What's up Bass Campers, this week I wanted to share my thoughts on the SUBPAC S2 (2019 Edition). The name is kind of misleading since the 2019 now screams old, but it is the latest model you can buy. I recently treated myself to one of these bad boys after drooling over it for some time, and let me tell you...BEST DECISION EVER.
Now before I got any further, I want say that I AM NOT affiliated with SUBPAC in any way, shape or form. Not yet at least. I am just a super stoked customer who now gets free back massages via scrolling through my 808s folder.
If you're thinking about getting one search around for a coupon code, they had a 15% code floating around when I purchased mine and knocked off like $45 so definitely worth spending some time searching.
So now that's out of the way, let me give you a list of my Pros and Cons. I didn't find much online when I was doing research around this thing, so I hope this provides a little more insight into those of you thinking to buy. There ARE some annoying components to this thing, but they definitely aren't deal breakers for me.
1) Stay Friends With Your Neighbors: For producers with studios that share walls or ceilings with others that don't want to hear your music let alone FEEL it, this is a perfect solve to finally monitor your Sub Bass.
2) Totally Immersive: I used to prefer to produce on my monitors so I could feel the punches of the kicks and subs, you know, the good stuff. But now I prefer to wear headphones in conjunction with the SUBPAC. It's a totally immersive experience and I find myself dying to get to my computer during the day to go back in.
3) Better Mixes without the Car Tests: Previously, if I wanted to check if a song really had the feel I was looking for, I would carefully meter the Sub Bass level against a reference track, then when things felt ok in the headphones I'd run to my car to check. We've all been there (and still are). With this thing though, I'm finding I can make much better production decisions in the early stages of track creation. If you bring in a kick that doesn't sit well with your sub, you'll know before you even drag it in your timeline just by feeling it on your back. It's really incredible.
4) Works with Nearly Any Setup: This was something I was concerned about before buying...will this work with my Apollo Twin?? Replace "Apollo Twin" with any interface (or lack of one) and the answer is yes. Its a simple setup really, let me quickly explain. The SUBPAC devices needs 2 things: Power and Audio Input. The Power is self explanatory, you have to plug it in to charge or just keep it plugged in like I do. The Audio Input comes from a simple 1/8 aux cable that comes with the SUBPAC. The only tricky part is if you have an interface with 1/4 inch outputs (most interfaces do), you'll need either a 1/8 to 1/4 converter OR opt for a specialized 1/8 inch to 1/4 aux cord. I found the cord that came with the SUBPAC to be too short, and wanted something closer to 10 feet.
Do the cords hang off your chairs? Yep. Here come the cons.
1) Dangling Cords: In a perfect world, this thing would just live in your chair and not have cords to have to navigate around. I'm sure they've thought about a Bluetooth type of input, but the reality is for the company to make a product to be compatible with everyone's setup, cords have to be involved. Once I felt this thing in action I didn't care.
2) Not the Most Ergonomic: How comfortable or uncomfortable the SUBPAC is will depend on what type of chair you are using. But regardless, you are essentially strapping a Subwoofer to your chair and leaning back on it. If you have back pain any posture related issues, I'd just advise to be careful sitting hours on end with this thing prodding into your back. Again, still not a deal breaker for me. But as someone with back pain myself, I am just much more conscious of taking breaks to stand up and walk around now. Something to think about.
3) You Can't Sync to Headphone AND Monitor levels (Some Audio Interface users): This may be confusing, so let me explain. The SUBPAC has one 1/8 inch Audio Input and one 1/8 Audio Output. You HAVE to run something into the Audio Input. This can be the signal from your headphone jack on your computer or your interface, or it could be the Line Out where you'd connect a pair of monitors. Whatever you choose, chances are your interface has a different volume knob for your Monitor Output and your Headphone Output. If it only has one, then disregard this point. But if you're like me and have an Apollo Twin or something like it, whatever you choose to run into SUBPAC as input will control its volume. For example, if you run it from the headphone jack, when you turn up your monitors the SUBPAC level will not rise with them. You'll have to toggle back and turn of the headphone level.
NOTE: The SUBPAC does have a headphone out, so ideally you could run your Monitor Output into it as the Audio Input, then plug your headphones into the SUBPAC Audio Output. For me I found this solution to not only involve one more cord hanging around my chair, but also I'd rather be running my headphones from my interface for better sound quality.
Nothing is ever perfect, and I think the team over at SUBPAC did a great job on this thing. I am SOOO happy to have sub bass back in my studio so you could even throw a few more cons at me and you'd probably still find this thing strapped on my chair. I say do yourself a favor and grab one of these things. If you haven't produced on a sub before, you're in for a treat!!
Thanks for reading! If you have any questions regarding my experience with the SUBPAC S2, production related questions, or just want to say hi, shoot me a DM on the socials (@drkstdwn everywhere)