There are many ways you can get a decent digital bass sound nowadays, from the many native DAW plugins to more specialized paid and free ones. Today’s article is about the top 10 best bass amp plugins available today.
Players are getting more used to recording directly through the interface by the day, simply because of its practicality, compared to setting up a considerable amount of gear. Just load up a good amp simulation plugin, and you’re good to go for conveniently recording, practicing, or just jamming.
Although guitar players generally get the most amp plugins, we list the best bass amp plugins, including free ones.
Top 10 Bass Amp Plugins 2021
1. Plugin Alliance – Ampeg V-4B Review
This plugin is a digital emulation of one of the most iconic tube bass heads ever, the Ampeg V-4B, a big powerhouse sound present on many records since introduced in 1971.
Just like the OG version of this amp, the Ampeg V-4B plugin is highly versatile and faithful to the classic Ampeg sound. Simple controls, yet a vast range of timbres, from the famous Ampeg beefy low-end to much more shrill, gritty treble frequencies. Many bass players have reported that this sounds better and more rounded than an actual Ampeg V-4B plugged in.
Furthermore, you also get access to 65 different Recording Chains that feature well-engineered combos of classic microphones and lots of other emulations of boutique studio gear, running through a Neve VXS72 soundboard console.
- 65 different recordings chains
If you want to record your bass through DI correctly, Brainworx has you covered. The plugin Alliance – Ampeg V-4B comes with a great library of speaker cabinets like the 4X10 SVT410HLF, the 8X10 SVT 810E, and many others, plus another library of microphones, from condensers to dynamics. It also comes with lots of different outboard gear emulations that will help you capture even classier sounds—all of that running through a Neve VXS72 console.
- FX rack for effects
The Alliance Ampeg V-4B plugin offers an FX Rack for additional control of effects, such as a filter control, which has two options, tight, which filters the bottom end spectrum, around 50Hz, and a smooth option, which scoops the top end, about 21 kHz, both of them with a three-way knob, post, pre or off. There’s also a noise gate with threshold and range controls for clearing the frequencies and a horn on/off function for the different cabinets’ emulations.
- Unique mid-frequency control
You get the standard three-band equalization controls, but a particular feature is the switchable midrange-frequency one. The Equalization Midrange knob cuts the mids at 200 Hz or boosts them at 3000 Hz. That is a potent tool for sharpening your tone as much as necessary. It also has three buttons on the upper part of the head, with one in the middle. You can choose between 220 Hz, 800 Hz, or 3000 Hz. And with the other two, you get Ultra-low and Ultra- High controls if you want the sound to either way.
The practicality here is impressive. With it, you have the chance to get the sound of one of the most famous bass heads from the ’70s, with just a couple of clicks. It is the exact emulation of the original 1971 model, which is incredibly rare. It is an excellent tool for recording in your home studio with a top-level quality, designed and approved by Ampeg itself.
The Alliance Ampeg V-4B plugin is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3 ,AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
The ultimate go-to amp simulator is available today for bass. The traditional consecrated sound of the V-4B tube bass head at the tip of your fingers, ready to go, no matter where you are.
2. Nembrini Audio – Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier Review
The most modern-sounding bass amp plugin that you can find today. Based on the Alpha Omega 900 bass head made by Darkglass Electronics, the Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier will get all the complex dynamics required for a modern bass sound.
Nembrini Audio designed it with the ambition to help players get a dirtier, more contemporary bass timbre. They did that by combining new technologies such as Impulse/Response, or just IR, which is a technology that enables a precise emulation of acoustic behavior and acoustic settings.
Custom-tuned overdrive/distortion circuits, a flexible six-band graphic equalizer, and a studio-grade VCA compressor optimize the bass signal before it hits the six-band equalizer makes for a much more sculpted bass tone.
Using the Beta Gamma Distortion circuit, you also get a blend control for turning your clean sound into a solid and defined overdrive or even into a full-on distorted sound.
- Cabinets and mics simulations
To get a good-sounding and usable recording-bass-tone, Nembrini Audio incorporated a recording chain with four different bass cabinets, which are the classic SVT 4X10, the B15 1X15, the HRTK 4X10 TW5, and the SVT 8x10; along with also four microphones emulations, a Cardioid RE20, a Condenser NU47, a Dynamic MD421, and a Dynamic D12.
- Parallel D.I. Output
You also get a D.I. Out signal with a console-style compressor that you can use to blend your signal with three ambient sounds. The controls for the D.I output signal are a Tone knob, a Low Cut knob for trimming the frequencies up to 2K Hz, and a High cut knob from 120 Hz up.
