Without a doubt, a tight bassline is central to any good track. The bass adds soul, rhythm, and so much more, essentially creating the foundation of every song.
However, it can be tricky to find the best plugins for bass with so many options out there...
Low-end frequencies are delicate enough already, so it’s important to arm yourselves with tools that respect their fragile nature and allow the bass to breathe through.
Let’s take a deeper look into some of the best options on the market.
Our Top Choices for Bass Enhancement and Mixing
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Related post: Top Sub Bass Plugins
Bassroom By Mastering the Mix
Bassroom lives up to its name-.The EQ plugin is designed to emulate the sound conditions of different rooms. The plugin places you in a 3D sound visualizer, separated by different frequencies. This unique approach to mixing is innovative in itself, and perhaps ideal for mastering the art of bass mixing. A bassline should be heard and enjoyed through all acoustic conditions, not just on professional studio monitors.
The plugin is broken down into 5 different EQ bands that go in between 0-320Hz. Each section can be toggled to have more or less energy, depending on what virtual space you select your sound to be edited in.
Bassroom features live bypass automation, and its EQ and Q filters are designed to highlight the best tones of bass sounds. The plugin also offers 60 different presets, each catered to a specific genre of music. This feature allows the user to not only craft desired sound, but learn more about bass mixing among multiple disciplines. The VST also allows you to import a reference track, which a producer can then match their EQs to.
Bassroom is very affordable, intuitive and acts as a valuable learning tool as a valuable added bonus. Check it out.
MBassador by MeldaProduction
While the best practice is to re-record weak track parts, sometimes that luxury is not available. MBassador by MeldaProduction proses a unique solution for those of us in this all-too-familiar predicament. The plugin is able to generate sub bass and generally more hearty bass tones from preexisting audio.
Audio input placed into the VST is automatically divided into 4 different bands which can be toggled on/off to preference. The plugin uses low-pass filters to determine the best frequencies to highlight and reference from, usually at a Hz rate a bit below where the kick drum rests. From there, a mimicked Bass and 2 different Sub Bass patterns can be enabled to boost the low end. These sounds are plugin generated and supported by MBassador’s embedded 3 processors.
To add girth, resonance, higher tones, and artifacts can also be added. As a reference, there is a built-in limiter on the interface which is extremely helpful, especially with low-end frequencies that our ears tend to distort. Within each artificial track, there are two modulation knobs: Saturation and Tone.
The plugin itself is very user-friendly and fairly simple to use. It’s made bare on purpose- It doesn’t take long for you to achieve the low-end boost you’re looking for. Unfortunately, you cannot alter the pitch of a signal within this plugin.
As for the price point, it is affordable and pretty comparable to other plugins of its stature. Overall, this plugin is great for giving your mixes an extra shine, especially if they’re lacking a comprehensive bass during the recording process.
Submarine by Waves Audio
Have you ever played a track on a larger sound-system or subwoofer and found that the bass just doesn’t cut it? Waves has created a plugin that promises crystal-clear clarity and sub tones up to two octaves below your desired low-end sound. If you’re looking to give a track a little more girth, even to just boost it for an event where you know the low-end levels will stand out, this plugin is a life saver.
Submarine is based around two central sub generators. It features a frequency visualizer and EQ, so you can pinpoint exactly what frequency will be used to generate monstrous sub frequencies. There is also a frequency range timeline, where you can adjust either end should you want to boost a particular range instead of one specific frequency.
Waves markets this product towards users looking to play their sounds on large sound settings/clubs, so it’s important that this plugin is used with a grain of salt. Although undeniably powerful, it may not be your go-to on every track, as it is most suited for club/dance electronic music.
A huge benefit of Waves Submarine is that it uses a form of granular synthesis in preprocessing to ensure that the artificially produced frequencies are at perfect pitch and reconstructed in a way that coincides with the original signal.
Overall, the plugin very much worth the price if you’re looking to create, fat club sounds.
Sasquatch Kick Machine by Boz Digital Labs
This plugin is pretty straightforward, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t powerful. The Sasquatch Kick Machine takes any kick sample into its interface and gives it the extra low-end power it needs. The simplicity of the VST allows it to be useful across the board in any genre of music.
