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Best bass plugins/VSTs

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Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby erinasaboy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 2:13 am

Hey all,

Curious as to your fave plugins for bass. To clarify, I am not looking for a bass sim to trigger with midi. I play an actual bass, and am looking for best plugins to give me varied tones on recorded audio. I use (and love) Amplitube as my amp sim for guitar, and am looking for something similar for bass, so I can achieve different tones for different contexts, ie heavier songs, slower songs, more attack, etc etc.

Is this something that is more achieved through savvy eq-ing and compression, or are there plugins that could, for example, make my P-bass audio sound more like a Rickenbacher or Hoffner for a song here or there? Also, something preferably with specific presets as such.

For the record--I play a Fender P-bass, record it DI into Cubase on a PC, and play rock music (ie- Bowie, Radiohead, Smiths, some punk, etc). Again, for the record, not looking for a sim that I have to trigger with midi, but for something to make my audio options more flexible without owning 9 different basses.

Thanks!
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby The Elf » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:31 am

There aren't any magic plug-ins to fundamentally turn one bass into another, any more than there are magic plug-ins to turn one voice into another.

Processing bass to work well in a mix is really about learning and applying the basic tools - EQ, compression, distortion, limiting, etc. Most DAWs have these, and it is here that I would suggest you begin.

As a tip, with bass I often mult the bass into three channels - one to carry the low end weight, one to add the high grit and one to supply the mid-range. How these are balanced is down to the needs of the mix.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby erinasaboy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:02 pm

Yeah, I thought there might not be such plugins, but since guitar amp sims can really give you a wide variety of sounds, I'd hoped maybe there were some like that for bass.

I also remember seeing a YouTube tutorial a couple of years back where the guy laid a DI bassline down, then used some software to replace each note with samples of a different bass (ie- a Rickenbacher or etc) so that he was able to generally keep the nuances of his live playing but replace the sound, but I can't remember what the software was and can't find that video.

I do have a lot to learn on Eq/comp/etc, especially for bass and drums. I'm more of a writer than an engineer, so I'm always looking for software that can help get me started with some pre-fab templates. Also in general, I find bass the hardest thing to mix.

Anyway, thanks for the reply!
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Overdrive » Sat Nov 25, 2017 8:25 pm

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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby CS70 » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:43 pm

erinasaboy wrote:Hey all,

Curious as to your fave plugins for bass. To clarify, I am not looking for a bass sim to trigger with midi. I play an actual bass, and am looking for best plugins to give me varied tones on recorded audio. I use (and love) Amplitube as my amp sim for guitar, and am looking for something similar for bass, so I can achieve different tones for different contexts, ie heavier songs, slower songs, more attack, etc etc.


Well I'm a guitar player and use the bass only for the internal band demos, but there's two simple things to change the tone: your technique and effect pedals (or simulations thereof). Your technique is very important - how you vary your attack, how hard you hit, if you use a pick or not etc. For the pedals, you could just use Amplitube in the same way you use for the guitar? You can crank the gain or use a distortion.

My bass player uses a Tonebone Bassbone as a DI, which allows him to go from soft touch for mostly acoustic songs to mayhem when we move to the seriously rockin' ones. There'a lot of sonic landscape to cover but that pedal does it well (he also has one of these basses which has both a P-style position pickup and a Jazz-Style position towards the bridge).

Of course you could also get your initial, pre-mix tone by EQ, compression etc, but I doubt it'll work - electric string instruments suggest a way they want to be played depending on how they sound when you play then, not how you can make the signal sound afterwards.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Wonks » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:30 pm

It seems to me like you are looking for bass amp sims, and there are plenty of those. The full versions of Amplitube itself has them. There is also NI's Guitar Rig with them, and Line 6's older Pod Farm and current Helix Native. If you are currently just using the free versions of things like AmpliTube with limited models, then you might have to pay money to get the bass amps, but that's life.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Matt Houghton » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:43 am

What they said. The replacement with samples thing is probably using Melodyne, Variaudio or similar to identify pitch and note on/off times and generate MIDI parts.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby ore_terra » Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:40 am

Then same guitar amp emulation softwares usually offer bass amps. I’ve often used BIAS on a DI’d bass with good results
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Dave Rowles » Mon Nov 27, 2017 12:39 pm

Amplitube has bass amp/cab simulations. The Ampeg ones sound quite good, though I've no idea how they stack up to the amps they model. I use the iOS based version for my bass when playing live and generally just jack into the PA. No bass amp on stage for me!

If you've already got amplitube, I'd look at their emulations before moving onto anything else.

