Bad Bad Bass

(17 customer reviews)

3.00 plus VAT

Valve-based bass. Don’t make it angry…


“Bad Bad Bass and Bad Bad Lead are full of valve oscillator samples. The main differences between the two synths are the source waveforms – low and aggressive or high and snarly… their primary oscillators are backed up by an additional, filthy, sine wave. In the shape of Drift, Drive, Distortion and Compression you also get Rhythmic Robot’s familiar tools for gaining attention. This little collection scores highly for its raw valve tones and for its simplicity” – Sound on Sound magazine

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Taylor square traceWhen we were recording the valve oscillators for Tubes & Wires, we stumbled on simply the baddest-assed square wave we’d ever met. You can see it on the left. It came from a battered old Taylor signal generator and it’s the product of some very unhappy valves. It’s just crying out to be turned into angry, dirty, psychotic basslines, so we’ve given it its freedom and stuck it into Bad Bad Bass.

As well as the main square wave oscillator, there’s a sub oscillator you can blend in, running an octave below. This is also a valve waveform – in this case, a gritty and overloaded sine wave. It adds the gut punch to complement the main oscillator’s raucous roar.

You get full filter control for squelchy resonance and precision control of the mid / high content of the wave, plus some truly badly-behaved effects strapped across the output: tube saturation, tube drive distortion, a full-on limiter to tie everything together and add a big whack of grunt to the sound, and “oscillator drift” if you want your bass sound even more analogue.

Poly and Mono modes are available, with portamento / glide control for some slidey madness. The whole thing is bad… very bad. But you know that’s good.

Bad Bad Bass: a danger to itself and others.

(All our Kontakt instruments require a full copy of Native Instruments Kontakt v4.2.3 or higher (including all versions of Kontakt 5). Kontakt Player is not supported: instruments will load, but will time out after 15 minutes. See the FAQ for further information.)

\\\”Over the last two issues, we\\\’ve looked at two collections of instruments from new manufacturer Rhythmic Robot. This month we\\\’re going to explore RR\\\’s Laboratory. For a bit more explanation of what\\\’s behind these 24‑bit mono Kontakt instruments (which require the full version of Kontakt, rather than just the player), go to the first of our Rhythmic Robot reviews (/sos/may12/articles/beat_room.htm).

The Laboratory is where the Professor and his assistant Mongo construct new instruments out of whatever spare parts happen to be lying around. For example, they made a polyphonic synth from vintage Stylophones. Stylosynth has three oscillators and, although it doesn\\\’t sport a mass of controls, its samples have a warm and pleasant tonality. The synth\\\’s three oscillators are Vintage, Modern and Stacked. Modern is rather bright and slightly distorted, Stacked is a pile of old Stylophones in some warped version of unison, and the Vintage setting is mellow and generally the most pleasant. You are free to mix them all together in any combination and this layering generates some reasonably lush synth patches. Stylosynth has a resonant filter with velocity control, plus two envelopes and an LFO that modulates the filter. There\\\’s a chorus that doesn\\\’t quite replicate Stylophone vibrato, but I doubt this will be an issue for anyone — except maybe Rolf Harris.

Although Stylosynth is capable of blips and pads, it\\\’s not in the same league as Tubes and Wires, or TW1. This is the most expensive of the collection (still less than £20) and is based on samples coaxed from venerable signal generators. TW1\\\’s three oscillators are named after the devices that spawned their waveforms: the Advance H1, the Taylor, and the charmingly named Goodwill Function Generator. Images of each wave are shown on the rear-panel oscilloscope, and it\\\’s these that give the TW1 its wayward but distinctive character. After the oscillators, the architecture is simple enough. There\\\’s a dual-envelope structure with a resonant low‑ or high‑pass filter and extra buzz supplied by \\\”rail voltage”. This simulates overheating the circuitry, Louis and Bebe Barron would have been proud! Turn to the rear panel for a basic chorus and phaser.

Last up are two similar synths, the Bad Bad Bass and Bad Bad Lead, also full of valve oscillator samples. The main differences between the two synths are the source waveforms — low and aggressive or high and snarly — and there\\\’s a degree of overlap if you already have the TW1. Their primary oscillators are backed up by an additional, filthy, sine wave, and from then on there\\\’s a filter section comparable to Stylosynth\\\’s and optional poly or mono operation. In the shape of Drift, Drive, Distortion and Compression, you also get Rhythmic Robot\\\’s familiar tools for gaining attention.

This little collection scores highly for its raw valve tones and for its simplicity, an attribute often overlooked when throwing everything but the kitchen sink into sample libraries. It\\\’s true that, with patience, you could probably find a selection of signal generators in junk shops and at car boots, then painstakingly sample them to create your own unique instruments. Alternatively, these are priced so that you don\\\’t have to!\\\” – Sound on Sound magazine

17 reviews for Bad Bad Bass

  1. johnup12 (verified owner)

    For the asking price, you get a remarkably capable bass synth. What’s not to like?

  2. dannyhearnmusic (verified owner)

    So this reminds me of Vacuum, but with more oomph….

