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Nomad Factory MAGMA Effects Plugin Review

Nomad Factory MAGMA Effects Plugin Review
Nomad Factory MAGMA Effects Plugin Review
Nomad Factory MAGMA Effects Plugin Review


Developer: Nomad Factory
Version: 1.01
Type: Virtual Studio Rack
Price: $199


Ease of Use



Total Score



Nice GUI. Inspiring effects. Includes 65 effects.


Only one modeled amp. No way to easily scroll through presets. No A / B preset switch

Posted July 4, 2012 by Stephan Earl

Full Review

If you’re on the market for an audio effects processing plug-in, there is no shortage of options out there. There are well-known effects developers that cover every type of audio effect plug-in needed for a home or professional studio, but their products may be priced a bit on the high end.  And there are lesser-known but just as good effects plug-in developers out there, with products that are less expensive or sometimes even free.   But if you’re just starting out with your home recording studio, the options are daunting and it may be easier to simply purchase a product that is comprehensive and has all sorts of effects plug-ins in one easy to use interface.

Enter MAGMA Virtual Studio Rack by Nomad Factory.  Let’s check it out!

Nomad Factory MAGMA Effects Plug-in Review

MAGMA is an audio effects plug-in that Nomad Factory calls a Virtual Studio Rack (VSR).  This virtual rack system will be familiar to anyone who uses Propellerhead’s Reason, NI’s Guitar Rig, or any of Spectrasonic’s plug-ins such as RMX.

MAGMA costs $199 to download and features 65 different effects plug-ins, drag-and-drop interchangeable rack positions and over 600 factory presets.  Effects categories are varied and include:

  • Amplifier
  • Analysis
  • Cabinet
  • Delays
  • Distortion
  • Dynamics
  • EQs
  • Filters
  • Generators
  • Harmonic
  • Modulation
  • Reverbs
  • Special
  • Utility

What I find very interesting and promising about MAGMA is that Nomad Factory is calling MAGMA a VSR host application that will support 3rd-party plug-ins in future versions.  I wonder if this will work similarly to Propellerhead’s new Rack Extensions for Reason.


I like the way MAGMA sounds.  Some of my favorite effects are the reverbs, the compression and limiting effects, EQs, filters and modulation effects.  The reverbs are particularly sweet.  The Purple Verb is a very sweet sounding ambient reverb with pitch modulation built in.  It’s incredible for infinity reverbs or anything needing a cinematic sound.  The Fat-Bass and the Claritone Harmonic Enhancer are equally incredible for enhancing bass and drum sounds.  You can target the frequency you need, tweek a knob here and there and get great sounding results.

I’d give the sound a 10 out of 10 if it were not for the lack of amps and cabinets, and also if the distortion and saturation effects didn’t sound so digital.  I was surprised that in this day and age where every DAW is offering Guitar Rig level amp packages, that there was only one amp effect and one cabinet effect included in MAGMA.  Even more strange were the array of tape saturation and tube distortions which are supposed to emulate analog gear, yet sounded a bit screechy and digital to me.  Fortunately these are only one small group of effects in MAGMA, and the other high-quality effects more than make up for the few not-so-perfect ones.

GUI & Ease of Use

I really like the GUI on MAGMA and I like how they kept things simple.  Nomad Factory did a really good job of emulating the types of controls that were available on similar types of hardware effects units.  A few effects have more than one page of options, but for the most part what you see is what you tweak.  Easy tweak-ability, and also because the effect types are not so typical to what you see in most other professional audio effects packages, makes MAGMA fun to play around and experiment with sounds.

The only reason I didn’t give MAGMA a 10 for ease of use is due to the lack of an easy way to scroll through presets and a lack of an A/B compare switch.  These aren’t deal-breakers, but would make navigating your saved sounds and comparing new ones a lot quicker.


The routing system in MAGMA is definitely a plus.  I found it allowed me to try out some really interesting combinations.  Also the ability to quickly drag-and-drop the effects into different positions on the rack was really fun.  I often found myself adding a few effects into configurations I normally would (ex. EQ > compression > limiting > reverb), but then would slide things around quickly to see how it affected the sound.  I got interesting results this way.

One thing I was not able to reproduce too well, was a split dual amp setup that provides a good guitar doubling effect.  I tried different configurations and just didn’t capture what I was going for.  This is an area that Guitar Rig does very well and I hope  (like the amp/cabinet selections) will get better with future updates.


Overall, I’m having a lot of fun with MAGMA and will definitely be using it in my upcoming projects.  That’s the real test for me.  Is it good enough to make the cut on one of my projects and will it sit well in a mix.  For MAGMA, the answer is Yes!

So if you’re looking for a comprehensive great sounding audio effects plugin with 65 effects, good flexibility and interesting possibilities for the future, then give MAGMA Virtual Studio Rack a try.

Check out my Home Recording Studio Tour Pt. 1 to see some of the hardware instruments I’m using in my Home Studio.

Nomad Factory MAGMA Effects Plugin Review

Stephan Earl

Composing, recording and producing music in the home studio environment for over 25 years, musician and author Stephan Earl now enjoys sharing his home studio setup experience with other home studio recording musicians via


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