Here’s the deal:
You’ve got your favorite DAW set.
You’ve got the best preamps for your vocals and other microphones.
Monitoring the feed from your inputs, everything looks nominal and…
…all sounds lukewarm and extreme;
just the right environment for you to start on your project.
The trouble is:
All you’ve got is a powerful MIDI controller that performs excellently, but…
…lacks something very important:
The Right Sound!Read more...
The DAW has given you some starting VSTs to play with, but you know you need something with more beef and realism that neither your MIDI controller patches nor your DAW VSTs could provide.
I’ve been recording and playing for bands using synthesizers and acoustic bass VSTs using a MIDI Controller.
I know lots of people out there do the same things I do.
But if you’re looking for the best synth and acoustic bass VST plugins out there, I’ve probably played out.
Out of the 100+ VSTs I’ve tried I’ve compiled THIRTY of the best I’ve found to date!
You’ve got the best party in the house if you have the best Synth sounds available today. It’s not a question of quality anymore.
Today, it’s more of ergonomic use and expandability that should concern modern composers and arrangers.
So, I’ve found these few that I know you’ll be itching to want to have.
You’ve got the best party in the house if you have the best Synth sounds available today.
It’s not a question of quality anymore.
Today, it’s more of ergonomic use and expansibility that should concern modern composers and arrangers.
So, I’ve found these few that I know you’ll be itching to want to have.
I’ve never been a fan of hybrid synthesizers until I heard what NI Massive is capable of. Read more...
It’s an additive synthesizer that ‘morphs’ waveforms into other shapes where you could create your own synth sound.
With sound creation comes the ability to create some awesome bass.
In my own experience having 82 wavetable oscillator shapes helped me create some of my finest synth bass.
Oh, and you get presets from Daft Punk too!
Another additive synth from NI. Based from the original Yamaha DX7, it sounds just like the original, yet with more features than ever.Read more...
Rather than just sine waves, you get 32 different waveforms that you could once again ‘morph’ into different shapes to create new synth characters.
Again, this means excellent bass quality.
But you don’t get some Daft Punk presets here.
But NI’s selection is great in itself. Brings out the best from the product.
I’ll have to say I don’t mind the huge selection of arpeggiators available!
Also, check out the large number of effects you could use!
While NI’s Reaktor has a huge number of Minimoog emulations, I believe Monark is worth hearing because it has more beef than NI’s earlier versions.Read more...
If you’re a fan of the original Minimoog sound, this is what you need to get.
Reaktor has most of the sound nailed down. But think of the features you get.
For example, you have two similar sawtooth shapes.
Monark makes sure that their harmonic content differs from one another.
The key-tracking is also varied, making it sound a little bit much, much more closer than the original Minimoog.
With that tracking, I must admit I had some fun creating nine synths sounds I never thought possible.
The company u-he probably dislikes emulating single synthesizers because to be honest, it makes sense to find inspiration from the past but never to emulate it and add new features.Read more...
That’s why Diva or Dinosaur Impersonating Virtual Analog, is not a specific emulation of any synthesizer. Instead, it’s a synthesizer that contains some great vintage sounds that it could count as one of the classics emulated into the PC.
Having a ladder filter typical for Moog synthesizers, a multi-mode design for unique sound creation, you definitely get what you pay for.
Lots of juicy filters reminiscent of many vintage synthesizers of the past (I could count Roland Alpha Juno, some Yamaha DX7 and a bit of Korg, but I couldn’t specify which vintage model). This is definitely an investment for the serious bass synth hunter (and CPU upgrader. This eats lots of CPU.)
Why are synth bass hunters going crazy for u-he emulation? Well, if you’ve got a pretty ‘up-there’ PC, you could run this semi-modular synthesizer effectively. Also, just sells at around $70. That’s quite a steal right there!Read more...
For that price you get two oscillators, filters, LFOs, ADSR envelope generators, ramp generators and mixer type modules. That’s lots of things to combine and create sound with.
Not satisfied, use the ‘circuit-bending’ section that has a mapping generator, an oscilloscope and built-in effects.
