Alborosie Dub Station is a new plug-in from Audiothing that combines three different effects based on actual hardware used by legendary dub producer King Tubby aka Osbourne Ruddick in his Kingston, Jamaica studio during the 1970s.
Present-day dubmeister Alborosie (Alberto D'Ascola) has his own personal collection of vintage recording equipment which includes the gear that was modelled to recreate the boinging spring reverbs, tape delays and notch filters of Tubby's production style.
...and very true to the original sound it is.
Let's start with the Filter Man - a passive high-pass filter with eleven frequency bands from 70Hz to 7.5KHz. The story is that King Tubby modified an Altec step filter to create his own “Big Knob” which he would use rhythmically in his mixes, switching the filter from one band to another, commonly on the horns, rimshots or guitar chops, in combination with reverbs and echoes. One great thing about the Dub Station is that all the parameters can be automated in your DAW to create dub masterpieces that Tubby wouldn't have had enough limbs to do.
Filter Man has two frequency modes – Original and Measured. These give slightly different frequency bands as you rotate the dial and Alborosie himself favours the Measured option as he finds it smoother on the high end.
Playing with the Impedance varies the overall resonance of the filter so there is quite a range of effects you can introduce using this part of the Dub Station in conjunction with the on-board reverb and delay or other effects from your DAW.
Next up we have the Echowuk. Before the Roland Space Echo or the WEM Copicat tape delays studios used to employ a 2-track tape machine in order to create delays and the Dub Station has a dedicated delay section modelled on King Tubby's original MCI stereo tape machine.
As with most digital delays you can sync this to your tracks BPM or dial in the rate of delay in milliseconds. I often find for a more authentic feel I switch out the sync and adjust the rate manually, so the delays are not exactly on the grid and decay more naturally.
The send button is useful if you want to increase the feedback to a high level and then quickly cut any signal from going to the delay, a common effect in dub. You can also cut the power switch to achieve a similar effect, but with the delay continuing to build so you can switch it back in at a later point with the feedback still building.
Again all these parameters can be automated.
An analogue style VU meter in the centre lets you check your levels and over on the right of the unit are basic input and output gain, dry/wet mix and that thing all analogue repro plug-ins now seem to feature: the hiss control. If you want to sound properly authentic, crank this one right up.
Finally we have a simple spring reverb, the Spring Bling. This is modelled on a Fairchild Spring Reverb modified by the maestro himself and has a simple gain control and on/off function. These kind of reverbs were integral to the sound of dub, including that classic “thunder” sound created by hitting the old drainpipe of the original Great British Spring Reverb to wobble the internal springs.
Value For Money
At the time of writing it's available from Plugin Boutique for 79 euros reduced from 129 so if you're in the market for something to really enhance your dub productions now is the time to grab it. I had already spent more on the Arturia Delay Tape 201 and Rev Spring 636 so if I could rewind time I would definitely have gone for the Dub Station which would have cost less as well as having the very authentic sounding filter section to boot.
Even if you're not particularly into dub FX I'd say it would be a useful addition to any producer's toolkit, it's versatile, easy-to-use and great to play around with. There are some fantastic pre-sets too, which really show its full range.
Personally I love this plug-in. It does stuff I've been trying to re-create for years using automated EQs, delays and even that crappy old Spring reverb setting you used to get in Cubase – and does it all way more authentically. It's very intuitive and easy to use, simple to automate and very versatile. You can set it up however you like in your DAW – on its own effects buss, in parallel, on individual tracks, as part of an effects chain and so on.
What Do You Think ?
If you are not ready to buy this yet grab the demo and see what you think and then let us know in the comments section.
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