**HASR TOP PICK**
**TOP FREEWARE BASS AMP SIM**
SCORE: 9 / 10
This was my very first amp sim! I downloaded it for the first time somewhere around 2013. I’d been playing for about 7-8 years at that time and I was away at school abroad. My roommate had an interface, these speaker and a computer which at the time seemed high tech to me. He downloaded the SHB-1 for me so we could make some songs together and I couldn’t believe how good the plugin sounded. I later added it to my own setup where I used it for years.
The SHB-1 is a plugin modeled from a real deal amp made by Ignite Amps for a bass player named Frederico Fulceri formerly of a band called Subhuman. I looked them up a while back and quite enjoyed them.
The GUI is simple, realistic and easy to use but don’t forget there’s also one for the back of the amp. Hit the arrows on the right of the plugin to give you access to the back. You’ll find input/output controls as well as the oversampling choices. I recommend using the highest quality since even at the highest quality the SHB-1 runs low on CPU.
The plugin gives you a great starting point as you get into the tone shaping options. You have switches for “deep”, “bright” and “shape” before a fairly standard set of controls. All of the controls in the GUI can take the sound in another direction so Ignite Amps ensure that you can find the right tones for your needs.
The main constants as your work with this plugin is the warmth, response and general realism. From big, fat tones to tight compressed modern tones, I have used the SHB-1 for every style and use imaginable and it has never let me down. Fusion to funk, black metal to death metal, blues to jazz and anything else you can ask of the plugin is attainable.
The SHB-1 requires an impulse loader so for this review I used Pulse, the free impulse loader from Lancaster Audio. I also used a really nice selection of Lancaster Audio impulses. Whenever I turn to impulses, the reliability of the Rosen/Lancaster stuff is unmatched for my preference. The SHB-1 has matched up nicely with hundreds of impulses over the years but my current favorite with the plugin is the Lancaster Monster Bass Custom. It brings out the best in the 1300 watts of solid-state power inside the SHB-1.
The plugin features an absolutely wonderful sounding drive that can be added and subtracted as you see fit. You can get the tone nice and gritty without distorting it fully. When I wanted a little more drive, I reached for a few different drive and saturation plugins. Saturating bass can be tricky so I suggest anyone that does any level of recording should know how and where to use saturation on a number of instruments. The AXP / Softamp Charbooster and TSE BOD 2 worked really nicely out front boosting the SHB-1, just play with the boost and amp drives to get a good fit.
I always compress at the start of my chains after the initial dry testing is finished. Otherwise, I really never have to process the SHB-1 too heavily unless I want that processed bass sound. An impulse loader, a HP filter and a sprinkle of saturation is really all I used. To hear the plethora of high quality tones that you can get with this plugin is one thing but to then realize the tones are coming from freeware is just crazy. Now add in the fact that it hasn’t lost a step. Impressive.
UPS / DOWNS:
The SHB is one of the best sounding bass amp sims on the market today. It also happens to be completely free in every way. It’s a fast and free bass solution for any type of playing.
The SHB-1 delivers a very high quality tone the second you engage the plugin. It’s easy to use, high quality, free and always available so really anyone can download the plugin, install it and be playing with a great tone in about 2 mins.
Posted Dec 29 2018