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Fractal Audio AMP models: Das Metall and Dizzy V4 (Diezel VH4)


* EDIT: Up-to-date information is available in Yek's Guide to the Fractal Audio Amplifier Models *

DAS METALL and DIZZY V4: based on Diezel VH4

One write-up, but it covers a lot of models. This is Peter Diezel’s VH4, the amp that really launched his company. Although the VH4 is mostly associated with high-gain, it really is a versatile rock amp with its many channels and sounds. But yes, it excels at aggressive high-gain. The amp has 4 channels and puts out 100+ watts through 6550 power tubes. Famous Diezel users: Metallica, Mark Tremonti, Muse and Adam Jones from Tool. The VH4S is a stereo model.


“Launched in 1994 the VH4 was a milestone in guitar amplification. The head has a powerful 100 Watt section, 4 individual preamps, each with individual equalization and volume/gain controls and is fully midi switchable. At that time that was unique - a head which replaced refridgerator sized racks. Additionally the VH4 has serial and parallel loops and the so called channel inserts to add pedals specifically for each channel, like a analogue chorus just for clean or a compressor for crunch.​

The four preamps are: clean, crunch, mega and lead. The clean channel (additional bright switch) has the Diezel-typical HiFi-clean, but with its gain pot is able to reproduce the powerful and warmer Hiwatt territory as well.​

The crunch channel (also with bright switch) starts where the clean ends: warm, powerful clean sounds. Variation of the controls (volume, gain) will open the amp to sonic dimensions of semi-crunch and full crunch sounds.​

The mega channel is the typical Diezel trademark sound. Nuff said. Try it, love it.​

The lead channel starts, where the mega ends: more compression, more smoothness - a singing/screaming lead at its best.​

The VH4 is the ultimate sound machine for numerous styles. With its deep section also suitable for many heavier styles, but also the perfect central for Top 40 guitarists looking for the whole spectrum of guitar sounds from yesterday to today. Still a masterpiece - the VH4.”​


"People think the VH4 is a metal amp which it most definitely is not. It's a mid-gain amp. If you try to use it for detuned death-metal it won't sound good because that's not its intended usage."​

We have a lot of VH4 models at our disposal. The oldest one is DAS METALL, from the Standard/Ultra days. It is based on a schematic and modeled by ear, and hasn’t been matched to a real VH4. It still is a very popular amp model.

The other models are based on a real VH4, with either a blue or a silver faceplate. Blue Diezels are the early ones. They sound darker (crank Presence!) than the later Silver ones. You can decide for yourself which one you prefer. I go for silver (which is why I never became an Olympic athlete).

Cliff (Quantum firmware):

"The Dizzy and Herbie models were completely redone as I figured out the secret to the Diezel sound."​

Diezel's VH4 manual:

“Channel 1 Clean: for clean, undistorted sound with high power and good harmonics. With its gain control to the upper third, it sounds soft and warm, gain at lower settings produce more percussive and penetrating clean sounds. Full gain setting makes crunch sounds possible. The tone reminds of a cross between a twin and a Hiwatt 100, but with better overall dynamic response.​

Channel 2 Crunch: is a blues guitarists closest friend. Its dynamic spectrum is especially beautiful in the lower frequency range. Its gain range goes from clean to distorted. Due to its different voicing the 2nd channel will sound a little softer than channel one in clean mode (gain 2:00-3:00, and approaches channel 3’s tone in high gain mode (gain 3:00-4:00, but with softer midrange and less compression. “Raw” probably best describes this channel.

Channel 3 Distortion: its concept is heavy rhythm guitar. The distortion is noticeably tighter than in channel 2. The side effect of this added compression is that the signal gets somewhat limited in its dynamic range. This limitation hits mostly the lower frequencies. This loss is corrected by a negative feedback loop to the power amps, which adds fat low end to this tone without muddling up the tone. The control for this low end is in the master section and bears the “Deep” designation. The gain structure of channel 3 is designed to deliver great distorted sound even with guitars that have relatively low output, like many vintage guitars. The side effect here is that guitars with very high output (active EMG etc.) might overdrive this channel too much and become too compressed. The guitar loses its punch in the band sound and becomes very undefined. In this case, a radical gain reduction is the cure. The guitar sound will clean up a little bit, and the overtones and harmonics will once again sparkle. It is best to start with a 12:00 o-clock gain setting and start to feel your way to the point of perfection and very little compression. This works best while the band is playing with you. Remember - less is often more.

Channel 4 Solo: a little more mid heavy than channel 3, therefore punches through the band sound quite well. See channel 3 description for gain control setting. Often a gain setting near 1:00 o’clock is sufficient for absolute high gain distortion. Use the volume control here and for all other channels to match the individual channel volumes.”​

The amp has these controls: Gain, Volume, Bass, Mid, Treble, Presence, Deep, Bright switch on channels 1 and 2. In the model of channel 2, the Bright switch has a noticeable impact.


