If you're in the market for some serious low end bass grooves, you've probably been looking for the best bass synth. But picking the best bass synth is a tough question to answer because the market is ever-changing and the answer is very subjective.
Maybe you prefer the brutal lows of an 808, or maybe you prefer a squelching acid bass beast. It's unlikely that there will be a one size fits all synth for each. If you're interested more in that 808 sound, here are the best 808 VST plugins.
And if you're looking for a more traditional bass sound, like an upright bass or a slap bass, these are the best bass VSTs.
Note: some of the links below may be affiliate links, meaning that I receive a commission if you purchase through them.
However, there are quite a few options on the market today that stand out among the rest.
Here's an overview of what this article on the 10 Best Bass Synths is going to cover:
- How to pick the right bass synth
- The best bass synth VST overall
- Best Bass synth under $100
- Best Analog synth bass VSTs
- Best 808 bass plugins
- Best sub-bass plugins
- Best free bass VSTs
How to Pick Out The Right Bass Synth
Let’s take a step back and define bass synth. A bass synth is a tool used by musicians and engineers which takes bass signals and gives you the ability to mold them into different sounding waveforms. This is often done by filtering or distorting the bass waveform to make it sound ‘synthy’. Or, an octave effect is used to double the bass’s pitch below or above its original octave.
Ultimately, bass synths give the artist endless creative possibilities for bass sounds because, let’s face it, you can never have too much bass! Just kidding - you can absolutely have too much bass - that's why you need to select the best bass sound possible and let it do it's thing.
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Before we dive into the best synth plugins, though, we've also put together reviews of other types of synths that might be more what your looking for. If these types of plugins are more up your alley, then go check them out. While the synths in this article are some of the best bass synths you can find, there are a lot of other synths can also make great bass sounds, from the 808 in some drum machines to the attack of a Rhodes tuned low.
🏆 Best Bass Synth VST Overall - Massive X 🏆
If you’re looking for an all-in-one complete package that ticks all of our bass synth boxes, your best bet would be to go with Massive X by Native Instruments, and part of the Komplete bundle. Massive X is the company’s flagship product and gives you everything you need to create every sound imaginable, including a huge range cutting-edge bass sounds. It's one of the best synths for bass, but it can also do anything else.
The software grows and adapts with regular free updates to keep up with all the latest cultural trends within the music industry.
At the heart of the product, you’ll find a brand new oscillator section which gives you the ability to choose from over 170 wavetables with nearly a dozen ways to format the system to make it as easy as possible for you to use. New and improved routing allows you to send audio any way you like. Lastly, this synth comes packed with presets giving you access to over 600 pro-level presets.
Overall, Massive X is simply the best all-around bass synth on the market and we don’t see that changing any time soon. Plus it is great for pads, leads, sound effects and more. While it's expensive, it is a lot more affordable as part of a Komplete bundle.
Pros of Massive X
- Powerful, modern sound
- Able to create complex evolving sounds
- Great presets
- Extremely versatile
Cons of Massive X
- Complex interface
- Slightly heavy CPU use
Best Bass Synth System - Reason 12
If you’re looking for an affordable bass synth option, we recommend you check out Reason 12's Monotone bass synth or the Europa (both included as part of Reason 12 Intro). It also includes over a dozen other synths that are great for bass.
Reason is a company that specializes in a suite of instruments, music production software, plugins, and with Reason 12, Reason can run inside of ANY daw.
Even though Europa is their flagship synth, let’s first take a look at the Monotone bass synth.
For starters, Reason’s Monotone bass synth is brain-dead simple to use. It is for this very reason that monosynths will never go out of style; they’re perfect for fun and quick bass lines when you need them. Monotone has a familiar single-filter design with two oscillators and envelopes. You can choose between four shapes: pulse, saw, sine and triangle. Chorus and delay effects are built in as well. It’s simple enough to learn through exploration in just a few hours of tinkering.