- Impulse / Response Loader
This is a groundbreaking technology appearing on multiple digital emulation software and hardware. It allows for a faithful emulation of speakers and cabinets. You just load up two different 3rd-parties impulse response signals and blend/mix them to your taste with your D.I output signal.
- Bass Enhancer / Noise Gate
These are two unique controls included in the Blackice Beta Gamma plugin. First, the Bass Enhancer, inspired by a bass resonance tool for mixing called the “Little Labs Voice Of God, “was made by Universal Audio. And, the Noise Gate with Threshold and range controls for getting rid of the “hum” noises when playing with a distorted tone.
The Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier plugin is available for Windows 7 or newer, 64-bit DAW, and Mac OS 10.9 or newer 64-bit DAW. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX, or AudioUnits compatible host.
If you want the most modern/powerful bass amp plugin, this is the right choice for you. It will lead to complex playing and distorted tones—a powerful tool for everyday bass tone enthusiasts.
3. Brainworx – bx_bassdude Review
In third place, we got the emulation of one of the most famous amps ever, the Fender Bassman. A legendary amplifier that became industry standard for bass and also guitar tones.
The Fender Bassman was first conceived as a bass amp, but it also gave way to many guitarists’ rigs. Still, the bass in the name stands for what this amp is all about, defined clean vintage tones, full of bass and presence.
The bx_bassdude plugin is directly inspired by one of the most acclaimed versions of this amp, the 1960’s model #6G6-Bor. And Brainworxs did a fantastic job in keeping the plugin sound faithful to this particular model.
The bassdude is one of the only amp plugins that do an A-class work of emulating the warm, clean tone that you get from a tube-based Fender tweed amp like a Blues Deluxe or a Bassman with not much gain on.
- Early 1960’s Fender amp
The practicality of having the sound of a vintage prestige Fender amp accessible just by a plugin is a feature that separates it from any other of its kind. Enhanced by its Impulse / Response technology, the quality of saturation and dynamics is terrific and similar to what you would expect from a tube-driven vintage Fender amp.
- 35 IRs by Dirk Ulrich
As a result of a personal effort of Brainworx’s CEO Dirk Ulrich, these IRs were recorded using several speaker cabinets, nine high-end vintages, and modern microphones, all running through his NEVE VXS72 console of the rarest consoles in existence. Only nine of them exist.
- Exclusive features
Some of the features here are not found in the original amplifier like its onboard effects included here are exclusive. They have a Noise Gate which can be a potent tool for keeping your signal clean, High and a Low pass filters for filtering unwanted high and low frequencies, a lo-fi delay, which is just a modern take on the delay circuit, and a Power amp Simulation to boost even more your bass sound.
The Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier plugin is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
A truly classic amp design eternalized in a plugin simple to use and satisfactory also. A wise choice if you’re going for a tube-oriented amplifier style, with the practicality that only a plugin can offer you.
4. Plugin Alliance – Ampeg B-15N Review
This is another plugin made by Brainworx and another Ampeg emulation. It emulates the circuit of the Motown-famous bass head B-15N made by Ampeg.
If you want the tone of 60s and 70s rock, soul, or funk, this is the plugin for you. It precisely captures the original amp’s dual 6L6-powered circuit as well as its simple, two-band Baxandall EQ. You can use the Volume knob to get either rich, murky tones, perfect for the soul, R&B, and jazz, or turn up the Volume for a fatter, more harmonic field sound.
Ampeg only made approximately 250 units of B-15Ns bass heads, making it one rare and expensive amplifier, but still, there are different versions on the market from other years. With that in mind, Brainworx decided to insert the knob left to the power control, which lets you choose between two different famous versions of this amp, 1964 one and the 1966 model.
- Two distinct preamp options
You can choose between two different preamps options of preamps, 1964 which has a 25-Watt cathode biased circuit with a soft touch, while 1966 offers a 30-Watt fixed bias circuit, with the mids accentuated and with more headroom. Both are legendary sounds.
- FX Rack for effects
The onboard effects that come with the Ampeg B-15N plugin are significant. They include a Noise Gate, with threshold and range controls, a horn on/off function for the different cabinets’ emulations, and a Tight and a Smooth filter, both with a pre/post knob.
- Power Soak knob
It includes something handy for recording bass, a Power Soak knob. Its function is to reduce the power to the speaker without altering the quality of the harmonic series of an overdriven tone. Doing that allows you to use more distortion on your bass tone without compromising your output signal.
