Soundmagic offers Sienna Bass, a FREE acoustic bass plugin for Windows.
The Sienna Bass acoustic bass plugin is Windows only, but hopefully, a macOS version will follow.
Redjoy Reza, an audiographer and musician (as well as the developer behind our free BPB Cassette Drums plugins), created Sienna in his studio. Now, we can all share the sound of his acoustic bass in a plugin that weighs in at just around 7MB.
Some people will always say a plugin can never sound as good as a real bass. In my opinion, it’s a bit of a pointless debate and makes little difference if it’s true or not.
If you are using a bass VST, it’s probably for one of the following reasons.
- You can’t play bass guitar;
- You don’t have a bass guitar;
- You don’t have access to a bassist;
- You don’t think the project merits the expense/hassle of bringing in a bassist.
If any of those things are true, then a bass VST is absolutely a valid choice.
The only thing that matters is whether it sounds convincing or not, and that depends on a few things. Firstly, the plugin’s quality, which varies from one to another. Secondly, your ability to get the best out of it; I’ve seen some outrageous performances with a bass VST and a MIDI keyboard.
Lastly, and most importantly, plugins like Sienna and even relatively expensive products like IK Multimedia’s MODO Bass rely heavily on context.
Assuming average ability, how convincing it sounds depends largely on how exposed it is. The average user will struggle to recreate Jaco’s Portrait of Tracy. But, the same user could use it across multiple genres in a well-mixed song without many suspecting foul play.
In other words, I think a virtual bass can sound real with the proper use and context. Does my opinion justify my lengthy rant? Probably not.
Sadly, I can’t tell you how good Sienna sounds as it’s Windows-only for now. So please let me know in the comments if you try it. Soundmagic has put out good-sounding freebies before, like Neo Piano One.
I own MODO Bass, and I like it, but there are other freebies around like Ample Bass P Lite II. Or, TAL-Bassline, if you want to get synthy.
Sienna is available in 32/64 bit VST format for Windows. There is a file extraction password, so make sure you read the guidelines on the download page.
Download: Sienna Bass (16.1 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST2 plugin for Windows)