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Soundevice Digital SubBass Doctor 808

Soundevice Digital SubBass Doctor 808

As its name might suggest, SubBass Doctor 808 is particularly well suited to EDM drum processing but it has applications in other genres too. It supports the common Mac and Windows formats, and Authorisation is via a personalised key file, so you can install it on all your machines.

SubBass Doctor 808 is designed to add sub-bass to sounds that already reside in the low-frequency register. As the information provided with the plug‑in doesn't say what frequencies are generated, I checked with a spectrum analyser, which showed that almost all the added information was sub-50Hz, which is sub indeed!

The resizable GUI sports five knobs, plus metering for the input and output, but as two of the knobs set the input and output levels, there are only three that are used to tweak the effect itself: Sat%, Cure and Sub.

Sat% adds saturation, but only to very low frequencies, so its effect is more to compress and enrich rather than to add obvious dirt. It works in parallel with the sub generator. Sub simply regulates the level of the sub component that's being added back into the signal path, which leaves that large and enigmatic Cure knob in the middle of the window. The manual says rather vaguely that it provides 'Frequency solving of your bass', so I had to resort again to a spectrum analyser. From what I could see, it shapes the added sub-bass component and reduces the level of extremely low (sub-sub?) frequencies that might otherwise induce a panic attack in your speakers. A call to the designer confirmed that it helps tame what's going on below 40Hz, but that it also has some effect on the harmonic structure.

I really like the way the saturation section helps to beef things up without compromising the clarity of the sound.

The 'how does it sound?' question rather depends on the frequency range of your listening system, as the synthesized frequencies that are added will be below the range of some smaller speakers — so you may have to resort to headphones and meters to find out what's really going on. Unless the sound being processed is pretty deep-sounding to begin with, little or nothing seems to be added, so this really is a treatment for kicks and bass instruments.

Those caveats aside, though, SubBass Doctor 808 produces very smooth-sounding, natural results, and I really like the way the saturation section helps to beef things up without compromising the overall sense of clarity in the sound. By combining the Sat and Sub processes, you can add serious weight to bass sounds and, unlike some other sub processors I've tried, the control range prevents you from adding too much or processing frequencies that are best left alone. That being the case, it's pretty difficult to make this plug‑in sound bad and those creating EDM for reproduction on club sound systems will find a lot to like here. The plug‑in comes with a set of presets, of course, but with so few controls you barely need them.


£52 including VAT.