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AmpleSound - ABPLite 2 review


AmpleSound - ABP Lite 2 

AmpleSound are a VSTi manufacturer who specialise in sampling an array of popular stringed instruments including electric guitars, acoustic guitars, electric basses and upright basses. They also sell an array of DLC like extension libraries that add different features to these instruments such as being able to use another pick-up or adding a plectrum play style to a bass guitar.

Prices for these instruments and their expansions can be found here.

As a bass player, I was immediately drawn to the ABP (Ample Bass Precision) and was delighted when I found that there was a lite version that was available for free!

GUI
Ample Bass P 2 Lite GUI
Keeping in line with the rest of their products, the ABP 2 lite is visually stunning. It looks current and the essential controls are exactly where you would expect them to be for quick access. 

The only thing that I found a bit odd is that the volume control is located on the bass guitar rather than down with the other controls.

Other than that it is a joy to work with and one of my favourite features would be that markers are displayed relatively on both the keyboard and fretboard when you press on either one of them. This makes it extremely easy to transcribe keyboard parts to bass parts and vice-versa. 

Sound

Waves Q1 EQ used to roll off the high-end
The first thing that I noticed about the ABP 2 lite is how well recorded it is. The bass that they have samples has an aggressive classic mid-range growl with rounded lows and shiny highs. Straight out of the box, the highs were a little too bright for my liking so I cut them out using a 1-band equaliser. 

AriaPro 2 Columbus
To demonstrate the realism of this instrument, I decided to conduct an A/B comparison between the ABP 2 and my own early 80's AriaPro II Columbus Series Bass. The bass was run directly into my Digi002 rack and then through Waves' GTR amp simulator and ProTools native vintage compressor, Bomb Factory. Although it isn't an actual p-bass it does share the same central split-coil pickup type shouldn't be too dissimilar in terms of tonality.

Waves GTR 'Mo-town' preset used on both tracks

In order to keep this as fair of a comparison as possible, the same settings, plug-ins and bass line were used to ensure that this is truly a comparison between the real bass and the ABP.



The bassline used it taken from Chic's good times. A drum track was also added using Native Instrument's Abbey Road 60's session drummer (This came as part of the Komplete Elements pack that I purchased a few years ago, which is definetely worth a purchase). I decided to record the real bass line first so that I could edit note durations to match up identically on the programmed parts to ensure that it is as realistically played as possible (velocity was also taken into consideration).

Examples: (Suggested listening through monitors or headphones)

ABP Example
Real Example

Summary

The ABP Lite 2 easily matches up to the real bass guitar and I would definitely consider it as a replacement if I was unable to record a real bass guitar. In terms of tonality, the ABP has a vast sample bank and a great response to velocity/note lengths. However, it can be time-consuming to get ANY sample based VSTi to sound realistic due to things like editing individual note lengths and velocities. To help you achieve a realistic result there are a bunch of left/right-hand taps, pops and string mute sounds higher up on the keyboard register and if you place these in the right place they can make all the difference.

Let me know your thoughts

Andy

System Requirements

Windows Vista (Pentium 4/Athlon processors) onwards or Max OSX 10.7 (intel based) onwards 
2GB RAM
6GB Free HDD space
AU, VST, AAX
Standalone version included
Recommended used through a sample player such as Kontakt (Kontakt 5 Player Free)

Download available here




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My name is Andy and I’m a music technology teacher from Yorkshire. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Creative Sound Production and am currently studying to gain my PGCE qualification.