Once loaded into the interface, the kick drum can be modulated with 3 different toggle options: 1) Click- The punchy part of the kick 2) Oomph- The heavier frequencies within the kick used for building a strong low end 3) Drive- The overall level of the signal. These 3 toggles are very sensitive and effective, so getting that large sound isn’t difficult.
The VST bases all changes around the signal alone- It has no internal samples. Although this could be seen as a drawback, it also means less CPU usage.
The Kick Machine is overall pretty affordable and is a great tool to get you the strong, noticeable kicks you desire. After all, a good low end is not just about sub bass.
Bark of Dog by Boz Digital Labs
Not all great tools have to be expensive. Bark of Dog offers a remarkably simple and effective plugin for boosting your bass at the very affordable price of FREE! Created by an independent producer, this plugin allows you to shortcut the EQing process hassle-free.
Bark of Dog is essentially just a high pass filter catered towards boosting bass sounds in the mix. The creator himself states that the VST produces an effect that “can be created with any stock” EQ, however, this does not diminish the value of the interface.
The plugin is broken down into three different modes- Classic, Passive, and Combo. Classic Mode resembles the original, single-processor version of this plugin. It is the default mode of the VST and allows you to adjust the incoming signal by amplitude and frequency, focusing on the resonant bass tones. Passive mode is modeled after the “push-pull” bass technique. Here, undesired frequencies are removed according to the curve of the EQ, and the cut-off frequencies are boosted. Combo is essentially a combo of the two- Boosting all of the resonant signal tones with the Passive mode and cleaning up the signal with the “push-pull” method.
All in all, this plugin works great for its intended purpose and since its free, you’ve got nothing to lose!
LoAir by Waves
This subharmonic generator by Waves can be used for more than just bass. Commonly, LoAir is used to add a punch to kicks, other percussion instruments, and deep cinematic soundscapes. With any easily understood user-interface, this plugin can help you get the deeper tones you need in a jiffy.
LoAir is passed around an incoming signal and a couple of processing knobs. There are no built-in sounds, so all tones generated are stemming directly from the original signal, which makes this post-processing sound more natural. It should be noted, however, that the generated tones may require additional basic polishing outside of the plugin- i.e EQ, general effects, high-pass filter, etc.
The three main controls on this VST are “Range”, “LoAir”, and “LO”. The range sets the cutoff of the lowpass filter. LoAir toggles the level of the generated tones. Lo adjusts the level of the filtered signal. Having these parameters separate creates a unique balance that stands out in the mix. The plugin also comes with a handy “align” button, which helps compress these signals together, making the output more cohesive.
Although relatively simple, LoAir is pretty inexpensive and creates the subby tones our ears love efficiently.
MaxxBass by Waves
MaxxBass’ distinct way of processing makes it stand out among other plugins, making it widely considered one of the best plugins for bass out there. Instead of boosting the low-end signals or using a version of a high-pass filter, the VST works to artificially produce resonant overtones in your mix, making the low-end sound more full. This versatility centered around creating a fuller sound that can be applied to genres across the board.
Since this plugin is only adding resonant tones, it has the added bonus of not mudding up the frequency spectrum. MaxxBass analyzes the incoming signal and produces a couple of key tones. Your ears fill intuitive fill in the gaps between the original signal and the artificial frequencies, making the sound appear more full.
The interface is very simple, it is comprised of a visualizer, volume/level faders, and an internal limiter to prevent clipping. Although the plugin is pretty limited in function, its distinct way of addressing a weak low-end and affordability make it worth a try at the very least. It’s a step up from its counterpart Renaissance Bass also by Waves, as you have more control in terms of ratio, response, and EQing within the plugin.
Moreover, MaxxBass has a frequency visualizer of the original signal versus the processed signal so it’s easy to see where your new artificial frequencies are resting in the mix. Visual features like this one can make or break a plugin, especially when dealing with the low-end of a song- Our ears are better at distinguishing higher frequencies, so a visual aid ensures that we are producing the precise, in-tune sound our ears crave.
Renaissance Bass by Waves
Renaissance Bass is excellent at creating the punchy, dense bass sounds that are essential to EDM and dance music, and for this reason many engineers consider this the best plugin for bass. The plugin itself is super affordable and includes a couple of presets to try and experiment with. It’s a step down from MaxxBass, but if you’re looking to add the signature resonant tones and do post-production outside of the plugin, Renaissance Bass is an excellent option.
