Bias FX from https://www.positivegrid.com has some really rave reviews especially for metal heads.
The stock amps and FX that come with Logic Pro and possibly some of the presets in GarageBand do sound very good indeed. The reverb and delays and overdrive are pretty convincing.
Renoise cabinet simulator I tried once with live guitar input and it does get the initial tone ready straight from a semi acoustic, but don’t expect for sparks to fly just yet. You need to add other FX like a phaser or delay and reverb and some EQ and compression and limiting before you get any tone you are truly convinced and satisfied with. It does it’s conceptual job though with decency. It’s great for lo-fi stuff and run loops of a bandpass ed guitar sound etc…food to experiment with and it’s inbuilt into Renoise.
I use Boss gear and love the vintage or older gear like DR 880 (one unit: guitar/bass processor, tuner, drum machine overkill with total edit and save,inbuilt bass synth, pattern and song builder, 20 pads finger drumming, independent FX routing, groove templates, EZ compose feature using dial wheel to mix and match the pallete of styles, chord bassline templates, boss pedal inputs for live gigs, built like a tank, cult status similar to Alesis SR 18 haveing been used in pro country and rock tracks and recording sessions etc) and as a jazz guitar player its way overkill once you get the smooth tone you are looking for becos we don’t djent (when playing jazz that is:)). Some folks say its more a drum machine and while the guitar FX don’t suck but are not exactly high quality, I suppose they have not fully explored it and found many things rather intimidating with this unit (they still sell a training DVD for this,lol) and I totally beg to differ!
The newer gear from Zoom are also good enough but for some reason just don’t find them too gritty or smooth enough, dunno many be cause it’s all digitally done and not too well emulated like Boss FX. It does have a looper though for like 30 seconds.
Korg Pandora stomp is another all rounder external pedal that you can explore for its price and feature set. A large preset bank, built in tuner, really cheesy and basic drum rhythm bank, and amps and FX as expected. Good for the form factor, small and portable but not really gig friendly.
Waves and NI I have used, I still like the Waves version for its warmth and the fact that I can just route it through the Waves Eddie Kramer plugins pack and get further processing done. However I am all about hardware these days for more than a year now as I have weaned myself away from the computer screen with only Renoise and couple other tools making the cut. Dawless production is a trend today for various reasons. NI provides a very good set of features but end of day if ergonomics and convenience factor is taken into account a hardware pedal or all in one unit will take priority for 99% of classic jazz and rock guitar players as well as about 80-90 percent of modern players too. Eveyone has a computer these days, how difficult is it to own a software pedal? The other reason being the priority, you should watch some of Pat Martino’s vids to see how he explains how he composes, it’s all about being intimate with your instrument and knowing the fretboard inside out and it’s various quirks and qualities and experiment with ‘voicings, patterns, figures, ideas’ and spend time with those ideas and make them grow and then combine ideas to form a song, and so on. He never talks about spending time in front your laptop tweaking the gain dial to get the ‘tone’ or ‘sound’ day in day out. You ideally have that as part of your setup and not as part of your musical routine, so you have to balance your time accordingly. There is a reason why the compositions from yesterday years sound so full of life and vigour, because they were inspired by life and not inspired by machines.
You cannot write a good poem, infact even writing a bad poem would be terribly difficult if you follow the rules, if your focus is on paper quality.
The other philosophical takeaway from this is that everything dies with time, so the least you can do is make an effort to make what you write stand out in time rather than worry about the paper, becos in no time will your paper crumble and vanish and be replaced with another paper, similar to what we see in an accelerated industrial factory oriented man made system we are right now living in…you want your poem to stand out not the paper. Otherwise both vanish and you won’t have the luxury of ‘ohh shit I should have worked harder on my compositions and musicianship’. Any effort well done leaves some sort of universal imprint, someone always benefits from it, so it’s most definitely worth it.
Lastly whatever is man made will perish, governments/empires/corporations/cities/guitar FX pedals, if not the canvas or clay then even the art itself. The higher powers have built destruction into the very fabric of this reality, so no one escapes it. You don’t want to celebrate capitalism but rather celebrate and express being human and the spiritual essence of it as first priority rather than getting caught up with this external world and it’s cyclic maze of illusion and confusion and the resulting waste of time. Reminds me of the Hamster in a wheel.