Looking to pump up the bass in your jams?
There are many ways to do this, of course, but adding an EQ to your master and boosting the bass frequencies might not quite do the trick. Really, you need the right tools, because starting with the right source material can help you get desired results before you even reach the mixing and mastering phase of production.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the best bass VST plugins to help you create and enhance your epic basslines.
Ample Bass P Lite by Ample Sound
Ample Sound’s Ample Bass P Lite plugin features a slick looking, professional Graphical User Interface (GUI). This is a virtual bass guitar instrument with an impressive sound (it emulates a Fender Precision Bass, or more affectionately, “P Bass”).
Is its sound ultra-realistic? Maybe not. But for all those times you don’t have access to a bass guitar and want to take advantage of a “real” bass sound, this one can sneak under the radar.
This fully capable virtual instrument works nicely for pop, rock, country, and other genres, regardless of what your need might be.
It even has an auto hammer-on function built in, to offer additional realism.
Ample Bass P Lite works on Windows and Mac.
Download: Ample Sound
VST Classics Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 by Steinberg
Not content to offer one or two free VSTs, Steinberg created a couple of libraries including some of their classic freebies.
Vol. 1 comes with the VB-1 and Model-E.
Vol. 2 includes the Neon and Karlette.
Although only three out of four should be considered “bass” plugins, all four can come in handy in your bass heavy mixes.
Here we’ll delve a little bit into each (download link at the end of this section).
It’s entirely possible you’ve seen the VB-1 around. It’s had a long lifespan, and if you found yourself searching for bass VSTs back in the day, there’s a good chance you stumbled across it.
This is a bass sim VST, and I’ll be honest when I say it doesn’t sound fully authentic. That said, if you like the sound of it (and don’t mind messing around with some effects), it should go without saying that you can incorporate it into your arsenal.
It does have some neat features, though, as you can move the pickup as well as the position of the pick to alter VB-1’s sound. It also gives you controls for release, shape, damper, and volume for additional tweaking.
It’s fun, and it can certainly pump out some bass, but VB-1 won’t be for everyone.
Steinberg’s Model-E is probably the gem of the bunch, and still much used and revered by various music producers despite its “legacy” status.
Model-E is perfect for 70s and 80s type Mini Moog sounds. I find the presets and sounds a tad cheesy, but I could see them being great for old school 90s DOS video game style music.
Model-E includes controls for three oscillators, filters, and more.
For all those times you’re nostalgic for King’s Quest V and games in that vein, you should start messing around with the Model-E.
Neon was Steinberg’s first go at a VST instrument plugin, originally launched in 1999 (it was included in Cubase VST 3.7).
It features a 16-voice, two-oscillator design with a classic sound. It’s “legacy,” sure, but it does pump out some serious dirty bass.
You can get better sounding bass synths if that’s what you’re looking for, but if you want to channel a bit of the old school, you’ll have a ton of fun with Neon.
Karlette is the one VST here that doesn’t apply specifically to bass (unless you want to apply tape delay to your bass, which can be cool), as this is a vintage tape delay that can help you achieve a rhythmic delay, old-school style.
We don’t think anyone’s going to complain about this addition, though, as Karlette can add some serious character to all your basslines if done right.
Minimogue VA by Volt Kitchen Group
To me, there’s nothing quite like the sound of a Mini Moog when it comes to bass, and even meaty synth leads.
Moog synths are worth it, but they can be expensive, of course, and not entirely dependable on the stage or in the studio (which is part of their charm).
Minimogue VA pulls off a relatively convincing Mini Moog synth sound with plenty of presets and, more importantly, bass.
It comes with controls for three oscillators, poly-mono functionality, volume controls, filters, loudness contour, delay, chorus, and more. There’s also a built-in arpeggiator.
Although it’s a little old school, for whatever reason, this VST tends to get overlooked on “best-of” bass and synth lists. Honestly, though, you’d probably be hard pressed to find a better free Moog emulator.
Some say it sounds a little “plastic,” but most love this synth.
Download: Plugin Boutique
TAL-Elek7ro by TAL Software
If there’s a developer worth keeping an eye on as a freebie seeker, it would certainly be TAL Software, with their broad range of popular, well-regarded, nicely designed plugins.
TAL-Elek7ro is technically “deprecated,” as with other plugins on this list, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless.
This is a simple, nice sounding, two-oscillator synth with 120 presets (plenty of bass options), and controls for oscillators, sub, mixer, filter, envelopes, and two LFOs.
TAL-Elek7ro is relatively versatile too, with drums, effects, keyboards, leads, and pads. Not a bad synth to have in your library.
Download: TAL Software
TAL-BassLine by TAL Software
Speaking of TAL Software, we can’t possibly bypass TAL-BassLine on a list like this, can we (not to be confused with the far superior TAL-BassLine 101, which costs in the $70 to $80 range)?
The TAL-BassLine is a legacy synth featuring controls for tuning, modulation, source mixer, VCF, VCA, and ENV.
There are plenty of sounds well suited to bass, acid sounds, and other unique effects. That makes it great for electronic music, and there are plenty of throaty, dirty bass sounds onboard too.
It may not be the best synth on this list, but if you’re into bass sounds, it’s worth a look.
Download: TAL Software
Sinnah Freeware Synth by NUSofting
As you’re probably starting to see, there is no shortage of killer free synths for pumping up that bottom end.