The sound? Man, you really get what you pay for, maybe even more. Bass timbres reach ultra-low richness. I was left speechless creating my first bass tune with this synth.
U-He Zebra 2
At first sight, this synth seems really intimidating.
Lots of knobs all over, filters running all over the page…Read more...
It looks disorganized.
Just get the manual online (or watch a few YouTube videos) and…
…you’ll get addicted with this synthesizer right here!
Copy the DLL files into your hardrive (or install using the simple installer for Macs) and you’ll get it started in your DAW.
As an additive synth, you get four oscillators, FM oscillators, envelope generators and LFOs. Shape your waves endlessly and I bet you’ll really have lots of fun!
The synth Z3TA+2 definitely sticks in my mind. When you get to hear it, it’ll get stuck in your memory too!Read more...
With a Group channel setting, you could mix everything through an Add mode. Add more effects such as phase or frequency modulation, you get something that’s totally unimaginable with most synthesizers nowadays.
You also get 16 sliders that help shape your waveform radically, giving you some unthinkable sounds for your bass synthesis. Amazing.
Rob Papen Albino 3
While the synth sounds might seem average, Rob Papen’s efforts have revealed the endless possibilities of synthesized bass.Read more...
The Albino 3 never overlays your sound so you could create great layering.
With a modulation matrix, this synthesizer could do almost anything you ask from it. If you don’t like doing your own thing, just get suggestions from the preset library!
Rob Papen SubBoomBass
The name is right where it’s at. If you want one-click bass synthesizer settings with the possibility of almost-endless tweaking and options, this synth is for you.Read more...
Rob Papen Predator 2
While you can get sick for having too much arpeggiation, you won’t get sick of having lots more modulation combinations possible.Read more...
A very warm and rich synthesizer with lots of modulation possibilities, it’s almost everything you need in one package.
Not that the other Rob Papen products are sub-par, but this just sounds and works really well!
From the name comes the clue; it’s another Minimoog emulation. But in this list you’ve already got the Reaktor selection in the form of Monark and even the ones in Reaktor itself. Why consider getting the Minimonsta from Gforce?Read more...
Well, one thing NI isn’t good at is presets. That’s one. Gforce’s package includes a vast number of presets you could use for your music. Another is that it emulates the ‘original Minimoog’ where classic users or owners of the Minimoog could perform certain ‘hacks’ they’ve developed while using their prized synthesizer.
Those tricks? Well, one of them is the ‘controlled feedback’ loop that creates an analog ‘morph’. That analog morph the Minimonsta emulates very well.
But to be honest with you, all I can do is write about it. You’ll really have to hear it for yourself if you want to hear how great the Minimonsta sounds in real life. A quick trip in YouTube should help convince you to get this synthesizer for your smooth synth bass!
Arturia Minimoog V
Pretty sure by now you’re getting sick of all the Minimoog craziness. But to be honest with you, I couldn’t get enough Minomoog myself. I bet you are too.Read more...
Many synth players don’t essentially like Arturia because of its bad interface planning. But with a careful listen, you hear some great tones out of it. It’s really up close with u-he’s delivery of historic synthesizers revived in the digital realm.
The Minimoog V had many synth players panned because of its sound and powerful richness with its patches. I mean, when I first heard it, I had to get it too. A quick trip to YouTube convinced me, and maybe you too.
Can’t convince you with text, can I? Just go listen to it and see for yourself why it’s a different Minimoog emulation than the others listed here!
Fabfilter Twin 2
While it’s a bit pricey at $120, you get a very smooth interface and a powerful emulation of some vintage synthesizers. Read more...
While it’s still primarily a subtractive synthesizer with the usual suspects of triangle, sawtooth, sine and squares along with some noises, you now get eleven filter types and lots and lots of effects
If anything, the TB-303 had some classic sounds I’d like to apply to my composition primarily for bass lines. Read more...
Also, you get new sets of knobs and switches in addition to the early features of the original TB-303. While it may not defeat the real TB-303, I can attest that it sounds fairly close because I own one!
