Ace of Bass
There are plenty of plugins out there claiming to make your bass sounds bigger, badder and generally better, but here are ten of our favourites.
Each and every one of these remarkable processors is dedicated to beefing up lacking low-end tones, and many have demo versions available so you can try before you buy.
To bone up on the techniques required to put these tools to effective use, get your eyes on the full Kick & Bass Power feature in the July edition of Computer Music (CM231).
Waves MaxxBass / Renaissance Bass
A true classic of low-end processing, MaxxBass generates harmonics from existing notes to help accentuate bass and make it more translatable to smaller speakers. Renaissance Bass offers the same core algorithm with simplified controls.
READ MORE: Waves MaxBass
This crafty little plugin runs your bass through a version of the well-established dual-band subharmonic synthesiser model, then runs the generated subharmonics through a bespoke gate to tidy and tighten them, and finally slams it all through an overdrive circuit and low-pass filter.
READ MORE: reFuse Lowender
This excellent but oft-overlooked bass plugin resides in Logic’s Specialized Audio Units folder and is similar to Octaver guitar pedals such as the Boss OC-2. It splits incoming audio into two analysis ranges then generates two sets of lower harmonics. You can then blend the results back in with your dry signal or play them alone.
READ MORE: Apple SubBass
PSP Audioware MixBass2
Available as part of MixPack2, MixBass2 is suitable for drums, groups and bass instruments. It offers low-frequency harmonic generation, low-frequency compression, and even a Punch section that uses a dynamic filter to accentuate or attenuate the midrange in relation to bass frequencies.
FULL REVIEW: PSP Audioware MixPack2
This subharmonic generator was originally designed with sound design and post-production in mind but has since gained popularity with producers in all genres. It lets you target a bass range and then generate subharmonics, adding weight and low-energy to bass patches (or any other signal).
READ MORE: Waves LoAir
Universal Audio Precision Enhancer Hz
This UAD bass processor is designed to add upper harmonics to bass signals - aka ‘phantom bass’ - enabling them to be audible even on small speakers that can’t actually reproduce their fundamental frequencies.
This is particularly useful when playing sub-bass-heavy bass parts that will otherwise not translate to consumer speakers and headphones.
FULL REVIEW: Universal Audio Precision Enhancer Hz
Metric Halo Thump
This free plugin is a must-have. Like Logic’s SubBass, it analyses incoming audio and uses this info to control two subharmonic oscillators.
Additional envelope controls allow a wide range of effects from basic weight-adding to more creative effects like long sub-bass tails, drones and pitch-dropping effects.
DOWNLOAD FOR FREE: Metric Halo Thump
One of the simplest kick-enhancing tools on the market, this nevertheless powerful plugin takes the incoming audio, splits it into M/S channels and uses it as a sidechain trigger for a targeted dynamic EQ.
Designed for either enhancing or reducing the kick in full mixes or groups, bx_boom! can be useful at both the mixing and mastering stage.
READ MORE: Brainworx bx_boom
Universal Audio Little Labs Voice of God
This UAD version of a renowned hardware unit operates by resonating a selectable frequency and then cutting below that point, adding a focused peak boost. It’s a favourite for enhancing or transforming kick drums, bass and more.
FULL REVIEW: Universal Audio Little Labs Voice of God
Fielding DSP Reviver
One of the easiest mistakes to make when composing and mixing basslines - particularly sine wave subs - is playing them an octave (or two!) too high, to make the notes ‘identifiable’.
Alternatively, you could use a plugin such as Reviver to generate second- or third-order harmonics, keeping the lower sub notes more identifiable. No transposition necessary!
READ MORE: Fielding DSP Reviver