Mer­cu­ri­all Reaxis

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Guitarist - - Contents -

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.

Sounds

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.

Ver­dict

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]

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