NUSofting’s Sinnah Freeware Synth features a simple, streamlined “flat vector” style interface, and it gives you controls for poly / mono, octave, tuning, ADSR, delay matrix, feedback, and more.
The built-in presets are what make this synth especially worthwhile, and there are plenty of obscure effects and sounds onboard, including those that could be perfect for industrial music. You might even be able to use it for a film score.
This is a rather unique selection among the others on this list, but some are going to get a serious kick out of this one (especially since synthesizers can all start to sound the same after a while).
Free Alpha by LinPlug
LinPlug’s Free Alpha is Alpha’s little brother with the same engine, except with fewer features. It comes with several presets to get you started, but this might be one of those cases where you’ll want to spend some time experimenting to find the right sounds.
Free Alpha includes controls for two oscillators, mix, filter, amp, matrix, LFO, chorus, and signal flow. Not bad for a free synth VST.
The sounds are surprisingly high quality, with plenty of punchy, deep bass sounds that will get those bones rattling. It also comes with some pads, effects, drones, swells, and more.
Free Alpha is available for Windows and Mac.
Download: KVR Audio Software
AdlibBlaster by Jeff-Russ
Jeff-Russ’ AdlibBlaster is also known as JuceOPLVSTi. This is a simple synth with a simple interface, and it comes with sounds ideally suited to classic video game music.
This VST instrument does what it does quite well. And adding some effects to the sounds (reverb, delay, chorus, etc.) could really spice things up.
In terms of bass, well, it mostly just depends on how you use it. But if you’re looking for lo-fi sounds, this is a good place to turn your attention to.
AdlibBlaster is available for Windows and Mac, but the installation process can be confusing, so user beware.
Right off the bat, you can tell that Synister is a little different. Its interface, which is quite attractive (a good example of what flat vector design should be), features more controls than the average synth, with three oscillators, three LFOs, two filter sections, delay, chorus / flanger, LoFi, and clip.
As you would expect, this is a synth capable of producing a broad range of sounds, and as with some of the other synths mentioned on this list, it does the lo-fi / video game thing quite well.
So far as bass is concerned, it’s all about how you dial in the tones.
Sanford Bass Tightener by Leslie Sanford
Now it’s time to look at a few plugins we dug up from the archives, and as we always say, even if they’re a little old, if they’re good, we don’t mind featuring them here.
The Sanford Bass Tightener is a spatial effect designed to help you “tighten” the stereo spread.
The idea is that you can set frequencies below a specified threshold to mono, while keeping all other frequencies stereo.
When you need to ensure that the bass in your mix is centered and tight, this plugin can come in handy.
This VST can be downloaded as a 32- or 64-bit VST for Windows, and it comes with adjustable bass amplitude and stereo spread, as well as four filter slopes and four output modes.
Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE
Lovend by Analog Obsession
Analog Obession’s Lovend has been described as a harmonic bass enhancer.
The controls let you tweak frequency, output, and boost to help give your bottom end a bit of a boost.
The moment you add this plugin to your signal chain, you should notice your bass start to perk up a bunch. But from there, you can keep tweaking and boosting depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
Lower settings (60 through 120) are ideal for basses, kicks, bass synths, and final mixes, while higher settings (140, 160, and 180) are great for giving your snare sounds some added warmth, depth, and punch.
Overall, a great plugin to have in your arsenal at the ready.
This legacy bass enhancer is available as a 64-bit VST for Windows, and as a Mac VST and AU.
Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE
Bassprofessor by Sonic Anomaly
Sonic Anomaly’s Bassprofessor is called a bass guitar enhancer. By no means is this an otherwise ordinary VST. It will color your signal and add character in a significant way. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, mind you, because, as an example, some producers choose their compressors based on the character it adds to their sound as opposed to just for the effect itself.
We like the design of this plugin, even if it is “pre-flat vector,” and it comes with automatic peak limiting, a four-band signal leveler, three-band EQ, asymmetric boost and cut, and dirt (for some overdrive).
Bassprofessor was not intended to be used with anything other than bass, and we can’t imagine it would be great for much else either.
If you’re recording a lot of bass guitar directly, then Bassprofessor can come in handy for adding some punch, dirt, and low end.
This plugin is available as a 32- or 64-bit Windows VST.
Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE
B-Line 303 by SonicXTC
The B-Line 303 is yet another bass synth, and this one features a two-oscillator, monophonic design.
If old school acid and EDM are your thing, though, you will probably appreciate this synth with its distinctly 70s and 80s sounds.
The B-Line 303 comes with a pattern control filter, groove sequencer, MIDI automation, 200 user presets, 50 custom presets, as well as a couple of effects (Doppler Chorus and Stereo Echo).
There are a lot of great heavily effected sounds here, and they back some serious bottom end too.
You can get this VST as a 32-bit Windows VST.
Download: PLUGINS 4 FREE
Top Free Bass VST Plugins, Final Thoughts
If all else fails, listen closely to your mix, and ensure your bass frequencies aren’t clashing and cancelling each other out.
Your first instinct as a budding producer is going to be to boost bass frequencies through EQ and other means, and while this can work, it might end up making your mix muddier. Layering on bass parts can also sometimes lessen the impact of individual parts.
See if you can create more separation in your mix. For instance, reduce the cancelling effect between your kick and bassline. We wish you Godspeed in your efforts to make those bass parts thump. Good luck!