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Russian software company Mercuriall Audio’s ReAxis is an amp simulation plug-in featuring a modelled version of the MESA/Boogie Triaxis preamp at its core. It’s supplemented by a choice of power amps and four 4x12 guitar cabinets with various virtual mic’ing options. You also get a pedalboard with noise gate, wah and overdrive at the front end plus stereo chorus, reverb and delay placed at the end of the signal chain.
A 64-bit plug-in, Reaxis works on Mac and PC and supports standard VST2, VST3 AU and AAX formats in your DAW. If you are going to base your software around a single amp, the TriAxis is a pretty good choice as the original hardware, first seen in 1991, is described by its manufacturers as an encyclopaedia of tone. It’s a rack-mounted unit featuring five 12AX7 valves that’s designed to provide the sounds of several MESA/Boogie amps, notably the Mark I, IIC and IV, all delivered via eight onboard modes which also boast a Blackface rhythm sound and a British lead sound. Those eight modes are modelled in Reaxis.
The GUI of the plug-in looks slick with the main preamp parameters always available onscreen adjacent to buttons to select the modes. On the lower section of the page you can call up three main views – Pre FX, Amp & Cabs and Post FX, all with plenty of knobs to tweak with your mouse.
There are a bunch of presets available from a drop-down menu but we preferred to build a sound from scratch, with the modes providing distinctive points to base things on, from clean to high gain, which reaches a peak in the Lead 2 Red mode.
Extra whoomph is provided by the drive pedal (there are four choices including Tube Screamer and Boss Super Overdrive) interacting naturally with the preamp, and the preamp’s tone knobs give you plenty to work with – we liked the fact that you can park the Dunlop 535Q-based wah to really emphasise a specific frequency range.
Setting up cabinet mic’ing is easily carried out on a grid that lets you position up to two mics across the cone’s axis and set their distance if you want a touch of room sound. Besides that, there’s all degrees of ambience available via a delay and reverb that can create huge sounds or add slick production polish – the chorus is useful too but we found that the depth knob has a very limited range before it starts sounding seasick.
It may be modelling one preamp from one company but this plug-in actually covers a lot of tonal ground to give you plenty of recording functionality. Where it really excels is in its driven tones which, in typical MESA/Boogie fashion, can be effortlessly fat, saturated and harmonically rich. If you don’t have any amp sims already, this is a practical standalone package, but it could also be a useful buy to complement what you already have if you are lacking in MESA/Boogie tones. [TC]