SubBoomBass II from Rob Papen – A Preview

Rob Papen SubBoomBass has been providing low end ammunition and earthshaking basses to musicians everywhere for almost a decade. It was about time one of the hardest working synth developers in the industry gave it some TLC right? Whilst SubBoomBass is still amazing, V2.0 is definitely going to be turning heads (and rattling floors) with it’s new GUI, presets and toys.

If it ain’t broke…

Don’t fix it. SubBoomBass II does the same job as SubBoomBass, only it’s had a healthy dose of attitude and put it’s big boy shoes on. If you want pads, look elsewhere. If you want mellotrons, look elsewhere. If you want high frequency leads… You get the picture. Part of the key to SubBoomBass being such a success was the fact it was easy to handle, made even easier with ‘Easy Mode’. SubBoomBass II is following in the footsteps of the same philosophy. Two oscillators, filter section, ADSR, FX, Sequencer. If you’re looking for the complex patching options in MASSIVE or SERUM, then you’re going to be disappointed. What it will give you though, is the fattest, lowest, most aggressive, room wrecking basses you’ve ever heard.

SubBoomBass II
SubBoomBass II

Spring cleaning – a bright and shiny interface

Let’s be honest, the SubBoomBass interface wasn’t cluttered. It was easy to navigate and if you absolutely had to, you could hit the easy mode button and reduce it to a mean handful of macro controls. Looking at the SubBoomBass II GUI, I don’t understand how I could have lived with the comparatively busy V1 interface! Somehow the panels are cleaner than ever, and yet they take up slightly less space (to fit in the new toy, which we’ll get to in a second). The graphics have been cleaned up to make SubBoomBass II a no nonsense one stop shop for all of your bass needs.

SubBoomBass II Easy Page
The SubBoomBass II ‘Easy Page’


The new toys – more than your bassic synth

So let us get to the good stuff. New toys. The biggest question is obviously – ‘what the hell is that black box in the top left?’. Well my dear reader, that’s a good question. The XY pad ties SubBoomBass to the developments we’ve seen in Robs’ Predator II, it also gives another expressive outlet. It can be patched to control a whole host of different things – check out the screenshot. The step sequencer has been upgraded to hold 4 patterns now, instead of just one. This means that recalling song sections is easy, both in production and playing live. The usability of the sequencer has had some upgrades with workflow optimisations for the controls, and a few other options. Oscillator 2 now has a choice of distortions to apply, which isn’t a huge addition (but it’s certainly a nice one)!

SubBoomBass II XY Pad Pattern
XY Pad Pattern
SubBoomBass II XY Pad Controls
XY Pad Controls

Stringing you along – a new synthesis engine

One thing that’s been trendy (and I’ve been very happy with) is the re-emergence of retro and crazy string sounds. My first impression is summed up by a gasp, and then ‘YES, PLEASE, THANK YOU!’. The cool thing about the presets is that they give a very realistic pluck sound, with a nice glide setting between notes played ‘legato’. There is a satisfaction with having a really good ‘plucked’ synth bass holding the low end of a track down. These dedicated string oscillators really give the right vibe to get ahead of the curve.

SubBoomBass II String Oscillators
The String Oscillators


It’s sampley mad…

Rob has been spied with a whole host of ridiculous and crazy items. More worryingly than that, someone gave him a microphone as well… All in all, you’re in for a treat. SubBoomBass II comes equipped with some, lets say, left field samples for your bass needs, and I’m expecting great things (especially with the added XY pad, and other toys). This edition of SubBoomBass is definitely going to find a wider audience -SubBoomBass will definitely blur the lines between the commercial and avant-garde. These samples are used as waveforms, and manipulated by both oscillators.

SubBoomBass II Sample Waveforms
Sample Waveform Options

What more can we tell you? SubBoomBass 2 is available from today and there’s an upgrade path from V1 to V2 for just £33.95. I’m keen to get SubBoomBass II into my next round of projects; I urge you to do the same. Here’s an introduction video from the synth genius himself…


Posted by Garrick Wareham

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