The SSL Guitar Band plugin offers guitarists and studio engineers a whole suite of tools dedicated to getting rock solid guitar sound in songs. Does this all-in-one guitar chain have what you need for your guitar recordings? In this review, I take Guitarstrip for a spin and share my take on this latest studio tool for your DAW.
Review: SSL Guitarstrip
Made up of four dedicated guitar treatments mods, SSL Guitar Band could potentially be the perfect way to get the best guitar sound in your DAW. The plugin itself is available in all standard formats: 64-bit AU, VST2, VST3 and Native AAX for macOS Catalina (Apple Silicon included) and Windows 10 or later.
For this review, I used Logic Pro 10.7.4 on an Apple M1 Pro 16″ MacBook Pro with 16 GB of RAM and a Mac mini M1 with 8 GB of RAM.
I spend a lot of my week recording guitars and over the years my work has mostly focused on finding a solid guitar sound to work with. Often I use a mixture of tube amps, virtual amps and effects. Next, I’ll use different channel strips for EQ, then add compression to glue the track into the mix. I will usually deal with any potential phase issues along the way. This process is never set in stone, but more often than not it will all start with finding a good tone first.
Guitarstrip has many of the tools I use and puts them all in one place, making it smooth and easy to use. easy to use workflow and one that was designed to work as a whole.
Tube amp and compressor
As I mentioned above, Guitarstrip can be broken down into four distinct sections:
First, there’s what SSL describes as two classic analog tube amp emulations. here are the guitar amp and bass amp. Each one has harmonic shaping controls, allowing easy manipulation of each of the three Boost, punch and Edge frequencies. The three controls are controls on low, medium and high. With the ability to add distortion and saturation as you push them, it’s a simple and effective way to add grain to your signal. Since it’s already guitar-tuned out of the box, it nicely complements and enhances your signal.
The next step is the compression section. It comes with 5 preset compressor responses and allows you to easily tame or add more punch to your guitar tone. The simplicity of this section makes it possible to quickly achieve a solid working tone.
Phase correction and equalizer
The Phase correction The section is then used to negate any phasing issues and is also quite simple to use effectively. He uses a delay and what SSL doubles one all pass filter to deal with any phasing discrepancies. This section also has access to the side chain function, making it easier to select your reference material and find any phase issues.
Over the years phase issues have often been a problem for many guitar recordings, especially for players who are just starting out and getting used to recording the guitar. This has become more noticeable as people tend to use a DAW at home and may not have experienced phase issues before. This set of commands really simplifies the process and provides the right tools you need for the job.
Finally, the EQ section allows you to sculpt your tone. This is a three-band EQ with the ability to move it before or after the compressor, except for the high pass filter. Each of the three bands provides boost and cut. In addition to this, you have a FFT chart below to see what you are up to and the Automatic listening to listen to an EQ band in place when a parameter is changed.
The EQ is simple and effective. It works well for guitar and bass, as you’d expect, and has minimal controls. For me this is definitely a bonus and an easy to use tool in my DAW.
I will also add that I very much appreciated the ‘?’ tool at the bottom right of the plugin window. It gives a brief and informative description of every aspect of the Guitarstrip plugin, which will definitely help beginners and anyone trying to decipher exactly what each control does. The ECO side button disable oversampling and reduces the load on your CPU.
What are the advantages having all in one place?
If we break it down into four components and then factor in ease of use, I think you’ll get what you pay for. Yes, I could go out and buy four separate plugins, each covering specific sections contained within that plugin. But would they all work in harmony? Or would I confuse myself and cause more problems than I solve?
There are a few presets to help you out, with Acoustic, Bass and Electric variants. They’re pretty basic and I guess they won’t be of much help to everyone. But they give you a starting point and show some of the extremes of the settings. My advice would be to start with one, modify it to taste, then stick with it. Create your own library of presets and never look back.
Have a A B The button is great though and the ability to quickly try out two variants is very handy. Additionally, the mandatory undo redo is also a handy tool, for quickly trying things out.
Is SSL Guitarstrip worth it?
The big question here will be value for money. Does SSL Guitarstrip really offer enough bang for your buck? In my opinion, it has very useful tools for me as a guitarist. It covers electric and acoustic guitar, which is a bonus. In addition, it handles bass well.
This is where the Guitarstrip concept works really well. Everything is in one place and designed to work together. This is certainly its strength and this is where I approve of it. I found I could quickly get a punchy guitar sound and have it fit well into a full track. This to me was worth the price of admission alone.
As always, you can download a demo version and check it on your own system first. The plugin is available for pure purchase or as part of the SSL terminated Subscription Service. Authorization is managed via iLok (free account or paid USB key).
MSRP – 235 euros *
Videos about SSL Guitarstrip
* This post contains affiliate links and/or widgets. When you purchase a product through our affiliate partner, we receive a small commission which helps support what we do. Don’t worry, you pay the same price. Thanks for your help!
- SSL Guitar Band: SSL
- Guitar amp and bass amp: SSL
- Phase Correction: SSL
- EQ Section: SSL
- Presets: SSL