Best Bass VST Plugins – 2020 Round-up

The bass. It sounds the same as the “base” and there is a reason why. Good bass line makes people dance and it has an omen that if it’s “doing good” it will come unnoticed, but once it’s bad everyone will know it. That’s why it is a cornerstone of the music arrangement.

Comparison Chart of the Best Bass VST Plugins

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Largest bass sound resource on the market
  • Hundreds of acoustic, electric and synth bass sounds
  • Seamless integration with other Spectrasonic VSTs
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  • Overdriven bass played with pick
  • 60 styles and 1380 phrases
  • Ideal for rock or metal songwriting
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  • 3 different bass amps
  • Dual mic recording
  • 10-band graphic EQ with Limiter
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  • Fingered acoustic double bass sound
  • 60 styles and 1380 phrases
  • Ideal for jazz songwriting
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  • Most detailed virtual bass amp
  • Amp Match clones your favorite amp
  • Great guitar amps included
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  • Recreation of Novation analog classic
  • Simple but powerful two oscilator design
  • Useful as mono lead synth, too
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  • 300 presets of massive sub bass sounds
  • Three layer engine for advanced sound blending
  • Advanced arpeggiator
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  • Emulation of industry standard bass amp
  • Five-band EQ with enhance knob
  • Ideal for heavy-oriented music
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Types of Bass VST

Bass VSTs vary a lot concerning options they provide - here are the most typical types:

Bass Amp Simulator VST

This is a virtual version of a real bass amp. It is oriented towards real bass players and helps you to record your bass guitar directly providing you with different types of cabinets and preamps and many effects that are often used with the bass guitars. You can also use it for a quick practice at your home without turning on that bulky amp you have every time.

Bass Instrument VST

This type of VST may come very handy to people who don't know how to play a real bass guitar. It provides you with the detailed sampled sound of the real bass guitars and many bass lines and phrases that you can use directly into your project in any key or tempo. Think of it as your virtual bassist.

Synth Bass VST

Synth bass covers the same range of sound like a bass guitar but it has a different type of sound that is more suitable for electronic music. It is very capable of delivering sub-bass frequencies so you can layer it below your bass guitar as an effect and improve your overall low-end sound.

Quick Take: 
Top 3 Picks

Review of the Best Bass VST Plugins 

Let us present you with our best bass VST picks:

PROS

  • All-in-one solution for virtual bass instrument
  • Seamless integration with other Spectrasonic VSTs
  • Expandable with user patches and new bass sounds
  • Offers hundreds of acoustic, electric and synth bass sounds
  • More than 32 original FX Processors including amp simulators

CONS

  • Expensive for beginners
  • Requires 34 gigabytes of storage space

Features and Specifications

This virtual bass instrument probably covers all the bass instruments and bass playing techniques you may think of.

It can be integrated into other Spectrasonics VSTs so you can use it within Omnisphere or apply Groove Lock on arpeggiators while using Stylus RMX. Edit page allows you to tune your sound in every way you may need and it is also capable of some advanced MIDI learn functions so you can play it with your MIDI controller.

Effect panel is very advanced and it includes specially designed filters for synth bass sounds.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s one of the most capable VST instruments in general with a simple but very accessible user interface no matter how experienced you are. A huge library, many sound options that go from acoustic and electric bass sound and add synth bass choices on the top and it excels in everything provided. Even fretless bass and 8-string bass guitars are included in the offer!

The best part of this VST is the new Acoustic Bass patch that was created combining over 21.000 samples deriving from four different audio channels.

This is a true example of how good VST can be.

PROS

  • Adjustable fuzz pedal effect
  • Drag-and-drop MIDI feature
  • Virtual electric bass instrument
  • Two different playing modes - Player and Instrument
  • 60 styles and 1380 grooves with artificially modeled articulation

CONS

  • No standalone version
  • Comes with 64-bit support only

Features and Specifications

This electric bass VST requires seven gigabytes of storage space and four gigabytes of RAM memory is recommended to work properly.

It comes with two different playing modes. Player mode allows you to pick one of the thousands of patterns available and match it to the project tempo and key by using either a MIDI controller to trigger it or using a drag-and-drop to your DAW method. Instrument mode allows you to play it in a sampler mode with dead notes, full stops, and bass slides.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We like how good it can sound no matter what bass playing skills you have. Even if you’re a complete beginner you can pick some of the available patterns and create a song by just trusting your feelings. 

Sound editing seems to be quite simple as it only has a couple of knobs for fuzz, octaver, equalizer, drive, tone, and amp type but it seems that UJAM did it well as it covers a lot of sonic versatility.

It excels in any rock-oriented genre of music we tried and goes very well with heavy drumming.

