Plugin advice - bass and guitar

Hey folks,

I’m learning bass and guitar and looking to start recording some of my playing as a means to see my improvement and pick up any issues.

I recently installed Reaper and had tried using my Yamaha THR10X to record bass, but the sound isn’t great as it’s primarily a guitar amp that just happens to have a bass setting. I was also struggling to get a decent level, but got some great help in this topic:

I then realised I had an iRig HD2 that I bought for my guitar and hadn’t been using. From a basic test, it looks like I might have more options for recording bass using this, but don’t really know where to get started with plugins - amp and effects. Ideally I’d like something I could use with bass and guitar.

I had thought about getting something like Bias FX Standard (currently US$50) or Waves GTR3 (currently US$30). I like the idea of them for guitar but don’t really know if either of them are suitable for bass plugins.

I have also seen Studio Devil Bass Amp (US$69) or Bass Amp Pro (US$99). These options are obviously for bass only though.

In terms of music I’m mainly interested in playing, I’m looking for hard rock and metal tones. I also like blues or blues/rock for a more mellow time with my music.

Any thoughts on any of the products or alternative suggestions please?

1 Like

I’d recommend looking at separate amp/cab sims for guitar and bass. I really like Kuassa’s sims - Cerberus is a great bass amp sim, and their Orange, Fender and Marshall amp sims are great for guitar. We use them here:

That’s Kuassa Cerberus for the bass amp/cab sim and Kuassa Amplifikation Clarent for the guitar.

This one is using Cerberus for bass and Amplifikation Matchlock (Fender) for guitars:

The SVT-VR sim from PluginAlliance is also a popular good one.

For effects there’s many, many sources to choose from. I like MeldaProduction and Kilohearts for theirs. You know that Reaper comes with many built in as well, right?

We have a plugin-related topic here:

If you want to get started inexpensively, Ignite Amps offers excellent free bass and guitar amp sims, and a cab sim that works for either, standalone:


Thanks @howard. Nice tracks of yours and I just listened to the preset comparison of the Kuassa Cerberus and certainly sounded pretty good to me. I just installed the demo version and already like the sounds from the various presets. ‘Level 43’ sounds pretty good for slap.

I’m very new to this, having only used combo amps before. I thought I’d try Ignite Amps and I have a noob question - I’ve installed the SHB-1, would it be correct to assume I need to use it with either the Libra or NadIR otherwise I’m just using an amp head effectively without a cab? I know basically nothing about impulse response.


Yep. I would add NadIR in the FX chain after SHB-1.


You might want to start simple before you make it complicated.
Plug directly into Reaper from your bass through the iRig.
Is there something about your tone you don’t like?
First plugin I would get is a good compressor vs. an amp sim.
The one below is amazing and super simple…

If Reaper has built in EQ plugins, then I would start there too dialing in tone.

Then if you still are not digging your sound, look at amp sims.
I rarely use them, but that is just me.
When I do, I am using it to double track out of the Darkglass B7K to simply ‘fatten up’ the bass tone.
If you still want to capture that cab/amp sim sound, then do whatever @howard says, he da plugin guru.


On the guru topic @howard, what’s your reco for a good overall reverb plugin.
I am not digging the ones in Abelton (or, I have no clue how to use them).


Compressors are super important but I would disagree with this. Nothing will make your recorded bass sound better and more natural than an amp+cab sim. I actually consider them mandatory at this point. They should definitely be the first plugins one gets IMO.

There’s some really good ones. Lots of people swear by Valhalla’s.

Valhalla Room would be a classic one.

I own it, SuperMassive, and a few more, but generally I like to use Melda’s free MCharmVerb the most. Simple and sounds great. I really like MeldaProduction’s stuff.

Grabbing MFreeBundle is a good plan for anyone. There’s some great plugins in there.

It does, and this is good advice. I usually don’t use Reaper’s, but it is just fine - a nice parametric EQ. I simply prefer others that I have.

1 Like

I’ve used BIAS FX 2 for both bass and guitar myself. BIAS has various bass presets to try, and you should be able to download others via ToneCloud. Don’t quote me on that, they’ve been doing some odd/not-so-great stuff with ToneCloud, like “Oh, this person used BIAS FX Elite to make it, so this peasant person with standard can’t use the preset.”

That said, I still like it even though I tend to just use my B7K’s direct out into my interface.

And you could do that, too. By totally not buying a B7K clone for $50 getting a $40 Calline CP-60 Wine Celler or Behringer DT21, those are Ampeg/Sansamp style sounding pedal preamps.

Plugin Alliance stuff is really nice, and atm they have 1 $30 sale left (might be a newsletter thing). I like their Gallien-Krueger 700RB sim if you’re into the GK thing. Also, Ampeg because Ampeg.

I can’t comment on Kuassa Cerberus as I’ve never used it, but their guitar amps I’ve used were really good. They’ve grown a lot since those days, so they must be doing something right.

