Long developed, even longer awaited: Finally, Toontrack released the virtual bassist EZBass. At first glance, there are conceptual similarities with the established virtual players EZDrummer and EZKeys, which have found many fans. But you don‘t have to know or own both software products to be happy with Toontrack EZBass. To create synth basslines, you can use an arpeggiator or step sequencer. However, if you want to imitate a capable electric bassist in your DAW, things get really serious. Professional help is desired - a clear case for EZBass!
All about the bass
The software features two electric basses: EZBass Modern sounds audibly different and more “in your face” than the vintage version. You don‘t have to stick with the unprocessed „Clean DI“ sound, as the player offers a good dozen of „Finger“ and „Pick“ presets. So you get several sonic variations that sound pleasantly down-to-earth and ready to play. The presets have also been sensibly titled (such as “Deep Amp” or “Heavy Pick”), so it‘s easy to find a suitable sounding bass for your production. If the sound does not fit, it‘s easy to tweak the effect settings. The sub-bass mode provides a solid foundation, thanks to two different sine wave oscillators which can be added by rotary controls. Of course, EZBass can be played expressively, thanks to several articulations. The playing styles (finger, plectrum, slap) can be called up via key switches at the bottom of the 88-note keyboard. Slides, ghost notes, down strokes, legatos and tone repetitions with a human factor are an easy task for EZBass. But the virtual bass already sends great when you play it with your keyboard even without any variation of articulation.
Drop the bass!
Above all, EZBass is a great team player, offering a suitable approach for every type of user. Of course, you can expressively play the basses with a MIDI keyboard and just use the plug-in as a sound supplier. The audio to midi conversion is sophisticated: So you can play a bassline on your guitar and record it for example. After the conversion, you can let the virtual bassist play the resulting MIDI notes. However, most producers will appreciate the automatic creation of convincing basslines to accompany drum or keyboard tracks that you import via MIDI. A good approach: The bassline can be rhythmically based on single or multiple drum instruments or on keyboard chords. However, there is no real-time re-harmonization (auto accompaniment), the procedure always uses the internal song track, which allows you to program MIDI notes and chords for different song parts. EZBass does not react to other MIDI tracks of a DAW project. It is also not possible to drag MIDI parts (chord progressions or drum grooves) from the Arrange window directly to EZBass, because most DAWs don‘t support that. EZBass offers no audio loops, so you have to create your own basslines. But that‘s no problem thanks to the great groove library, which also features several basslines based on well-known songs. There are patterns for different song parts (intro, verse, bridge, prechorus, chorus, ending), especially for genres like Pop, Funk, Soul, R&B or Blues. With „Tap2Find“, you can find suitable grooves by entering a rhythmic figure or melody with the mouse. In the grid editor (a piano roll view), it‘s easy to create variations of the respective MIDI notes.
Never before it has been so easy and affordable to arrange authentic electric bass tracks that are brilliant both technically and musically. EZbass is so flexible, that every user can find his own way of working. We have to admit that you have to get used to the features a little bit in order to use them to best effect. Those who shy away from this task are probably better off with alternatives with a simpler functionally like UJAM‘s Virtual Bassist. Apart from that, the swedish product is currently without competition on the market. The equally new Mosaic Bass from Heavyocity for example is positioned differently in terms of sound aesthetics. All in all, EZBass raises the bar for virtual bass instruments. Hopefully, Toontrack will offer EZ Packs of double, fretless and synth basses for this surely expansive software solution. Many producers will certainly be happy to see EZGuitar, EZVocal and other players as well. Keep it coming, Toontrack!