STL Tonality Andy James Review

STL Tonality: Andy James Review

Shred master Andy James has previously worked with STL Tones to make Axe-FX and Kemper profiles for his tones, now they’ve teamed up to make a plugin. Is it really possible to capture his monstrous tones in plugin form? Let’s find out.

STL Tonality: Andy James Plugin

Open up the plugin and it looks like a menacing beast straight away. The custom 5150 style amp head looks mean and ready for action. The layout is standard for an STL plugin with all the controls you need easily available along the top and bottom. It’s nice to see the Mixer Mode has returned so you can blend two amps. The real business is taken care of in the middle where you can see the effects, amp or speaker section. It’s all simple to use and well thought out.

Preamp effects are a simple green overdrive pedal and the new STL Andy James Revenant pedal which we’ll look at later. The 3 amps are based on an EVH 5150, Peavey 6505 and a Vox AC30 Topboost. There are 3 matching cabs along with an IR loader and some included external IRs so you have plenty of options for modifying the basic amp tones. Then we get to the post-amp delay, reverb and LO FI pedals. There’s plenty on offer to help you create clean and heavy sounds but it feels pretty stripped down and simple because of the layout. It works well.

In Use

Let’s be honest, when you think of Andy James you think of crushing rhythm guitars and blistering lead playing. While few of us have the technique to be able to play like him, you can now get his kind of tones with ease thanks to this plugin.

The 5150 is an absolute brute of an amp. I wouldn’t call it versatile, but what it does do well is deliver thick and chunky metal tones in spades. The amount of gain available is far more than most people need and you don’t really have to do a lot with the other controls to get a killer sound. If your riffs are lacking balls using this amp then you’re doing something wrong.

STL Tonality Andy James Plugin Review

The 6505 gives a different flavour of tones. It’s still a pretty brutal amp when it’s dialled in right but I prefer the 5150. It’s purely personal taste and I can see a lot of people liking the 6505, but for me, it doesn’t have the same chunkiness as the 5150. A neat little trick you can do within the plugin is to switch to mixer mode and combine both amp. This lets you blend the amps to get the best of both in one tone.

The Vox AC30 is an interesting choice. It’s a bright and twangy amp but it can be dialled in to deliver some darker tones. An overdrive pedal in front of an AC30 really opens up a lot of options. Do this and you can switch from clean to crunch with ease. There are also plenty of great ‘just breaking up’ style tones available with or without an overdrive pedal. It might not have the full dynamics of the real thing but it does react well when you dig in to highlight certain notes or switch from a light to heavier passage.

STL Tonality Andy James Plugin Review

Before we finish talking about amps, the Andy James plugin has another option available. The Revenant pedal isn’t just an overdrive/distortion pedal, it also works as a preamp pedal. Hit Preamp on the routing pedal and it drops out the preamp section of whichever amp you’re using. This lets you combine the Revenant pedal with each of the three power amp sections to create a whole range of extra tones. This is a great feature and really opens up a lot of possibilities. The pedal is more than capable of holding it’s own with the regular amp models and I was able to get some great sound lead and rhythm sounds by using the preamp instead of the main amps.

STL Tonality Andy James Plugin Review

The included effects are up to STL’s usual quality. I always love using their delay and reverbs to add some extra sparkle to clean tones of a bit of character to high-gain leads. The Lo Fi pedal does exactly what you’d expect and is a great effect to use when you want a small lo-fi tone before bursting into the main riff with full force.

As usual with an STL plugin, all amps react well to your playing but they seem to be designed to sit easily inside a mix. This might take away some of the dynamics but it leads to a much easier job in getting your guitar parts to fit around other instruments in a full track. You really don’t need much in the way of post-processing to get a good sounding track when using an STL plugin.

Conclusion

STL will have another hit on their hands with this plugin. If you want to get that Andy James tone then look no further. Big, bold and in your face, the Tonality Andy James can do it all with ease. The AC30 is a nice addition for those softer moments or adding some extra layers to a track, but let’s be honest, what you want this plugin for is those bone-crunching rhythm and cutting lead tones Andy has become known for. This plugin delivers those with remarkable ease.

Rating 9/10

The STL Tonality: Andy James is available from https://www.stltones.com

STL Tonality: Andy James Demo Video

STL Tonality: Andy James Plugin

9

Rating

9.0/10