Neural DSP | Archetype Nolly Review

Neural DSP Logo

Archetype Nolly Review

Product: Neural DSP – Archetype: Nolly

Price: 135 euro (for EU-customers VAT is added at checkout)

Place to buy: NeuralDSP.com

Specific Detail: Guitar Amp Simulation Plugin (specifically designed for rock and metal)

Guarantee: Non-refundable/non-exchangeable – all purchases are final (14-days free trial period)

My Rating: 9 out of 10

 

Double Tracked Rock Guitar Riff Using Archetype Nolly

 

Take a listen to me testing all of Nolly’s own presets 

 

The last couple of years my interest in amp-sims has been steadily growing. The main reason for this is that they open the door to record guitar tracks from pretty much anywhere. After a good friend of mine told me about Neural DSP and that he’d purchased an amp-sim called Archetype: Nolly, I decided to visit their site and give the amp-sim a chance to make my own opinion about it. I’m glad that I did.

Neural DSP


Neural DSP is a company with a growing variety of amp simulators. On their website they write in their own words that: “Our mission is to design the next generation of both audio software and hardware products in order to empower musicians’ creativity to expand alongside technology.”

Their selection of plugins are made in collaboration with renown artists such as Nolly, Abasi and Plini to create digital signature amps with as analogue feel and reaction to the guitar signal as possible while preserving the option to shape the sounds anyway you like.

In order to get the best experience using this plugin you need a good DI and preamp and a strong computer with enough CPU-power to deal with a CPU-heavy plugin like this one. There is a way around this issue which I will explain later in this post. It’s not a perfect solution but it works.

The Plugin’s interface


To start out I want to give you a brief walkthrough of the plugin’s GUI.

There are 5 top menus to swap between and one master channel:

5 TOP MENUS

  1. Effect pedals before the amp
    Includes a compressor, 2 overdrives and a short delay. Each pedal can be tweaked to your liking.Archetype Nolly PreAmpFx
  2. Amp selection page
    4 of Nolly’s favorite modified amps that you can tweak however you like. You change amp and cabinet in the bottom and there’s an option to link the amp with its cabinet or unlink the amp and choose another cabinet without changing amp. You can access amps and cabs from all 5 pages.Archetype Nolly Amp Selection
  3. Post amp EQ
    A 9-band graphic equalizer to shape your sound even more from the plugin itself.Archetype Nolly EQ
  4. Cabinet mic selection and placement
    4 mics to choose from and up to two mics in front of the cabinet – also possible to load your own impulse responses.Archetype Nolly Cab Selection
  5. Post Amp effect pedals
    Includes an advanced delay pedal and reverb pedal.Archetype Nolly Post FXMASTER CHANNEL
    In the master channel you have a few options.
  • First of all on the far left and far right there are an input and output knob to adjust the levels coming into – and out of the plugin.
  • Secondly, there’s an intuitive gate knob to help you control noise from your recordings.
  • Next to the gate knob is a simple mono/stereo button. Sometimes stereo is too wide in a dense mix. Mono could be the solution for that problem.
  • Then comes an oversampling function. This creates even more aggressiveness to the sound.
  • After that there’s a preset section. The plugin comes with a variety of presets but it’s also possible to make (and save) your own presets.Archetype Nolly General Menu

Hard On Your CPU


System Performance Meter

The Archetype: Nolly can be a little hard on your CPU since it’s processing a lot of calculations in real-time. This can be tough to work with if your computer’s CPU overloads. But there’s a way to get around this problem even if you don’t have the fastest computer on the market.

How I Use Archetype Nolly


Render in place

Since my CPU sometimes hits the ceiling in a dense mix, I’ve developed my own way to use the Archetype Nolly. For this technique it’s necessary to have access to a less CPU demanding amp-sim.

Here’s my step by step way of using Archetype: Nolly on my laptop.

  1. Pick up your guitar and plug it into your DI which is routed to one of the inputs on your audio interface.
  2. Create a track in your DAW and set the inputs correctly and insert Archetype Nolly and the CPU-friendly simulator on it. Most DAWs come with amp-sims.
  3. Record your tracks by using the CPU-friendly amp-sim.
  4. After recording your tracks, deactivate the CPU-friendly amp-sim and activate Archetype: Nolly.
  5. Tweak your tone in Archetype: Nolly until you’re happy.
  6. Render/bounce the guitar tracks to wave files. Most DAWs can do this inside the DAW. By doing this you’re committing to the sounds. This is good.
  7. Disable the guitar DI tracks and hide them so you don’t have to look at them. (Don’t delete them in case you have to go back and re-amp the guitar tracks later in the process)

This method completely eliminates the extra CPU usage and is also a very good exercise to commit to the sound you choose. If you find later that the sound has to be changed you can always go back and reamp the DI tracks.

A free CPU-friendly amp-sim I recommend is the Le Pou: HyBrit Head. You can get it for both windows 10 and Mac.

Final Thoughts


I like the sounds I can create with Archetype: Nolly and the raw sound like the one I’ve used in the double tracked guitar riff is inspiring to me. I just picked a preset which I thought sounded great and hit the record button.

As written earlier, there’s a 14-day trial if you want to try it out for yourself. After the trial the plugin costs 135 euro (before VAT in EU).

Since Nolly is a heavy metal guitar player this plugin is generally for the metal players out there. However, I would still say that Archetype: Nolly works fine on other genres as well. I would even use it as a distortion plugin on a bass track.

I’m sure that I haven’t even covered half of what this plugin contains. Therefore, my advice to you is to test it for yourself and make your own opinion.