The Audio Production Deals subreddit and Discord does their best to track sales of things. Amp plugins come up from time to time.

First. Just… j-just delete everything starting at the ? after ‘plugin’

Second, to @iDuncan Waves as a company is kind of a disaster imo. $30 plugin sales are super common, no worries there, and while they sound good the company spams your email and wants you to buy upgrades every year. Waves V11, V12, V13… Just something to keep in mind. You can’t even use them on two computers without an “upgrade plan” in effect. I’m dumping Waves.

So yeah, TL;DR - Do not buy into Waves XD I started to firehose you with information/alternatives to consider and tried to reel it back a notch. BIAS will give you a lot of options for both bass and guitar, for not a lot of money, though, and still sounds good on both, too. However, more power to you if you like Ignite :slight_smile: I’ve never used it (I don’t think).


Even set flat the Darkglass preamps color your tone quite a bit. B7K and B3K in particular have prominent low and high mid boosts with a mid scoop, plus other tone coloring. They sound amazing but are pretty far from being transparent preamps. I’d still use an amp sim with them myself but they are way, way better than nothing, even just on their own.

So I have never used one, and think my covers sound pretty good.
And taking your other comments regarding how bass gets mixed down in the overall mix, why is this so important? The giant a-ha moment I got when I sorted out compression, was that my bass did not drift in and out of the mix due to my crappy playing continuity.

Not saying I am right and you are wrong, just confused.

1 Like

Basically, direct recorded bass sounds kind of flat. While you will get decent tone, and the bass can sound “good”, putting it through an amp+cab sim will make it sound much more natural,less two-dimensional, like it was coming through a real amp and speakers. I actually think they sound better than miking real amps, but that’s just me.

Taking the songs I posted as an example, they sound quite different and not nearly as good if I render them without the amp sims. Particularly the guitars, which sound kind of limp and dead in comparison.

Compare this:

to this:

The bass and guitar don’t sound bad in the first example, but they sound much, much better in the second.

Many amps - particularly tube amps - really add their own color to the tone. Lots of these like the SVT have very distinctive, sought after sound. A slightly overdriving SVT is an absolutely iconic bass tone. And sims get you that, at a fraction of the price, and probably recorded better anyway.

Here’s the isolated clean bass:

Sounds nice! I do love how my TRBX sounds.

But here it is with the amp+cab sims:

and that’s just so much better. Very characteristic tube amp overdriving sound in there, I absolutely love it.


Got it.
Perhaps this is why I like mixing in my B7K XLR out with my raw bass.
This explains why, thanks!


Yeah the B7K definitely has a great sound to it!

Which Darkglass makes super convenient with the Parallel Output :smile:

1 Like

They sure do.
The options out of that port are endless.
I found 4 or 5 that I love and just try those out until I find a fit, and they are awesome.
If I had to give up all my pedals except one, the B7K would be the keeper.
No brainer.

1 Like

I use an iRigHD2 so that’ll work fine for you.

Give this free Sansamp plugin a try TSE BOD v3.0 Released – Free SansAmp Bass Plugin | Masters of Music i have so much stuff i haven’t tried it yet so YMMV :slight_smile:

if you need an EQ, ReEQ is great ReEQ is a free plugin so good, it's a reason to use REAPER - and it keeps getting better - CDM Create Digital Music

If you want to load some IRs, you can do that with one of the plugins included with Reaper. You can do pretty much everything with the included plugins.

Keep a watch on Music Radar and Plugin Boutique, they frequently have good free plugins for a limited time.


I’m going to sell you ice cream with scoops sized like the actual mid-cut in Darkglass preamps and when you complain about the portion size, refer you to your comments and that picture from the other thread :stuck_out_tongue:

1 Like

Go for it!

Both the B7K and the B3K effectively have an absolutely massive mid scoop caused by the relative boost of the low and high mids. This big scoop also has a sharp, deep almost notch-like scoop in the middle of it as well, which is what I am thinking you are referring to as small. It’s also not small, but it is narrow.


Boosting the lows and highs like that and leaving the mids low is effectively scooping the mids.

Plus, they sound scooped, the most important test :rofl:

On the bright side, it’s not nearly as scooped as the Fender Tone Stack (the BassMan preamp):


Now that’s a big scoop. My EBS ValveDrive was similar.

1 Like

The Bassman sounds a bit muffled too imo. I like the SVT better


You should consider plugins from Neural DSP : Parallax or Darkglass Ultra. I personnally own the Parallax and it’s really great, it allows you to put distorsion only on the mid and the high while compressing low end. A bit expensive though.
I’m also using those ones : TSE BOD, Ignite SH1 (great amp sim for metal stuffs, and more) and I just discover today a new free one : GK Amplification. It seems to be very promissing, especially combined to the ones I quote before :).