In this article, we’ll show you the best plugins for designing bass & subbass sounds in 2022 with a couple of freebies.
Choosing and designing your bass sounds can be a daunting feat in 2022. It feels like every week, there’s a new plugin released that promises to solve all your problems and fix any production issue you have. This makes navigating through the industry as a producer very challenging since all the numerous plugin options can stall your progress rather than help you get where you need to be faster.
This is why this list is an essential read for the modern music producer interested in bass-centric music production.
How is bass produced?
Bass refers to the lower frequencies of notes produced by instruments. These frequencies are vibrations that can be heard and often felt. Many instruments can produce bass. However, the bass that you hear in most of the pop tracks today is created using a bass guitar.
Other instruments that can produce bass include the tuba, synthesizer, bass drum, baritone sax, sousaphone, and many more.
So how exactly do these instruments produce bass? To explain that, let’s examine a guitar. Guitars are made up of strings that create vibrations when plucked. Bass guitars have thicker strings that enable them to produce slower vibrations. These vibrations then mix with the air particles to deliver the sweet-sounding bass sound that you hear.
How Does Sub-Bass Work?
Sub-bass refers to the even lower frequencies of a note. The sub-bass frequency range is usually between 20-60Hz, which is the lowest frequency that a human ear can hear. So, sub-bass is the part of the bass that gives impact to a dance record; it’s the booming, shaking sensation you feel inside your chest in a nightclub.
Sub-bass became a prominent part of dance music in the ’80s when producers got access to machines such as the Roland TR-808, a drum machine with booming kicks, and samplers like the Akai S612. Today, it’s one of the most crucial elements in music production that can make or break a record.
What’s The Difference Between Sub-Bass And Bass?
A sound consists of frequency information, and bass refers to the frequency region between 20 – 200Hz. The sub-bass is a part of the bass and usually refers to the lowest frequencies of the bass, around 20 – 60Hz. These frequencies, though, are mostly felt rather than heard.
The higher frequencies of the bass region (60 – 200Hz) define the timbre of the sound, while the sub is what gives power and stability to the bass sound.
How do I make my bass clearer?
Getting your bass right is one of the most challenging feats in music production. Most producers are set to fail early on by their poor sound selection. It’s essential, then, to understand that a clean bass can only exist as long as the sounds are chosen inherently complement each other.
Three instances of kick and bass combinations. The first one would be the hardest to mix since both kick and bass are long, with clashing frequencies. The last two would be the easiest to mix since both kick and bass function differently and compliment each other.
Once you choose or design your ideal bass sound, every other sound you add to your song has to answer the question: “How does this complement or stay out of the way of my bass?”. If you have a long, boomy, deep bass sound, then chances are your kick drum will clash with it if it’s also long and boomy.
The relationship between kick drum and bass is crucial when producing and mixing a song, so you need to get it right! Any EQ and compression you do on these sounds should be minimal, only to fix minor issues. Experiment with different sound pairings and find the ones that feel the cleanest by nature.
What Should Bass Mid And Treble Be Set At?
While bass frequencies (20 – 200Hz) provide the impact of a sound, mid and high frequencies are fundamental to it, too, especially in modern music. Most people listen to music on the go, on their phone speakers or air pods, playback devices with generally less than ideal bass capabilities.
This is where mid and high frequencies are essential in bass sounds. You need information in these frequency ranges to make the listener hear and feel the bass, even on playback systems with poor bass frequencies. So experiment with different EQ settings. If you want a bass sound to poke through the mix a little bit more, then you’ll find that boosting at 700Hz or 1kHz isn’t such a bad idea.
Mid and high frequencies will give your bass definition and clarity, even on the poorest and smallest speakers.
Example of processing to boost mid and high frequencies on bass sounds for better clarity. Tools like distortion add harmonic frequencies that help the bass cut through the mix, while tools like OTT and EQ help us control these harmonics.
How To Mix Sub-bass and Kick?
One of the classic tricks in Electronic music for making kick and sub-bass work together is sidechain compression. By adding a compressor on the sub-bass track and linking it to the kick, the sub will dip in volume every time the kick is triggered. This technique will make sure one stays out of the way of the other.
An example showcasing sidechain compression on a bass sound. The attack determines how fast the volume of the bass will dip when the kick is triggered, while the release how long it will take for the volume to rise again after the kick stops playing.
To mix your sub-bass and kick properly, though, you have to understand that they function in the same frequency range. This is why most people have a hard time mixing these two elements. Once you consider proper sound selection, as mentioned above, your kick and bass should be in a good enough place for you to start mixing.
Another technique I often resort to is finding and EQing the fundamental frequency of the kick. You can use a spectrum analyzer on your kick to find the fundamental frequency. Let’s say it’s 37Hz. I will add an equalizer with a narrow dip on my sub-bass track and reduce it to 37Hz. It doesn’t have to be an extreme amount; a couple of dBs are usually enough.
It’s crucial to note that the fundamental frequency should be in the key of the song you are working at. I will then find the next harmonic of that fundamental, 74Hz (multiply your fundamental by 2) and dip that on the kick while boosting it on the sub-bass or bass track. This trick ensures each of these sounds has its own space in the frequency spectrum to work at.
Examples demonstrate the fundamental frequency EQ process between a kick and a bass sound. The photo on top shows the kick EQ process, boosting the fundamental frequency at 44Hz and dipping at 68Hz, while the bottom photo showcases the reverse process happening on the bass. This will carve enough space in the frequency spectrum for them to inhabit in harmony.