- Baxandall Bass and Treble
Another cool feature is containing a Baxandall Tone control circuit. What it does is that it provides a maximum cut of 10Db at 10kHz, and a boost of also 10dB at 50Hz—providing a true Bass and Treble boost to your output signal.
The plugin Alliance – Ampeg B-15N is available for Windows 7 through 10 64-bit and macOS 10.9 through 11.0.1 64-bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, and AAX AudioSuite formats.
In short, the Plugin Alliance – Ampeg B15N is an excellent choice if you are looking for a vintage-sounding amp, with all the organic punchiness that you hear on hit classics from the sixties and seventies.
5. Softube – Eden WT-800 Review
Another iconic Bass amplifier head, the Eden WT-800, is a proper powerhouse gear that has been known for moving a lot of air without much effort. And this digital emulation of the Eden WT-800 designed by Softube replicates all that power.
The Eden WT-800 bass amp plugin is a remarkably versatile and wide-ranging tool. It has incredibly high fidelity sound throughout, and it allows you to achieve not only those harsh, stern vintage bass tones but also some of the immaculate, crisp sounds required for Pop, Rock, Hip-Hop sounds.
- “Enhance” and “Crossover”knob
A large portion of the quality of it comes from this feature. By dialing the “Enhance” knob, you get a specific EQ curve that resembles a “smiley face” that scoops out the mid-frequencies and makes the sound more robust and bigger-sounding. As for the “Crossover” knob, you draw a line of where you want your frequencies to crossover. Meaning, via the “bi-amp” function of the plugin, you split the signal so that the low frequencies go to one cabinet, for example, the 1x15, and the high frequencies go to the other, the 4x10.
- Easy bi-amping
At all times when you’re playing through it, you have two distinct cabinet models to choose from, a 1x15 and a 4x10 laid down on a mixer that allows you to blend them to your taste. And not only does the world-tour offers you to use simultaneously two different cabinets, but you also can select a cutoff frequency and send your high and low frequencies to the different cabinets.
- Troy Antunes approved
All the mics available were positioned and selected by legendary bassist and producer Troy Antunes (Justin Timberlake, NSYNC, Pharrell Williams, and Al Green). Troy has also provided some expertly designed presets, using four top-of-the-line microphones, together with the flagship version of the Eden World Tour 800 amplifier, running through both the 1x15 and the 4x10 Eden cabinets.
The Eden WT-800 by Softube is available for Windows 10 64-bit and Mac OS X 10.13 or newer 64-bit. And it comes in VST, VST3, AU, or AAX formats.
Overall, this is a highly versatile and reliable bass amp plugin, and it truly delivers what is necessary for getting a wide variety of timbres. If you’re looking for something with lots of possibilities, this is it.
6. Overloud – Mark Studio 2 Review
Mark Studio 2 is the compilation of several classic Markbass amps, cabinets, and pedals. The emulation of the best of the best by the notorious Italian brand, developed by Overloud.
The Mar Studio 2 is very straightforward, easy to use, and intuitive. You can dial great bass tones without much effort. The versatility factor is a big one also, from quiver subs to fuzzy, distorted tones. Indeed, you’ll find the perfect fit for your sound in the wide variety of options of Markbass amps available.
- Six amps and nine cabinets
The bass amps available are the TA501, the Classic 300, the R500, the TTE500, the MoMark, and the Little Mark Tube. As for the cabinets, the list is long but some of them include a STD 151HR (rear-ported 1x15″), a STD 152HR (rear-ported 2x15″), a STD 104HR (rear-ported 1x15″), a STD 104HF (front-ported 4x10″), and a STD 106HF (front-ported 6x10″).
- Full pedalboard equipped
Chorus is really similar to what you would expect from a BOSS chorus, such as the CS-2. You get a full pedalboard with the most practical effects a bassist can have: an Octave pedal, a game-changer tool for bass, especially soloing. An Envelope Filter, another excellent tool for getting a lead bass sound. 2. A Distortion pedal, which of course, brings out an instant metal machine. And of course, the most important tool for a bassist, a Compressor, which is really the best way to make your bass sound cut through the mix.
- Ultra-flexible signal path.
You can use multiple microphones simultaneously if you want to, you can use a main (woofer) for capturing the low end, a tweeter, which is good for accentuated mids, and, if you feel the need to, you can use the third mic, you can also use a rear bass reflex (port). You can fully adjust to your liking the signal path as far as the balance between the Direct input, the Line Out, and the Mic Output levels, which gives you full autonomy for controlling your input and output levels.
