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Discussion: Active
18 January 2020 at 11:11am

I've been testing BassRoom (demo) with various music tracks of various genres, with synthesised and sampled kick drums, with synthesised instrumental sounds, and also analytically using a swept sine with spectrum analysis. My conclusion: I won't be buying this plugin.

The main claimed technical advantage for BassRoom is that it will not introduce dramatic phase shifts and yet, uniquely, also will not introduce substantial pre- or post-ringing. And I agree that when using low or minimum Q for each of the bands, pre-ringing does not appear to be audible with sounds such as synthesised kick drums - often the most critical sound for revealing this aspect of a filter. However, with Q at max, a short pre-ring is definitely audible, to the extent that I'd avoid using BassRoom with high Q settings. The claim that BassRoom is superior to FabFilter's "natural phase" filtering in that the latter still has post-ringing, is I suppose technically true; but in practice in many if not most cases the post-ringing of FabFilter's natural-phase filtering is effectively masked and inaudible.

But then the problem with using low Q settings in BassRoom is that in some cases it can be very difficult if not impossible to create - with any degree of skilled predictability - neat or surgical frequency response profiles, as compared with using other makes of filters such as FabFilter Pro-Q3, Melda MAutoDynamicEQ, or Waves GEQ (Modern). I suspect this aspect would be problematic for many pro mixing and mastering engineers.

Moreover, BassRoom's filters with high Q settings can be even less amenable to sculpting response profiles other than crude or very basic shapes. Having used analytical techniques to reveal the resulting Bode plots for various settings of BassRoom's filter bands, I can guess why its developers chose to avoid the conventional Bode plot display for BassRoom's GUI. I'd call BassRoom's frequency responses "quirky-derpy" and not convenient, helpful or very useful for professional work.

The GUI is somewhat like a graphic EQ turned through 90 degrees and I don't find its 'Chest of Drawers' image particularly useful, though its cartoonish look may perhaps appeal to some neophyte bedroom producers.

As for the genre-matching facility, it may be fun for some producers to find out about normative bass profiles for genres with which they're not familiar, but I doubt if genre-specific aficionados would need it or want it.

Bottom line: I don't regard BassRoom, in both technical and practical terms, as a better choice than FabFilter's natural-phase filters.

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