An upright bass is quite a unique instrument. It imbues musical emotion quite differently than a bass guitar and it's tough to find an upright bass VI that even comes close to its real counterpart. For that reason, when Ample Sound asked me to have a look at their new Ample Bass Upright instrument, I jumped at the chance. I've used many of their guitar VIs and I've always been impressed, but I'm pretty picky about upright basses. I'm a big fan of music from Nickel Creek and Union Station, both bands that have some pretty great upright bass magic going on, and I was interested to see if Ample Sound was able to really capture the instrument. In short, they certainly did in a big way!
If you're familiar with Ample Sound's other instruments, you'll be right at home with Ample Upright Bass. All of the familiar settings are here. Articulations such as harmonics, slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs, and much more are all available at the touch of a key. By default, you get a mix of the neck mic, the ambience mic, the body mic, and DI. Levels can be changed for any of these using faders, but you can also choose to mute or solo the neck and ambience mics, the body mic, or DI. If necessary, you can also adjust equalization for a particular set of mics.
Fret sounds are beautifully modeled and easily adjustible using faders, and you also have the option of enabling automatic buzzing which causes a random string buzz based on the frequency of the note played. (The frequency can be adjusted so you get the effect you're looking for.)
"With the right mix, Ample Bass Upright II sits perfectly within the mix and sounds almost exactly like its real-world counterpart."
So with all of that said, how does Ample Bass Upright II sound? In a word, natural. Tonal qualities are spot on and fret sounds are subtle and believable. With the right mix, Ample Bass Upright II sits perfectly within the mix and sounds almost exactly like its real-world counterpart. If you want to hear it for yourself, you can click on Tab and play the funky tab that ships with Ample Bass Upright II. It will show you what's possible with this VI, but it's not my favorite demonstration of what the instrument can do. I find the demo songs on the Ample Sound website to be a wonderful example of just why you need this VI in your collection.
Once again, Ample Sound has produced a VI that truly shines. Are there better upright bass VIs out there? To tell you the truth, I highly doubt it, but Ample Bass Upright II is so good that I felt no need to even look elsewhere. I'm familiar with Ample Sound, and I know that not only is their VI excellent quality, but they will continue to stand behind it with updates and enhancements. For those reasons, choosing Ample Bass Upright II is a no-brainer and we highly recommend it.