Top 12 Plugins For Bass & Sub-Bass 2022 (Best Low-End Plugins)
1. G-Sonique’s Swede Trap Bass
G-Sonique’s Swedish Trap Bass plugin is a synthesizer designed mainly for creating thumping kicks and fat basslines suitable for Trap / Hip-Hop.
The plugin is a collaboration between Swede, a renowned hip-hop producer, and G-Sonique, a highly experienced plugin developer. The Swede Trap Bass plugin takes inspiration from hardware drum boxes by merging analog-style filters and oscillators with vintage-style exponential envelopes.
The plugin consists of 20 oscillators, eight filters, waveshaping controls, parametric saturation, analog-style distortion, and more.
- Saturation Section
The parametric saturation section offers four different control knobs to drive and distort the sound, while the analog distortion circuit gain knob enables you to push the distortion even harder to further color the sound. Use it to get smooth, analog tones or drive it hard to get some over-the-top distortion.
- Oscillator choices
Swede Trap Bass offers 20 different oscillator types, all with their own unique character. Plenty of the choices are variations of sinewaves, with varying forms of distortion for extra harmonics that shape the timbre of the oscillator accordingly. You can get anything from sweet, round bottom-end 808’s to heavily distorted and in-your-face Hyperpop style bass sounds!
- Wide range of Filter choices
There are eight types of filters at your disposal when designing sounds in Swede Trap Bass. You get the classic choices of low pass and high pass filters, in addition to unique options, such as the dirty analog low pass, which lets more frequencies slip out of the filter for a dirtier, grittier sound.
- Multiple envelopes
There are three envelopes in Swede Trap Bass to shape your sound. An Amp and Filter envelope, which helps you structure your sound, as well as a Pitch envelope for adding punch and snappiness to your sound. The pitch envelope is particularly helpful in designing unique and effective 808 bass sounds.
The plugin is available for Windows 7 or higher, 64-bit only. It comes in VST and VST3 formats.
Swede Trap Bass knows exactly what it is and for who it’s made for. As the name suggests, the plugin inspired by 808 Mafia’s “Swede” is ideal for anyone who produces bass-heavy music in the styles of trap, drum and bass, techno, UK garage, electro, and pretty much any bass-oriented electronic genre.
2. Vital Audio Vital
Vital is a spectral warping wavetable synth designed by Matt Tytel. It’s a strong choice for the modern electronic music producer and offers limitless sound design possibilities.
The main selling point of Vital is its spectral oscillator warping, which enables users to design unique and drastically different shapes from a single waveform by altering its harmonics. It’s ideal for dubstep, garage, techno, and any bass-heavy genre, while also capable of some nuanced, evolving pads and synth tones.
- Three Oscillators and a Sampler
Vital offers three oscillators that can be layered together in various ways. Each oscillator comes with its controls for pitch shifting, panning, unison, and phase shifting, as well as an oscilloscope. Depending on your subscription plan, you get access to a different amount of wavetables. You can also adjust the position of the waveform to get different sonic results, which means that a single waveform can produce hundreds of results.
The sampler comes with its selection of sounds, but you can drag and drop any sound you wish to sample in it, same as with the oscillators.
- Wave and spectral morph
The wave and spectral morph knobs enable you to affect the sound drastically. You have an option from a wide range of modes, including FM, Sync, Formant, Bend, and many others. Once you select a mode, you can turn the knob to affect the wavetable. The best thing about Vital is the oscilloscope that provides instant visual feedback, meaning you get to hear and see precisely how each mode affects your waveform.
- Everything can be mapped with anything
Another great feature of Vital is the ability to modulate any parameter it offers with its fast drag and drop workflow. You can drag an LFO to any parameter and preview how it will sound. By dropping it, the parameter will start modulating, and you can also select the amount of the modulation.
- 9 Effects
Vital offers nine effects in its effects tab. They are all set up serially, meaning the order of the effects is vital (no pun intended) to the sound. The effects at the bottom will affect the ones above. The GUI of the effects is thoughtful and helpful, especially if you are a young producer trying to grasp what each effect does. For example, the delay effect will show you how many decays will be if you increase or decrease the feedback knob, which is educational and interactive.
- Text to wavetable
One of my favorite features is the text-to-wavetable preset. You can right-click on the waveform by selecting this preset and clicking text to waveform. Type in the word or phrase of your choice, and it will be played back in its own, unique wavetable. You can move the wavetable position to start from a different place within your phrase, reverse it, pretty much do anything you would do to a regular oscillator!
Vital is available in VST, VST3, AU, and LV2 formats for Windows 10, macOS 10.12 and above, and Ubuntu Linux 18.04 and above.
Vital is the ideal synth choice for the producers that are just starting now and wish to learn more about synthesis, but also for the seasoned pros looking for new and exciting synths to inspire and refresh their sound design process. You can try Vital for free and have access to 75 presets and 25 wavetables, the plus plan for 25$ and pro plan for 80$ that come with more presets and wavetables, or subscribe to Vital for 5$ a month and get access to exclusive content.
3. Loopmasters Bassmaster
Bassmaster is a synthesizer that’s entirely dedicated to bass synthesis. It has a clean layout, well-thought-out presets menu, and, most importantly, spectacular sonic possibilities that can go as low as any other bass sound can.
Designed by British developer Loopmasters, Bassmaster is meant to tackle any bass sound you can imagine: from analog, vintage bass sounds to growly, wobbly modern bass sounds.