“Master Volume: controls the final volume of the Power amplifier(s). The layout of the controls is such that full volume is achieved at the 1:00 o’clock knob setting. Turning the knob further will overdrive the power amp(s) to create power amp distortion for those of you that prefer this sort of thing. We added this feature to round out the distortion sound palette on the extreme end. So you friends of all things vintage can get colorations and distortion textures that only power amp tubes can deliver. Bring your ear plugs, please. “​

“Presence: This knob controls the treble part of the power amps tone spectrum. Its frequency centers at about 4kHz. Treble is produced and dispersed in a very small beam from the speaker, so be sure to position yourself in the projection area of the speaker when making adjustments.“​

“Deep: the Deep control is an active bass control for the power amp that adds low end punch to the power amp centered at 80Hz. It does not alter the dynamic behavior of the power amp. Diezel Co. is not responsible for cabinet handles popping out etc.“​

Here are a lot of sample settings.

Combine the amp with V30 or G12-K100 speakers. Take your pick from the stock cabs.

Fractal Audio and OwnHammer have IR libraries with Diezel cabinets.​

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Fractal Fanatic
Very cool yek! This use to be my main amp in the Axe but I use the Angle severe 1 now. The Herbie is weird to me now. It has a grainy fuzzy fizz I can't figure out how to dial out. It use to be chunky palm mute heaven.
Thanks for all of these amp info posts. It s good fun!!!


I´ve played a VH4S Blueface (2x75W, the monoversion about 120W I think) in the 90´s through a Marshall stereocab with 75W Speakers - also a great sound. The FXLoop in parallel/seriell choice sounded exellent with an Intellifex.

Use the bright switch for channel 1 and 2 if you play Humbuckers - in channel 2 it gives you a nice extra distortion kick at the highs, great also for ACDC riffing.

Turning the Mastervolume further than 1 o´clock (like the Diezel manual) would kill you, ha ha.......I played it max till 11 clock on stage.

The VH4 sound in the Axe is not the same as the real - on original VH4 is more tight at the low end und mids (with OH V30 V3 Diezel IR´s) to my ears - like the savage 1 sounds in 2.04.

In the 90´s the VH4 sound was an ampsound, which was quite different than the usual Marshallsounds - every guitarist in the audience was looking on my marshallcab.....new, exiting.

I changed later the Mastertubes to EL 34 und turnded down the presence to 1 kHz, I think that´s also the default frequence at the VH4 blue in the axe?

And yes, it´s not only a heavy amp - it´s an absolut clear sounding amp at every situation and at every gain setting, which shows every mistake at your playing........

Peter Diezel startet first to modify Marshalls - Plexis and JCM 800. I´ve played a modified 3-Channel based on a 800. The clean channel was problem at several amps - always a little bit hard and harsh.

The clean channel of the VH4 doesn´t work with presence and deep - it should sound like a combosound, makes it warmer, great with effects.

The original VH4 has much more low end and headroom than the modifications, but it´s based on the 800-sounds with an absolut clear bassfrequence.
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some vids with Peter Stapfer which does the sale of Diezel amps, great guitarist, which had an bombastic Diezel sound in his coverbands.......
I remember I saw building his first Diezel cabs in his garage.........



Thanks a lot, joining a muse tribute band, I must quickly create a convincing vh4 preset :)


Power User
Thanks a lot, joining a muse tribute band, I must quickly create a convincing vh4 preset :)
i remember reading somewhere the bellamy would run the master high and the gain low to give a gritty percussive kind of crunch tone if it helps, ill see if i can find the vid


Power User
Love the amp. But to onlookers, remember the Master Volume taper in the Axe - run the MV on the model MUCH lower than 1 o'clock unless you're going for nearly-flubby power tube distortion. I barely pass 9 o'clock from memory.

Recently discovered the Das Metall too, and I love it for high gain thrash/rock. I actually found it had perfect modern tone with GuitarHack's This One IR.
I wonder if those are the real settings, if so I am a bit surprised, everything, especially the bass and deep settings are much higher than I'd expect.
The guitar tone 10,000 Days is probably the most perfect modern Rock tone ever in my opinion.
Agreed. Adam's tone on that album just kills. However... who knows really, how much of that tone is REALLY Joe Barresi, and how much is Adam Jones. The interviews with Barresi indicate that no less than 3 amps were used in conjunction at all times, and several of the amps used are not in Adam Jones usual repertoire. One track was Diezel, one track was Marshall, and then the third track might be 1-2 of any amps Barresi thought would benefit the guitar sound. AND - each guitar cab had 2-3 microphones on it and were blended at Barresi's will. He's old school so he had to go and phase align EVERYTHING, which is totally god damn nuts. BUT, that's how the tone is so freaking epic beyond belief as well.

Alas, I doubt we can really get there with one Axe-fx II and one amp model. It would be cool to get close though, because that tone on that album is my ultimate ideal. HA!


If you listen to Rosetta Stoned at about 10:28 when the music stops and Adam plays that bad ass riff...that's THE tone right there! It has a good bite but is still warm without being muddy, gain but not overly saturated. It's just tonal perfection. Man I wish Cliff would do a model of that tone.
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