First Look: Virtual Bassists Bundle (Mellow, Rowdy, Royal) by UJAM
I love what UJAM has done with these Bass Instruments! Not only can the Player mode help get you up and “walking” quickly, but the Instrument mode offers the most expressive performance and realism I have gotten straight out of a keyboard for a VI Bass guitar yet.
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First Look: Virtual Bassists Bundle (Mellow, Rowdy, Royal) by UJAM
UJAM set out to create a virtual bass instrument that not only was focused on creating highly realistic playback but also allowed music producers of all levels to get great sounding performances with the plugins acting as “Studio Session Players”.
Spoiler alert, UJAM has succeeded with their “frustration-free” design philosophy for these bass instruments. This means anyone can use this plugin to make music faster despite your music production level or keyboard capabilities.
In an interview with UJAM Founder, Peter Gorges posted on the developer’s Blog, Peter mentions that the Virtual Bass series was the developer’s most requested product.
“Fourteen years ago, . . . everyone had a few sampled basses that passed for an ok bass track, These days, stuff has to sound real to pass for real. . . the steady onslaught of user requests made us change our mind and place the bet.”
– Peter Gorges, Founder UJAM
The Bassist Bundle downloads as 17 GB and contains three separate bass instrument plugins. These bass instruments (Mellow, Royal & Rowdy) are available individually and download as VST2, AU2, and AAX plugins making them compatible with any DAW.
UJAM offers a free trial version of each of the libraries for 30-days which should be adequate for you to get a feel for the instruments, try them out on a project or 2 and see if these instruments are right for your workflow. I wish all developers would allow this ease of try-before-you-buy as it would have saved me a ton of money over the years.
The first instrument I was excited to check out was Mellow. Mellow is UJAM‘s stand up acoustic bass instrument. It is designed to allow users to play the double bass most commonly heard in jazz and some old-school hip-hop. I utilize acoustic bass on a lot of my scores as it can give a nice clean low end to many genres.
The sound controls for Mellow allow users to easily adjust timbre with microphone position, Character and Room controls. I found the sound and responsiveness to be excellent. Not only can you dial in adjustments that alter the timbre to give you dozens of great sounding variations but the bass instruments also come with a healthy collection of presets ranging from silky smooth to bold and gritty.
All the bass instruments come with two different performance modes: Player and Instrument Mode. While the Instrument mode allows you to playback the samples as you would with a multi-sampled instrument, playing notes on the keyboard to trigger corresponding notes, the Player mode acts as the “Virtual Bassist” Ujam had promised triggering tempo sync’d lines, fills and phrases. The Key and Chords for the triggered phrases while in Player mode are dictated by what notes or chords you play in the Chords section (C3- E5) while the Phrase is triggered with keys C0-Bb2.
The stand out while I was previewing Mellow (as well as the other bass plugins) was how the instruments reacted to my playing on the keyboard. The AI articulation controls mentioned in the literature seem to intelligently select different legato and slide transitions that playback with different fret, finger and string noise which add so much to the convincing nature of playback.
Royal is designed to be the “All-Round Session Bass” in the Ujam virtual bass universe. This bass is designed to cover a wide range of pop, rock, indie and singer/songwriter bass timbres.
What stood out while auditioning the Royal virtual bass plugin was how wide a range of timbres this instrument could cover. As with Mellow, Royal has a large collection of timbre presets that adjust the pickup selection, character and amp settings. Ujam had touted “Powerful-yet-simple sound shaping” and with Royal their success on delivering said tools is apparent.
Again, the AI articulation modeling in this instrument is apparent as simple keyboard performances were augmented with slides, finger and fret noise elevating the realism of this instrument.
Another stand out feature is the Damp control. The Damp control is triggered via the Modwheel and I love how this interacts with the performance of the instrument. Adjusting the Damp control while playing back the bass simulates the way a bass player would “dampen” the string resonance with the back of the palm of the hand for a short notes and a more rounded sound.
Last but not least is Rowdy. Rowdy is UJAm‘s picked overdriven virtual bass plugin. Although this is the most specialized of the virtual bass bundle, the sound shaping options on Rowdy deliver a diverse range of highly realistic timbres. Rowdy was designed for high energy bite playback with that overdriven electric bass sound heard on countless rock, power punk, and modern metal tracks.
Again, the way Ujam has programmed the AI articulation modeling makes creating realistic bass lines easily as the behind the scenes engine is busy selecting and adjusting various slap, pick noise and slides as you play the in Instrument mode.
The Player mode, just like the other virtual bass instruments, comes with a large collection of riffs, phrases, and files which make creating a bass line based around your chord progression or key very easy.
The adjustable Drive controls & Fuzz go a long way in transforming the sound for that extra bite while the Damp control really does wonders on this instrument adding another easily controllable dimension to playback.
In the first look video above, I share my experience opening up the libraries for the first time and getting a feel for how they sound and function. I love what UJAM has done with these bass Instruments! Not only can the “Player” mode help get you up and ‘walking’ quickly, but the “Instrument” mode offers the most expressive performance and realism I have gotten straight out of a keyboard for VI Bass guitar yet.
I highly recommend you grab the free 30-day trial versions and give these instruments a try. As for me I will be turning to Mellow, Rowdy and Royal for all my bass needs for the next few months as I have a feeling they can replace all the other bass libraries I currently juggle for genre hoping.
The Bassist Bundle by UJAM comes with Mellow, Rowdy & Royal VST2, AU2, and AAX virtual bass plugins. Together the instruments download as 17 GB.