Roland’s SH-101 had introduced us to a great sounding synthesizer. While far from being influential like the TB-303, it was more of a great option to have; like a safety blanket for some synth players or producers.Read more...
D16 decided to publish their own version of the SH-101. Appropriately titling it as LuSH-101, it beats every 101 synth emulation in the virtual instrument market today with different but useful sections that include Synthesis, Modulation Matrix and Master Mixer. It’s simple to use but is complete expandable because it is intuitive.
I must say everything sounds so excellent with this synthesizer!
AudioRealism BassLine 2
BassLine2 is a clone of the Roland TB-303. Not like anybody has done it less before, AudioRealism’s BassLine 2 brings out the ‘bass’ in the TB-303. If you’ve listened to other demos online or tried a few ‘free’ ones, you’ve probably complained how muddy the sound was (I know I did)
The BassLine2 has a simple interface that allows you just enough time to let each knob sink. Compared to the Phoscyon by D16, AudioRealism’s BL2 beats it out of the water without the strange accents.
Sugar Bytes Cyclop
What’s really interesting with this synthesizer is the interface. That large FX knob really looks like an eye looking straight at you. Read more...
For an item of this caliber to pay for $139 feels like a sin as if you’re cheating the developer. Once you read through the manual, you can experience the best fluid workflows possible complete with a dedicated wobble LFO controller.
You also get a wide array of presets. Definitely something for the noobies!
If there was an award for a straightforward synthesizer, it would go to Lennardigital’s Synleth 1. Sounding fantastic and impressive, you get an easy-to-use synthesizer that features some great sounds of the TB-303, Alpha Juno and Minimoog.Read more...
While NI’s Monark may beat them with the Moog or AudioRealism’s BL2 could defeat the TB-303 emulation, Synleth1 offers enough features including some staccato strings, house bass and evolving pad sounds to get you riled up to get it!
This is by far the simplest-looking and the most colorful synth interface I’ve seen in a while However, underneath that simple and happy-looking synth interface is a sound unlike any other and a workflow that can be extremely fast if you know how to use it.Read more...
A subtractive synthesizer as it is, it isn’t the prettiest of synthesizers to look at but it’s extremely useful. It’s also got a simple way to install. Copy paste!
Togu Audio Line TAL-BassLine-101
- Compare Prices: PluginBoutique
We’ve got an emulation from D16, but we’ve also got something from TAL.Read more...
Bassline 101 (hencefort BL101) is a powerful SH-101 emulation. While cheaper by 50% for most emulations of the SH-101, the sound of the TAL version is just amazing.
It can operate in stereo or mono. However, it may have been emulated a little too close with the original having only one ADSR envelope. But we’re looking for the sound, not additional options!
It’s tinted with a hint of aquamarine and purple, has lots of knobs and a large power icon. Linplug’s Spectral is more than just a pretty interface. As a semi-modulation synthesizer, you can assign up to 15 modulations from a choice of 35 sources and 100 destinations.
It can be a bit CPU hungry though. My test showed that my CPU spiked to usage up to 60% from 30% including other processes outside my DAW. Usually, my synth plug-ins reach about 45% with many synths turned on.
While the Spectral has its flaws, it has its wins. You get with four oscillator sections with an independent filter to get some great virtual analog sounds and modern, unique sounds as well.
You get 14 types of effects that can be fitted into six slots. You could get anything from Reverb and Delays to 8-bit crushers and some great Arpeggiators.
You also have 65 presets completely mix-and-match-able to your desired setup.
Vanguard is pretty much what it aims to be. Officially endorsed as an advanced analog-modelling synthesis with three oscillators and 32 voices, any synth addict would have a great time.
Having 31 different oscillators is crazy but crazy brilliant. It shows that Vanguard is an additive synthesizer. In addition, you get three low frequency oscillators and 13 different filter types with resonance.
For effects you get a reverb complete with pre-delay, room size, damping and width controls and you have a tempo-synced delay.
The Trancegate function mixes your arpeggiators with step-filters. If you’re a synth bass nut, you’re going to love this little baby.