- Mix controls
A unique feature of it is its Mix window. You get in it four different faders for controlling four signal inputs. Respectively: Direct, for the DI signal, Tweeter for the treble speaker that is designed to produce high audio frequencies, Room, which would be your room sound, as if a mic was capturing it from a certain distance. And lastly, Rear, which is the simulation of a microphone also capturing the sound, but from behind the speaker.
The Mark Studio 2 by Overloud is available for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 64 and 32 bit, and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion and above 64 bit. And it comes in VST, AAX64, AudioUnitAU, or AAX formats.
Suppose you want something efficient where you don’t have to worry about dialing your tone right and taking too much time setting everything up. In that case, this is an excellent option, without mentioning the variety of different amps that you would end up getting with just one plugin.
7. KUASSA – Cerberus Review
The Kuassa bass amp plugin made by the Indonesian company Cerberus is their latest amp simulation plugin. A low-budget plugin but with all the low-end necessary.
The Kuassa Cerberus delivers on-point bass tones for your home studio. You start with three different options of preamps, a Valve one, which brings out a vintage-style tube-driven tone, a FET, which has a little more color to it, and finally, a Drive option, which has a super distorted tone, really fuzzy-like. All three of them with gain, compress, and contour controls. The cost-benefit of the KUASSA is one of its’s key points certainly, much cheaper than most of the plugins on this list.
- 3 Distinct preamp options
The Valve option sets up third and second harmonic overtone distortions, giving you a vibrant, tube-driven sound. The drive channel takes it to multiple higher harmonics, giving a vintage flavor to your tone, almost a 70s vibe. Lastly, the FET option, which has the most character, is super distorted, with a robust third-harmonic distortion. With it, your timbre will get an almost synth-like fuzziness. Super useful for modern tones that don’t feel like a traditional bass guitar sound. You also get an EQ with low and high boosters, each with its frequency selector.
- Flexible setup
Besides having multiple cabinets and mics emulations, you can also multi-use them in any way you might like. For example, you can set up a different mic for each speaker on the cabinet you chose and PAN, mix or blend them in multiple ways. An excellent option is sending your usable low frequencies to one cabinet, capturing it with a condenser mic, and the upper-range frequencies you capture with a dynamic mic and sending it to a different cabinet. This will give a ton of new possibilities sonic-wise.
- Input section
The input section is full of features itself. The features contain A Noise Gate for cleansing the frequencies and removing the “hum” sound. Input Channel selection lets you select where you want certain frequencies to go (L, R, Stereo, or Sum).Dry/Wet mix options will give you two distinct possibilities regarding the general EQ curve of your bass sound. Hi-Quality mode for keeping everything running at max capacity, Input metering, for keeping in check your input signal, so it doesn’t clip, and finally, a Global bypass, a true bypass system that won’t let your signal chain get compromised.
The Kuassa Cerberus is available for Windows Vista or Later (64 bit) and Mac OSX 10.7 or later (64 Bit). And it comes in VST/VST3/AU/AAX formats.
One of the best low-budget options on the market today, superb Bass Guitar tones for much less money than the market average. If you take the time to go through the possibilities of cabinets and mics, you’ll find a wide variety of tones at your disposal.
8. MAGIX – Vandal Review
The Vandal virtual guitar & bass amplification, made by MAGIX, is essentially a guitar amp plugin with a foot in the bass world. One versatile bass amp emulation, as good as the guitar dedicated ones.
There’s only one bass amp emulation here, but with all the potential and features necessary to create a wide variety of timbres. It is resourceful enough to cover a lot of ground sonic-wise.
- Speaker break-up controls.
The plugin offers control knobs for adjusting where you want your Speaker break-up to happen, which is when a tube amp pushes beyond what it was designed to tolerate. If you don’t want your distorted tones to be a little harsh or ratty, you can try a cleaner speaker that doesn’t experience breakup as early. The cleaner speaker will be able to hold together better and longer, producing a more articulate sound.
- Cabinet damping
Another control inserted in the spanner icon to the right of the speaker section is the Cabinet Damping control. What it does is emulates the main effect of damping in a loudspeaker. If you want that stuffy sub bass tone, this could be an excellent tool for it because it will simulate the effect of a very loud speaker running almost to its Break-up point but still controlled and limited.