- Two oscillators
Bassmaster’s two oscillators, titled top layer and sub-layer, give you the option to choose between 217 waveforms to design your bass. The waveforms are split into six categories: High, Low, Mid, Percussive, Simple, and Sub. The sub-layer comes with an octave control for more control over your sub’s tone and attack and release controls, while the top layer comes with a full ADSR amp control panel.
- Analog or digital sound
The waveforms chosen for Bassmaster were taken from classic analog synths and modern digital synths. This makes Bassmaster an excellent synth for either modern, digital bass sounds found in EDM genres, but also for smooth and still bottom heave tones suited for hip hop, RnB, or indie music.
- Gritty filter
Bassmaster offers 13 filter choices. You get the classic lowpass and highpass modes with various resonance values, a ladder mode for grittier sounds, and a comb filter for wild sound design possibilities. Another interesting addition is the pre-drive knob that lets you distort the sound before entering the filter. The keytrack button enables the cutoff frequency to follow the pitch of the incoming notes.
- Effects to inspire
Bassmaster offers three effects: distortion, stereo chorus, and reverb. While you can never have too many effects on a synth, the restrictive choice of effects makes it hard to develop a pour bass sound. In addition, there’s also a frequency booster effect for adding more emphasis on the low end and an intuitive and inspiring mod wheel feature to which the user can assign up to three parameters, making Bassmaster a robust performance tool.
Bassmaster is available in VST and AU formats (64-bit only) for Windows 10,8,7, macOS 10.12 – 10.15.
Bassmaster is 100% dedicated to bass synthesis, and this is why it’s one of the best. Its to-the-point and straightforward layout make sound design easy and approachable for anyone. The chosen waveforms are of the highest quality and can lead to analog or digital results. The lack of a matrix and multiple envelopes and LFO choices could be an issue for some producers, but Bassmaster does what it aims to do successfully.
4. FAW SubLab
SubLab, designed by FAW, is a sub-bass-focused synthesizer plugin. It has hybrid technology, enabling the user to blend analog-style synth layers with samples loaded through the built-in sampler.
FAW designed SubLab for hip hop, future bass, and trap styles of electronic music, and its primary selling point is the ability to create fat, and punchy 808 bass sounds quickly. The sampler is the ideal place to add your kickdrums for the 808’s punch, while the synth layer enables you to build the tail of the 808. The innovative X-Sub technology, exclusively used in SubLab, ensures your sub will be felt on all sound systems.
- Three sound engines
SubLab offers three sound engines: synth, sampler, and x-sub, as well as a mixer, to blend them all. The synth engine comes with four waveforms; sine, saw, triangle, square, and an ADSR envelope that can be mapped to volume, pitch, and filter. The sampler enables you to choose from the kick sounds included in SubLab or drag and drop any sound you want to implement to your bass sound.
- Fatter Sub
The third sound engine, X-Sub, is a new technology developed by the makers of SubLab, and its sole purpose is maintaining the integrity of your sub-bass no matter what notes you play. If you want to play a higher note through SubLab, X-Sub’s algorithm will double up the low frequencies of the note you are playing, so you don’t have to sacrifice your bass’s impact.
- Useful effects
While SubLab offers only two effects, distortion and compression, they affect the sound massively and make the process of creating good 808s easy and intuitive. The built-in distortion filter lets you darken the sound for a more analog feel. Distortion can be applied only to the synth and sampler engines and comes with four different modes: overdrive, tube, grunger, and darkdrive.
The compressor comes with a very useful sidechain mode. It lets you sidechain the synth to the sampler, meaning the synth engine will duck in volume whenever the sampler is triggered. This is particularly useful in designing 808 sounds with kickdrums loaded in the sampler.
- Polished sound all in one synth
The built-in maximizer and stereo width controls are the cherries on top. They are great tools for polishing your sub and bass sounds without the need for external plugins. The maximizer will fatten up your sound while the stereo width control pleasingly widens the sound. It can get crazy, so experiment with these controls to find what works best for your song.
SubLab is available in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX formats (64-bit only) for Windows 7 and higher and macOS 10.10 and higher.
SubLab is the ideal synth if you are a producer that mainly works with 808s in trap-style genres. The interface is clean and eye-catching while also maintaining a straightforward approach to synthesis. The sound engines sound excellent, and the X-Sub engine alone is a major selling point for this synth. If you are looking for deep low-end 808 sounds, then this is the synth for you.
5. u-He Diva
Diva (short for Dinosaur Impersonating Virtual Analog) is a virtual analog synthesizer designed by u-HE. It differs from the synthesizers we already looked at on this list because each of Diva’s components is modeled by various analog synths of the past. It also enables the user to choose which modules from which synth they wish to use.
Designed for both polyphonic and monophonic sounds, Diva can produce truly unique and tasteful bass sounds due to its accurately analog-modeled synth engines, filter modes that can shape-round, bottom-heavy sounds, and wide range of effects and mod possibilities.
- Wide range of oscillators for analog sound
The oscillator section gives you the option of 5 types: Triple VCO, Dual VCO, DCO, Dual VCO Eco, and digital. The Triple VCO gives you three oscillators and is clearly modeled after the Minimoog. Similarly, the DCO is modeled after the Roland Alpha Juno, the Dual VCO after the Juno-60, and the Dual VCO Eco after the Korg MS-20. They all offer warm, analog sound, and if you wish to go more digital, the digital oscillator can help with its wrap, bend, sync, and feedback possibilities.
