Neural DSP Omega Ampworks Granophyre Review

Neural DSP Omega Ampworks Granophyre Review

Neural DSP have teamed up with Omega Ampworks for their latest guitar plugin and have brought the Granophyre into the digital realm. The single-channel monster seems like the perfect amp for a Neural DSP plugin but can this beast of an amp really be turned into a digital model without losing its edge?

Let’s find out.

Neural DSP Omega Ampworks Granophyre

This isn’t an Archetype plugin so it doesn’t have all of the features found in those plugins. Instead, we return to the same kind of format as the Fortin Suites. You get one amp, an overdrive pedal, a graphic EQ and a cab sim. Simple and straightforward.

Neural DSP Release The Omega Ampworks Granophyre Plugin

The layout is what we’re used to with a Neural DSP plugin. Switching between modules is done at the top of the plugin and along the bottom, you can change between EL34, 6L6 and KT66 power tubes for some extra tonal options. And yes, there is a tuner!

We start off with a single effects pedal, the EarthQuaker Devices Plumes overdrive. It’s a classic boost/overdrive pedal with level, gain and tone controls along with a 3-way switch to select different gain circuits. It’s a very articulate sounding pedal with plenty of presence and clarity so it matches the amp very well.

 

Neural DSP Omega Ampworks Granophyre Review

Next up is the Omega Ampworks Granophyre head. It’s a single channel amp with low and high gain modes. Low gain doesn’t mean clean. There’s always some dirt around but in low gain mode, the tones are warm with a softer edge to them. Round but still articulate. Flick the switch to high gain and things tighten up, there’s extra gain and there are some added upper mids. The simple Bass, Mid, Treble have plenty of range available. Set them all straight up for a great sounding starting point and adjust them based on what you need. The Voice switch moves the mid-range focus from upper mids to low mids. It’s a simple adjustment but a very useful way to change the tone. The Master Volume, as you’d expect, lets you balance how much you want to hear from the power tubes. It’s been well implemented so it’s definitely worth playing around with this control after you have your basic tone pretty much set. Depth and Detail basically allow you to get some extra control of your highs and lows so you can get just the right amount of low-end thump, add detail to the highs or dial out any troubling highs or lows with ease. You also get a choice of three power tubes. The EL34, 6L6 and KT66 options all have their own distinct character and bring something different to the mix. As you can see, it’s all nice and simple but there are plenty of options for creating the sounds you want.

The 9-band graphic equalizer is something I always like in the Neural DSP plugins. It’s another simple but hugely powerful way to really fine-tune your tone. I usually dial in the amp to get a good basic tone, make any mic adjustments then move onto the graphic EQ to dial out and low-end mush or harsh mids/highs.

Neural DSP Release The Omega Ampworks Granophyre Plugin

Moving onto the speaker sim section, we get the usual great options we’re used to with a Neural DSP plugin. The cabinet used is the Omega Ampworks Granophyre cabinet so it obviously matches the amp perfectly. Neural DSP have teamed it up with a range of moveable mics, level, distance and pan controls along with an IR loader and stereo option. The cab section hugely important to the final sound of a plugin and an area Neural DSP have really nailed.

If you don’t want to run the plugin using a DAW there is also a standalone option.

In Use

The first thing you notice about the Granophyre is how bright and articulate it is. It’s not harsh but it has a lot of presence that is missing from many other amps. What this translates to is a tone capable of cutting through the densest of mixes. Although it’s described as being suitable for dirty blues, for me, this is a metal amp. The lower gain tones didn’t really do anything for me but the amp really starts coming alive as the gain reaches the midpoint. In fact, starting with everything pointing straight up is the best place to start. I always like it when an amp sounds good set like this because it means it should have plenty of room for adjustment and the Granophyre is no exception. It’s a very tight and dry sounding amp which really brings out your playing style well. Get sloppy and you’ll hear it! But play tight, vary your pick attack and you’ll hear all of the nuances come through clearly. Make no mistake, this is a real players amp.

The amount of tonal variation is very impressive. The High/Low switch provides two distinct voices, then there is the wide-ranging EQ, Voice switch, Depth and Detail controls which all give more options than you’d expect from a single-channel amplifier. Turn up the Master Volume and the power tubes really start to come into play and change the way the amp sounds and reacts. When it comes to metal, there doesn’t seem to be anything this plugin struggles with. If you want an extremely tight and cutting tone it’s there, if you want it warm, loose and sludgy, no problem. Technical styles are very well catered for due to the amount of clarity on offer. Every note comes through with a strong attack and nothing gets lost in a dense mix. I also found it sounds excellent for old school thrash and death metal tones.

Did you think I’d make it through the review without mentioning Mick Thomson? The Slipknot guitarist is probably the highest profile Omega user, both live and in the studio. When you think about how busy a typical Slipknot mix is, it makes sense that he’d choose an amp with the characteristics exhibited by the Granophyre. The sheer ferocity is matched by the exceptional presence and detail. I opened up an old project file and switched from a different plugin to the Granophyre and the guitars came alive. It simply lifted them and helped them to find their own space around the other instruments. As a musician, that’s exactly what we should be looking for from a plugin such as this.

Conclusion

From the off, this is an exceptional sounding plugin. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used the word clarity. I can’t think of many high gain amps or plugins that can compete in this department. Very often you up the gain and the details start to disappear, but not with this plugin. It’s incredible. Some people might not be happy with the lack of clean options or extra effects but that’s not what this plugin is about. What Neural DSP have tried to accomplish is to recreate a fantastic sounding amp in digital form, complete with all of the characteristics and nuances which made the hand-wired amp so special and they have certainly succeeded in doing just that. This is a great addition to the Neural DSP range and without a doubt one you should check out.

Rating 9.5/10

Guitar Noodle Top Pick

The Neural DSP Omega Ampworks Granophyre is available from https://neuraldsp.com/products/omega-ampworks-granophyre

Neural DSP Omega Ampworks Granophyre

9.5

Rating

9.5/10