This VST is extremely simple but still proves to be a valuable tool. The interface contains an input signal toggle, a fader for changing amplitude, and an output fader with a visualizer to prevent clipping when adjusting levels. Similarly to other plugins, Renaissance Bass simply adds desired and pivotal harmonics to the low end of a mix to produce a chunkier sound. You can dial in your cut-off frequency pretty quickly, which can help speed up your workflow.
The plugin takes up a very low amount of CPU, making it very versatile across platforms. It can also be applied to kicks to give them a more punchy attack.
If you’re looking for something to beef up your bass quickly without much hassle, this plugin definitely works in a pinch.
Bass XL by Denise
There’s no doubt that this plugin is beautifully designed. The user interface itself is warm and welcoming, making it inviting to use. Outside of aesthetics, Bass XL works great for experienced producers who know what precise frequencies they want to boost within a mix. It’s affordability and power makes it a winning combination.
The VST works by boosting a frequency selected by the user. It’s catered towards bass and kick sounds, but due to this central feature, it can certainly be used on electric guitars, percussion, or other instruments. Bass XL allows you to hear the volume of the adjusted signal and processed signal independently and also offers the feature of compressing the signals together within the plugin, instead of just the processed one. Moreover, the plugin gives tone and position toggles, which aid in the mixing process.
You can save time and get closer to a fully finished bass sound within the plugin, streamlining your workflow. Not to mention, the plugin is extremely affordable. It might be difficult for beginners to know which frequencies should/need to be boosted, but for an intermediate/experienced producer, Bass XL is a great tool.
MixBass by PSP Audioware
This plugin is unfortunately not available on its own and is instead within a plugin pack, “MixPack2”. However, for those considering purchasing a plugin bundle anyways, definitely take PSP bundles into consideration. MixBass is very powerful and super successful at producing at convincing analog bass sounds that are few and far between.
This plugin is best used in dance and electronic music but can be applied to a number of genres with its versatility of controls. MixBass is packed with controls subcategorized by control, compression, character, punch, and output. The user interface resembles a rack mount hardware piece and is just as complex. That coupled with its lack of embedded visualizers makes it a tool geared towards experienced professionals, or those looking to commit a lot of time to learn the ins-and-outs of a pack.
This plugin is certainly powerful. Its central feature is a chain of audio effects designed to pull out the high frequencies within a low-end and carve out the top-end in conjunction to produce a meaty, clean bass sound.
Considering the other intricate tools within the pack, MixBass is very affordable but may require a bit more of a learning curve to access the plugins’ full potential.
Bass Mixing and Enhancement Tips
Regardless of what VST you go with, there are a couple of general tips and tricks you should use to get an effective low-end mix. Here a couple of things to keep in mind during your creation process.
Know what frequencies you’re looking for. Typically, bass and kick sounds rest in between 20-300 Hz. Visual aids in plugins can make this process easier.
Cut out unnecessary noise in the mix. Most of these plugins employ a high pass filter for good reason- Taking out frequencies in the delicate low range when they aren’t needed is essential for a clean track.
Figure out what should be highlighted. Often in the low-end, sounds are competing aggressively with one another to stand out. Decide preemptively what sound you want to draw attention to whether that’s the bass, kick, or an 808. This will help you determine what you should compress other elements to.
Add Harmonics. Adding barely noticeable frequencies that quickly beef up the low-end is simple with plugins like MaxxBass, Renaissance Bass, LoAir, etc.
Pan/Widen the sound. In order to avoid overlap, experiment with widening and/or panning low-end instruments. BassXL utilizes this technology to create a cleaner mix.
Use a reference track to emulate the desired sound. This is a standard practice throughout the music industry, and certain plugins such as Bassroom allow you to do this within the plugin.
Arrange low-end sounds appropriately. Create space in the mix so low-end sounds do not overlap too often. It’s very easy to create a muddy mix with even just one or two many low-frequency based instruments.
All in all, the low-end is a very delicate yet extremely important part of the mix. Bass mixing VSTs assist in creating the vital foundation of a song. There’s certainly something out there for everyone, and certainly the best plugin for bass will be what you want to accomplish. Try out one of these great options on your next mix, and you’ll definitely give your mixes that adding “punch” it still needs, without actually compromising the whole production.
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