- Powerful filter section
Diva offers five filter types: ladder, cascade, multimode, bite, and uhbie. Each type is capable of different tones and can color your sound in various ways. The ladder filter offers the iconic sound of Moog synthesizers, while the bite filter provides the aggressive tone of the Korg MS-20. Uhbie is Diva’s newest filter mode and offers lowpass, highpass, bandpass, and band-reject filter options.
- Maximum sound design control
Diva offers a wide range of tools for you to have as much control as possible over the sound design process. There are three envelope modes: ADS, analog, and digital, over two envelopes that can be sent to different parameters.
Diva also offers eight different LFO waveforms and a total of 2 LFOs that can be sent to most parameters. They can also sync with each other, making Diva capable of some modern, gritty, growly bass sounds.
- Analog effects
You can run two effects simultaneously for a broader range of sound design possibilities. Diva offers five effect choices: phaser, chorus, plate, delay, and rotary. Each of these effects comes with multiple control knobs that set them apart from effects in other synthesizers. They could easily be standalone effect plugins.
Diva is available in VT2, VST3, and AAX on Windows 7 or higher (32/64-bit) and in AUv2, VST2, VST3 (64-bit only) on Mac OS 10.9 or higher and Linux.
Diva is a powerhouse synthesizer that offers authentic emulation of analog synthesis. It’s ideal for those who wish to step up their sound design game, as well as those who want to recapture the glorious sound of analog synths of the past without blowing out their wallet.
6. Leapwing RootOne
RootOne is a subharmonic generator designed by Leapwing. It’s a low-frequency enhancement plugin that aims to give producers and mixing engineers maximum control over the bass frequencies by using a new analysis-synthesis algorithm for generating clean subharmonics.
RootOne is split into two sections: subharmonic and harmonics, with each section giving the user control over specific frequencies ranging from 10-196Hz.
- Full control of over your sub
RootOne’s subharmonic section is split into three frequency bands. This means you can set the lowest band (labeled “sub”) to your bass’s fundamental frequency and have complete control over its volume. The next band is marked “thump” and should be the subsequent harmonic (double the frequency of your fundamental to find it). The last punch is called “punch,” and it helps you mix the low-mid frequencies of your bass.
- Cut through small speakers
The harmonics control fader helps you boost the upper harmonics of your bass sound and color them so that it cuts better through the mix. It also means that your bass will be heard more easily through small speakers with poor bass playback capabilities.
- Innovative parameters
Some of RootOne’s most innovative features are the dynamics and decay parameters you get under each band of the subharmonic section. The dynamics parameter lets you choose how dynamic you want each subharmonic to be, while the decay lets you choose how long each subharmonic will be. You can have your 40Hz fundamental be reasonably long and always prominent while the next harmonic at 80Hz more dynamic and snappier.
RootOne is available in AAX-Native, VST, VST3, and AU on Mac OS 10.10 and higher and Windows 8, 10 (64-bit only).
RootOne is a powerful mixing tool that enables you to control your bass frequencies fully. The complete control you have over your fundamental frequency’s volume and its length and dynamics make this plugin a vital tool in any producer’s or mixing engineer’s arsenal.
7. denise audio Bass XL
Denise audio promises a tool that will allow you to create a massively controlled low end for your music with Bass XL. Bass XL is a bass enhancement plugin with a clean layout that lets you boost and drive one specific frequency of the sound of your liking.
While it’s marketed and aimed towards bass sounds, denise audio promises it can be used effectively on all sorts of sounds; anything from synths, drum buses, or vocals can use a bit of Bass XL.
- Accurate frequency control
Bass XL lets you zone in and focus on one specific bass frequency. You have an input fader on the far left that lets you control how much impact the bass enhancement will have on your sound and an output fader on the far right.
- Built-in saturation effect
The saturator inside Bass XL lets you color the frequency you chose with two different control knobs: drive and tone. You can push as little as just to warm up the sound or put the drive knob to the test and end up with fat, fuzzy bass sounds.
- Unusual tricks
The most interesting parameter of Bass XL is easily the position knob. The position knob will push the bass boost effect either backward or forwards in time by a maximum of 50ms. This can result in tight or loose-sounding bass sounds.
Bass XL is available in VST, VST3, and AU formats.
Denise audio offers one of the easiest to use bass enhancement plugins with Bass XL. It promises to do one job, and it does that well: boost and enhance your bass frequencies. The interface is minimalistic and clean, and every control is easy to understand.
8. Waves Submarine
Submarine is a subharmonic generator plugin by Waves. Its single purpose is to add subharmonic signals to your sounds cleanly and efficiently. Differentiating itself from other plugins in this category, Submarine uses Waves’ Organic ReSynthesis technology, which strips your audio down to its core elements (pitch, envelop, carrier and formant), analyzes them, and then reconstructs the audio to create new subharmonic frequencies to support your low-end better.
This may sound too complicated to grasp, but it happens internally, with Submarine letting you enjoy the result and have complete control over the sound by adjusting a set of parameters to mix the subharmonic frequencies to your liking.
- The sub-generators
The sub-generators create subharmonics that are either -1 or -2 octaves from the frequency range the user selects. You can turn either one of them off or on, and you can adjust their level to your liking through the big radar-looking knobs. Things can get hot very quickly, so make sure to keep an eye on the input level on your left and output level on your right, and leave some headroom.
