Plugin Alliance – UAD Engl E646 Plugin Review

UAD Engle E646 Plugin

This is an emulation of the ENGL E646 as used by Victor Smolski. Brainworx designed it, and like the most Brainworx plugins, you can buy them through Plugin Alliance. If you own a Universal Audio Apollo interface, you can get the UAD version instead, which allows you to offload the processing from your computer. (Note: There’s also a UAD package where you can buy the ENGL E765 along with the E646. They also offer an Engl Savage Plugin.)

The ENGL E646 is a 4-Channel 100 watt 6L6 tube amp. The four channels are Clean, Crunch, Lead 1 and Lead2. There’s a 3 band EQ for the Clean/Crunch channels. Additionally, the Treble is broken up into 2 knobs, one for Clean and one for Crunch. This is convenient for tuning for different guitar pickups.

You can switch between the channels by either clicking on one of the four channel LED lights, or by clicking on one of the arrows like in the hardware unit. There are 4 independent gain knobs, one for each channel.

There is another 3 band EQ for the Lead Channels, but there is an extra Middle-Voiced knob. This is designed for switching between rhythm and lead. You can use the Middle-Voiced button next to the channel switch toggles to swap out the Middle for Middle-Voiced Knob.

The EQ for the power amp circuit has a Presence and Depth Punch setting. The Depth Punch boosts the low-end while the Presence boosts the high end.

There are two power amp Master knobs A and B for controlling the overall volume.

Brainworx typically includes an FX Rack with their Amp Plugins. This includes a Noise Gate Filters, and Delay. There is also a power soak feature.

One of the cool things Brainworx does is combine many mic and cabinet combinations which is a tweaker’s paradise. You can tap the +/- buttons to cycle through them, but better still, you can use the Auto button, and it’ll default to cycling through them every 1 bar, so you can audition them hands-free while you play.

So how does the Engl E646 plugin sound? I want to go out and buy a physical unit right away. This thing gives you really impressive cleans on both a single coil Stratocaster and with Burstbuckers on an SG. Additionally, it has some really nice crunch and metal capabilities as well.

First I’ll use a ’95 Stratocaster with stock pickups to test a clean preset.

UAD Engl E646 Paula Clean Delay Preset
UAD Engl E646 Paula Clean Delay Preset
Fender Strat – Paula Clean Delay Preset

Now for a bit of crunch on the Strat.

 Engl E646 Strat Crunchy Delay Preset
Engl E646 Strat Crunchy Delay Preset
Fender Strat – Strat Crunchy Delay Preset

And what better preset to test on a Strat than the Strat Metal preset.

 Engl E646 Strat Metal Preset
Engl E646 Strat Metal Preset
Fender Strat – Strat Metal Preset

Check out our Amplitube Mesa Boogie Review.

Now I’ll try a ’05 SG with Burstbucker pickupts. First a clean preset.

 Engl E646 Paula Clean Preset
Engl E646 Paula Clean Preset
Gibson SG – Paula Clean Preset

Now let’s see how it sounds with the Paula Metal preset.

 Engl E646 Paula Metal Preset
Engl E646 Paula Metal Preset
Gibson SG – Paula Metal Preset
 Engl E646 Paula Lead Delay Preset
Engl E646 Paula Lead Delay Preset
Gibson SG – Paula Lead Delay
Gibson SG - Paula Aggressive
Gibson SG – Paula Aggressive
Gibson SG – Paula Aggressive Preset

This is both settings, the Paula Lead Delay panned right and the Aggressive panned left.

Gibson SG – Paula Aggressive and Lead Delay Presets

Now let’s see what crunch sounds like on the SG.

Gibson SG - Paula Crunchy
Paula Crunchy Preset
Gibson SG – Paula Crunchy Preset
Paula Cream Delay Preset
Paula Cream Delay Preset
Gibson SG – Paula Cream Delay

The Engl E646 plugin is actually a really good amp emulation. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it going in. Does the world need another metal amp emulation? After playing with it, I’m definitely going to be trying this out on my next tracks. The clean channels sounded really good to my ears, and I’ll be reaching for this plugin next time I record a clean track. It also does the high gain metal thing really well, and even offers a nice retro-sounding crunch. If I only wanted metal leads, I’m not sure this would be my first choice, but it also offers a nice bluesy/Classic Rock crunch sound and has a great clean channel. If you are on the fence, then maybe wait until it goes on sale.

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