- Compare Prices: Thomann (EU)
While not without its glitches, you get some great high quality sounds and presets. Tone2 deserves a definite reward with its high-quality effects and a Moog style filter that could go with almost any synth tone you could think about.Read more...
Tone2’s HCM synthesis allows you to view a sound’s harmonic snapshots and mix them together into a morphtable. You also get a new Osc5 module with semi and fine tune controls and a whopping 25 waveforms to use in creating your sounds.
You may have a smaller EQ section but you get a Moog-style low-pass filter to add a vintage character to your synth sounds.
The only downside is in the first paragraph. You might get a few glitches here and there while you’re changing patches. But with careful sound choices, you get what you ask for from this synth.
Yes, it has those awesome vocoder effects too! But you’d be using these primarily for bass so I don’t think you’d want to use it. But it’s nice to know everything is expandable!
Apollo Cinematic Guitar and Bass
It’s interesting to see what the ‘cinematic’ in the Apollo’s name stands for.
Using the free Kontakt player, you could use Apollo’s massive library of guitar and bass samples. You have 22GB of all these samples.
Assigning MIDI controls, you can create impressive realistic acoustic guitars and bass sounds with the plugin.
If you’re using an acoustic bass, you could control the air that comes in between the pick-up and your amplifier.
The Swell patches are useful for creating realistic strums of major and minor chords for each of your sounds. You could even play entire custom chords or every single note.
But more than other types of realistic guitar and bass samples, you could use the LFO control to create unique bass sounds. Not quite the synthesized bass sounds the above samples can do, but something unique and realistic at the same time.
What’s more? There’s an ambient designer for guitar plucks and other types of sounds. Definitely suitable for instrument accompaniment or general movie music production.
Everything you’ve loved about the Musicman Stingray Bass you could do well with Bassysm-M’s hypersampled library.
This can cover almost any genre from pop, alternative rock to heavy metal.
Should you need a realistic Musicman Stingray bass sound with a little brightness that uses roundwound strings, this is what you need.
However, it’s the slapped version of the Bassysym-M.
If you loved the sound of Bassysm-S but need a jazzy, less slapping sound, you’ve got the Bassysm-J.
You’ll have more options with the Legato Mode, which introduces hammer-ons, slides, sustains or just simple economy picking.
Each of these libraries have 13 velocities and does not even reach 700MB per patch. However, the Bassysm F is a fretless Ibanez bass with five strings.
Perfect for those low-end jazz sounds you definitely want!
If you wanted that Fender Jazz bass sound that gave a unique sound to the jazzmaster of the 60s, then you’ve got to get this patch.
Directly intended to mimic the feel of an upright bass, it has a solid mid that is evident from the samples. Perfect for those chill tracks you might have.
Any EDM producer will agree that a metal-sounding bass has a place fitting for them in an EDM track.
ImpactSoundworks’ efforts focus on emulating a Music Man Sterling’s Line-in sound that musicians could amp to use for their own music.
The sound is picked, giving it an aggressive touch. While very suitable for rock and metal, use the velocity hits included in the patches and you get something useful for almost any genre
Shreddage Bass works with Kontakt Player 5 or later. It has about 7GB of samples that have 3 round robins per velocity tier.
The samples also sit well inside any mix. I had to deal with minimal equalization with this one given its powerful sound. You might want to add some virtual pedals or send/receive from your interface to create unique and realistic sounds. We’ll get to that bit of virtual pedals in a few minutes.
From Ilya Efimov’s Bass Bundle
If you’re a fan of Kontakt, this bass sample library is just right. To be honest, I didn’t have to do lots of editing with this one.
Ilya did such a great job with the library. He also has lots of attention to detail.
This sample library is perfect for metal and rock productions. If you love alternative rock or need some realistic bass response for your electronic track, you’ve come to the right place. That 5-string attack will completely nail what you need.
Using a (probably) Fender precision bass, Ilya Efimove captured the sound of a classic rock bass.
Perfect for almost any genre. Just mix it with your effects and you’ve got a modern sound.
Again using a Fender Precision bass with different settings, Ilya gets the job done with the right jazzy, funky sound known during the pop era of the 60s and the disco-themed era of the 70s.