The range control is very crucial to getting this effect right. You need to make sure that your maximum frequency is high enough that it is above the fundamental frequency but not too high. In this case, the Submarine might add unwanted high information that will make your subharmonics incoherent. You’ll need to experiment with different settings, but things should be okay as long as you always have the fundamental frequency within your range.
- Two effects
The drive knob will add harmonic distortion to your sound, and as Waves explains, adding more drive will help your sub glue to the original sound. The dynamics knob applies compression to the generated subs and does not affect the original signal. It controls how short or sustained the sub feels.
Waves Submarine is available on Mac OS (VST, VST3, AU, AAX, Audiosuite) and Windows (VST, VST3, AAX, Audiosuite).
Submarine is an inventive plugin by Waves that uses a unique algorithm to deconstruct your sound to its core elements and build it back up with new subharmonics. The best part is that, while you don’t have to worry about the complex ways this happens, you have complete control over the new subharmonic frequencies in how loud or quiet, or short or sustained they are.
9. UnitedPlugins SubBass Doctor 808
SubBass Doctor 808 is a low-end treatment plugin from United Plugins. This plugin is designed to help music producers and mixing engineers mix their low end if they are on the go or don’t have access to high-end studio monitors.
SubBass Doctor 808, as the name suggests, is mainly intended to be used on 808s and synth bass sounds. Its algorithm tracks harmful frequencies and removes them while accentuating the sub to make up for any gain loss.
- Cure your sub
The main knob of SubBass Doctor 808 is named “Cure” and is meant to cure and treat your low-end. It acts as a frequency remover and a compressor, so the more you turn it up, the more the plugin will try to find harmful frequencies in your sub-range and remove them while also compressing your sub.
- Saturate and boost your sub
The saturate knob offers subtle and pleasing harmonic distortion. It’s a subtle effect, which makes sense since we are talking about saturating sub frequencies; it could quickly turn into a messy situation.
The sub knob boosts your sub frequencies to make up for the gain lost while “curing.”
SubBass Doctor 808 is available on Mac OS 10.10 and higher, 64-bit only (VST, VST3, AU, AAX) and Windows 10 and higher, 32/64-bit (VST, VST3, AU, AAX).
SubBass Doctor 808 promises to cure the lowest frequencies of your sub and treat any issues your sub may have that would be impossible to detect in a home studio setting. It removes harmful frequencies, compresses your sub, and adds warmth and life without overwhelming your mix. It’s the perfect mixing tool for a bedroom producer that mainly deals with 808s and synth bass sounds.
10. Xfer Records Serum
Xfer’s Serum needs no introduction to anyone involved in the audio industry.
It’s an advanced wavetable synthesizer first introduced in 2015 by Xfer, and it has changed the sound design game in electronic music production. It is capable of polyphonic or monophonic sound design; Serum is the perfect plugin for designing bass sounds due to its in-depth sound modulation options.
Some of the many features it offers are morphing oscillators, wavetable editing, a wild matrix panel with endless modulation possibilities, high-quality effects, and a user-friendly interface that feels visually alive and inviting.
- Powerful oscillators
Serum offers two powerful oscillators that can be blended statically, in the traditional analog way, or by using harmonic/spectral morphing. In simpler words, they are capable of smooth, warm bass sounds or wild, digital sounds that would fit in naturally in any modern electronic genre. A third oscillator is meant for shaping the sub of your sound, but it can be transposed four octaves up or down, so it could easily be used for pretty much anything.
The noise oscillator comes with a selection of organic textures and noise sounds you can layer with the other oscillators, but feel free to drag and drop in it any sound you want to use.
- No artifacts
Wavetable synthesizers require digital resampling to produce different frequencies. This process usually creates artifacts, meaning unwanted frequencies that could potentially harm your mix. Serum’s carefully designed engine that utilizes ultra high-precision resampling keeps these artifacts at bay, making them inaudible, so you don’t have to worry about unwanted frequencies harming your mix or making your sounds feel “cheap.”
- Modulation with no limits
With three envelopes and 4 LFOs at its disposal, Serum offers a myriad of modulation options. Each envelope and LFO can be mapped to pretty much any parameter by dragging and dropping it to whatever target you wish or through the powerful matrix panel. The easy-to-use graphic interface makes mapping parameters all the easier.
Finally, four macro knobs, to which you can assign multiple parameters simultaneously, make performing with Serum very enjoyable. You can map the macro knobs on your midi keyboard and control various parameters with one knob. These mapping options will make your bass sounds feel alive and evolving rather than your everyday synth.
- Real-time wavetable manipulation
The warp knob (which is labeled OFF when initializing Serum) is capable of AM, FM, RM, Oscillator Sync, and other ways of modulating your wavetable in real-time. The visual feedback you get from the wavetable panel makes understanding this process fun and easy.
- Endless list of filters
Serum offers a wide range of filter types, from the classic lowpass and highpass to unique types like Comb, Ring mod, Flangers, and Phasers or French LPF. The sound sculpting possibilities are endless.
- High quality effects
Serum comes with a 10-effects effect rack that works serially, meaning you can arrange the effects in the order you want. Effects placed at the bottom of the rack affect the ones above them. Each parameter of the effects can be modulated with the envelopes or LFOs, making sound design with serum more enjoyable.
Serum is available on Mac OS 10.11 and higher, 64-bit only (VST, AU, AAX) and Windows 7 and higher, 64-bit only (VST, AU, AAX).
