“A well-designed, hugely convenient plugin”: Denise Audio Bass XXL review

Denise’s latest ‘single use’ plugin looks to add harmonic presence to bass sounds. We go XXL

  • £29
  • €34
  • $37
Denise Audio Bass XXL
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

A well-designed, hugely convenient plugin. There are more versatile bass tools on the market, but the ease-of-use here is a big USP.


  • +

    Smartly designed and easy to use.

  • +


  • +

    Can tighten a variety of bass sounds.


  • -

    Results can be subtle at times.

  • -

    Can’t add low-end weight when none already exists.

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Denise Audio Bass XXL: What is it?

At a glance

KEY FEATURES: Bass enhancement plugin.

Recently acquired by fellow US-based developer Baby Audio, Denise Audio designs plugins around a ‘single use’ mantra – essentially, every plugin in the company’s range is designed to do one specific thing, simply and effectively. In the case of Bass XXL, that intended function is enhancing bass sounds to add presence that works across any speaker system.

Bass enhancement is, of course, nothing particularly new. In hardware, dbx’s 120 Subharmonic Synth was a go-to tool for many dance producers back in the ’90s, and in the plugin realm, the likes of Waves’ MaxxBass and Submarine, Brainworx’s bx_subsynth and Leapwing’s RootOne all aim to add power to your bass sounds – each of them using a slightly different approach.

Bass XXL is an overhaul of Denise’s previous Bass XL plugin. It uses what the developer calls a “proprietary algorithm designed to supersize the low end”. In practice, this involves creating harmonic overtones above the root note of the bass, which create the effect of more perceived low-end weight.

Denise Audio Bass XXL

(Image credit: Denise Audio)

Denise Audio Bass XXL: Performance and verdict

The plugin has three main controls. Root sets the pitch used to create the new harmonics. This can be set to a fixed frequency or pitch, or follow an incoming MIDI signal, in order to match the frequency of a bassline. Next, Harmonics alters the intensity of the new harmonics created, while Boost blends these in with the dry signal, acting like a dry/wet control. 

Down the bottom of the plugin’s UI are a set of controls to help further refine the effect. A pre-delay control creates a gap between the dry sound and the harmonics, which is handy if you want to preserve the ‘pure’ harmonics of the source sound. The Mono control is useful for maintaining mono compatibility. Finally the Range and Slope controls will adjust how abrupt and noticeable the effect is.

Like other Denise plugins, Bass XXL’s biggest selling point is how easy it is to use. There’s a suite of presets included here, but we’d argue they’re almost redundant due to the plugin’s simplicity. Since it’s so quick to dial in an effect to suit your track, and the parameters will need fine-tuning to suit your bass as it is, turning to a preset patch doesn’t really feel like a timesaver here.

It’s worth noting that, unlike some other bass enhancement plugins, Bass XXL doesn’t synthesise low frequencies below your existing bass. While plugins like Submarine or bx_subsynth can add sub frequency content to a weak bassline, Bass XXL works by enhancing what’s already there, so it can’t, say, add missing bass frequencies below a badly recorded kick sound.

Bass XXL specialises in helping to subtly accentuate existing bass so that it stands out in a mix and works on any speaker setup. We found excellent results in boosting the presence in subby, 808-like kicks. It also has the capacity to nicely tighten drum loops and breakbeats, providing a subtle but noticeable increase in the low foundations.

There are more powerful, versatile plugin tools in this space, although some are far more expensive. Bass XXL is well priced and user-friendly enough that it could become a go-to for many producers

MusicRadar verdict: A well-designed, hugely convenient plugin. There are more versatile bass tools on the market, but the ease-of-use here is a big USP.

Denise Audio Bass XXL: The web says

"Its value lies in its targeted effectiveness and affordability. This balance of innovation, functionality, and cost makes it an attractive option, especially in a market dominated by high-priced and subscription-based models."
Magnetic Magazine

Denise Audio Bass XXL: Hands-on demos

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Denise Audio Bass XXL: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES Bass enhancement plugin. 
  • CONTACT: Denise Audio
Si Truss

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.