IK Multimedia MODO Bass by MikeRivers
What started out to be a review of how this interesting virtual electric bass VST plug-in that’s based on physical modeling of a vibrating string could be viewed as a learning tool turned into a lengthy article. It’s about what makes different basses sound different, and how IK Multimedia presents the tools that let you customize an instrument in physical ways rather frequencies, filters, and MIDI velocities.
I rarely use virtual instruments myself, and I’m not a bass player, so there was a lot for me to learn here (which is why this project has been festering for about five months). Hopefully you’ll find something useful here, too.
Briefly, it's a VSTi plug-in that can also run as a stand-alone program. The basis for the models are 12 "iconoc" (that means you'll probably recognize some or most of them) basses from a 1960s Fender Precision to a modern Yamaha. Out of the box, they all sound completely competent as virtual basses, but the fun comes when you start playing around with both the components of the instrument and the playing style.
You can do things that you'd only do to a real bass if you had a good woodworking shop or luthier at your disposal, like change the position of the pickups or replace the pickups on the instrument you're working from with pickups from any of the other instruments in the lot. You can add active electronics, change the strings (flat or round wound, brand new, broken in, or well worn).
You can choose playing with your fingers (first or second finger or alternating), hard or soft pick, or slapping and snapping. You can choose the picking position, and with a MIDI continuous controller, can even move that around dynamically as you might do in performance.
There's a pretty generic amplifier simulator - one tube and one solid state, and a pedalboard with your choice of four out of a list of seven. There's also a direct output if you want to plug in a favorite amplifier simulator of your own choosing, send the output to a hardware amplifier for live playing or studio recording, or record a virtual DI track for re-amping later.
IK provides a library of 155 presets which are complete setups consisting of the model, pickups, style, pedals and amplifier, some of which are pretty standard, others quite far off-the-wall, and of course you can save your own setups when you come up with a combination that you like.
I went into quite a bit of depth studying the effect of many of the adjustable parameters, making recordings, and measuring spectral content as well as latency time.
Space and patience (yours and mine) precludes me from fillng this review here with technical details, spectrum plots and spectrograms. Also, Gearslutz company policy prevents me from linking to my full detailed review, but after you're finished with your gear geeking for the moment, you can follow your nose to my web site and download the 32 page PDF review from there.
Or just get a copy of the program and play with it. You'll have fun and, if sound design is your thing, you'll have a lot of tools at your disposal to create just exactly the right sound you need.