Serum is a highly detailed wavetable synthesizer that will give you back as much or as little you want it to give. The more time you spend with it, the more wild and unique results you can get. It comes with 450 presets and 144 wavetables, which is enough to get you started. The wide selection of filters, envelopes, LFOs, and effects makes it the perfect plugin to design any bass sound you can think of, whether you are a producer just starting or an experienced professional looking for more inspiration.
11. Black Salt Audio Low Control
Low Control is a plugin by Black Salt Audio that works as a compressor, enhancer, and sub-booster. Its goal is to consolidate your sub frequencies, add weight and make your low-end audible on small, cheap speakers that can’t reach low enough.
- Accurate low-end compression
The left panel of Low Control offers three faders named threshold, low gain, and compress below. The compress below fader lets you set the range of bass frequencies you wish to compress. It splits the incoming signal into two bands and only affects the range you set, leaving the higher frequencies unaffected.
The threshold fader determines the compressor’s threshold, and low gain adds volume to make up for the gain lost during compression.
The compression the Low Control offers is smooth and pleasing, making sure your low end doesn’t lose weight or impact.
- Enhance your bass
The enhance knob adds harmonic distortion, starting from the frequency you choose with the enhance frequency fader. This parameter will add excitement and clarity to your bass, making it cut through the mix and be audible on small speakers.
Low Control is available on Mac OS 10.11 and higher, 64-bit only (VST3, AU, AAX) and Windows 10, 64-bit only (VST3, AU, AAX).
Low control gives you more control over your low end. It lets you split your sound into two frequency bands, giving you the option to compress your bass frequencies without messing up the higher frequencies of your sound. The exciter offers the additional option of harmonic distortion, making your bass cut better through the mix and feel more impactful.
12. Boom Library ENFORCER
ENFORCER is one of the more unique plugins on this list.
It can do a few different jobs, which include, but are not limited to, boosting your sub, detecting sub oriented sounds in loops and focus only on them, tuning and enforcing kick drums and snares, creating bass-heavy sound effects and sub drops, and adding punch and weight to any bass-centric sound.
It’s designed by Boom Library, a very popular sample library. The plugin is made for sub treatment and shaping but is also meant to create effective and impactful sound effects for film and media.
- Fine-tune your kick or snare
ENFORCER lets you have complete control over your drum samples with its detailed and in-depth interface. You can use the trigger filter to zone in on the kick drum inside a drum loop and either boost its sub or affect its amplitude or pitch through the amp and pitch envelopes. You can also replace a kick drum’s sub tones by using the built-in oscillator, which comes with 12 waveforms for creating low-frequency impulses.
- Detect and process any sound
The big circle in the middle of the plugin is called the detector and acts as a highly accurate trigger for the ENFORCER. The upper and lower threshold bars let you set a volume zone so that you can affect precisely the sounds that fall into that zone. The trigger filter lets you focus on specific frequency-based sounds for more control.
ENFORCER is available on Mac OS 10.9 and higher, and Windows 7 and higher (64-bit only), (VST 2.4 and VST 3, AU, or AAX)
ENFORCER is a unique plugin because of the unparalleled precise control it gives you over bass frequencies of any sound. It can shape and tune drums, boost and enhance bass sounds, add weight to sound effects, and isolate specific sounds inside samples or drum loops. Use it if you are a sound designer interested in accurately shaping your sound effects or a sampled-based producer wishing to process a close-to-perfect loop and give it that extra 10% it needs.
The 6 Best Free Plugins For Bass & SubBass 2022
1. Monsterdaw Monsterbass (Specialized Sub/Bass Synth)
Monsterbass is a free ROMpler VST meant to tackle bass sound design for any genre. A ROMpler is a simple sampler with few control parameters, usually a filter and ADSR, and a few effects.
Designed by Monsterdaw, this free plugin comes with 25 presets on the current version, with more under development for future updates.
- Bass for any genre
Monsterbass promises to cover all your bass needs regarding genre. Presets include electric bass sounds, 808s, synth bass, and acoustic bass. The presets can be warm and soft, or at times hard-hitting and gritty.
- Basic sound sculpting
There is one filter, ADSR, and LFO on Monsterbass that provide basic sound sculpting options. You also get a master reverb knob, glide knob (which works surprisingly well), mono and poly options, as well as a 2 octave + range since it’s meant only to cover bass.
Monsterbass is available on Windows as VST, 32/64-bit, and Mac OS as VST and AU.
Monsterbass is a free option for producers who want quality sounds with minimal sound design effort. It’s a ROMpler, so all the sounds you need are included in the presets, with more to be released in the next update.
2. Newfangled Audio Pendulate (Godlike Bass & Sub)
Pendulate is a refreshingly different synth plugin by Newfangled Audio, and it’s free! It uses a brand new oscillator technology that features a double-pendulum-oscillator to create sounds unlike any others heard on synths of the past. Pendulate is marketed as a chaotic monosynth, and we believe that name is well deserved.
You can also get a FREE pack full of 100 lead, bass & subbass presets for Pendulate HERE.
- Innovative Oscillator
Just like a double pendulum, Pendulate’s chaotic oscillator has two legs, named chaos amount and chaos shape. When the chaos amount is set to 0, the oscillator plays a sinewave, and when increased up to 100, the chaotic oscillator will be fully heard. As you increase the chaos shape, more overtones are added, shaping the oscillator’s sound and giving it gritty noises and more color. The animate control pleasingly detunes the oscillator, and the two sub oscillators add lower frequencies in the mix.