Any thoughts or questions just leave them below in the comment section and I’ll get back to you.


Thank you for being a reader here on GeekyGearGuy.com

Jonas

18 thoughts on “Neural DSP | Archetype Nolly Review

  1. This is a thorough review of Archetype Nolly. I’d be interested to know more about the price of the product and how it stands up against other amp simulators. 

    I’m also curious as a beginner, would you recommend Archetype Nolly or would you suggest going with a more basic program to learn the ropes? 

    What operating systems is it available for? Just PC? PC and Mac? Linux? 

    1. Thanks for reading. 

      I believe anyone can find good use of this plugin but if you are a beginner in the recording studio -/producer business then I would start out with cheap amp sims, maybe even the free ones. Your comment inspires me to make a post about free amp sims that get the job done. 

      It’s currently available for Windows and Mac. 

  2. Just to drop the tone of all the lovers and adulation…. I’m a bit cheesed off…
    I now know I’ll be spending 130 quid on an amazing piece of master-class technology
    There are no more excuses for making music that doesn’t sound like a polished album with “real” heavyweight amps
    I’ll be playing guitar with a tenth of the skills of a damn bassist, f’christ sakes
    And I want the tab for that amazing riff ‘cos it’s driving me nuts trying to work it out!!
    Awesome
    🙂

    Do you have a link to this product?

    1. As a guitarist this plugin has helped me create some really nice tones even when I’m limited to recording guitar tracks in the living room with a laptop and an audio interface. I’d say you should at least give the 14-days trial a go and see if it’s something for you. Here’s a link to the plugin: https://neuraldsp.com/products

      Thanks for reading and good luck with your productions

      – Jonas 

  3. Thanks a lot for such an amazing review about Archetype Nolly and explanation are given.

    I have been searching for an article for a long time for my friend who produces music when I will show him this article you will be very pleased. Although I do not understand it seems a very good article.

    Thanks again for this post. If you don’t mind, I will share this article on my social media account. Good luck!

    1. Thanks! Please do share and I hope your friend will check it out. Remember there’s a 14-days trial free of charge. 🙂

  4. The biggest obstacle with creating professional sounding recordings with guitar simulators is to do with the PC itself. Often my computer’s CPU or memory used becomes so high that it cannot keep up with the additional load. I’m pleased to see a workaround to the issue in your post by tweaking the CPU-friendly simulator setting on or off at different points. Now I’m thoroughly intrigued by the Archetype Nolly and plan on trying it out soon.

    1. Thanks for reading! It can be a little tough on the PC if you have 3-4 tracks running with the plugin active on in a dense mix full of other CPU-hungry plugins but by using the method described it’s easy to get killer sounding tracks without wasting processing power. 🙂

  5. This is really informative. I’m not a professional guitarist but a guitar hobbyist. Considering the fact that one can select few amp sim’s to choose from when recording our guitar or bass parts at home is just awesome.

    I don’t have problems with CPU overload since I have a very good computer system but I like the fact that you’ve found a way around to develop a way to utilize a CPU processing plugin as the Archetype Nolly of which you’ve listed the steps to help eliminates completely the extra CPU usage.

    Thank you for this article.

  6. Thanks for the review on Archetype Nolly, you really cleared up alot of questions. And you were very descriptive with it… good looks. Thank you again.

  7. Jonas,

    Like you, I also like the old way of micing the guitar amplifier to create the perfect audio environment for recording the music but we have to accept the change that has taken the music industry to a whole new level with the technological development.

    Using a guitar amp sim saves us a lot of time and trouble really, Archetype Nolly seems like a perfect recommendation for recording guitar music like a pro, from your review I can see that this software is very easy to use. The video you shared from their channel is nice but I would love to see a video of yours where you use it while demonstrating the utility of this amp simulator.

    1. Hey Hari
      There’s (almost) nothing as satisfying as getting good raw tracks by recording the old-school way with mic and amp. This is just not always possible and therefore we have to know our other options to choose from. Archetype has made a huge impact on the quality of my recordings. I would love to make a video myself one day and now that you ask for it, I really have to plan on getting it done. Cheers!
      – Jonas

  8. The technology for music is astounding these days and the Archetype: Nolly looks to be following suit. It has a really impressive list of features that, like you said, can keep you busy for hours. My friend is in a signed, professional band in the hard rock genre and most of his recording takes place in his basement, where the acoustics leave a lot to be desired. Yet, because of tech like this, he is able to create studio quality sound from his guitars from the comfort of his own home. I wonder if he has heard about the Archetype? 

    I might have to direct him here to check it out. Thanks!

    1. Your welcome 🙂 

      In case he hasn’t then you should definitely let him check out this guitar sim. He can always test it out with the free trial. 

      – Jonas

  9. I’ve read 3 glowing reviews of this product and – surprise – not one of you mentioned a price. This begs the question: How much did they pay you to write a great review that excludes the price? Suffice it to say that since YOU are clearly for sale, I won’t be reading your reviews going forward.

    1. Hello Scott
      I’m going to update the review after having read your feedback so thank you for sharing your concern.

      You are right in that I’m an affiliate marketer. I write articles and reviews about studio/music equipment and other things that interest me like songwriting and creativity. Some of my articles (not all of them) will have affiliate links in them where I make a small commission by leading to a sale. For example I’m a Thomann Partner because I enjoy Thomann’s services.

      I’m not an affiliate marketer for Neural DSP though. This review is purely something I’ve written out of my own interest. Having tried a few different amp-sims this one actually felt really nice to play guitar through. The price on the plugin itself is 135 euro.

      – Jonas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *