When your kick drum or bassline is lack­ing lows, this new plugin ef­fect from the pro­lific de­vel­oper is al­most cer­tainly the an­swer

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While EQ is any en­gi­neer’s first choice for coax­ing more bot­tom end out of bass and drum parts, when those low fre­quen­cies aren’t there in the first place, it’s usu­ally time to start think­ing about rere­cord­ing or per­haps press­ing an un­der­pin­ning sub bass synth into ac­tion. With their lat­est plugin ef­fect, Mel­daPro­duc­tion reckon they have a prefer­able al­ter­na­tive: MBassador (VST/AU/AAX) is de­signed to tighten up and em­biggen your bass sounds.

What ac­tu­ally con­sti­tutes ‘bass’ in the ears of the plugin is de­ter­mined by the Cross­over sec­tion at the top of the in­ter­face. This splits the in­put sig­nal into two bands at any­where from 20-200Hz, us­ing low- and high-pass fil­ters, the roll-off slopes of which can be set be­tween 12dB and a su­per sharp 120dB/oc­tave. Es­sen­tially, it’s a low-pass fil­ter for pro­cess­ing: only fre­quen­cies be­low the cross­over are resyn­the­sised, while ev­ery­thing above is left un­touched (hit the Solo Bass but­ton to hear the for­mer in iso­la­tion). The idea is to set the fre­quency Range as low as you can be­fore the fun­da­men­tal note of your bass or kick starts to suf­fer. The same goes for the Sep­a­ra­tion slope, which should be at its low­est pos­si­ble set­ting to avoid phase dis­tor­tion, or used in Lin­ear-Phase mode at high set­tings.

Cross­ing over

MBassador’s three pro­ces­sors resyn­the­sise the fil­tered bass sig­nal and gen­er­ate sub bass sig­nals one and two oc­taves be­low it. Each mo­d­ule has its own by­pass but­ton and level con­trol, and their out­put lev­els – along with that of the dry sig­nal, also ad­justable – are me­tered in the lower half of the GUI.

The Bass mo­d­ule resyn­the­sises the user­spec­i­fied low fre­quen­cies (the fun­da­men­tal note ide­ally), en­abling man­ual con­trol of their level and har­monic fil­ter­ing via the Tone con­trol. Har­mon­ics are in­tro­duced in the first place by over­driv­ing the built-in am­pli­fier with the Sat­u­ra­tion slider: at its de­fault cen­tral set­ting (0%), ‘op­ti­mal’ sat­u­ra­tion is ap­plied, adding enough har­mon­ics to in­crease pres­ence with­out wan­der­ing too far into the low-midrange. At -100%, no sat­u­ra­tion is ap­plied; and at 100%, the low mids be­come re­ally quite prom­i­nent. By bal­anc­ing Tone and Sat­u­ra­tion, it doesn’t take long to find that sweet spot be­tween punch, tight­ness and body.

The two Sub gen­er­a­tors have the same three con­trols, pro­vid­ing tweak­able low and re­ally low bol­ster­ing sub har­mon­ics that can be used for ev­ery­thing from ba­sic low-end re­in­force­ment to more ‘de­signed’ tonal en­hance­ment. With the Tone and Sat­u­ra­tion con­trols hav­ing such a pro­found ef­fect on all three sig­nals, the re­la­tion­ship be­tween them can get very com­pli­cated, to ben­e­fi­cial or detri­men­tal ef­fect.

Within sec­onds of strap­ping MBassador over an ail­ing kick drum or bassline for the first time, you’ll won­der how you ever lived with­out it. Used with the care and judg­ment that plu­g­ins of this kind al­ways re­quire, it’s not only ca­pa­ble of res­cu­ing pre­vi­ously un­sal­vage­able bot­tomheavy sounds, but also does a fre­quently mirac­u­lous job of im­prov­ing al­ready-solid ones, of­ten by sim­ply turn­ing on the Bass mo­d­ule.

The abil­ity to repitch each of the three sig­nals could be fun, and a master out­put com­pres­sor wouldn’t hurt, but other than that, MBassador is an­other pow­er­ful and beau­ti­fully de­signed tool from Melda that you might well find your­self turn­ing to in ev­ery project.

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