- Wavefolder for gritty sounds
Pendulate is equipped with its own wavefolder modeled after the one found in the Bucla 259 complex oscillator. This one sounds astonishing, especially considering that it comes at no cost. A waveform is a type of distortion that folds the waveform onto itself, creating large amounts of harmonics. You can create bright, growly basses or warmer gritty tones due to the waveform’s cutoff knob that lets you further control the number of harmonics that pass through.
- Unlimited modulation options
Every parameter in Pendulate can be modulated by any combination of the modulation outputs in the mod section. Specifically, up to 325 modulation points for you to experiment with, all in a single panel. The modulation setup process works and looks like a semi-modular synth, with cables appearing when connecting two modulation points. The interface is clean, and the graphic representation of the oscillator is unique and eye-catching, making the modulation process all the more enjoyable.
Pendulate is available on Windows 8 and higher, 32/64-bit (AAX, VST2, VST3) and Mac OS 10.11 and higher, 64-bit only (AAX, AU, VST2, VST3)
Pendulate is a one-of-a-kind synthesizer. It uses a new oscillator technology based on the physics of a doubled pendulum and can create unique, unheard-of sounds. The fact that it’s free makes it all the more appealing. It’s perfect for those seeking new ways to practice synthesis and hunt new sounds, but also for new sound enthusiasts that wish to learn synthesis in a different, more experimental way.
3. NUsofting Sinnah
Sinnah is a single complex oscillator VA (virtual analog) synth designed by NUsofting. The company says that Sinnah’s sounds are hard to describe in words, but I can say that this synth is capable of a wide range of sounds and sonic possibilities.
Its single oscillator has five waveforms of increasing harmonic and spectral complexity that can produce anything from deep, low basses to soaring lead sounds.
- Unique oscillator
Sinnah’s complex oscillator comes with five waveforms. The harmonics knob lets you add overtones and change the timbre of the sound, while you also have the option of micro-tuning the oscillator. There’s a +/- 1-octave range that can take your bass sounds as low as barely audible, and there’s a mono/poly option.
- Flexible delay matrix
The delay matrix is another unique feature of this unusual free synth. It has three separate delay voices that can be mixed independently in either stereo or mono. You can achieve triple chorus effects, unique and randomizable resonators, or standard delay effects. There’s also a simple reverb included for further space control.
- Powerful filter
Finally, Sinnah is equipped with a subtractive stereo filter that comes with three modes: lowpass, highpass, and band-reject. There’s also a very useful visual representation of the frequency spectrum that helps you fully grasp how the filter is affecting the sound.
Sinnah is available on Windows 64-bit VST2 and Mac OS 64-bit AU, VST2.
Sinnah is another solid and unusual synth that comes at no cost. The single complex oscillator sounds great and can offer a round bottom-end or gritty, gnarly top end. The delay matrix is fun to play with and can give you some genuinely unusual sounds. You can create unique bass sounds, or any sounds for that matter, and have fun while doing so.
4. u-he TyrellN6
TyrellN6 is a virtual analog synth by German makers u-he. It’s a free synth that offers analog sound in a classic analog synth architecture, plus a few extra novel parameters to set it apart from others in its category.
It comes with 598 factory presets that cover any sound you can imagine, two oscillators, a mixer, 2 LFOs with eight waveforms, a modulation matrix, two loopable envelopes, and a great sound engine.
- Flexible oscillator options
TyrellN6 comes with two oscillators with ring and noise modulators that can be mixed through the mixer panel to your liking. There’s also a sub-oscillator for fat bass sounds that can shake the floor. As mentioned above, the TyrellN6 is a virtual analog synth, so the bass sounds you can get are warm, round, full-bodied, and suitable to many music genres.
- Powerful LFOs
The two LFOs inside TyrellN6 come with eight different waveforms, and they are host-syncable. They can be mapped through the matrix panel or linked to the mod-wheel for playful live performances. The two ADSR envelopes can also be LFO-triggered which offers a different sound design avenue for more control and experimentation.
- Extensive preset library
TyrellN6 comes with 598 factory presets. It’s just hard to argue with the amount and quality of all these sounds, especially if you consider they are free. The preset library makes this synth perfect for beginners on a budget that wish to get into sound design or are interested in achieving analog sounds in an accessible way.
TyrellN6 is available on Windows 7 or higher, 32/64-bit (VST2, AAX) and Mac OS 10.7 or higher, 32/64-bit (AUv2, AAX, VST2).
u-he has provided us with another great-sounding analog-style synth with TyrellN6. The free virtual analog synth can create monophonic and polyphonic sounds with warm, full-bodied sounds. What’s even better is that its extensive preset library makes it perfect for beginners who wish to get into sound design but are on a budget, as they can have access to professionally designed sounds for free, tweak them and understand how they are made. For the seasoned pro, another free synth never hurt anybody, especially one of this quality.
5. BOZ Bark Of Dog
Bark of Dog is a low-frequency enhancer capable of stereo or Mid/Side processing. Designed by BOZ, this free audio effect helps you enhance your low-end in a clean and controlled manner.
It comes in a clean graphic interface designed by Boz digital labs and can achieve earth-shaking sub without muddying the mix.
