In addition to being a private violin teacher, Alecia started writing music-related articles 3 years ago and has been enjoying this experience greatly. Loves quilting and scrapbooking in her free time.
Marcus has a vast experience in digital audio and sound design. Thanks to his knowledge, he actively helps musicians with technical problems, improving their audio quality and even promoting their tracks so that thousands of listeners could enjoy some really good music.
Last updated: February 05, 2021
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What makes the best bass synth stand out from the rest? Would it be the sound quality, material, craftsmanship, weight, brand, or the value for the price? Many musicians who play the bass synth will eventually ask, “What is the best bass synth you can buy?” The truth is that the answer depends on a multitude of factors! The features you want most in a bass synth will vary based on your level of experience with the instrument, as well as personal preferences.
Having said that, we decided to write an article highlighting some of the best bass synths for 2020. We’ve organized it into categories based on features, quality, and price. Rather than spending hours trying to find the best bass synth for you, this article should be able to help you save time comparison shopping. We hope this helps you feel confident in your buying decision when you’re ready to get your new bass synth.
The Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth receives our top rating for a good reason. It is probably the most versatile analog monosynths on the market today. Features include two tunable oscillators, as well as a sub-oscillator, a multi-mode filter, and lots of assignable modulators. Whether you’re wanting to create some juicy analog bass and leads or exceptionally crisp sounding arpeggios and noise sweeps, the Novation Bass Station II is up for the job. These features and more earn this bass synth a top rating for the serious musician.
What’s so impressive about this analog bass synth? Regardless of what your budget is, a new instrument is an investment. You definitely want to be sure that you’re getting the best analog bass synth for the price. Not only does the Novation Bass Station II offer lots of quality features (assignable modulators, tunable oscillators, and more), but Novation works to keep their instruments affordable by selling online.
This analog bass synth is the updated version of the Novation Bass Station and features a brand new “acid” filter that joins the “classic” original bass station filter. It ships with 64 factory patches and further 64 user slots. Novation offers a 3-year warranty on the Novation Bass Synth II and all other products.
What we liked: A combination of features and a rich analog profile allow this bass synth to create some of the crispest sounds you can get outside of a recording studio. The internal technology that gives this synth an analog feeling in a modern package means you can harness those rich and vibrant sounds from feal instruments in an easy to use digital format.
If you are in need of plenty of features to make the sound you want, this synth has you covered. Sixty-four factory patches and plenty of areas to make your own sounds allows this board to create the sound you want with all of the features being designed to help you make better music.
Despite the overall quality of this synth, things can go wrong with nearly any technology. Novation understands this issue and wants to help customers by providing a very respectable and appreciated 3-year warranty with this and many other synths.
A bass synth is clearly an investment for your music production, but that doesn’t mean it needs to break the bank. Despite the abundance of features and great quality of this synth, it offers a great amount of value for the price.
What could be better: Honestly, we can’t think of anything here. This board offers all the features you could ever need from a synth in a package that is hard to resist for any musician.
The Moog Minitaur Bass Synthesizer is also a top-notch instrument to add to your collection. The Minitaur is an inconspicuously compact, subharmonic bass machine that was designed to effortlessly integrate into any performance and computer-based music solution. Just like those that came before it, the Minitaur effortlessly splits analog bass better than all others.
What makes the Moog Minitaur Bass Synthesizer the best sub-bass synth? You can save and recall up to 128 onboard presets with this machine directly from the Minitaur’s front panel. Moog also provides free editor/librarian software with seamless DAW integration now with Windows support.
There are also five new modulation sources, hard sync (access completely new sonic palette), and modulate oscillator two only. You can pair with hard sync for syncopated metallic sweeps and surges. This is certainly one of the best bass guitar synths you will find.