- Multiple gain stages / Outboard gear
While it lacks various amp models, the numerous gain stages available make up for it. Modeled after the classic circuits found in lots of bass amps, this will allow you to get somewhat of a variety timbre-wise. Especially, together with all the outboard gear, it features, which is: a 3-band EQ, two distinct mic simulations, and an FX loop with several effects, like a vintage compressor. All of which is an excellent tool for tone-shaping.
- Cabinet and FX racks
Just below the bass head, there are two separate racks. One controls the cabinet simulation, with selectors for Speakers, for Enclosure, and two separate mics. You can control the axis, the distance, the PAN, and the levels for each separate mic. The other controls up to two separate effects simultaneously. For example, an EQ and a Vintage Compressor. And, of course, four knobs each for specific controls of each effect.
The Vandal, made by MAGIX, is available for Windows 10 or 8 (64 bit and 32 bit) and Mac OSX 10.7 or later (64 Bit). And it comes in VST2 and AU formats.
Not precisely a dedicated bass amp plugin, but it certainly does the job, especially if you play both instruments, then this is a perfect match. The effects, eq, and general controls are significant and very much easy to get on.
9. Audified – GK Amplification 2 Pro Review
The GK Amplification 2 Pro is a compilation of some of the best Gallen-Krueger bass amplifiers and cabinets ever.
Only a couple of brands have the prestige of Gallen-Krueger bass amps, used worldwide; GK amps are synonyms of sonic quality. For this reason, Audified decided to pick the most wanted ones and emulate them in one plugin.
It features a 3-band EQ, two distinct mic simulations, and an FX loop with several effects, like a vintage compressor. All of which is an excellent tool for tone-shaping.
- Track player and recorder
Built-in, a Track Player with Speed Controls, allows you to slow down or speed up a particular track for practice purposes. There’s also a Recorder to keep the ideas stored; Record your precessed bass sound or mix with the track player.
- MIDI compatibility
You can play live with the GK Amplification 2. Instead of taking vast amounts of gear to every gig, there is the option of taking your laptop with the GK Amplification installed and controlled it using a MIDI controller. For lots of players, this could be a life-saving feature.
- Multiple Gallen-Krueger amplifiers
One of its critical features certainly is the quality associated with the Gallen-Krueger name. You can’t go wrong playing one of their amps. And getting multiple models all together in one plugin is a big deal. The amps simulated here are the following models: MB150, 800RB, and 2001 RB, all of which come with Gain, Edge, Bottom, and Level controls, and a 4-band Active Equalization.
- Multiple Gallen-Krueger cabinets
Just like its amp heads, the Gallen-Krueger cabinets are synonyms of quality worldwide. The simulated cabinets include NEO 412 (Full Range), NEO 412 (Bi-Amp – Woofer), NEO 412: (Bi-Amp – Tweeter), NEO 412: (Bi-Amp – W +T), RBH 410: (Full Range), RBH 410: (Bi-Amp – Woofer), RBH 410: (Bi-Amp – Tweeter), RBH 410: (Bi-Amp – W +T) and MB 150.
The GK Amplification made by Audified is available for Windows 7 – Windows 10 64 and 32 bit and Mac OS X 10.9 – macOS 11.1 64 and 32 bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, AAX 32b, AAX 64b, AU 32b, AU and AudioUnits formats.
One of the best compilations of bass amps on the market, with all the functions of the original Gallen-Krueger amps, and a couple of extra resources, this is a highly reliable tool for recording, practicing, or just jamming.
10. IK Multimedia – AmpliTube 5 Review
The latest version of the AmpliTube series, made by IK Multimedia, is famous for its extravagant collection of amps, pedals, and all kinds of recording gear.
The Amplitube 5 is another plugin that works great both for Bass and Guitar. Although most of the features offered are dedicated to guitar, many basses preset are ready to go, from fuzzy distortions to bumpy “Fenderly” sounds.
This version of the Amplitube offers a powerful new workflow, more realistic sounds, tons of new gear models, and more creative sound-shaping. Redesigned from the ground up, now, Amplitube is much smoother, and it’s divided into three parts: Chain, where you organize to your taste the signal chain, Gear view, where the head of the amp is displayed, and finally, Gear Selector were you choose each model of amp, cabinet and effect pedals.
- All-new, All-in-one interface
The new, re-modeled interface in AmpliTube 5 can support up to 57 simultaneous simulations of every kind of gear available in series / parallel routing or blended DI signal. Not only that, but with only the standalone version of AmpliTube 5 comes an 8-track recorder, + DAW, looper, tuner, and MIDI compatibility for live performances.
