The key to any good mix is a balanced spectrum of frequencies…
Finding instruments that compliment the kick without drowning out its delicate range can be extremely difficult. Luckily for us, the sub-bass exists and serves as the unsung hero of energy and strength.
With so many Sub Bass VSTs out there, it can be tricky to pick out your ideal bass amongst all of the options. The Sub Bass, although limited in application, can completely affect the overall mood of a track.
Since many VSTs are built genre specific, it’s also important to sift through the specs of every potential candidate, before committing to one to fill your specific needs.
We’ve done the homework for you, and have compiled a few of what we consider the best Sub bass VST plugins on the market.
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Loopmasters Bass Master
Loopmasters Bass Master totes itself as a synth dedicated to “the art of bass.” Other than that claim, it’s overall an impressive plugin for its affordable price.
The plugin has 127 different waveforms built in and is used for mainly electronic music. The plugin caters to a range of experience levels, as its user interface is friendly and laid out in a way that makes it easy to quickly find a sound that suits your needs.
Features and Specs
With 350 included presets, the Bass Master can be used as a diverse soundbank if nothing else. It is based around two sample-based oscillators, which Loopmasters feels adds a retro feel to the plugin.
The VST comes with bass boost, which can be used to fill in a lacking low end. In addition, there are 13 filters within the plugin to further craft the sound. The VST also has three mappable control knobs on the interface itself and embedded in each of the filters.
The direct out controls on the interface mean that the sound can be mastered and compiled within the plugin, to produce a more polished sound. It’s also armed with internal distortion, chorus, and reverb, furthering processing possibilities.
Above all, the Bass Master takes up an impressively low amount of CPU. These detail might seem insignificant, but low end based plugins are typically notorious for taking up way too much of your computer’s power.
Although critics may find the lack of oscillators limiting, the Bass Master is great for getting a decent sound quickly and for bass beginners alike. Many like that the plugin is relatively simple, which reflects the nature of most desired sub bass sounds.
As your technical skills progress, it may be time to switch over to a plugin with more built-in mappings and features. However, for the price, the quality of the Bass Master is undeniable, and the preset sounds alone make up for any shortcoming. The Loopmasters Bass Master is quick to get you a bass sound without compromising your budget or computer speed.
DopeSONIX Bass Engine 2
This plugin is made for hip-hop and modern rap with a focus on a wide, fat, warmer-toned sound. DopeSONIX Bass Engine is uniquely inspired by 3 eras of hip-hop and is organized as such. Whether you’re looking to travel to the early 2000s or the 1990s, the Bass Engine will help you get there.
Features and Specs
Although it does not have adjustable oscillators, the bass engine is built in with the standard Attack, Decay, Sustain, and release controls. Moreover, the plugin was built to be a fast track to desired hip hop sounds. The lack of technical customization is deliberate, and in exchange offers efficiency with 300 preprocessed sounds ready to be used directly in a project. Moreover, rifling through presets is quick and easy- You won’t have to painstakingly wait on each patch to load.
Coupled with this factor, the DopeSONIX takes up a minimal amount of CPU, so it’s a great VST to use, even on low powered laptops/tablets. You have the added bonus of being able to program bass sounds within the plugin, so you don’t have to stress about always having a midi controller on hand.
Need some inspiration? The DopeSONIX Bass Engine 2 comes with 50 Hip Hop midi bassline patterns that can be edited or exported to get your mixes going. For minor adjustments, the VST has built-in glide, pan, and drive controls. To add to the retro vibe, Bass Engine 2 is equipped with an analog-inspired reverb. It is very affordable without sounding so.
Above all, the DopeSONIX Bass Engine 2 presents a refreshing look at the sub bass- Its unique organization by decade reflects real respect for the hip-hop genre as a whole and has the sound to back it up. Although some may be bothered by its lack of personalization and technical controls, it presents a quick way to get to a hip hop specific, quality, sound without the distraction of sometimes superfluous controls.
JST Sub Destroyer
JST Sub Destroyer, although powerful, does not act as a standalone instrument. Rather, it can be added to existing instruments to add more girth and punch to your sub bass sounds. Moreover, it has a niche in EDM music for creating wobbly synth noises, often seen in genres such as dubstep.
