Sonic LAB: Softube Monoment Bass Synth Plug-in

Designed for the lower end      05/08/19
    MP4 14:31 mins    

Softube's have another new virtual instrument - this time its aimed at the lower end  - not in terms of quality, but Bass of course. Monoment is a monophonic key span limited instrument with samples taken from a rarified collection by sound designer Tobias Menguser. Multi-sampling the instruments (in stereo) through signal paths designed to give the optimum bass-ness.

Momonent  Bass requires around 2.2GB of data and runs under VST/VST3, AU or AAX (all 64-bit hosts required).

iLok
Yeah, for some reason this still appears to be a dirty word to some people, but honestly these days, you don't need a physical iLok to run protected applications, just and account and the software authorization will work fine and is not intrusive (imho).

Sounds
Okay there's a ton of presets from various names which show off the monster bass characteristics of this instrument - I mean its a bass instrument and it has plenty of usable bass - the on board FX greatly help in making this a mix-ready sound source and it will give plenty of girth.

Structure
Two sample sources A+B which can have any one of the 100 stereo waveforms loaded into each with a -1/0/+1 octave and detune between. Additionally you can add noise and attack transients into the mix  as Analogue Dirt, which come into play when using the Aging parameter (more on that later)

These go into the low pass modeled filter with 24,12 and 6dB settings and resonance which can scream. There's a single LFO, plus Amp and Filter envelopes - both are A/R type,  so quite simple.

Additional simple controls  include the ability to blend the A/B signals, and also to make that frequency dependent via a crossover, the main tonal one is called Punch and is like a dynamic Envelope - at midday setting (12 o'clock) iis neutral, but over to the left it will get softer and longer, but to the right, it introduces more snappy attacks almost into the transient designer territory and can give a real whack to the sound.

Aging - this dial starts at New and goes right around to Old  introducing artifacts and inconsistencies into the sound - it also adds more of the Analog Dirt into the sound. It an interesting idea, though quite subtle.

The FX is where things get spicy - with a switchable Analog/Digital distortion/saturation control its possible to radically (or subtly) transform the sound. 

Next is Ambience - yes I was a bit surprised by this, I mean reverb on bass? But its actually pretty cool and can bring to life otherwise quite static bass sounds - especially useful in genres which have the room for the bass to occupy more sonic space. 

Equalization adds a simple but quite powerful Bass and Treble control - more useful I found for cutting the bass than adding it as there's generally plenty there from the get go.

Multiband -  a built in one knob multi-band compression processor which tames large bass sounds quite nicely and can bring out additional sonic characteristics and level the overall volume,

Spacialization -  another surprise here, can throw out the bass elements out quite wide - in some extreme settings cases makes it a bit phasey - again probably not so good for mixes destined for vinyl - cutting engineers would have a fit! But for digital delivery pretty interesting. Its possible to mono the sub portion of the sound and throw the higher frequencies out wide though so you should be able tyo save the cutting head.

 

Limitations
First up, you should note that its monophonic (as in single stereo voice) and has a limited key range up to the F above C3. I guess this mean less samples, less work etc.

It should also be noted that for some reason there no program change support. Now this probably wont be all that much of an issue, but for a reviewer its a PITA and also if you were planning on using this live as a sound source with preset changes sent from a master keyboard. This could easily be fixed in an update and probably will I imagine.

There is also no MIDI learn for any parameters - although within Live I could access pretty much all of them, it was not possible to learn from within the plug-in and consequently no NKS compatibility or repeatable controller mapping - which in a relatively simple plug-in like this seems quite odd. I was able to do things alike add LFO's to certain parameters using the Robert Henke (free) LFO 2 Max For Live device - which provided for more synthesis and modulation.

Conclusion
Monoment Bass
is a good sounding instrument it has plenty of low end, some decent patches, with the ability to vary them quite considerably. However I think the lack of program change and controller mapping is a bit of an oversight and doesn't really allow you to take full advantage of the computer based instrument. However, one would assume that these would most likely be fixed in an update,

Softube Monoment Bass is available now priced at $99 directly from Softube.com - of course you can also register for a Softube account and download a demo to check it out. It certainly fills a bass shaped space in most mixes.

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