The Europa on the other hand, is a bit more complex but offers a much greater scope of services. Europa is one of the most modern sounding synths today, due to its design encompassing three spectral wave engines where waveforms are collected and molded through sweeps and modifiers. And it excels at EDM style bass synth sounds.
With Europa, you have access to over 30 engine models, 24 filter types and tons of effects and modulation options. Lastly, the industry’s leading sound designers have equipped Europa with over 500 presets to use for your music.
On top of that, Reason allows you to use CV voltage to create incredible modulations that are impossible in other DAWs.
Reason 12 Pros
- Really versatile bass synths and effects
- Monotone is phat
Reason 12 Bass Synth Cons
- Learning curve to understand Reason
Best Analog Bass Synth VST
Simply put, an analog bass synth is a synthesizer that uses analog circuits and signals to generate sound electronically, and these are the VSTs that do the best job modeling those classic tones. This synth bass VST nails one of the classic sounds of house and early electronic music.
There are three bass synth plugins on the market that do it the best and have the best user interface and they are the D-16 Lush-101, Arturia Minimoog and the Monark.
D-16 Lush-101 Analog Bass VST
The ✅ D-16 Lush-101 is a powerful one-size-fits-all bass synth. Modeled on the classic Roland SH-101, the Lush-101 updates that classic analog sound for the 21st century. You can read my full review of the Lush-101 here.
It features classic subtractive synthesis at the highest level, incredible layering options and amazing presets. The user interface makes it a walk in the park to dial in the percussion, lead and bass sounds, but where this plugin really shines is when you start layering sounds. Its architecture allows you to configure each layer with its own effects including polyphony, arpeggiator and insert effects.
Pros of the Lush-101
- Amazing analog tons
- Fantastic onboard arpeggiator
- Retro sound
Cons of the Lush-101
- Complex, crowded interface
- CPU intensive
- Retro sound
Arturia Mini V Analog VST
The ✅ Arturia Mini V is another great option to produce big and warm sounds. Its triple-oscillator polysynth excels compared to anything on the market. In addition, the plugin works with every operating system and software host you can think of. It also features a MIDI controller which is simple and flexible. This is a great emulation of the classic Mini Moog
Pros of the Arturia Mini V
- Nails the Mini Moog sound
- Gets real low, but also great leads
- A classic sound for a reason
Cons of the Arturia Mini V
- One trick pony
Monark Analog VST
The ✅ Monark interestingly is known to replicate the Minimoog sound better than most on the market. Another big benefit is you have the ability to control analog waveforms and instabilities which makes your Monark unique from all of the other Monark’s out there. It's like a Minimoog, refined with some modern tools.
Monark is created by Native Instruments which is one of the most reputable music software companies on the market. In the end, you cannot go wrong with either of these three options in terms of analog bass synths.
They all perfectly capture the analog sound and its just the granular details that differ between the tools which are preferred subjectively. It can be purchased as part of Komplete, one of the best deals in music.
Pros of the Monark
- A good emulation of the mini Moog
- Lightweight CPU drain
- Good value as part of Komplete
Cons of the Monark
- Not as good as Arturia's Mini Moog
- Expensive standalone
- UI could use more resolution
Best 808 Bass Plugin
For you 808 and Heartbreaks Kanye West fans, you will need to check out the best 808 bass VST plugin on the market today created by Sublab.
The ✅ Sublab 808 bass synth specializes in creating controls and oscillators that are specifically designed for working with sub-bass. Straight up this is one of the best synths for hip hop, if you like your low end looooowwwwwwww. If you want to see all of your options when it comes to 808s, here's our review of the best 808 plugins.
This plugin features old school analog drum machines and unique sub-bass sounds for you to endlessly experiment with. This plugin is perfect for using the Zero-Crossing method which is when you load your 808s into a sampler, and loop the sustained sine tone which turns the sample into a pitched instrument to be manipulated.
