A closet classic – the wonderful little Hohner Bass III • Three combinable preset sounds • Tweakable effects and envelope controls bring it all to life
Now this little thing is funky! The Hohner Bass 3 was an all-analogue minisynth that produced three preset bass tones: Guitar, String and Tuba. Don’t let the names fool you: this isn’t orchestral, nor is it folky. It’s just raw and wild: a thunky twang gives the Guitar patch its bite, the String setting is all low tone for instant depth, and the Tuba is snarly with a ton of overtones to help it cut through a mix (or to be low-pass filtered to get even more scope). It all came packaged in a little black leatherette suitcase that you could close up to take on the road; and opened, it could be perched atop your Rhodes on stage so you could riff with your right and hold down the bass with your left. It was like opening up a neat little package and finding the Biggest Sound In The World was hiding inside.
It was quirky, too. The two rotary controls on the panel were for volume (on the left) and a kind of weird envelope thing on the right. Twisting the right-hand control gave you either long sustained notes or short bass bops. And that, apart from preset selection, was it. Not a fat lot of versatility, to be honest. Naturally we’ve bolted some bits on to take care of that: our take on the Bass 3 has a full envelope control slotted in under the Preset buttons, and gives over the two rotary controls to Tone (which is a gentle low-pass filter) and Vibrato depth. There are further Rate and Delay controls for the Vibrato on the rear panel, which also has effects bays for Chorus and Phaser and Tube saturation to give the sounds a hotter edge. Rounding things off round the back are a mono / poly switch with portamento (glide) control, a stereo spread knob, and a full selection of amp cabinets through which to run your bass tones. These can really bring the Bass III to life.
As well as adding in effects, we’ve also allowed you to do something that was impossible on the original instrument: to select all three Presets simultaneously. This gives you a really complex sound that takes the depth of the Guitar preset and adds a hefty dose of the Tuba’s overtones to it to create a real monster of a patch. To get it, just select a Preset button and then click it again to “pop it out”: with all three buttons out, you’ll get our Bass III all-at-once patch.
Our Bass 3 exhibits a fair amount of “analogue drift”, which we’ve partially cleaned up but partially left in place. The result is a stable, properly tuned bass synth that nevertheless has enough warmth to its sounds that it’s going to add some serious analogue mojo to the underpinnings of your tracks.
The Bass III doesn’t cover every bass sound under the sun: it just does three sounds (plus that hidden fourth) really really well. Plus it’s unusual and it’s analogue through and through. Bass III – time to go down!
shanemilburn007 (verified owner) –
Listen to the demo. That’s pretty much what this instrument does. It doesn’t cost alot, but does it’s own thing – so depends on if that’s the sound you need. It has 3 voices, guitar, strings, and tuba. Of those the guitar has more clicky attack, and and tuba has more grind character. You can adjust the portamento – how fast it slides from note to note – on the effects tab (you can hear this effect in the demo). The vibrato can give some interesting effects on the bass notes. There are cab simulations and mic positions on the effects tab that give different flavors, along with chorus and phase effects if needed. But yeah, it does what you hear in the funky demo, but otherwise is kindof limited sonically so you’ll probably often reach for other bass instruments unless you’re going for this specific sound. Many reviews here mention layering it with other instruments so that may be good use case also.
mightbeacoolusername (verified owner) –
This is a simple little instrument. In my experience I rarely use it by itself, but add a little of it behind another sound. I can always rely on it by itself to sound good however, so I use it as a sketching tool quite a bit.
dannyhearnmusic (verified owner) –
If you’re a fan of synth bass then this is a cool plugin, I love the analog warmth it has, and its totally usable with a bit of tweaking, but can get a bit crazy with the built in effects. The cab simulation is a nice feature as well, and you can always layer this with other bass sounds and/or run it through your own effects and amps. As far as the raw sound goes, it has a lot of potential and has no problem comfortably occupying the lower end of the frequency range. Am looking forward to blending it with Bad Bad Bass to see what kinds of sounds I can get out of the two together!
aqaraza (verified owner) –
Bass III made it to my final few instruments, holding my curiosity to the last. In play, it is pretty constrained in terms of the sounds it produces, and as another reviewer mentioned that Guitar sound is quite pokey. There may be a moment when that is just the sound you need. Just before this I was reading an interview with Jim Guthrie where he describes layering multiple instruments on top of each other, and I can see Bas II shining in that kind of a setup. (Again as another review mentions).
It does, though, occupy an interesting sonic niche that is hard to place, between lo-fi / nearly chiptunes and a more analogue realm. Maybe that is due to its origins. I think what I feel about it is that I like the sounds it makes, and their character is charming: I just wish there were some more of them, or a way (like glitch) to dig deeper into their limited range. But I’m going to use this as a starting point for further modulation and see what it can do. As with all RR instruments, “more than meets the eye” is probably the answer.
Monika Edvardsen (verified owner) –
Who would have thunk a preset called “Tuba” would sound this cool? It seems a bit out of tune at times (?), but not when layered with other sounds. The “Guitar” sound is a bit weird (popcornish, if you get my meaning), and it seems a bit weak on the higher notes, but I upped the volume on those samples, and it’s all good. The “String” sound is the same sample set as “Guitar”, only with a delayed sample start. Don’t know how that compares to the original instrument, but it works very well here. Seems like this will be my go-to-bass!
Brent (verified owner) –
Like Joe, above, I also own several Rhythmic Robot instruments, and I also find that this one is one of my most frequently used, and it does sound GREAT layered with any number of the other awesome instruments here. This is yet another one that will absolutely be useful in anyone’s arsenal, and again, like Joe mentioned, you CAN’T BEAT the prices of ANY instruments here at RR.
Joe (verified owner) –
I own a number of rhythmicrobot instruments, I like them all a lot. This one might be my favorite, but it’s a hard call. I love to layer this with other Kontakt instruments (especially SH Poly) to get some thick, textured basslines. Sometimes I use it by itself too. No complaints (about this or any other rhythmicrobot instrument,) and the price is nice.