When GuitarRig came out, it seemed to be the standout, according to most posts on forums where people with clues might post.
I use Scuffham’s S-Gear, which for $100 is awesome. (Actually, I have an earlier version; they’ve added a couple more amp models.)
IMHO, no amp modeling software sounds like a real good bluesy tube amp. But for home recording, it sounds a lot better than what I can do miking an amp, without spending a lot of fuss on room treatment, mic placement, etc., and driving everyone I live with and the neighbors nuts.
Part of the fun of recording electric guitar is trying all the million things you can do to get a cool sound. Ignoring mic placement (which is big), stuff like this:
- amp back to the wall
- pulled out a couple feet
- facing the wall
- in a closet (door shut, open, or between)
- in a bathroom (door shut, open, or between)
The list goes on and on. The thing is, I’m just no longer into that much fun. I guess I got old, or I got tired of people I live with giving me a hard time about all the noise. So I plug in and use headphones.
I have not compared the various programs. I’ve mixed guitar tracks recorded (by others) using Line 6 POD XT (and that was years ago) and I liked the way those sounded. I also have a (rather old) Digitech Genesis3, which doesn’t sound as good as the POD XT but I like it and it’s great when I play keyboards and second on guitar. I would not want it as primarily a guitarist, though I have recorded a few tracks with it. Even a modest tube amp like my Fender Blues Deluxe is way better (and too loud, dammit).