It’s as easy as dragging and dropping into the sampler and Sublab will do the rest by auto-detecting the kick pitch and placing it correctly on a MIDI keyboard based on the tone.
You can also utilize even more obscure mixing techniques such as the recently popular Wide Bass technique where you use a high-pass filter, distortion and sample delates to your sub-bass. Ultimately, Sublab’s 808 bass plugin is a must check-out for anyone who has a passion for sub-bass sounds and the 808 world as a whole.
Pros of Sublab
- Most controlled sub bass synth
- Onboard effects help the sub cut through
- Great for modern music
- Incredible value
Cons of Sublab
- You don't make music with sub frequency bass
Best Sub Bass Plugin
When dealing specifically with sub bass, the best synth bass plugin (aka the "Cadillac" of sub bass synths) would be the ✅ SubBoomBass. This plugin is fully loaded with presets designed by the one and only Rob Papen, as well as he's of other award-winning artists.
SubBoom is the go-to option for Hip Hop, RnB and Dubstep but can also be used on more traditional tracks and other projects such as video game soundtracks, film scores and much more. It features a uniquely tunes drum percussion tool to add flavor to your tracks.
There are two effect slots which can be manipulated by using MIDI. There are also Easy Edit and Quick Browser features which allow you to both find and adjust sounds to your liking. This is a must-have tool for any artist that makes dance music as it has turnkey deep bass sounds (under 40hz) to add to your mix which will make your room rumble with buzzing bass!
Pros of SubBoomBass
- Great sub sound
- Especially nice for EDM
- Built-in sequencer
Cons of SubBoom
- Dated and complex UI
Best Free Bass Synths
No dollars to spend on a nice bass synth? No problem! There are plenty of free options that will suffice. Three amazing options are the TAL-Bassline and Deep Mono.
The ✅ TAL-Bassline is a virtual analog bass synth that is perfect for acid sounds and effects. The non-linear envelopes and a unique -18dB low pass filer give way to a special and warm analog sound. This tools also supports all sample-rates, has 23 presets and a simple arpeggiator.
Overall, all three of these free options will amaze you. The one you choose will depend on your style and if you’re going for a classic/vintage feel or modern feel. Either way, you can try out all three since they are all free!
And if you're looking for even more free synths, be sure to check out this roundup of the 61 Best Free Synth VSTs!
Closing Thoughts on the Best Bass Synths for EDM and Hip-Hop Producer
There are a wealth of incredible bass synths out there, just waiting for you to add your own unique spin. I think the best value in terms of versatility has to be Reason 11 Intro. However, if money isn't an object, pick up Komplete. And if you're a hip hop producer, Sublab's 808 is the obvious choice.
But that's just my opinion! What bass synths do you enjoy using?
Bass Synth FAQs
Here we answer a few of the most common questions about the best bass synths.
Do I have to use a special synth for bass?
No! Playing low notes on a lot of synths will sound great! What makes the best bass synths great is that they tend to have more body and punch than other synths out there, making it easier to find a great bass sound.
Can I only use bass synths for bass?
No! A lot of these bass synths are great for leads too. Some of them (the polyphonic ones) are also really nice for chords.
How can I make my bass synth play more like a synth?
Try hooking up the bass synth to an arpeggiator. A lot of synth bass parts are played via an arpeggiator to give that classic bass synth sound. Many DAWs include a arpeggiators, but if you're looking for something more powerful, check out: TheSys by Sugar Bytes.
How can I make my bass synth sound better?
The first thing to do to make your bass synth VST sound better is to try running it through a guitar or bass amp simulator plugin. These can often add a little extra heft and texture to the sound. Here's my review of the best guitar amp VSTs & amp simulator plugins.
The second thing you can do is try to layer multiple bass synths together. For example one synth focuses on the sub bass, another bass synth focused on the midrange, and one focused on the highs. Layering multiple bass synth VSTs will get you the fastest sound imaginable. That's why I recommend picking up a few!
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