Features and Specs
The Sub Destroyer has a simple look to it with few controls. When added onto any track, it can convert the signal to four different wave types: Triangle, Square, Sawtooth, and Sine. It includes two different visualizers, one by waveform, and the other by dB meter, so you can easily track where your frequencies and levels are hitting.
It has two main knobs- A standard lowpass filter and a volume knob. On the drive knob, there is a smaller character adjustment, to add interest to your sounds. Moreover, there is a “harmonic enhancement” feature to bring out those resonant tones that may be difficult to capture otherwise.
Classical and midi automation can be done within the plugin. The VST itself is super affordable and doesn’t take up a large amount of CPU, partially since it is not a standalone instrument.
The simple JST Sub Destroyer is a great addition to any preexisting bass sounds that need that extra boost. The lack of built-in sounds is a slight drawback, as the plugin is great at producing what it promises- Width to any low end quickly and efficiently. Overall, the plugin is great for the price and gives the community an option to alter preexisting sounds, rather than replace sounds completely.
The FAW SubLab synthesizer plugin is very versatile and is used in mainly future bass, trap, and hip hop sounds. For those looking for a punchy 808, the SubLab has all you could want. It’s composed of three different sound engines: A sampler, a unique sub bass oscillator, and a standard synth. The layering of these three entities is sure to make a sound that stands out.
Features and Specs
SubLab comes with 250 analog style kick samples and 6 different bass modules. Most notably, the plugin comes with a pitch auto-adjust feature for any Sub signal. Any sample dropped into SubLab will automatically be pitch analyzed to maximize efficiency.
Moreover, this feature is coupled with a spectrograph, so that you can visually detect where your sub’s frequency lies in comparison to the rest of your track. In order to highlight the kick amongst the powerful subs provided by the plugin, FAW has included a built-in sidechain compressor to achieve this effect quickly and easily.
The VST also comes with a widening tool, which is especially useful since 808s are historically mono processed signals.
For the classic hip-hop distorted 808 sound, Sublab comes with 4 different types of distortion. Moreover, any 808 kick can be turned into a Sub with the Zero-Crossing method. Essentially, the plugin will detect the most sustained section of the kick sample, and loop it, making it appear longer. For what it’s worth, the plugin is pretty affordable.
Overall, this plugin is super worth it for the price. Some engineers might find it limiting as it is mainly geared towards 808 hip hop and trap styles. However, the sample pitch matching feature alone makes the process of producing much easier. The 808 as an entity is relatively modern so it’s definitely worth investing in a plugin that truly understands it inside and out.
Softube Monoment Bass
Softube’s Monoment Bass is focused on creating basslines that stand out in the mix. Ideal for house and electronic music genres. It was created through collaboration with household DJ names such as Vandalism and Madison Mars. Each of these artists, along with a couple of others, have set presets within the plugin, each adding their unique take to what it means to have an exceptional bassline.
Features and Specs
The plugin itself is centered around a single, but powerful bass synthesizer. Monoment Bass includes a number of built-in samples, all sourced from boutique or small-batch synthesizers and instruments. The built-in synth and imported/embedded sounds can be layered within the plugin to create a unique low-end that stands out in a mix.
These sounds can also be detuned or pitch adjusted to add interest. For further tweaking, the plugin includes a couple of features to edit signal texture. Along with a section dedicated to ambience, Monoment Bass highlights an “aging” knob, which is a unique combination of distortion and pitch shifting to emulate a more vintage feel.
All of the sounds included on the plugin are stereo sourced, making all samples sound lush and wide. Softube states that samples were also recorded in “triplicate”, meaning that each sample is available in every key and tonation, expanding your possibilities as a producer. The plugin is very affordable and well worth the cost, especially if you’re looking for a good source of retro bass sounds.
All in all, the Monoment Bass is a good buy. Although it is limiting in that all samples are exclusively stereo, the plugin is very user-friendly and allows one to get the stand-out bassline they need in a short amount of time.
Rob Papen SubBoomBass 2
The SubBoomBass 2 is an impressive instrument known for its low-end synth sounds and occasional percussive elements. It includes all the presets from the previous version, and has an endless amount of effect knobs so that you can get really specific with the sounds you’re creating. With its versatility, this synth is used for anything from film scores to pop music. Let’s dive into the SubBoomBass 2’s most notable features.
