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Instant Audio BassRift

Bass Instrument Processor By Paul White
Published July 2024

Instant Audio BassRift

Marketed under the United Plugins umbrella, Instant Audio’s BassRift is a split‑band processor designed to modify bass (whether synth or guitar) sounds in creative ways. It supports all the usual Mac/Windows formats including AAX, and it’s authorised using a personal licence file that allows it to be run on all the owner’s machines.

Essentially, the user can set a frequency split point below which the signal goes to a section called Safe Bass, and this runs in parallel with a processing chain that treats only the frequencies above the split point. As always with a crossover, there’s a little overlap between the two bands, and the user can set the slope of the crossover (6, 12, 18 or 24 dB/octave) as well as adjusting the levels going into each band. Solo buttons allow either band to be auditioned separately.

The Safe Bass path, shown in blue, does offer some processing: there are controls for Compression, Enhance and Mono, the latter reducing the stereo width for the low frequencies. Meanwhile, frequencies above the split point, shown in red, pass through three stages termed Flow, Space and Heat. By dragging their blocks in the diagram below, their position in the signal path can be changed. Each processor has its own bypass button and a dual‑concentric knob, whose inner section adjusts the amount while its outer section governs Rate, Time or Dirt for the relevant section. Effect options are chosen by clicking directly on the name boxes around the knobs.

Flow offers variable amounts of Phase, Chorus, Flange or Wobble with a tempo‑sync option, while Space offers Comb, Delay, Verb or Reverse, again with a tempo‑sync option. Heat serves up distortion in the form of Tube, Crush, Trash or Fold. When the two paths are recombined in the Merge section, there’s a valve‑style three‑band EQ, a separate De‑mud control that targets boxy‑sounding frequencies, and sliders for high‑ and low‑pass filters. The Maximise knob applies multiband limiting, and additional controls allow for the random generation of presets, hard clipping that can be applied to the output, and AGC, which endeavours to match the output’s loudness to the input. The amount of oversampling can be set by the user and there’s also input and output level metering.

The types of added dirt run from warm and valve‑like to wavefolding, which can add some spectacularly transformative harmonics.

There’s a good range of presets but cooking up your own treatments is definitely more fun. I found that the comb‑filter option works best with the Space section placed after the Heat section, so that it has a harmonically rich signal to work on. There’s a frequency read‑out for the comb filter, though by double clicking on it you can choose pitches by musical note if you prefer. The types of added dirt run from warm and valve‑like to wavefolding, which can add some spectacularly transformative harmonics, often adding reedy overtones.

The modulation treatments in the Flow section can also have a dramatic impact, with Phase making one of my bass guitar patches sound like a Tuvan throat singer! Bass guitars can be made to sound like synthesizers, while basic synth sounds can take on an added layer of complexity. The two‑band processing ensures that low frequencies can be kept clean and punchy, while the higher harmonics are manipulated to add character. The plug‑in can also work well on some midrange sound sources, but bass is where its focus lies — and very effective it is too!


£68 (discounted to £13 when going to press). Prices include VAT.

$85 (discounted to $16 when going to press).