On the recording side, I use Logic's bundled bass amp/cab sim, which is capable of creating some great sounds when fiddled with enough.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby erinasaboy » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:06 pm

Cool, thanks all for the replies. Sounds like Amp sims are the way to go, which I had thought might be the case. If they are as helpful as they are for guitars, that should be enough.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby The Elf » Mon Nov 27, 2017 3:09 pm

I don't find that amp sims on their own will suffice. For the low end they are great, but it's the distortion and mid purr that are difficult to achieve.

As I said above, mult each feature out and balance it to get the right mix. You may need to get busy with HPF and LPF to bracket each element. It may sound fiddly, but it really is worth it.

I like to let the higher frequencies carry the dynamics, while keeping the low end solid and supportive.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby erinasaboy » Tue Nov 28, 2017 4:17 am

The Elf wrote:I don't find that amp sims on their own will suffice. For the low end they are great, but it's the distortion and mid purr that are difficult to achieve.

As I said above, mult each feature out and balance it to get the right mix. You may need to get busy with HPF and LPF to bracket each element. It may sound fiddly, but it really is worth it.

I like to let the higher frequencies carry the dynamics, while keeping the low end solid and supportive.

Maybe a stupid question, but how much does the DI in sound matter? I mean, obviously the part should be free of static/etc and be played well. But do you do anything specific when recording? I don't have a bass amp and usually just go straight into my laptop through an M-Audio interface. Do you use any kinds of pre-amps or anything to make the original signal in that much better?
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Wonks » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:26 am

Does your interface have a Hi-Z or 'instrument' input setting? If so and you're using it, then fine. If the bass is active, then running into a standard line-input will also normally be fine.

But a passive bass like a P-bass needs a higher impedance than a standard line input has (10k-50k ohms) to run into if you want to keep the top-end intact; ideally 500k ohms+ (and 1Meg ohms is the standard quoted input impedance for most amps), so a pre-amp or even a buffered effect pedal in bypass will preserve the high end if you don't have a Hi-Z input. You can always remove the treble with EQ and low-pass filters, but you can't put back what#s not there.

On the other hand, using a lower impedance input can give you a distinctive sound for some material. James Jamerson recorded most of the classic Motown records he played bass on running into a DI box with a typical line-level impedance, so there's not a lot of top-end on those recordings, but it worked for those records.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby The Elf » Tue Nov 28, 2017 10:44 am

erinasaboy wrote:Do you use any kinds of pre-amps or anything to make the original signal in that much better?
I record the bass totally clean from pickup to DI. If the bassist wants to go through pedals, processors or amp I will record those too, but in 95% of cases I will just end up using the DI. I often want to do some editing to make sure that the bass is locked to the rhythm, so having the cleanest signal is important anyway if I'm going to re-amp, or process it in the box.

I usually use a Radial J48. I have a few DI options, but the J48 does seem to have something special for bass. I've not made a study of it, so I can't tell you what it is, but it works.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby C.LYDE » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:20 pm

Something a little less conventional to try, seeing that you're a Cubase user, is Voxengo CurveEQ.

Grab the EQ spectrum from a bass sound you like and apply to your own recording. :idea:
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Ramirez » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:24 pm

I like the Ampeg and Orange bass stuff on Amplitube. Seeing as you're already using it, that might be an option?

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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby ore_terra » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:37 pm

I've playing last couple of days with waves R-Bass. I put it on the clean DI and then blend it with the same DI either reamped or passed through amplitube, BIAS etc. then both tracks grouped and compressed together (not talking of anything new really, am I :lol: :lol: )

good for the low low end... this bass really needed it.
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Kwackman » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:36 pm

Brainworx BX Bassdude amp sim is on offer today in the Plugin Alliance Christmas sale.

http://tinyurl.com/ycldbqaa
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby paul tha other » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:28 pm

i actually like the bass amps on amplitube...the ampeg one and gallien-kruger are my faves and can get most of what i need with these..i also mult the bass onto 3-4 tracks and split it into, low end, high end and distorted. 4th track is a mic track from the amp that i usually use to get all the honk and clank from the bass..that said it depends on what im working on..just at the week end i used the guide bass track that was recorded straight into the desk in the mix..just seemed to fit the tracks we were doing..it had a right "raspy" tone to it..

more often than not i normally take the di from the bass amp and not a di "in front" of the amp...i could be just hearing things but it allways seems to have more" weight" from the amp di,post or pre eq, which i understand is prob nonsense but i have convinced myself and its hard to get me to change my mind
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Re: Best bass plugins/VSTs

Postby Rubber5oul » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:49 pm

Try the Ignite Amps SHB1. Pair that with some decent cab impulses and you’re set. It’s free :)
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