What we liked: The Minitaur Bass Synthesizer handles its job with ease as it converts your analog inputs into aa very clean and easy to work with the digital format. You can have the confidence that anything you create with this board will be sounding amazing when you are finished crafting your sound. What this board lacks in the integrated keyboard department, it more than makes up for with the wide array of features. You can dial into every note and rhythm to make it sound exactly how you want it to with the many features this board offers to users. For the musician who really knows how to get the most out of this board, they will be asking why it only costs as much as it does. For the price, you are getting what is essentially a professional-grade synthesizer that will bring your music-making to the next level. Branching off of the value this board brings, we feel that its price is right where we want it to be for the performance it gives to users.
What could be better: What’s not to love about the Moog Minitaur Bass Synthesizer? We genuinely feel that there is nothing we would change about this board as Minitaur really knew what they were making when they brought this product to life.
The Korg VOLCABASS Analog Bass Machine earns a top rating for a number of reasons, including the fact that it delivers aggressive sounds that stand up to the drums. It produces fat sounds that really support the rhythm of any piece that you’re playing. Korg even calls the sounds produced by this analog bass synth as “funky.” The Korg VOLCABASS is truly an analog bassline groove box that has exactly what you need for producing a wide range of bass lines.
The structure of this analog bass synth is quite simple, but the analog sound engine produces a presence that is unmistakable. There are subtle nuances that users can’t be reproduced by digital simulation. That’s what makes the Korg VOLCABASS Analog Bass Machine an excellent choice for making acid jazz and many other styles of music. There’s also a step sequencer that is distilled from the Electribe. Not only is it visually intuitive, but it’s a powerful way of generating “free form” bass loops that will inspire you.
The Korg VOLCABASS Analog Bass Machine really follows in the footsteps of the monotron, monotribe, and MS-20 mini-analog systems and is an excellent EDM production tool. This could be the best synth for smooth bass.
What we liked: An issue with many bass synths is that they are rather large and can be a real pain to move around. Korg recognized this common complaint and made this synth extra portable for those who like to make music anywhere they go. In many areas of music production, the name Korg is synonymous with a certain sound that can’t be replicated anywhere else. The aggressive sound is desired by many musicians around the world. With the small size and big sound of this mighty synth, Korg has competitively priced this unit. You can afford this unit and not have to feel bad about justifying the price.
What could be better: You can only store eight patterns on the machine, so it has limited options for those who really love to test their own sounds. Additionally, the lack of expandable memory means storage on this device comes at a premium.
The Roland TB-03 Bass Line Boutique Synthesizer is a descendant of the famous TB-303 Bass Line Synth. It is battery powered and works just like the original. With advanced ACB technology that recreates the hypnotic liquid grooves of the magic silver box, the Roland TB-03 Bass Synth also sounds like the original.
However, it’s better than the original because it has several enhancements that are not included in the original model. The four-digit LED display makes programming easier and more accurate. In addition, the overdrive and delay effects allow you to unleash a wall of sound that is twisted and tribal. It will send the crowd into a frenzy! In the studio, this bass synth sends control information via MIDI or its USB port, which functions as an audio interface.
The Roland TB-03 Bass Line Boutique Synthesizer is also programmable with classic pitch, time, and step write modes. You’ll have hands-on control over expressive parameters, including the cutoff, resonance, envelope mod, decay, and accent.
What we liked: This unit comes off the back of some of the most critically acclaimed pieces of equipment, as Roland has a great history of synthesizers. This small and capable unit has a wide array of features that allow you to perfectly craft the sounds you need to make great music. Considering you are getting sounds that sound like the original Roland synthesizers for a fraction of the price, the value of this little unit is undeniably exciting.
What could be better: While the TB-03 sound is iconic and renowned in the music industry, this board may not be for you if you don’t love that sound signature.
The Behringer Synthesizer was designed with great care to make it true to the original “D type” circuitry of the bass synth. It lets you conjure up basically any monophonic sound you can imagine, and it’s super affordable and easy to use.