Features and Specs
This plugin is definitely one of the more intense ones. With over 1,900 built-in presets, the possibilities are endless. Although the instrument is only equipped with two oscillators, the interface automatically routes these signals to filter/envelope sections, so that the sounds can be ornately edited and crafted.
Moreover, there are more than 128 waveforms alone to choose from per oscillator. The plugin has two built-in sequencers, including a distinct 16 step sequencer to give the user a visual of their sound.
SubBoomBass 2 includes a modulation matrix, focused around altering the texture and shape of tones. Within the matrix, there are multiple effects to choose from. These can be added directly onto the oscillator, or used for adjustments during post-processing.
With so many options, the SubBoomBass 2 may take up a good amount of CPU depending on your device’s specs. The VST is super affordable for all that is included.
This instrument overall is a great resource for unique sounds and a plethora of signal possibilities. Although it may be heavier on the usage side of things and not as friendly of a user-interface, for its preset library alone, this plugin is well worth the cost.
Other Notable Mentions
Native Instrument Massive
Native Instrument Massive is a famous and powerful wavetable synthesizer used among mainly electronic producers. This instrument is made to be strong… With 3 built-in oscillators and an additional one for modulation purposes, there’s no doubt your computer will need to work hard. Despite this drawback, Massive proves to live up to its name in the best of ways. The synth is packed with wide, high-quality sounds designed to make your mix shine.
Massive is packed with macro mappings and modulation knobs for increased control. Due to the abundance of features, the user interface can appear a bit cluttered, so it may take a little longer to get to the sound you need. However, with more specificity comes the potential for a more distinct, high-quality sound. The 3 oscillators within the plugin come with 80 different presets to experiment with. Notably, the VST has routing and voicing controls within the interface, giving more power to the user. Modulation settings can be dragged and dropped onto different channels, making creation easy, once the basic controls are understood thoroughly.
Massive requires a bit more up-front financial investment, but for those looking to dedicate themselves to a worthwhile synth, Massive is a superb option.
Xfer Records Serum
Serum is a well-known synthesizer among novices and professionals alike. Known for its use of wavetable synthesis, this instrument is versatile and powerful. Although bass sounds are not the main purpose, Serum offers a large selection of low-end presets. Generally used for electronic music, this synth includes 10 different effect modules alone, allowing the user to craft the sound of their dreams.
Serum’s most basic set-up consists of two wavetable oscillators, noise generator, and a sub oscillator. The sub oscillator is unique to the synth and can give your low-end the touch it needs to stand out amongst other tracks. The oscillators were engineered for studio-grade performance, and preserve higher frequencies often lost during traditional mixing. Each oscillator can have up to 16 voices. Serum is definitely not light on the relative price point or CPU usage, but for all that’s included, it is well worth the price. The synth is loaded with 450 presets and 144 different wavetables.
Aesthetically speaking, Serum is formatted out in a very user-friendly way. With a central keyboard coupled with multiple visualizers, the synth is accessible to beginners, yet allows for further growth due to the breadth of the plugin. All in all, it is a great synth to add to your arsenal, regardless of whether or not you are focusing on spicing up a low-end.
If you’re seeking a more conventional bass sound, i.e one emulating a physical instrument, Spectrasonics Trilian is an excellent option. Trilian has 60 different bass instrument patches, mimicking that of stand-up, acoustic and traditional basses. Each of these patches has additional voicings and styles included. Trilian shines best in pop/electronic genres.
In addition to the traditional sound, Trilian also offers over 300 samples from big name synths (Korg, Roland, Dave Smith, etc.). The VST allows you to select articulation patterns as well, making the sounds appear even more organic. The interface can be toggled to your preferred viewing- Spectrasonics includes a rack or text view. Unfortunately, you cannot import your own samples into Trilian. The plugin is a little pricey, but more than fair considering its over 100,000 distinct sounds. Your CPU might be compromised whilst using Trilian, but you have the option of downloading only the patches you need to help alleviate the burden.
Trilian is a great option for getting those tricky acoustic bass sounds. Moreover, its synth sample library is impressive, making it a worthwhile purchase for many projects, regardless of genre.
Sub Bass VSTS are essential to creating mixes with power and depth. The foundation of a song is important, so it makes sense to invest in an instrument that speaks to your style. Regardless of your needs, there’s definitely a plugin out there for you.