Free Software Friday - Arboreal Audio STR-X

Free Software Friday is our regular Friday feature here at the dBs blog. We dig the depths of the music production and media webosphere and discover what downloadable plugin freebies are worth double clicking each week.

Previously a Windows-only plugin, Arboreal Audio has released v1.1 of it's digital guitar amp STR-X. Let's take a look under the hood…

First of all, STR-X is not an emulation of a pre-existing amp, which is quite a nice surprise considering the saturation of vintage emulations. There are three modes to select from; Thick, Normal and Open, each of them possessing different multiband crossover points and offering their own characteristics. 

The names are pretty self-explanatory; Thick can be used to simulate a rich fuzz sound; Normal is more expressive, still giving your sound weight without the sound getting muddy. Open is by the far most versatile setting and depending on how hard you drive the gain, can be used for both clean and chugging rhythms. 

Next to these modes you'll find Bright, which pushes the higher frequencies to drive your signal to the forefront. Having it active in addition to high gain can become very harsh, but like everything can be fine tuned. There's then the X control, which focusses on your midrange and is a great addition to further tweaking your tone. 

Having spent just a short amount of time playing, STR-X is wholly unique in its sonic characteristics. Though it is an amp of many colours, pushing it to high gain produces some crazy sounds, and often sounds like it's on the point of breaking. That may not sound like an endorsement, but that unpredictability is a real joy to work with. 

STR-X is available for Windows and macOS (VST2/VST3/AU) and can be downloaded for free using the link below.



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