Kuassa Amplifikation 360 by Illusionaire
I was happily surprised by this product. I'd heard good things about Kuassa over the last years and some months ago I demoed their Clarent version of Orange amplification. I was very impressed and purchased immediately. I followed up with Matchlock, Cerberus and Caliburn. All the amps sounded impressively realistic and very responsive to my playing and to the settings I dialed. A real joy to play. Then a GS user suggested the Amplifikation 360 to me.
This is a whole sound sculpting studio for guitar and bass. 16 guitar and 3 bass heads (they mostly come in threes from every brand). A large number of cabs from 1X8 to 4X12 and a fine collection of microphones of all types. All the above can be used in any combination.
Then we have the effects: 5 overdrive, 5 distortion, 5 fuzz pedals, emulating all the classics and some more modern stuff, gate, compressors, graphic EQ's HP & LP filters, classic wah pedals, several delays and all types of reverbs. Many of the effects are stereo, which can widen the guitar in the 360 itself, without further enhancement when mixing in the DAW.
The above can be set up in a virtual pedalboard with unlimited routing possibilities: Serial, parallel, crossover, panned.
The whole chain or selected parts of it can be saved as individual presets and recalled in even more combinations. And in every chain there can be 8 layouts with different elements engaged for instant recall of amp & pedal combinations.
All amps and drive pedals have the option of oversampling up to 8X without latency, to keep aliasing under control. The algorithm is so well designed that I it adds almost no CPU load to my Ryzen 3700X. The whole thing is impressively light even with oversampling engaged in all places.
Finally, there is the option to assign several midi switches and two expression pedals to any parameter in the program, so the player can use a pedal board or any midi controller they want.
As for the sound: I am a long time guitarist. Not a virtuoso, but I've played guitars for decades and I am familiar with their sound. Also being a sound engineer I've carried, set up and miked lots of amps both on stage and in the studio. I have an Eden 2X10 & 1X15 bass rig and a Laney & Marshall 4X12 guitar rig of my own, plus the option to rent anything I need for an album production. First of all I am really impressed with the realism of the Kuassa sound. Not only the responsiveness of the amps when playing, but also the whole experience of miking the virtual cabs like I would with a real one. It is so close, that I really don't find the need to use the hardware. I am currently hired to produce & mix an EP, where I played the bass and several guitars to enhance the arrangements. They were all done with 360 instead of my real amps. The sound was so good and so easy to set up, that I really enjoyed playing and tracking my riffs. With the Cerberus I can match my Eden amp in seconds, and I can also get a classic Ampeg sound fast, without renting it and exposing my ears to its decibels. The same goes for my Laney head, which I could closely match with the Creme and be more versatile with all the cab and mic combinations.
And being able to try several pedals and save their individual settings without the added ground noise, was a big plus for sure.
All the above are set in a user friendly environment that really inspires me to experiment and doesn't get in the way when I just want to enjoy playing.
It is important to note that the actual 360 application is free to download and use. It includes all the current Kuassa products for guitar and bass, so the user can listen to any of them in demo mode and see what they like. When a single license is purchased, the individual product is unlocked and can be used without limitations. So the demo products remain in the 360 presets, but they don't get in the way of playing with the purchased ones. The word "Demo" is next to their name in the list, so you just don't add them to your chain. If like me you like all their stuff, the price is really affordable for the whole suite and it is really worth it compared to the quality and variety that you get. But even if a player wants just a single amp and a couple of pedals, 360 can accommodate their need as well.
Finally, 360 works both as a standalone application and a plugin for the DAW. So I can play and set up my sounds in the application, and then instantly recall them in the DAW when I want to record the instrument.
Overall I am very impressed by this product and its individual elements. The price was very fair for such a quality tool, both in sound and ease of use. The developing team seem very passionate and friendly, and happily answered my questions about the specifics of some amp and cab models. All their products are 100% stable on Windows 10 standalone and Reaper 64bit. No issues I could notice. And their blog and YouTube channel are full of suggestions on routing and settings of classic sounds to get started.
I am very excited about this product and will definitely be interested in their future releases.