    Tone and filter controls are worth getting to know; can get some really cool industrial synth bass sounds out of it, and its great for modern film scores and the typical Braams sound that’s everywhere these days

  3. W.TaylorRiley (verified owner)

    What more can I say that hasn’t already been said about this one? You can get this synth not to swoosh, and just play solid tones. Sounds really good, sub-shaker for sure. It can go to leads and lush pad sounds, but they will all be grungy and grimy and full of aggression. It definitely does what it was made to do, which is a good thing. It knows what it is, you know what you’re going to get. And you will definitely be pleased.

  4. aqaraza (verified owner)

    In slowly getting to know RR’s instruments, I’m coming to recognize signature textures across them all. Bad Bass has the same depth and richness seen across their workshop. But since I am clearly going to be falling deeply in love (and thus 5-starring) with so many of their instruments, I’m going to allow myself to give BB a 3!

    The main reason lies in a lack of versatility. Unless I am missing something, I’m getting a strong doppler / swooping high-to-low woop sound with each preset. The sonic fingerprint is so distinctive that I feel like I could instantly recognize BB in any mix, whichever the preset. This isn’t always bad, but it is a bit limiting.

    The other difficulty for me is that, without a glitch / rnd button, I can’t quickly or easily make my way to other unique sounds since the signature ‘swoop’ is so strong. Combined, these two things will limit the instrument for me.

    But it is very nice to have a thick strong thumpy bass sound in the stable. I like it! I just need to make myself some room for ratings objectivity. ^_^

  5. d_Vincent_b (verified owner)

    I tend to use all kinds of tape and distortion plugins on bass synths to get the sound I want. This little synth is pretty much there right out of the box. And it’s practically free!!!
    It might not be the most versatile synth, but it does its own thing and it does it very well.

  6. alacantec4 (verified owner)

    WAV files included is a nice bonus. I’d rather prefer the lead bad over this one, tho.

  7. steflinux (verified owner)

    Not that original or impressive sound. Well, it delivers synth basses, and that’s it.

  8. (verified owner)

    Good synth bass line.

  9. Monika Edvardsen (verified owner)

    I already had Tubes & Wires, so I had the sounds used in this guy, but it was cheap and I’m so curious, so I had to get it, and I’m glad I did, cause it sounds completely different here! Really angry, really bad! It’s got a bug, but since it was supposed to be retired, I can live with it.

  10. Poesque (verified owner)

    Me likey.

  11. Poesque (verified owner)

    Bad to the bass.

  12. mrianrjohnson (verified owner)

    Can’t believe they were thinking of canning this! For the price of a coffee, this is a work of art. You may not use it on all of your tracks, but who can argue in the face of this much DIRT! Works for a 20 minute dick around if you want to make your computer sound like satan barking!

  13. DON Chaffer (verified owner)

    I’ll risk being a drone string for why RhythmicRobot is great. This plugin does the thing it does REALLY well. I feel like I can have in my head what I want to hear, and if I go to one of these superstore plugins trying to find an 8-bit bass, I’m exhausted, only to discover that it was buried under some irritating pun “Ate Bit Base.” With RR, it’s the specialist’s storefront. When you go in the door, that bell rings, to let the owner know to come out from the back, and when you buy it from them, you know what it does, you remember where it is, and it’s got all the flexibility you need to make it sit up and bark in the specific context of your song/piece.

  14. Tom (verified owner)

    Bad Bad Bass & Bad Bad Lead
    Don’t Do It! Professor & Mongo, Don’t retire Bad Bad Bass & Bad Bad Lead forever! I saw your recent notice that they are going away but are on sale for a Ridiculous Price (for which I am very grateful, Thank You). So what did I have to lose? I grabbed both of them and loaded them up together to layer their sounds. The BBB & BBL GUIs are very similar, each with a Main Oscillator Voice and a second mixable Sine Voice. I turned up all the voices to full then bumped up the Drift, Drive & Distortion controls and played around with the Filters…. Whoa! The net effect was a Big Fat Screaming Four Voice Synth! The price for both instruments together is much less than that of a cup of coffee or tea! The beverage will be gone in five minutes, but you can keep these beasts forever! They are not only Bad Bad, They Are Bad-Ass!….

    • The Professor

      Good news for lovers of the Bad Bads… we listened, and we’re not retiring them after all. They’re being bunged in Mongo’s Cupboard with their prices dropped to £3, and there they’ll stay. There was just too much love for these ugly little guys to put them out to pasture 😀

  15. Saukar (verified owner)

    This is so nasty, I love it. It can can uses for basses or leads or even pads… but with some ummmph! Don’t expect smooth.. BBB is all about rich, gritty, tone. This is also great for using to layer with other cheesy synths that don’t have any power (if you want it). Don’t be fooled by the price, you get A LOT of boom for the buck.

  16. Jon

    The module is amazing.
    Nicely EQ’d

  17. Hugo

    Huge sound and powerful bass sound. This vst is one of my favorite since I like its strong oscilator which is like analog synths.

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