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REVIEW: Epica Bass

Sam Spacey serves up an impressive bass tool for Kontakt

2016 Feb 20     
2 Bit Thugs

You get plenty of sonic bang for your buck here, and it's intuitive to use, with only a few minor niggles

Sam Spacey, known for the highly regarded Epica Kontakt Instrument, has just released a very exciting sequel. Epica Bass is a 5GB behemoth sample library, focusing on faithfully bringing analogue bass warmth to the digital world. The instruments used to create the sounds are 100 per cent analogue and include the Arp Odyssey Mk3, Pro 1, Yamaha CS-30 and many more. These samples were processed through beautiful outboard gear including UBK's legendary Fatso, Neve preamps and a host of effects and guitar pedals. From its very conception, Epica Bass has designed as an exciting and harmonically rich sampler. It's a very exciting instrument indeed.


Epica Bass has been created with the end user firmly in mind. Firstly, each note has been sampled multiple times; capturing the nuances of ever-changing analogue machines. A pitch drift function and an easily adjustable sample start time randomizer also contribute to mirror the characteristics of hardware synthesisers. Admittedly these tools are readily available to the seasoned Kontakt user already, but Epica Bass makes them so easily accessible, the extra mile for modulation goodness is now only a few small steps.

Bass in your face
There are five main preset banks, each containing useable and inspiring chunks of sound. The Monophonic pack is suited to creating a wide range of electronic bass, but of course can only being able to play one note at a time is the norm with monophony. The patches range from the percussive to long and evolving, the majority of which are useable starting points (with some obligatory customisation).

Multi is a nice batch where two or three sounds are layered up and pre-processed, giving you mammoth, textured polyphonic bass sounds. These sounds suit a range of electronic music and serve as an inspiring starting point when tracks are feeling a little thin texturally. The Polyphonic presets contrast to the other sound sets and stray in the land of the lead synth. There are sounds from harsh to smooth, exaggerated to clean making the sonically complex quite simple to use.


The easily customisable Arpeggio section offers even more sonic excitement: with slightly unpredictable results you will create a nod to the 303 in no time. A word of warning: the arpeggio section does need time for Kontakt to respond, meaning it can have a m/s or two of latency. This is easily fixed by moving the MIDI in your DAW a smidge ahead of time, but it's not ideal.


Finally, Raw samples have been included and this is where Epica Bass becomes more like a synth. Using the LFO, Envelope and Filter sections to manipulate the raw samples really gives you a chance to customise and craft your own sound. This combined with a handy effects section (and some mod-wheel mapping, which is highly encouraged) means that you really can create something unique.


The FX section includes the NI Solid GEQ and the Feedback Compressor 1176 emulation for use inside Kontakt for processing the instrument. The traditional NI FX such as LO-FI convolution and delay are also utilised well to add extra depth to your sounds.

The verdict


For £89 Epica Bass is very reasonably priced, and a well-made, robust sampler instrument. It's simple enough to keep you productive but has the depth and ability to really carve your own sound. The quality of the sound is very high and sonically rich, with most pre-sets being strong and inspiring. My main criticism would be that whilst all sounds are rich and full in the mid-range, some are lacking a really solid sub-bass. This could be easily fixed with the multiple layers option, but is something to bear in mind.


Review score: 4/5
Words: Matthew Chapman
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Tags: Sam Spacey, Time+Space, Kontakt, bass