Because the Behringer bass synth can be mounted on a stand such as the Eurorack, it’s ideal both for the studio and on the road. Some enthusiasts have compared this bass synth vst to a time machine that can transport you to the past or the future with incredible sounds.
Behringer has produced this instrument with the utmost attention to detail. This gives it an ultra-flexible sound shaping capability, which covers everything from super fat bass and leads tones, to progressive organ sounds. Really, your imagination is the limit regarding the range of sounds this bass synth produces. This could be the be arturia synth for bass.
This Model D type bass synth features five variable oscillator shapes with variable pulse widths for ultimate sounds. You’re in complete control with the onboard modulators, adjustable tune, MOD depth, and more.
What we liked: The diversity of sounds this synth can produce is truly incredible. Utilize those classic 80’s sound signatures or create something entirely unique all on the same board. When you can use this board for creating any sound you want, it is really hard to put a price tag on that kind of equipment. Luckily for consumers, Behringer has set that price tag at a very respectable point.
What could be better: Behringer has not been entirely clear as to what the warranty information is for this unit.
Things to Consider
So, what is the best bass guitar synth? The truth is that the best bass synth for one person may not be the best one for you. It all depends on what kind of sounds you want to produce, what features you need (such as storage capabilities, portability, ease of use, etc.), and what your budget is.
Why do you need a bass synth?
If you don’t already have a bass synthesizer workstation of your own, then that is reason enough to get one. Whether you’re a budding new musician or a seasoned veteran, playing the bass synth is a highly rewarding experience. Science has proven that playing an instrument can improve cognitive functioning and possibly even lengthen your lifespan. Choosing the bass synth is a wise decision now because music listeners are becoming increasingly drawn to strong bass sounds.
Unlike many of the other instruments out there, the bass synth produces an incredibly diverse number of different sounds. You are truly only limited by your imagination when you learn to play the bass synthesizer.
Another reason why you absolutely need a bass synth is that listeners almost expect to hear bass synth in music. If there’s no bass synth in a piece of music, it can really sound like something is missing.
Did you know that today the synthesizer is used in nearly every genre of music? It’s truly the only innovation that can stand next to the electric guitar as one of the great new instruments in the age of electricity. The bass synth has led to totally new forms of music, just like the electric guitar did. The bass synth music also has widespread appeal among all different types of audiences. The bass synth originated in the 1960s psychedelic music scene and raves and then evolved through the 1980’s club music scene. Now the bass synthesizer is one of the most ubiquitous instruments in modern music.
Once you start using a bass synth and realize the vast array of bass sounds and groovy beats you can produce with one of these instruments, you’ll wonder why you didn’t buy one sooner.
Features to consider before you buy a bass synth
You’ll want to consider what all features a bass synthesizer has to offer before you make your buying decision. These features include a variety of things such as filters, memory patches, user slots, step sequencers, oscillators, ability to sync multiple instruments, onboard presets, software, and modulation sources.
We have broken all this down for you in this article because the sheer number of different features can make your head spin if you aren’t already familiar with the variety of different bass synths that are available on the market and how they differ from one another. We’re going to cover keys, controls, switches, presets, size, weight, and warranty.
Another feature you’ll want to look at is the controls. Does the bass synth vst have hands-on controls or not? This is another matter of personal preference. The controls on a synthesizer are usually electronic or digital keyboards or MIDI controller keyboards. These are often built directly into the unit of the synthesizer via connections such as CV/gate, MIDI, or USB. The keyboard found on the synth also offers expression through velocity sensitivity or aftertouch. This gives you more control over the sound. There could also be ribbon controllers. These track the movement of your fingers across a touch-sensitive surface. Some may even have wind controllers that are played similarly to woodwind instruments like the clarinet or saxophone. Other controllers are motion-sensitive, like video game controllers. You might also find electronic drum pads that are played like the heads of a drum kit.
Another type of controller is the touch plate, which sends signals depending on finger position and force. You can tune the controllers as well. Lastly, there are touchscreen devices such as tablets and smartphones or fingerpads.