Best for the Money:
Kuassa Cerberus Bass Amp

PROS

  • Single screen controls
  • Powerful bass amp simulation
  • 10-band parametric compressor
  • Dual microphone recording, and impulse loader
  • 3 bass amps and 6 microphones with built-in compressor 

CONS

  • No standalone version
  • No chorus, octaver or flanger effects available

Features and Specifications

This bass amp simulation comes with three different matching cabinets and an adjustable dual miking configuration. You can pick between tube amp for the warm sound, solid-state amp for extra punch, or a drive amp for a more aggressive approach when it’s needed for your genre. There are also several cabinets available based on a different number and speaker size.

Speaking of microphones there are six different types and you can shape tone additionally with different types of EQ including the 10-band graphic equalizer. Regarding effects, it provides you with a compressor, noise gate, and output limiter.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Cerberus is ideal for all kinds of heavy metal music. Drive preamp sounds like a real amp with a lot of grit and all the microphones used regularly in real-life circumstances for sounding the bass amp properly are simulated here.

It’s nice to see that it provides you with the impulse loading option and that it has two different EQs available for sound shaping so you can fine-tune your sound. Kuassa also paid attention and made all sound options available in a single front panel so everything about this bass amp simulator is oriented towards recording or live performance.

Best Upright Bass VST:
Virtual Bassist Mellow 2

PROS

  • 1380 phrases built-in
  • Room reverb built-in
  • Drag-and-drop MIDI feature
  • Double bass virtual instrument
  • Player and Instrument modes available

CONS

  • Limited use due to the sound character
  • Compressor should provide more options

Features and Specifications

This acoustic double bass virtual instrument comes with a couple of knobs that define its sound. You can change between 5 body characters ranging from soft across natural to tight. Pick position can be re-adjusted from neck to bridge and there are four different microphones that combined with the body character give you different acoustic bass sound.

The equalizer is made in the form of a single knob and compressor and reverb follows such design solutions.

Phrases provided within this software cover not just jazz music in general but hip hop as well.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It’s not so often to find a double bass virtual instrument so UJAM did a good job here. With careful programming, it can replace real jazz bass players and it will definitely be good enough for your commercial projects where you need to create such a vibe. 

Phrases are smooth and played with a couple of odd chunks of sound just to make it sound realistic. With a very basic user interface, this software can be used by anyone without prior bass playing knowledge introducing something that UJAM likes to call - zero learning curve.

Best Sub Bass VST:
Output Substance

PROS

  • Beautiful user interface
  • Advanced arpeggiator on-board
  • Dedicated envelope for every layer 
  • 300 tagged presets and 4 macro sliders per preset
  • 3-layer synth bass VST specially made for sub-bass sounds

CONS

  • Slightly expensive
  • Randomize option would be great for this type of VST

Features and Specifications

This synth bass VST is made from three different layers - sub-bass sounds, complex synths, and live recorded basses and woodwinds in low range. It comes with 300 presets applied with some smart tagging features.

Every layer has its own filter and envelope control while you can also apply a global filter and effect section which is made from distortion, compressor, delay, and reverb. There are also four macro sliders on the front panel that are different for every patch so you can create some advanced sounds that are unique to this specific VST.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is one of the most advanced synths designed especially for sub-bass sound. But depending on your inspiration it can also be used for some evolving pad layering or some interesting theme sounds.

It has one of the most beautiful interfaces we’ve seen recently and on top of that, it can be both complex and intuitive depending on your needs.

Arpeggiator works like a charm and comes very handy with creating some advanced patterns. Simply put, if you need a sub-bass solution, look no further. If you can’t find it here, it’s not sub-bass that you’re looking for.

Best Synth Bass VST:
Novation Bass Station

PROS

  • Simple two-oscillator design
  • Virtual analog monophonic synth bass
  • Intuitive front panel with all options available
  • Very CPU-friendly and small storage footprint
  • Classic analog simulation of 12 and 24dB low-pass filter 

CONS

  • Sub-oscillator would come handy for some genres
  • Should provide polyphonic mode and sine waveform

Features and Specifications

This is a virtual recreation of the Novation Bass Station hardware and it comes with all the options the original one had and it’s fully compatible with the original patches.

It provides you with the simple synth architecture with two oscillators that use either saw or square waveform and a low-pass filter with dedicated envelopes for both the amp and filter sections. It is monophonic and includes basic portamento features.

And because of good software optimizing, you can run a bunch of instances and stack them together for a specific sound.

Why it Stands Out to Us

There are many more capable synth VSTs out there. But, most of them offer you an environment that might not be so intuitive for people who aren’t experienced with synthesizers. They would also cost you a lot more than this Novation for the features you actually don’t need.

This one goes the opposite way, providing you with the only essential options you would actually use to create a good bass sound including hundred well-designed patches.

