Subpac


#1

http://thesubpac.com

Anyone using one of these? I’ve been doing some serious upgrading to my monitoring setup, and am thinking about putting in an order for the S2. By all accounts this seems to be a far more accurate method of checking your low end than using a subwoofer, especially if your room is not perfect, but I’m curious if anyone here has one and can testify to its effectiveness as a mixing tool.

Part of me want to hold out for the mobile version since I usually go from sitting to standing while I jam, but it sounds like the S2 is overall more effective for providing coverage (and thus feedback about your low end)…maybe they will come out with an M2 that improves upon the original one. Anyhow, any users who care to share their experiences?


Subpac S2 - Gimmick or Worthwhile
#2

I have a friend who really likes his, but I can’t imagine actually wearing something like that when listening to or making music. I’m curious how good the intended effect is supposed to be.


#3

I’m using an S2.
Bottom line: I absolutely love it. I will never mix without it from now on. Solves a bunch of problems at once.

Caveat: Not completely perfect, but damn close. When I say that, I mean that I wish the attack time was just a tiny bit faster (but we’re talking like single digit milliseconds here). It’s not perfectly linear through it’s range, but honestly it’s only like two notes through its range that have slightly more resonance than the rest. Really can’t complain.

I’ve got the combined issues of 1) no sub, 2) the lady is not keen on sound treating the room, 3) the room is square and is all hard surfaces, and 4) hearing loss, esp. in the low end. The subpac takes care of all these issues at once. I could immediately “hear” the problems areas in the low end of my previously mixed tracks, and could dial in the fixes quickly and accurately. Huge improvement. It’s boss at helping you mix tighter and funkier, even at nice low monitoring levels. Very accurate overall. The first thing I did was to put a pure sine generator through it, testing all the frequencies. Mostly spot-on, a couple frequencies have a bit more resonance, as I mentioned. I wish the cut-off was a bit less sharp, but it’s still pretty smooth overall. It’s accurate to extremely low Hz (I mean really low).

I can’t even imagine how much money this investment has saved me. Plus, I’ll never get angry neighbors knocking on the door. Only problem is, as others have mentioned, that listening without it now makes everything sound weak to my ears (body?)


#4

Im also very interested in what people have to say about the Subpac.
I suffer from hearing loss and have a hard time hearing my the lower end content in my tracks.
I try not to let my loss of hearing deter me from doing what I love but Bass is a huge problem for me.
Perhaps I will have to check out the Subpac.


#5

Zac-Thanks for your review. Pretty sure I’m going to do this.
How long are the power and audio cables? Part of my only lingering hesitation is being tethered to the chair, as I can see some potential disasters coming as a result.


#6

Oh man. Short, unfortunately. You can get a longer audio connect cable obviously, but the power cable is disappointingly short. Keep in mind that it has a battery and can run for a good long session without the power cable attached though. I guess you could splice a segment of power cord too, to make it longer, though chopping up wires isn’t always fun…


#7

Subpac S2 owner here, have had it over the past 3 months and worked on a few tracks with it for a label, my $0.02:

It’s absolutely bad ass - my reasons for purchasing one:

1.) Architectural issues in the space I produce music makes bass treatment pointless, my room mode is just shot to hell no matter what I do.

2.) Lowering my listening levels and thus protecting my hearing.

3.) Detailed physical feedback while doing sidechain compression adjustments, sculpting bass and kick sounds, and EQing within its designated range (5hz-130hz). Messing around with the RYTM on this thing is a genuine joy.

Overall, I was really pleased and even surprised at how tactile the bass response was simply in terms of articulation. This isn’t exactly a Nintendo 64 rumble pack for your chair, it’s a legitimately useful tool which not only provides physical feedback similar to what you come across on larger sound systems, but also engages your body on another sensory level while you’re working on music. If something is clashing, or feels muddy, you also feel that too - and you can gauge how well something is balanced by how pronounced and separated the vibrations are. The fact it lasts a really long time (like close to 5 or 6 hours sometimes for me on a single battery charge) is really nice. I leave it plugged in overnight and when I get home from work the next day, it’s ready to go again without having to leave it plugged in the entire time.

A word of advice - you NEED to calibrate and dial in the right vibration amount though - a good volume to vibration ratio is key to get the best results from the S2, too much vibration and you’re really missing half the point of it (plus it starts to feel flabby and “dead-woofer-ish”). I barely crank the vibration setting on my S2 past ~20% and that is plenty for me, I can then get even more granular with its vibration feedback by using the secondary headphone output level out on my Mackie BigKnob (which its connected to).

Also, playing games like Grand Theft Auto and Burnout is an awesome experience with the S2. You might even get a murder-boner during explosions and gunfire. :+1:


#8

@ Em-mohv: Well said. I keep mine at about 9 o’clock permanently, and just adjust the output to it dependent on how loud my main monitors are. Less is more with this thing.


#9

Very much so, I noticed that over time even the lower settings feel like they hit hard once your body is given enough time to adjust to it (for me, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour).