- New VIR
The new Volumetric Impulse Response used in the cabinets simulations offers the most realistic cab sound possible. IK Multimedia measured 600 distinct IRs on each speaker for each cabinet to capture the most tone variations possible. And its powerful new “Volumetric Impulse Response” brutally transforms all 129 new cabinets into 143,000 new possibilities of Impulse Response measurements and sounds.
- New Gear
All legacy gear displayed in Amplitube 5 converges in an entirely new mixer section where all the signals from each signal path, plus D.I, can be mixed for all kinds of possible textures. Not only that, but it also comes with 129 brand new models, including 2 new stomps, 5 acclaimed amps, 2 new rooms, 23 new rack FX, and over 100 completely re-captured cabinets. It also comes with 23 new mixing effects, including T-RackS, to add that final studio-grade quality master to your tracks.
The AmpliTube 5 made by IK Multimedia is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit and Mac OS 10.10 or later 64 bit. And it comes in VST2, VST3, and AAX formats.
One of the most famous amp plugins ever, truly a classic now much more resourceful in this latest version. Pedals, amps, cabinets, speakers, microphones, rooms, effect racks, all in one interface.
The 5 Best Free Bass Amp Plugins 2021
1. Lostin70s – Bass Deluxe Review
The Bass Deluxe is one of the most used free bass amp plugins. The Bass Deluxe made by Lostin70s, based on a tube bass amp, will help your bass sound stand out and give it more character.
It has a very fat sound but is also versatile enough also to have a very funky sound. The amp takes the graphic design of Modern Deluxe, but the preamps are flat, the distortion, amplification, and compression are suitable for a wide variety of possible bass sounds. The Bass Deluxe also has two identical channels and a switcher that lets you change them on the fly.
- Adjustable Pedalboard
The Bass Deluxe comes with two independent identical channels, each with an adjustable and super well-ordered pedalboard, with the following effects: Vibrato/Chorus, a Compressor, a Tone Drive, a Digital Reverb, a Tremolo, and a Delay. You can also change their order in the signal chain. Both channels come with a Compressor with fast and slow releases, a Boost switch that turns on the drive setting, a 9-band EQ system, a master presence control, and below that, a window where you can choose different cabinets.
- Beatbox player
The beatbox player features simple but effective grooves for practicing. It also comes with a player with several drum machine grooves and a looper so that you can practice it. You can even set a recorder to record exactly how many bars you want.
- Adjustable presence
Not every plugin comes with a Presence knob, and it is an excellent tool for dialing the dynamics in your playing. You can make it, so every nuance in your picking or thumping is heard. Usually a feature present on guitar amps, but present on this bass amp simulation.
The Bass Deluxe made by Lostin70s is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit and Mac OS 10.10 or later 64 bit. And it comes in VST, VST3, and Audio unit formats.
The most versatile choice for those with no budget, reliable, and usable sounds for no money at all. With features that you’ll only find in paid plugins, this is an excellent option, even for pro-players.
2. Bass Professor – Mark II Review
The Bass Professor MK II made by Sonic Anomaly sounds great on D.I bass guitars, even when standing out against paid plugins. It offers a 7-band EQ and lots of dynamic controls.
First off, The Bass Professor adds 64 samples of latency, so you may not want to record with it turned on, or you may not want to use it in a live situation. But still, this works great as an effect.
- Profess fader control
A unique feature is its Profess fader control; this slider controls how much of the 7-band leveler EQ is processed—giving a sort of output control to your EQ. With this tool, you can get a boost by dialing up the profess knob—just eq your sound to lift the proper frequencies. for penetrating more in the mix.
- Fullness EQ controls
A unique mixer of the seven in the EQ section is the Fullness fader. If you add too much of this, it may make your bass sound a little too muddy. But it can be a powerful tool for sharpening the pitch of the note you’re playing.
- Dirt module
Right next to the Profess control, you’ll find the Dirt module, which adds a tube-style full-on distortion to your signal, a mighty tool for making the sound bigger and rougher. In a way, it works just like the “Profess” knob, but instead of roving an EQ boost, it, of course, boosts the distorted overtones of your sound.
- 7-band EQ section
It’s got a 7-band EQ section, divided into Sub Bass, which controls your sub-bass frequencies, Lo Bass, which contains the usable low bass frequencies, Hi Bass, which arranges the upper range of the frequencies; Fullness, which adjusts how much space it occupies in the mix, Artic., which stands out for articulation, adjusts the level of details in your playing. Presence controls the aggressiveness of your bass, and finally, Treble, which contains the overall brightness of your sound.
