Recently Bogren Digital released their new Ampknob BDH plugin. Offering classic high-gain amp tones in a super simple, yet highly effective format. They kindly sent me their new plugins and in this review, I share some key aspects of the new BDH set of plugins and compare them to their Ampknob RevC.
Bogren Digital Ampknob
Bogren Digital specialises in producing high-quality, simple-to-use software. Their Ampknob series of virtual guitar amp plugins encapsulates this perfectly. Essentially the user interface is one large knob, designed to add more gain as you dial it up.
The BDH 5169 is based on the original 1992 block letter amp head, which came out in 1992. Whilst, BDH 66o6+ is based on a hot-rodded and heavily modified “plus” version, which was a later generation of the amp from around 2000. Finally, BDH III is based on the last version of the amp series.
Behind the deceptively simple UI, the software is actually very flexible and includes a lot of professional features. Such as the ability to load third-party IRs, a noise gate, plus the ability to capture your recording directly (within the standalone software) and a metronome, a tuner and more.
I really enjoyed the ability to use all the plugins either within my chosen DAW of Logic Pro or having the option of running the software standalone.
Another huge benefit for me is the fact that all the software is Apple Silicon ready from the go, so I could leverage all my processing power. This meant I could run all the plugins at 0.4ms which meant practically zero latency!
The software can run from 44.1 Hz up to 96 Hz and so offers everything you need for most projects.
The suite of three BDH plugins can be purchased individually or as a bundle. Each offers a different take on the classic Eddie Van Halen signature Peavey 5150 high-gain amps which launched back in the 1990s.
They all have a very similar layout to the original Ampknob RevC software and really could not be easier to set up.
Each of the three versions comes with its own perfectly matched speaker cabinet by default, or you can load your preferred IRs. In the background under settings, users can adjust the sensitivity of the built-in noise gate and keep everything tight.
Apart from this, the two sliders for IN and OUT sets your guitar input level and the overall output level accordingly.
Having such simplicity and ease of use, in my opinion, is fantastic. As It meant that I could get on and record ideas with practically zero fuss.
Obviously, the actual amp tones are what is important here and I am pleased to report that they are very usable. If you need high-gain, tight amp tones, then these are perfect.
These new BDH versions all have a PEDAL button, that engages a preset drive to the front end of the amp. Combine this with that huge GAIN knob and you have more than enough control over your amp tones.
Bogren Digital has done a fantastic job of emulating the amp characters and I found that I could get what I was looking for very quickly.
Often, I found myself backing off the gain and discovered that there are a wealth of great gain tones within each plugin.
Sure, these new BDH models all have potentially a lot more gain than the RevC, as you would expect. Especially as they all have that pedal/boost option.
However, I would urge users to play with that gain knob, as it will reward experimentation.
I appreciated the ability to record ideas directly into the standalone version as well. The metronome is also pretty advanced and offers the ability to change the meter, and accent, plus it will also set automatic speed increments if you need them.
Verdict? Less is More
These plugins all work as you would expect, offering great amp tones. Even though on the surface they appear very simple, don’t let that fool you.
I would urge anyone who is interested to download the free trials and play with them within their projects. There are currently some great deals on the plugins as well, so you can save money if you buy, for example, the bundle of all three BDH plugins.
The Ampknob BDH Bundle is $79.99 (regular price: $99.99) and the individual Ampknob BDH plugins are $39.99 each (regular price: $49.99).
- Available as VST3 / AU / AAX / Standalone
- Windows 10 or newer
- Mac OS 10.13 or newer (Intel & M1 Native)