Ilya probably wanted to emulate the sound of a realistic upright bass. The only thing is, it sounds electric but has the character of an electric fretless bass. Good enough for me!
From Orange Tree Samples
The Big Bottom Bundle
Unlike Ilya Efimov, Orange Tree’s team does lots of great work with bass sampling. Evolution Rick has no specific bass guitar emulation.
However, its sound comes close to a Fender Precision bass pumped for modern use.
Having a smooth dynamic range, the bundle is worth it even just for this instrument.
Cherry Electric Bass
You get 2.5 GB of samples for a 5-string bass guitar.
While just a line-in recording of another great sounding but unspecified bass guitar, it sounds convincing when combined with virtual equipment including a virtual cabinet and bass guitar.
These sounds are typical for rock and metal music. But the lighter settings suggest it could work with almost any kind of genre!
Need an upright bass that sounds great for your cinematic mixes?
Don’t fret. Here’s the Corebass Pear from Orange Tree Samples.
Corebass has a fretless neck powered by a fretless slide technology similar to synthesizers.
Other upright bass sample libraries fail here because some couldn’t slide seamlessly from one neck area to the other. This edge allows it a realistic sound perfect for jazz and classic rock recordings.
Iconic Bass: Jaco
Almost any bass player knows how Jaco Pastorius is.
A prolific bass player with enough chops to shred his bass almost 30 minutes without boredom, Jaco Pastorius is celebrated by many bass players worldwide.
Meanwhile, this plugin relives his performance by using a fretless bass recorded with roundwound strings and DI.
If you wanted Jaco Pastorius unique playing style including vibratos, slides, harmonics and his hard-to-identify-but-worth-it ghost notes, then you’ve got a winner!
From Ample Sound
Ample Bass P II
Ample Sound comes from China, a place that is rarely known for creating some great samples for computer music.
Their Ample Bass P is an emulation of the Fender Precision. With over 3.6 GB of sound, you know you’ve got enough velocities to emulate some great bass sounds.
You might only get four strings, but that’s enough to get bass-ing around, right?
Oh, you also get some great string buzz that do not sound as if they’re emulated. Round robins run them along.
Ample Bass J II
Similar to Ample Bass P, different in sound.
The Ample Sound Fender Jazz Bass has that fretless vibe that brings back good old disco memories from a few decades ago.
With a natural warmth and lots of options for legato, this bass is for anyone looking for a great accompaniment of a real bass player in their tracks.
From Native Instruments
It seems nobody has had enough of all the Fender J emulations in the market.
But who could say no to some rich jazz slapping and finger sounds.
Pick up positions and variations of playing techniques sets the Jay Bass from the others.
If you need anything for a chill-sounding bass with a bit of a pop-urban touch, get the Pre Bass. Another emulation of the Fender P bass, it has its own playing style sets and a huge sample library capable of playing less than aggressive to slightly-aggressive music.
This is better suited for R&B and hip-hop tracks.
The amped versions though. Those are extremely lovely and expands the usefulness of this virtual bass.
Musicman Sterling is where it’s at. With enough legato styles and a rich, thick sound that could be useful from acoustic, jazz and metal music, the MM bass brings enough frequencies to make everything sound excellent.
It comes with its own set of strings and its own amp. Played with a pick, the classic Rickenbacker 4003 provides some powerful, defined mids for playing with rock accompaniments. The sound itself is ideal for distortion, even from external sources in your DAW.
From Chris Hein
Chris Hein is probably someone we haven’t heard about before, but judging from his works, his probably someone who knows about sound production.
Hein gives us about 12.7 GB of samples for some picked, slapped and fretless basses. If you want some steel, nylon and other sorts of upright basses, he’s your ticket to town.
These are really convincing and powerful bass samples that you shouldn’t miss, to tell you honestly. Check it now and tell me how you feel about it.
You want to got some top quality bass synthesizers but you’re looking to create some great grooves with realistic-sounding patches too. Buying them separately can be expensive. Luckily, VSTs with both ROMplers, PCM, subtractive and additive synthesizers exist. These may cost more than your initial need, but they’re quite the investment if you know how to use them!
