Software Spotlight: SUBSTANCE Bass Engine by Output

Get an in-depth look at SUBSTANCE by Output, an innovative bass engine built for the modern producer, composer, musician, and sound designer looking to add some deep heavyweight vibes.


With every groundbreaking concept, Output continues to impress. The creative force behind the development of innovative software instruments such as REV, SIGNAL, and EXHALE have shaken the music community literally with SUBSTANCE, a radically new breed of bass engine that runs in KONTAKT or Free KONTAKT Player version 5.5.1 and higher.

“Our goal with SUBSTANCE was to create a bass engine that was not focused on emulation, but rather, on pushing the envelope with creative and powerful new sounds,” says Output Founder Gregg Lehrman. “It’s our most sophisticated engine to date, and you can really get a sense of that from the first note.” – Output Team


SUBSTANCE brings some serious rumble cleverly wrapped up in Outputs signature modern designed interface. This powerful bass engine combines heavily processed electric and acoustic basses, real live brass sections, huge polysynths, and the dirtiest analog synths with some insane sound design possibilities. Pushing the boundaries of bass creation, SUBSTANCE delivers stacked deepness through three layers of sound sources that are blended together with a selection of FX, filters, and modulation options which can be further shaped to wild extremes with an advanced arpeggiator, flux control, macros, and more.

Main Page Madness

SUBSTANCE’s Main Page is where you can quickly mix, mute, or even cycle through and swap out various sound sources for each of the three layers. This page also sports Output’s signature curved Macro sliders that allow users to effortlessly assign and control up to six parameters at once with a single slider. This means you can simultaneously adjust 24 parameters with ease for some major low-end manipulation.


Edit with Ease

Sculpt your sounds with precision on SUBSTANCE’s Edit Page. All three layers sport the essential controls for editing the ADSR envelope, pan field, tuning, and sample start settings. You can also enable/disable monophonic mode and legato mode as well as mute, adjust the volume, and change the sound source for each layer.


Below the layer-level section is an ’advanced’ menu where you can set the keyrange, glide time, and velocity sensitivity for each layer to give your sounds some stylistic expression.


EQ to Perfection

Get your heavyweights in shape with SUBSTANCE’s EQ Page. Each layer features a three band EQ with cool curved filter controls. Click on either low, mid, or high to access controls for each of the corresponding frequency bands. Below the layer-level is a global EQ with similar frequency, gain, and bell/shelf controls to get your sounds sitting in the mix just right.


Filter Fun

Similar to the EQ Page, the Filter Page allows you to view and edit all the essential filter settings for each layer at once. SUBSTANCE comes equipped with ten filter modes with cutoff/resonance settings and filter ADSR envelopes plus an AMT control used to adjust the percentage that the envelope affects the filter cutoff. For example, adjusting the control to the right will increase the filter cutoff during the envelope period, and adjusting left will decrease the filter cutoff during the envelope period. Below the layer-level is a global section with a lowpass and highpass filter perfect for some massive bass swells.


FX It Up

Polish your sounds or add some extra flavor on SUBSTANCE’s FX Page. All three layers offer controls to select and edit six sound bending fx modules that include a selection of distortion emulations, motion modulation, pitch, compression, delay, and a lush reverb. Below the layer-level is a global section with four additional fx for maximum enhancement.


Feel the Rhythm

The Rhythm Page is where you give your low-end boomers some style. Here you can go wild with modulation. The Modulation Mixer gives you full control over various modulation destinations for each layer. Set the amount of modulation for volume, distortion bite, filter cutoff, and filter resonance by dragging the colored blocks up or down for each layer send. Below the layer-level is a global section with similar send parameters for dialing in the modulation amount for basic highpass and lowpass filter settings, drive, and tone.


The Modulation Editor below the global sends is where you can choose a modulation source from either an LFO or step sequencer, which is patched into all of the modulation destinations listed in the above Modulation Mixer section. Here you can set the rate, swing, and either draw custom modulation shapes or select a shape from a generous selection of presets. You can also invert, randomize, and offset the LFO by degrees. Keep the modulation moving each time you trigger a note or have it restart with every note by enabling the ‘retrigger’ button. Step up your rhythm game further with Flux, a secondary step sequencer dedicated to fluctuations in the global modulation rate. Depending on the step value at any given moment, Flux will either increase or decrease the global modulation rate of SUBSTANCE’s modulation. You can even draw a sequencer shape or generate random sequences by clicking the ‘randomize’ button.


The Arpeggiator

SUBSTANCE’s arpeggiator offers 12 playback styles for generating some serious step sequences. Below the playback style selection area is a step table where you can dial in different step velocities or choose a preset with the ‘pattern’ button, and even randomize different patterns. Velocity patterns can be lengths of 1-64 steps. For some extra fun, click the ‘reverse’ button to effectively reverse the velocity pattern. Also featured are parameters for setting octaves, adjusting the gate value, and adding some swing.


Heaps of Presets

There is no shortage of presets in SUBSTANCE. Access over 300 presets from either the Main or Preset pages. A selection of 30 tags are available to help filter your search by characteristic to quickly find your bass craving. Users can even star their favorite presets, then sort the preset list by favorites.


SUBSTANCE Key Features

  • A playable instrument with 300 presets
  • Powerful new 3-layer engine
  • Preset menu with smart tagging
  • Layer FX and global FX
  • 4 central macro sliders unique to each preset
  • Advanced arpeggiator
  • Monophonic and Legato modes
  • Built-in help menu
  • Rhythm page that syncs to tempo

The Results

SUBSTANCE is the bass drop answer for bringing some seriously styled-out low-end rhythms. The elegant but tuff looking design, intuitive control, and flexibility makes it an excellent tool for creating and manipulating simple or complex bass sounds in minutes. It sparks instant creative inspiration and is a must have if you’re looking for an innovative bass instrument.

Pricing and Availability

Available at Output and Authorized Output Dealers for $199 USD

For more information and bundle options visit the


About Output

Output is a modern music company developing innovative software for musicians, composers, producers and sound designers. The focus is simple – enable music makers to BE CREATIVE.


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Sound Design Komplete Program

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Additional Information

Visit the Music Foundations course page for detailed information on this program here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.