The Bass Professor MK II made by Sonic Anomaly is available only for Windows 7 or later 32 and 64 bit. And it comes in a VST format.
The Bass Professor will give you a nice result if you’re after a free good-sounding bass amp simulation. Much better than trying to run a direct line through your interface.
3. TSE Audio – TSE BOD v3.0.0 Review
A reliable emulation of the very well-known SansAmp Bass Driver DI pedal by Tech 21. And the purpose of it is to give you a great bass tone that immediately sits in the mix.
Not like all the other simulations shown in this article, this is just a stompbox simulation. This Version 3.0 brings many new features, including a Stereo processing support, Extra oversampling options, Re-modeled circuits of the entire pedal, Updated GUI, and a Fixed broken AAX support.
- Authentic SansAmp emulation
The pedal that TSE BOD V3.0 is based on is genuinely legendary for Bass preamps. You can’t go wrong with something as concentrated as this. It will produce an authentic-sounding overdrive effect, adding warmth and grit to your bass sound. Really similar to what a soundboard type of saturation would do, not too much distortion and just the right amount of compression.
- Few, simple controls
If you’re the type of player that appreciates simplicity and on-point controls, and you don’t want to spend a lot of time trying to find the right tone, this is undoubtedly an excellent option to think about. It’s got straightforward yet functional control knobs to shape your bass tone: Level, Drive, Low, High, Presence, and Blend. So you can hear a wide range of sounds, even if your bass doesn’t have EQ controls on it.
The TSE BOD v3.0.0 made by TSE Audio is available for Windows Vista / Windows 7 / Windows 8 32 and 64 bit, and Mac OS X 10.8 or higher 64 and 32 bit. And it comes in a VST, VST2, AU, and AAX format.
The TSE BOD is great for players looking to fill their mix quickly with a decent bass timbre, with no extensive efforts. It is essentially a stompbox on your screen, and that’s all you need.
4. IK Multimedia – AmpliTube 5 CS Review
The free version of the Amplitube 5 is the CS version. You get more than 400 models of gear available for you to test before actually buying it.
First, you get 41 different cabinets, amps, pedals, and effect racks to use the way you want to record with it or just use it. These are 100% free. There already lies endless possibilities for your recording chain.
If you do the math for the amount of good gear that you get for free when downloading The Custom Shop version of Amplitube 5, you’ll see it is worth it with the possibility of upgrading to the full version only if you feel the need. Besides, it lets you play and experiment with every single paid option, you can’t record with it, but you can try it out and see if it works for you.
- New technologies
All the new tech involved in the full version of AmpliTube 5 is also present in the CS version. It includes DIM™, DSM™, and the new VIR™ from IK Multimedia. They deliver super-realistic, real-world simulations.
- Interface re-modeled
The new interface that comes with the CS version of Amplitube is divided into three parts: Chain, where you organize to your taste the signal chain, Gear view, where the head of the amp is displayed, and where the general control knobs are displayed and finally, Gear Selector where you choose each model of amp, cabinet and effect pedals.
The AmpliTube 5 CS made by IK Multimedia is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit, and macOS 10.10 or later 64 and. And it comes in a VST2, VST3, and AAX format.
A great place to start if you never bought or downloaded free plugins, the AmpliTube 5 CS will be a wise choice for you.
5. Ignite Amps – SHB-1 Review
The SHB-1 by Ignite amps stands out as a free plugin because of its analog-modeling coupled triode stages. It is ideal for metal since it is modeled after the real SHB-1 “Extreme Bass Head.”
Based on the real SHB-1 built for Federico Fulceri, bassist of the Italian thrash-metal band “Subhuman,” this plugin is meant to be used in live situations and for tracking as well.
It features mono and stereo processing support, selectable oversampling rate, and fully automatable controls.
- Preamp switches
With the Deep selector, you can control how deep and full-sounding you want your tone to be. With the Bright selector, you adjust the level of dynamic details in your playing. And with the Shape selector, the element of articulation is altered. You can make it so that every nuance in your playing is heard. Also, a cool feature is the Stereo/Mono selector, which gives you the capacity to split your DI signal into a stereo output.
- Lots of gain
Of all the dedicated bass amp plugins, this one is undoubtedly the one that has the most gain. If you dial it to a noon position, the amount of compressed distortion is already insane. That’s why it is a perfect choice for metal.