Also for what its worth, I used the power cable from an Apple TV to massively extend the reach of the power adapter. I too found that the length of the provided power cable was disappointingly short, dare I say even stubby. Minor nag, but thankfully it can be corrected fairly easily.


#10

I’m waiting for the Subpac U1 underpants. Then I can really get some work done.


#11

Very much so, I noticed that over time even the lower settings feel like they hit hard once your body is given enough time to adjust to it (for me, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour).

Also for what its worth, I used the power cable from an Apple TV to massively extend the reach of the power adapter. I too found that the length of the provided power cable was disappointingly short, dare I say even stubby. Minor nag, but thankfully it can be corrected fairly easily.[/quote]
That’s good to hear about the power cable. If I can attach longer power and audio cables to it I can get past being tethered. I can’t help but wonder if they will end up coming out with an M2 soon tho that addresses all the limitations of the M1.

Of course, the S2 does have Bluetooth as well. Does using the BT interfere with routing audio through your interface? I’m on a Mac and could create an aggregate device, but I’m not sure that can be done with Bluetooth as well. Even so, it seems like there might be too many latency/phase issues with trying to mix when using BT.

Of course, I was all set to put down my money, and there was a SNAFU with payroll and I won’t get paid until tonight, so I’ve got a little more time to debate on this.


#12

Very much so, I noticed that over time even the lower settings feel like they hit hard once your body is given enough time to adjust to it (for me, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour).

Also for what its worth, I used the power cable from an Apple TV to massively extend the reach of the power adapter. I too found that the length of the provided power cable was disappointingly short, dare I say even stubby. Minor nag, but thankfully it can be corrected fairly easily.[/quote]
That’s good to hear about the power cable. If I can attach longer power and audio cables to it I can get past being tethered. I can’t help but wonder if they will end up coming out with an M2 soon tho that addresses all the limitations of the M1.

Of course, the S2 does have Bluetooth as well. Does using the BT interfere with routing audio through your interface? I’m on a Mac and could create an aggregate device, but I’m not sure that can be done with Bluetooth as well. Even so, it seems like there might be too many latency/phase issues with trying to mix when using BT.

Of course, I was all set to put down my money, and there was a SNAFU with payroll and I won’t get paid until tonight, so I’ve got a little more time to debate on this.[/quote]

I honestly dont recommend using BT when using the S2 for production, they state on their site as well that they advise against this due to latency issues. Personally, I use the BT feature when syncing it to other less critical stuff, like listening from my phone or connecting it to consoles. For production, I personally have it configured where the main outputs from my MOTU Ultralite MK3 feed into an input on my Mackie BigKnob, and that has 2 headphone outputs: one being for my headphones, the other as a line in to my Subpac. Since there are volume knobs for both headphone outputs, it makes dialing in and calibrating the Subpac very easy. A used Mackie BigKnob set me back $100 [used] but was well worth simplifying the configuration and adding more granular control over the right ratio of volume and vibration.


#13

Fortunately, my interface (Focusrite Saffire Pro 40) has two separate headphone outputs, so I can have a dedicated one for the Subpac, but I can see why the Big Knob would be useful, and I’ve read of a few people on Gearslutz using the Presonus Monitor Station for a similar purpose.

I’ve read about latency using the Bluetooth connection, so I wouldn’t want to rely on it, but because of the way my gear is arranged in my studio, it would by nice to have the option so I could disconnect when working with a machine that’s further away from my interface-for example, my Monomachine is on the very end of a long desk, and it would be nice to go wireless if I wanted to work on sound design and check the low end of a bass part on the Mono without having a few feet of cabling attached to my chair. I could put up with a little latency in that case, since a little latency in that kind of situation might be tolerable and not as critical as the arrangement and mixing stages of production. However, if there are conflicts with trying to use both Bluetooth and your interface together, it’s a non-issue because I need to keep my interface and monitors in the mix.


#14

Finally decided to get one, and since there was no pre-order wait from DJ Tech Tools, I should have it later this week. I’ll be sure to report my thoughts once I receive it.


#15

It’s like the salvation of Atlas in cool flat-earth form.
If it weren’t for artificial scar(e)city,
I would probably get a second one.



#16

any further testimonies?

like many of the people above, I have a room that is untreated and a family that I need to keep happy. I do have a sub, but I find that I rarely use it and on top of that I feel like it’s not an accurate representation of my low-end.

I’m looking into getting the S2 model.


#17

I didn’t carefully study how accurate they are, but I strapped one on at a friends house once and I felt like I was at a club in the city with huge bass bins… :smile:

You can feel it in your body… Not sure about accuracy but it’s definitely an enjoyable experience that lets you really feel the music…


#18

i have one and it’s amazing. well well worth the money.


#19

i’ve been using my headphones 80% of the time lately, so i went ahead and pulled the trigger.

they’re currently on sale for $199 if anyone else is interested


#20

Hi,
I’m considering getting a Subpac S2. There’s a 6 week waiting list and 30 day money back guarantee so I can try it all out in time, but . . .

I was wondering if anyone users one regularly to get those lows in order.

Any feedback would be useful.

Cheers all.