- Compare Prices: Amazon
Trillian is the successor to Trilogy and by all means is a major improvement on the former’s achievements.Read more...
But now, instead of just that beautiful Staccato option, you get an automatic legato, round robin variations, dynamic slides, DI mixing, live and stack modes, and also an additional 34GB sample library for everything bass from Spectrasonics’ Trilogy.
This is just plain awesome!
Spectrasonics’ third virtual bass instrument is Trilogy. With three bass sounds to choose from (and 3GB of hypersampled bass instruments).Read more...
Instruments include fingered, picked, fretless and slapped bass models, helping the VST adapt to any kind of genre situation.
Using a customized UVI audio playback engine, you get a synth-like front panel complete with ADSR filters and LFOs.
However, I’d say Spectrasonics wasn’t intending to explore further the sound options provided by the LFOs because you cannot sync them with the global tempo. But that’s not bad news at all.
The samples sound realistic enough. Velocity samples have immensely contributed to the realism of these samples. While many say the samples aren’t even realistic for today’s standards, it’s still a great ROMpler and it allows you to layer synth sounds to create new bass sounds. This offsets the limited LFO options.
Staccato controls allow you to bypass using ADSR controls for your bass to cut the sustains. The staccato allows the bass to have a natural cut for those tight passages. Pretty neat!
Vir2’s Basis emulates the Fender Jazz Bass and MusicMan Bass by Sterling. While it sounds quite well for its time, I gave this VST a chance because it suits certain types of music.
For example, it’s a great go-to VST when I need a video-game-ish sounding bass.
Many friends (and so did I) found the basses quite on the sharp side.
Sometimes, I think I had to use an auto-tuner to keep them on track. Humanize scripting isn’t so good and the timing is quite off.
Also, the Legato doesn’t sound so good. All of these factors make the VST not sound so good… on a realistic band setup that is. But if you’re using it for electronic or digital music, it fits right on key. That’s why I have it in my pocket and I’m not about to let it go!
How many did they say? At first glance, this VST’s interface is jam-packed with activity, it’s difficult to see which is which.
While I wasn’t too impressed with the presets, I could say that I loved the way you could edit these sounds to make them your own and bring out their full, powerful potential.
The best thing ManyBass did would probably be the multisampling. At this point, I think the bass sounds were hypersampled.
I like this bass because ManyTone has dedicated some samples or waveforms that allow you to create synth-bass fusion. However, the realistic bass guitar is makes this little VST stand out. Slap, finger or pick your way with the bass in a song and you’ll find how powerful the sound truly is.
Perhaps it could definitely come close to the Scarbees, which are more straightforward compared to these bass sounds.
Those samples aren’t always working out in the best way they can. You’re going to need more audio sculpting software. These Effect VSTs are awesome in their own way!
Joseph DeHelian of Fretted Synth Audio knows how to make a bass sound special without going over the top.
The best thing about it? It’s a free plugin vst. It has high quality sound and it’s free! Good guy Joseph DeHelian is something else!
You’ve got an awesome set of bass amplifier simulators with multi-effect options. What more could you ask at that price?
While there’s only one amp to play with, the rack-ton of multi-effects for your bass guitar is something to consider.
If you’ve got hybrid synth bass sounds, for example, it would sit well with a simulation and a powerful rack of effects.
From Native Instruments
While originally for electric guitars, this suite of effects from synth-friendly Native Instruments is worth anybody’s time. You’ve got presets that emulate some of the best bass effects out there.
In particular, you get a genuine tone out of a Fender Bassman and some modern-sounding bass amplifiers.
Sure, maybe other plugins could introduce those condenser/dynamic microphone positioning, but NI nails it best with lower CPU use and high quality sound.
How’d you like my list of Bass VSTs?
Remember, every one of them has a proper application in a song passage or whatnot.
It’s not all about having one to do everything with, but rather having lots of options allowing you to adjust to every audio situation especially for the bass.
Being a rather ‘hidden’ instrument that could only be ‘felt’, having the best sound brings them out of any beautifully-mixed song!