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Page 2: Prominy SR5 Rock Bass 2

Virtual Bass Guitar Instrument By Nick Magnus
Published October 2019

Play Keys

The Play Key system works just as in v.1: it determines how notes end. When you play a note or chord it continues to sound (and decay) either until you play a new note, or until you stop it using one of the six Play keys. Of these six, three Stop keys, G#1 to A#1, immediately mute the sound when pressed, simultaneously triggering release noises or similar characteristic artifacts. These can be freely mixed and matched to taste from a list of 10 types. The three Hold keys F1 to G1 work similarly, but mute the sound and trigger the release noise if they are being held down when you let go of the note you're playing. Improvements over v.1 are a larger selection of noise types (10 instead of v.1's six) and a choice of multiple types of certain noises.

This upgrade sees the instrument coming of age, adding extra performance details and functionality.

User Chords

User-defined chord shapes can be saved to any of 10 User slots; individual string behaviour is also saved for each shape.User-defined chord shapes can be saved to any of 10 User slots; individual string behaviour is also saved for each shape.

If the chord shape you need isn't in SR5 2's repertoire you can, in theory, construct it on the User Chord screen. As with the Strum Settings page, shapes can be configured with individual sounds and behaviour for each string. Strings can be excluded, or forced to always be an open string regardless of chord position, or specified as the root string. A potential misunderstanding here is that although frets selected on the fretboard graphic suggest they represent the pitch, they are defining relative note intervals, ie. the chord shape, not the pitch. The interaction between the shape and the root string can seem counter-intuitive, with unexpected results occurring constantly, and I've still not mastered the process. Custom shapes can be renamed and saved to any of the 10 User slots, but be sure to save snapshots of SR5 2's current state, otherwise they all return to their default settings the next time you load SR5 2.

In the Other Settings screen are options for selecting muted samples either via the mod wheel or key velocity, setting the probability of pickup hit noises and their delay time, and the option to set pitch-bend range either globally for all strings or independently for each string — useful for bending specific notes within a chord or dyad whilst leaving others unaffected.


Prominy SR5 Rock Bass 2 effects

SR5 2's effects came as a bit of a surprise, as they complement the instrument remarkably well with a huge range of tonal possibilities. First in the chain are three stompbox effects: Compressor, Overdrive and Modulation; the Modulation offers a choice of chorus, flanger or phaser. These precede an amp sim — a collation of several Kontakt effects all wrapped up into one neat GUI. Three types of amp are available: Modern, Smooth and Heavy (Kontakt's Hot Solo, Jump and Van51 respectively). Common to all amp models are a nine-band graphic EQ, Brightness boost, Cabinet sim and Limiter. I'd normally opt for plug-ins over Kontakt's effects, but in this case Prominy's choices give my favourite bass amp simulator a serious run for its money.


This upgrade sees the instrument coming of age, adding extra performance details and functionality, consolidating everything into a single Kontakt instrument. The onboard 'bass rig' effects are particularly effective, so much so that they can obviate the need for additional plug-ins. Whilst chords and strumming may not necessarily be the first things that come to mind with bass playing, they are an important technique in certain styles of music, so it's good to know those features are there if you need them. However simply or in depth you want to approach it, SR5 2 manages to impart a sense of energy, human involvement and sonic interest that grabs the attention and belies its virtual origins.


Scarbee's highly respected range of bass guitar instruments includes the Rickenbacker Bass, MM-Bass, Pre-Bass and Jay-Bass. Of these the Rickenbacker is closest in tone to SR5 2. IK Multimedia's physically modelled MODO Bass is also a worthy contender, with several of its models capable of delivering a powerful, convincing rock tone.

Wait No More

Even though SR5 2 loads its entire repertoire of core sounds and articulations, loading time has been slashed to mere seconds compared to minutes with the previous version, especially if using an SSD drive. Kontakt's default pre-load buffer size of 60kB is probably more appropriate for slower mechanical drives, so with SSDs in mind this can be reduced considerably for even quicker load times and less RAM usage. Indeed, Prominy recommend doing this, suggesting values as low as 6kB or 12kB, but this will of course depend on your drives, the demands placed on them by other software, and what your system can generally cope with.

Backwards Compatibility

It might be tempting to update existing projects' SR5 bass parts with the shiny new version in order to delete the redundant v.1 library and reclaim disk space. However, whilst the sound and core principles of both versions are largely the same, the key mapping is radically different! This is due to the number of additional chord, effects and strumming keyswitches that dominate the low and mid ranges of the keyboard, pushing the playable key range three octaves higher than in v.1. A simple transpose would also affect keyswitches, and even if they're excluded from transposition the equivalent SR5 2 articulations' keyswitches won't necessarily be in the same octave, let alone the same relative positions. It would be easier to replay the bass parts from scratch rather than trying to unravel the old part to work with the newer version. If disk space isn't an issue, I'd leave well alone and hang on to both versions.


  • Highly detailed, lively sound with lots of attitude and character.
  • Huge range of tones from the stompbox and amp sim effects.
  • Chord library, custom chords and strumming included.
  • Well suited to rock, metal and progressive genres.


  • Plectrum playing style only.
  • The process of creating User chords could be more intuitive.
  • Full access to the entire keyswitch range and playing range would need a nine and a half octave keyboard!


A lively sounding and capable virtual bass guitar instrument featuring a high degree of sonic detail. Its tonal character is particularly well suited to energetic rock and heavy metal, and with suitable treatment it also adapts well to many other genres. In this major NKS-compatible update, Version 2 abandons the cumbersome patch-per-articulation Multi approach of version 1, bringing the separate elements together as one all-encompassing NKI instrument with a powerful effects section that really rocks.


$149 including VAT. Upgrade pricing available.

$149. Upgrade pricing available.