- Dual processing technology for heavier bass
Bark of dog uses a resonant filter combined with a Pultec-style attenuation EQ to boost and enhance the bass frequency of your choice. Once you set the frequency with the Hz knob, turn up the big Boost knob to enhance your bass. The plugin works in classic and passive mode; the former uses the resonant filter to emphasize the frequency you chose, while the latter uses the Pultec EQ to boost your set frequency further. Naturally, the passive mode can get heavy on your low-end, so be careful. If you like the passive mode, but it’s too bass-heavy, then the combo mode, which combines both classic and passive, can give you the Pultec boost with the highpass filter roll-off to clean up the extra rumble.
Bark of dog is available on Windows and Mac OS in VST/AU/AAX/RTAS formats.
Bark of dog may look simple, but it does what it promises cleanly and effectively. It boosts and enhances your low end without muddying the mix. The two modes and their combination sound reasonably different and offer different tones and depths of bass, which is noteworthy, especially for a free plugin.
6. Analog Obsession LOVEND
LOVEND is a free harmonic bass enhancer designed by Analog Obsession. It comes in a tightly presented interface with just three knobs and offers a continuous low-frequency harmonic boost. A +10 dB possible boost will surely provide depth and body to the weakest of bass sounds.
- Shake the room
This little plugin can make the room shake if put on any bass sound. The frequency range is 60-180Hz, and it can boost up to +10 dB. The boost knob has a minimum value of 1, so even just turning this thing on with no tweaking, you get a noticeable difference in your low-end.
- Control the output
Things can get loud fairly quickly with LOVEND, so always keep your hand close to the output knob.
LOVEND is available on Windows 7 and higher in VST, VST3 formats, and Mac OS 10.9 – 11. X in VST, VST3, AU formats.
LOVEND is a straightforward and clean-looking plugin that provides a rich and full-bodied low-end harmonic enhancement to any bass-heavy sound you can imagine. The amount of bass you can get with this little thing is ridiculous and makes it the perfect addition to any music producer’s rack.
1. Brainworx bx_subsynth
The bx_subsynth plugin by Brainworx is a tough one to describe. It works as a subharmonic synthesizer, in the sense that it creates new sub frequencies based on what sound you feed into it, but also a mid/side processor, a powerful resonant highpass filter for more bass, and a distortion unit capable of producing gritty sounds.
- Three subharmonic bands for ultra-thick bass
The bx_subsynth adds new subharmonic frequencies to any sound you feed into it. The trim controls under each of the three subharmonic bands let you choose the input signal feeding into the plugin. Once the white LED is lit, meaning that a healthy signal is fed, you can set 3 different frequencies for the bx_subsynth to focus on. The big Subharmonics knob will increase the volume of each frequency the more you raise it.
- Mid/Side control
Just like most Brainworx products, the bx_subsynth comes with a powerful M/S panel. The mono maker will convert all frequencies under the set one to mono, while the stereo width will widen the rest.
- Give it some Edge!
The Edge panel is a very powerful distortion unit. The two modes, smooth and harsh, can cover all sorts of sonic results, from smooth and rich bass undertones to the grittiest, harshest bass growls. Low and high cut knobs provide further sound shaping control.
- Extra boost with filter
The filter panel is essentially a highpass filter meant to boost your low end through resonance. Set the tight punch frequency value and increase the low-end knob to boost that frequency through the resonant filter.
bx_subsynth is available on Windows 7-10 and Mac OS 10.9-11 in AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, VST2, VST3 formats.
bx_subsynth is a powerful tool for the modern producer or mixing engineer. It does more than boost bass; it creates sub frequencies that don’t exist. The subharmonic bands sound excellent and can be used on bass sounds, drums, or even synth leads if you wish to add an extra bass layer. All the added panels provide more support and sound sculpting control, making this powerful engine all the more appealing.
2. Iceberg Audio The Sub
The Sub is a virtual instrument by Iceberg audio that promises to fix your problematic sub frequencies. It comes with a wide selection of presets and a very clean and modern interface with only a few controls that promise to design bass frequencies that cut through the mix easily and simply.
You can get sounds that vary from deep 808s to fuzzy, distorted synth bass sounds, all suitable to most modern electronic music genres.
- Drive to clarity
The drive knob offers pleasing, harmonic distortion. It makes sure that your bass is as rich as it can be and that it can cut through the mix and be heard on all sound systems.
- Extra punch
The little thunder button and its corresponding fader are tools designed to give your bass more punch. It’s titled extra attack and is more than just an envelope. Each preset has its own uniquely designed and set extra attack parameter that you can adjust for more punch and clarity.
- Glide knob
The glide knob is capable of smooth glide effects between each note you’re playing, but also over-the-top pitch modulation effects for more interesting sounds.
The Sub is available on Windows (64-bit only) and Mac OS in VST3 and AU formats.
The Sub is a fresh-looking and effective virtual instrument that designs bass sounds that cut through the mix and feel full and rich at the same time. It’s an excellent plugin for the modern music producer that works in trap-centric electronic genres. It comes with 51 presets with the option of buying more expansion packs.
There are so many solutions out there for effectively mixing your sub or designing unique and full bass sounds. There’s an abundance of plugins designed for music producers and engineers of all backgrounds and budget limitations in our era. This list is here to help you discover the best of them and figure out which ones would best suit your style of music.
Alvinos Zavlis is an artist/producer from Cyprus based in Bristol, UK. With three albums under his belt and plenty of singles, his catalogue covers a wide range of sounds, from hip hop and trip hop to IDM and experimental electronic styles, all fused together to create unique blends of sounds. He works as a freelance mixing and mastering engineer in Bristol for artists of all styles.