uses. All amps also feature high and low preamp boosts for extra tonal shaping.

Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi Review

Moving on to the Rhythm amp, things get very thick and dirty. It starts off pretty fuzzy with the EQ set straight up but the EQ on this amp is very powerful. The special knob here though is the Tight control. This lets you go from flubby and fuzzy to incredibly tight and articulate and everything in between. At low tightness settings, this amp sounds great for big open chords. They come to life as they ring out, full of harmonic overtones. At higher settings, it’s perfect for super-tight heavy rhythm playing. Push it all the way up and you’re into pure Tosin territory if you can play his percussive style. I can’t but it definitely has other uses. Tonally, this amp is capable of everything from classic rock through to modern metal. It can take a bit of work to find the tones you’re looking for but with the amp’s EQ, the graphic EQ and the Pathos pedal, there are a lot of options available.

The Lead amp is pure filth. This is a huge sounding high gain amp with tonnes of gain on tap. As if that wasn’t enough, the Attack switch adds an extra boost before the gain stage to push things even further. Add this for endless sustain. If you’re looking for full-on metal rhythm or liquid lead tones, this is the amp for you. It’s a pretty thick sounding amp so EQ is your friend again if you want to thin it out. Add some delay or reverb and it really sings. It has a sharp attack and rich harmonics which bring sustained lead lines to life and make them sound three dimensional.

Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi Review

The included effects comprise of four Abasi branded pedals. The Pathos was expected but are the other three a sign of things to come from Abasi Concepts? The Logos is a simple to use compressor which is ideal for adding extra sustain or levelling out your signal for percussive playing. The Pathos is more than just an overdrive pedal. Sure, it can be used with a dirty amp to push things further, but use it with a totally clean amp for some huge distortion. It’s like having an extra amp available at the click of a switch. This really adds to the versatility of the plugin by having such a wide gain range available. The 3-band EQ gives you some extra tonal shaping if you need it.




Post amp effects are delay and reverb pedals. The delay is similar to ones we’ve seen from Neural DSP in other plugins. It’s versatile, simple to use and sounds great. My favourite pedal is the reverb pedal. It’s perfect for huge ambient washes and sounds fantastic on clean or distorted tones. Sure, you can use it in a subtle way but where’s the fun in that? Turn up the Dry/Wet control and get lost in a seriously cool sounding reverb.

While we are looking at effects, there’s also a 9-band graphic EQ so you can really fine-tune your tones. The amps are all pretty thick sounding so having a separate EQ proves to be very valuable for cutting certain frequencies when required. If you don’t usually use this kind of EQ, take the time to learn exactly what you can do with it as it really opens up the versatility of the plugin.

Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi Review

The cabinet section is more simple than Neural DSP’s previous Archetype: Nolly plugin with just a single cabinet available. It does, however, include various mics with the usual placement controls and an IR loader. The impulse responses within the cab section have been captured by Adam “Nolly” Getgood so they are of the highest level and fit the tone of the amps perfectly.

In Use

I’ll be honest, as much as I respect Tosin Abasi, I don’t play his style of music so I was a little unsure about how much I’d like this plugin. I really had nothing to fear though as it sounds incredible. You don’t need to play anything like him to get a lot from this plugin. As with previous Archetype plugins, simply view it as a collection of awesome gear and use it however you want. Of course, if you do play like Tosin and want his tones they are definitely here. Some of the slightly quirky features such as the piezo blend on the clean amp have obviously been included because they are an important part of his sound, but having these things available to us mere mortals gives us totally new options to explore and use in our own way.

I think one of the key things with this plugin is the versatility. From the crystal clear piezo tones on amp 1, through to amp 3 with the Attack switch turned on, it’s capable of huge extremes in tonal character. Add the excellent range of pedals into the mix too and you could get lost for a long time exploring everything the Abasi has to offer. At times, the amps can sound too full but that’s why the graphic EQ is such an important component. You might have to work a little to get the tones you need but they’re all in here. The included presets make an excellent starting point and are a useful learning tool to see how other people have created tones. The plugin also has a standalone option so it can be used without having to open your DAW. Always a useful feature.

Conclusion

If I had to sum up the Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi with one word, it would be huge. Both in sound and in options, everything about it is big. Notes come alive and are full of rich harmonics and overtones and each amp reacts beautifully to the way you play. The wide range of tones available is incredible and is guaranteed to keep you busy for a long time.

The biggest compliment I can give this plugin is it simply made me want to play. When I was looking through it to make notes in preperation for the review I had to fire up my DAW and start recording. The sounds I was hearing kept giving me ideas for riffs and lead lines so I had to get them down. For me, this is the best kind of reaction to any new guitar product.

The fact that Neural DSP and Tosin Abasi designed these amps from the ground up rather than copying existing models points to exciting times ahead. What does the future hold? More of these amazing pluging please Neural DSP!

Rating – 9.5/10

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The Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi is currently available from Neural DSP for €119 – Please visit them HERE

Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi Demo Video

Neural DSP Archetype: Abasi

9.5

Rating

9.5/10