- Preamp switches
The SHB-1 made by Ignite Amps is available for Windows XP/Vista/7/8 (32/64-bit) and Mac OS X 10.5 64 bit. And it comes in VST and AU formats.
The perfect choice for metal. Like the name says, it is an “Extreme Bass head” made for extreme players, modeled after a monstrous 1300W real amp.
6. EXE Consulting – ClBass F Review
The CLBass F made by EXE Consulting is a bass guitar amp simulator with the same aspects as the Classic F guitar amp plugin. But re-imagined for bass.
It is somewhat intuitive and sounds excellent. It’s got a fat, big sound and has a lot of good-sounding effects built in it. With the OD control, which stands for overdrive and almost boosts your sound, you can get many different sounds. There’s also an onboard eq that helps fatten things up.
- Will Pirkle effects
The effects available with the ClBass F were designed based on Will Pirkle, the legendary audio engineer and author of the book “Designing Audio Effect Plugins In C++.” He is certainly one of the main people in the world when it comes to this matter, and the effects available are Distortion, EQ, Phazer, Flanger, Chorus, Vibrato, Delay, Reverb, Compression, and Tremolo
- Versatile selectors
You can select between Stereo or Mono how your output routing should be. That’s a good thing to have if you’re trying to shape two different tones and PAN them. You also get a Full/Economic quality, which gives you the option of running your plugin in an economic model that doesn’t require so much of your CPU usage.
The CLBass F plugin made by EXE Consulting is available for Windows 7 or later 64 bit, and macOS 10.10 or later 64 and. And it comes in VST and AAX formats.
Overall, a good bass amp simulation for free. The list of effects is vast, and they have outstanding quality.
Native Instruments – Guitar Rig 6
As a bonus, the Guitar Rig 6 plugin made by the famous Native Instruments is worth mentioning. A vast workstation for both bass and guitar, with some cool features.
Most of the presets are dedicated to guitar, but a few like the Bass Invader or the Bass Pro do the job of getting a punchy, vintage, solid-state bass sound.
With Bass pro, you get a 9-band EQ, Gain, Bass, Mid, Mid freq, Treble, drive, and master volume controls.
With the Bass Invader, which is another bass preset available, you get a 4-band active EQ, voicing filters, and distortion control that sits perfectly on the mix in a rock n roll set, just like how you would expect from a tube-driven Bass amp.
- Crush Pack
The effects available are endless and divided into multiple presets of three effects each. One of them is the Crush Pack. It comes with a Bit Crusher, which gives a FET style sound, a Distortion effect, which obviously distorts the signal, and a Frequency Shifter, used a lot by bass players to get a nice soloing timbre. All of these are great for bass, giving you a contemporary twist in your playing. Check our post on the best Lo-Fi plugins where we featured Crush Pack.
- Mod pack
Just like the “Crush pack,” the modulation effects that come can help you create both vintage and creative modern sounds easily. They include a Chorus, a Phaser, and different Flangers. All were designed after famous consecrated pedal circuits from brands like BOSS, Tc Electronic and Behringer.
- Vintage Compressors
The collection of emulations of popular compressors is fantastic here, including the accurate and punchy VC 76 FET compressor, smooth and tube-like VC 2A optical compressor, and the heavy and dirty VC 160 VCA compressor. With these three models of compressors, you get some of the most popular rack-style compressors in studio history.
The Guitar Rig 6 made by Native Instruments is available for Windows 10 64-bit and macOS 10.14, 10.15, or 11. And it comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats.
Another resourceful guitar/bass amp plugin, with a world-class quality of all its gear, is made by one of the world’s most renowned music-related software companies. Worth it, again, especially if you play both the guitar and bass.
Of all the endless options presented in this article, there’s certainly a fit for all kinds of bassists, from plugins modeled after crazy-vintage gear like the Plugin Alliance – Ampeg V-4B to exciting modern ones filled with new technologies, such as the Nembrini Audio – Blackice Beta Gamma Bass Amplifier, or the Amplitube 5. And from costly and resourceful ones like the Softube – Eden WT-800, to free and at the same time also filled with good stuff other ones such as the Bass Deluxe made by Lostin70s.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these plugins that we came up with on this list, each with unique sound and features. But all serving the purpose of a great bass tone!
Try them all, and indeed, you’ll find the perfect fit for your home studio.
Fred Meyer is a guitarist, arranger, and music enthusiast. Currently, he is playing with his Fusion-rock instrumental trio and is graduating from Music school at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, studying Arrangements in Popular Music.