Next, take a look at the switches on the instrument. Are there pedals or knobs? Bass synth switches or pedals are actually processors that mimic the sound of a synthesizer. When you activate the pedals or switches, the output signal of your guitar is changed by the synth pedal. This works to change the overall sound of the bass guitar. Bass synthesizer switches and pedals are used in live performance settings, such as on stage, as well as in recording studios. Unlike pedals that are absolutely mandatory on bass synth, some are “extras.” Recording studios aren’t able to replicate these extra synthesized sounds with studio processors. This is why the bass synth is necessary. The processor essentially helps to mimic the sound of a synthesizer, but it’s done through manipulating the input analog bass signal. Depending on your user interface settings that should be active on your decision, the signal coming from the bass is processed and outputted. Bass synth pedals and switches can most often be found in the middle section of the signal chain.
Pre-sets can be incredibly helpful if you don’t want to start from scratch by creating a sound. Does the bass synth you’re looking at offer a library of presets? If so, how many and what type? You can also purchase royalty-free presets later if your instrument does not have the ones you want.
Another really important feature is size. If you want something that’s compact and easy to take with you on the road, you’ll want to consider the Moog Minitaur Bass Synthesizer. It’s about the size of an adult’s hand. Don’t be fooled by its diminutive size, however.
Even the tiniest bass synths can produce some extremely powerful bass grooves.
Finally, you will want to check to see if the bass synth you’re considering comes with a warranty. This is important because, well, accidents can happen! You might accidentally drop the instrument, or it could get wet. Even worse, the dog might think it’s a chew toy. The Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth comes with a 3-year warranty. Unfortunately, the warranty information is unspecified for the other instruments we’ve recommended in this article. That just means you’ll have to be extra careful if you get one of those, or contact the manufacturer directly to find out if you’re covered in case of accidents or faulty equipment.
If you have computer-based tracks where you have MIDI information, there are two basic ways to use a bass synth. You could add a dedicated sub-synth channel with a plug-in synth of your choice set to output a sine wave. This causes the volume to immediately play at full blast. Then just copy the MIDI aspect of your bass track onto that one. Make sure you transpose the notes to the right octave and set the oscillator pitch internally. This simple approach does risk losing a bit of articulation, however. A second method is to use a soft synth as your main sound. Then generate the simple sine wave and create a new channel with the same pitch. Then change the settings so that the output is a sine wave, just like the previous method. It will give you a clean sine wave sub-bass channel. The two bass pitches should layer seamlessly.
This is really a matter of opinion because any bass synth can be beginner-friendly. However, most people would probably say that it’s a little easier to start out with a synthesizer that only has one oscillator. This lets you learn the ins and outs of a synth without having to worry about complex things like polyphonic models. Some synthesizers come with manuals to help you get started. These manuals can be full of complex language that can make the bass synth seem more difficult than it really is. Do not worry about trying to find a bass synth with a manual. Instead, just look for one with a single oscillator and other features you really want to have. Consider whether you’ll be using it in the studio or on the road. Most importantly, you might want to try out a bass synth before making your choice.
So which bass synth should you buy? We’ve listed our top 5 picks in this article, as well as compared and contrasted the different features, pros, and cons. The Novation Bass Station II Analog Mono-Synth gets Editor’s Choice because of its variety of features, unbeatable sound, overall value, and incredible 3-year warranty.
The Moog Minitaur Bass Synthesizer wins Premium Pick because it splits analog bass better than all the others. It’s definitely one of the best bass guitar synths available.
The Korg VOLCABASS Analog Bass Machine wins the award for Best Value. For less than $150, this is a budget-friendly instrument that is perfect for producing EDM and acid jazz. Added bonus: It only weighs 1 pound, so you can take it on the road with you without being weighed down.
In summary, the best bass synth for you is most likely one of our top five picks. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.