Review: Toontrack Classic Rock EBX
Providing the sound of thunder to bottom out your virtual band, the first EZBass EBX expansion library achieves classic status
Contact Time | Space
It was mere months ago that we got our first taste of Toontrack’s EZBass package. Supplying the Swedes’ typically slick EZ treatment but this time for bass, it’s a polished product that saw us award it the highest accolade. Our only real criticism was that it featured only two basses and, though we won’t suggest that our critical acclaim had anything to do with the release of this expansion pack, we’re glad to see it arrive nonetheless.
This is an expansion library, so you’ll need EZBass to use it, but both are sensibly priced. The foundation package features a Fender Jazz Bass and an Alembic modern bass, to which this expansion adds another firm favourite: the Fender Precision Bass.
Toontrack states that it couldn’t think of a contender to go up against the Precision. “This bass is rock.” Despite the fact that this is a single-instrument expansion though, the package isn’t short on colour. Toontrack has extracted every nuance of musicality it can from its sample capture.
Classic Rock EBX integrates smoothly with EZBass, letting you build songs within its browser, in standalone mode or within your DAW. You can also import its supplied MIDI content into your DAW to keep the tracks and edits in a single location. But EZBass’s own editor remains robust and easy to use.
The Precision has been sampled from several perspectives, beginning with the articulations generated from the neck and bridge. The other options – which include alternate fingering, picking, slapping, ghost slapping, and tapping techniques – each boast subtle details that minimise any sense of repetition. Although the supplied MIDI content will serve many well, it’s the ability to drill down and dictate how notes are played that results in such realism here.
Upon loading, the initial bass setup can feel underwhelming – but don’t be fooled. Loading one of the 33 presets – organised in three batches of 11 to accompany the sampled content, with categories relating to finger- and pick-based playing from the bridge or the neck – will bring this P-bass to life very quickly.
The resultant low-end onslaught is remarkable, sporting authentic presence and depth. It’s difficult to ascertain how Toontrack has managed to extract so much colour from a humble bass. While these presets should prove gratifying, you can make further tweaks to the amp colour and tone, and even at the sub-bass level. It’s easy to turn your bass to thunder, as our studio cones attest. But there’s plenty of top end available too, to help you cut through mixes.
Ace of bass
This EBX expansion performs admirably as a sampled sound source. As sampled basses go, it’s brilliant. The onboard note editing gives you deep control, and you can take advantage of the ability to make tuning tweaks too, either in line with bass guitar tradition or by applying tuning variation per note. It all adds up to a very believable expansion that provides the perfect third bass to EZBass’s already strong content for rock, pop and far more besides.
- Meticulously sampled classic 1960s bass, with finger and pick playing options
- Variety of tonal presets, from dark to bright
- Sample capture derived from both neck and bridge articulations
- Clean DI available for all presets
- Custom MIDI content, inspired by classic 1960s and 1970s rock
- EZBass 1.0.6+, 1.2GB disk space required
Virtual Bassist Rowdy:The Rough One £100
A standalone package rather than a sample expansion, Rowdy provides rock sounds from a later era, drawing inspiration from the 1990s, ideal for grunge setups.
What Trillian lacks in MIDI provisions, it makes up for in sonic content. It boasts basses for almost every occasion and, though it has more of a smooth LA feel, the onboard effects can soon put an end to that.
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