Plugin Boutique continues its Top 5 Friday series by Tim Cant with a roundup of some of the best guitar fx plugins.

The best effects for axe-wielding maniacs everywhere.

This Top Five isn’t about amp sims – it’s about guitar-focused plugins that offer a great alternative to real-world effects pedals.

Check Tim’s top five plugins below:

5. Efektor Distortion Bundle (Kuassa)
Where would guitarists be without distortion? Alabama, probably. The Distortion Bundle nets you a collection of three plugins to add bit and drive. For this collection, Kuassa have studied 30 classic distortion pedals and distilled them all down into 15 settings across the Fuzz, Overdrive and Distortion effects.

The Distortion, DS3603, gives you Classic, Heavy, Lead, Metal and Pro tones; the Overdrive, OD3603, puts out Blues. Boutique, Mad, Modern and Pro; and the Fuzz, FZ3603, gets you Big, Sustainer, Trans, Vintage and Zepp.

All three share the same Tone and Level controls, as well as a control for adjusting the amount of the distortion effect.

4. EARevolve (eaReckon)
A souped-up mega-suite of audio-moving goodness, EARevolve might be the ultimate Leslie emulation, taking on the classic rotating speaker effect in a super-comprehensive plugin.

Within EARevolve, you get to set up a virtual rotary speaker in a virtual room, commanding the speed of the horn, the drum, and even setting the whole combo itself moving around the room. There are acceleration and deceleration controls, speaker diameter and room size controls, and even virtual mic positions to tweak.

Then, if that wasn’t enough, EARevolve also has a fully featured built-in chorus module, which you can use standalone as well, making this a package huger than Ron Jeremy delivering you a set of lawn chairs.

3. Dipole (Sinevibes)
The classic flanging effect has its roots in running two tape decks in tandem, and slowly delaying one of them against the other, before bringing the two back into time and starting again.

Sinevibes’ Dipole does Additive, Subtractive and Through-Zero flanging, with an LFO controlling the delay lines in sine, triangle or trapezoid shapes. It’s got Feedback, Mix and Stereo controls too, so you can customise your sound far more than the tape-deck operators of the past, should you want to.

Dipole sounds great, it’s easy to use, and it doesn’t cost very much at all. As long as you’re on a Mac, this is a flanger worth putting your finger on.

2. EasyVerb (PSP)
Often, guitar reverb is all about Spring Reverb… and EasyVerb gives you that, sure, but it also makes it easy to whip up plate, chamber, hall and plenty more tones to give your guitar a sense of depth and space.

You also get control over each reverb’s decay time and damping, as well as low- and high-shelf filtering.

This might be a tiny, simple plugin, but given the lack of diverse reverbs out there, it’s a great choice to use on almost anything. It’s also a cheapish option at 69 dollars, and dare we say it? It’s a pretty Easy thing to use.

1. Sigmund (D16 Group)
Without decent delay effects, guitarists like U2’s The Edge would be out of a job, but how do you cut through and do something different and interesting with delay, while still sounding warm and natural?

Sigmund gives you four separate delay lines to set up how you like and then route in different ways. You can mix and re-level the results with four faders to balance out complex signals. There are also two modulators on board, which you can route to various parameters across the four delay lines.

Sigmund also has you covered for chorus and flanging effects, which have their roots in simple delay lines; and the built-in Overdrive and Modulation sections take your signal-sculpting even further.

Put simply, this is an essential delay for almost any purpose!

The top 5 plugins are available from the Plugin Boutique online shop, with free trial versions available for download.

More information: Plugin Boutique