DUBturbo is announcing a forthcoming version of their beat making software by releasing a set of freeware instruments and effects in VST plugin format for Windows. Following this release, a fully refurbished DAW version of the DUBturbo is scheduled for release in 2015.
I know what you’re thinking. I’ve seen all of those ridiculous DUBturbo promo videos which were all over the place back in the day and the whole thing still looks like a bad joke. But I believe that people deserve a second chance and these guys seem to be getting on the right track, at least judging by their announcements for 2015.
They’ve admitted that their marketing campaign was a disaster. They’ve announced a new version of DUBturbo which won’t be based on Flash. The new version will support most of the features which are expected from a modern DAW. And this definitely looks interesting, at least on paper.
Of course, it’s possible that we will just get another ridiculous marketing campaign and a subpar piece of software from them. But then again, these guys might pleasantly surprise us, too. We’ll have to wait and see!
Anyways, let’s get back to the topic. At the moment, we have five free DUBturbo flavored plugins to choose from:
- SINDRONE (a polyphonic synthesizer aimed at EDM producers)
- SAMPLOID 2.0 (a free sampler instrument)
- ROMPLOID (a free rompler instrument based on SAMPLOID)
- SAMPLOID SFZ BETA (a beta version of a SFZ sample player based on SAMPLOID)
- EQTURBO (a mastering EQ)
These plugins are offered for free download at the moment, although there’s a possibility that this offer will end once the new version of DUBturbo is released. I’m not sure whether this means that the plugins will become commercial products, or if they will be completely removed from the website.
Anyways, I’ve watched the demo videos and I’ve tested these plugins in order to write a very brief review, just to give you a basic idea of what they’re all about. Here are my first impressions! Again – this is just a basic review, based on a rather brief test.
It’s obvious that a decent amount of work went into making these plugins. Even though they’re SynthMaker creations (and mostly based on stock SM modules, if not completely), these plugins are still well thought out and they definitely make sense in terms of features and functionality. I also like the design. Not done completely to my taste, but some of the plugins (especially EQTURBO) look quite nice.
I was expecting the most out of SAMPLOID SFZ, however I have to say that I was quite pleasantly surprised by ROMPLOID. It’s a fun little rompler instrument, packing a neat factory collection of samples for hip hop producers. It features drums, bass sounds, brass, synthesizers, and most of these sound absolutely great. Definitely a nice surprise!
I’m also surprised by how feature-packed these plugins are, especially SAMPLOID. That plugin has tons of sound shaping tools built-in and (although that’s not entirely a good thing, as you’ll see below) it offers quite a lot of flexibility. It also features a subtractive synthesizer which can be layered on top of the sampler (or played on its own).
In terms of sound, these are just average SynthMaker creations. For the record, I don’t have anything against SE/SM plugins in general, but these ones are based on stock SM modules and they sound the same as most SM plugins out there. This is one of the main reasons why I’m not at all impressed by the synthesizer and the EQ. On the other hand, the other three plugins are sample-based, so you generally won’t have that “stock SM” feeling when playing them.
The CPU hit can get quite high. You can prevent this by bypassing the modules which you aren’t using, but things get worse if you fire up multiple instances of a plugin. Also, the plugins are available for 32-bit Windows only, due to the well-known limitations of SynthMaker.
On my machine (I’m using MuLab 5 as the main DAW), these plugins take quite a while to load. The DAW was actually non-responsive for around 20 seconds while loading ROMPLOID. I’m guessing that this happens because the plugin comes pre-loaded with a big amount of samples and it takes some time to load them up.
I’m still seeing traces of ridiculous marketing tactics. For example, the demo video for SAMPLOID 2 is titled “BEST FREE SAMPLER VSTi”. Come on!
In a world where we can choose between free samplers such as TX16Wx and Shortcircuit 1, making that kind of bold statement about a plugin such as SAMPLOID 2 is completely counter-productive. It’s not a terrible plugin and it does have some interesting features, but it’s so damn FAR from being the best free sampler. I mean, you have to show it which of the loaded samples is the longest, so that the other ones won’t have their tails cut off (this is more thoroughly explained in the demo video below). That’s not something you’d expect to see in THE BEST sampler.
I’m not trying to be mean, but let’s be real. If these guys want to improve their image and make something good come out of the new DUBturbo release (and I’d definitely like to see that happen!), they should tone down these silly superlative descriptions and market their products for what they really are.
UPDATE: The title of the video has been changed in the meanwhile. That’s another step in the right direction! I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing some good things from DUBturbo in 2015.
Check out the SAMPLOID 2.0 demo video:
The plugins are available for free download via DUBturbo VSTi (32-bit VST plugin format for Windows, made with SynthMaker).