It sounds just like you would expect from a synth bass - it can be both retro and modern and some of those sounds can be played as a lead, too.

Best Bass Amp Simulator:
Positive Grid BIAS Amp 2 Pro

PROS

  • Expandable and available for iPad
  • Affordable guitar and bass amp simulator
  • Great guitar amp simulation solution as well
  • Amp match feature allows instant sound-generating
  • Preamp, power amp, 6 cabinets, and 7 bass effects pedals included

CONS

  • Could provide more than just one bass preamp 
  • iPad version resolution isn’t fully compatible with the iPad Pro

Features and Specifications

You can pick between 6 different cabinets including anything between 1x18 and 8x10 speaker solutions so it will probably cover all the genres you have in mind for playing.

Tubes can be changed in preamp selection and you can pick different microphones set up for cabinet and even re-adjust their placement. 

On top of that, there are 7 different bass pedal effects so you can flavor your sound with an EQ, compressor, chorus, octaver, and two different drive pedals to match both vintage and modern sound approach.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

This might be one of the best amp simulation choices for guitar-oriented music thanks to the Amp match feature. Even if you’re not so experienced with the sound design, this feature allows you to tune your sound with simple uploading an audio file that you want to get, and this VST will try to match that sound for you.

It also provides you with both guitar and bass guitar amp simulations so you can record them both at a very affordable price. In case you like it, there is an iPad version so you could practice and record anywhere without external gear.

Editor's Pick:
Softube Eden WT800

PROS

  • Fully endorsed and authenticated by Eden
  • Compressor, 5-band EQ and dedicated enhance knob
  • Bass Amp simulator of class-leading bass manufacturer
  • Three-channel mixer for blending different sound sources
  • Two cabinet models and four microphones per cabinet available

CONS

  • Not so optimized regarding computer resources 
  • Might be expensive for simulating just a single bass amp

Features and Specifications

It comes with two different cabinets - 1x15 and 4x10 and both are miked with 4 different microphone options. You can pick two of them and blend along with the direct input source thanks to the three-channel mixer provided.

EQ section is pretty capable as it comes not just with a 5-band panel but an additional “enhance” knob that scopes the middle in a way it’s preferable to modern music. Bi-amping is also easy to tune with a single knob turn and you can use it up to 192kHz sample rates.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Eden WT800 is undoubtedly one of the best bass amps in the world. That’s why we really appreciate having a bass simulation faithfully dedicated to this amp and that it’s officially approved by Eden company. It’s easy to set up and delivers quite a similar sound to the real counterpart.

Its sound is definitely oriented towards modern music, but it won’t be fair to choose a side and say it sounds better when played aggressive or sophisticated so it’s all up to your personal taste. However, rest assured that this plug-in won’t fail you whatever genre you’re about to play.

Tips For Bass VST Recording 

Regardless of how experienced you have let us provide you with some handy tips:

Change Your Strings

You can have the best bass VST in the world, but it won’t help a lot if you haven’t changed your strings since last year. Every sound comes from the source first. New strings will resonate much better and make your sound brighter.

Keep it Simple

Your role in a band is usually to make the groove. Groove is all about patterns that keep repeating. Sure, you can pull the fill occasionally, but if you keep changing the groove pattern your bass track will lose the sense. Remember - less is more.

Compressor

If you’re recording modern music, remember that the dynamic range is not very broad. That’s why a compressor is your best friend. It will level the sound so that both your regular and slap technique can be audible without compromising the general sound level.

Adapt to the Song

Some genres simply require a different approach from your personal taste. So don’t be stubborn - adapt yourself to the song, not the vice versa. If the song is very fast-paced with some double bass kick drumming, for example, there is simply not enough room for your huge low-end.

Real Bass Amp vs Bass VST Amp

This debate is very picky and both groups are very biased. So, let’s try to check the real facts without hurting anyone’s feelings:

Price

The premium bass amp can be very expensive. If we take a look at some all-in-one solutions like Bias Amps 2 you will understand that software provides you with a lot of content at a very low price. This may help you if you are tight on a budget at least to try out different solutions before you go out and try the real thing.

Portability

If you have ever tried to pull up any bass amp, you know it’s not so travel friendly. If you need a quick jam or want to practice, Bass VST can help you play anywhere, even with using your laptop.

However…

Bear in mind that the real bass sound is generated through the pickup and passed through the analog circuit of the real preamp. That kind of routing can be modeled in software, but it will lack the flavor of the real components used in such a process. And of course, if you’re planning to perform live, real bass preamp is something that you should always consider first. 

Conclusion

No matter what type of music you’re playing, you should always pay extra attention to your low-end sound specter carefully and that’s the realm of the bass instrument. Sure, it will vary from upright double bass to electric or synth, but the purpose remains the same.

It’s all about the groove.