For fans of dub, there’s just nothing like a delay loop, with feedback cranked up and echoes going going going going going going going . . . okay, you get the idea. Our friends at Audio Damage have just created a US$39.95 plugin that gives you all you need for trippy dub effects:

Audio Damage Dubstation Plugin (Windows VST; Mac AU/VST)

The best part is the cell-shaded interface; it looks fantastic. And Dubstation covers all the basics: syncable dub echoes (on/off switch), reverse, low-cut filter, and analog-style repitching of echoes. I’ve really enjoyed Audio Damage’s work in the past: clean interfaces, some character to the sound (I’m still a fan of their “dark” reverb), and MIDI learn in the VST plugs.

Does this replace Logic Pro’s fantastic tape delay? No way. But, it’s also $960 cheaper and can run in Ableton Live, so sign me up!

More on dub:

Wikipedia on Dub

History of the guys who didn’t use VST: Check out BBC’s excellent history of Dub, including its rightful ruler King Tubby. (See also BBC’s King Tubby tribute.) Audio samples included. You’ll also find a zillion links at, and, yes, there is a Dub blog.

Thievery Corporation are among my favorite electronic artists right now; they’re a superb example of how you can take the influence of genres like Dub and make it your own. Their weapon of choice, not incidentally, for its deep library of sound design effects: Apple’s Logic Pro.

Of course, you’d better throw some extra tricks in there, because the best dub effects come straight from a tape recorder: the effect was acheived by taking advantage of the gap between the play head and the record head on a tape deck; the dubber literally fed the output signal back into the input of the tape to create endless loops. The only way to manipulate the length of that delay was to change the speed of the recorder, thus repitching the sound. With digital tools at our disposal, it seems only right to think up new twists with the technology we’ve got now.

Updated: As readers have pointed out, I flubbed this post as far as pointing to more music. Sorry, gang — the Thievery Corporation reference is just an example of someone taking the techniques of dub and applying it to genre-mixed sounds. Oh, and you can easily tell that they’re using Logic Pro.

I should have added links to Basic Channel, and the rich selection at Hard Wax of Berlin. Just make sure you have a turntable; those records do get mighty scratched up when you try to cram them into a CD player, let me tell you.

  • Guest

    :p Thievery Corporation?
    Dude, get with the Rhythm and Sound/Basic Channel/Chain Reaction axis.

  • Guest

    I second that!

  • Guest

    three in a row

  • Guest

    Please someone tell me i haven't found a person that actually _likes_ Thievery Corporation?!?! dead music for empty men dying of boredom. It's like they've meticulously gone through their music looking for anything with personality, depth, spirit or originality, and then taken them out and replaced it all with predictable riffs and pointless sickening mediocrity. Entirely forgettable. what's the point? In the history of Dub there are so many other visionaries, explorers and legends worth learning from!

  • Guest

    Yeah, Peter, I don't mean to dis on your taste, but I have to agree with the last one. There are a lot of artists who are much more worthy of picking out for their appropriation of dub. It's such an extensive topic because it's a production technique that can be reinvented endlessly and has been.
    Moritz Von Oswald and Mark Ernestus (I mentioned above) are a perfect example by taking Detroit techno and mixing it with jamaican dub production techniques and basically inventing a new genre that is still being expanded today. In the early 90s, for electronic music, the Orb (with Thomas Fehlmann) as one of numerous examples definitely had a significant dub element.
    In the rock arena, you can go back to "Metal Box" by Public Image Limited from the late 70s. Basically, those guys were listening to dub on pirate radio stations in the UK and it became a important influence on their work. This follows through to the whole post-rock movement of the 90s as well.

  • admin

    No, I'll concur with those recommendations.

    My mention of Thievery Corp was only as guys using these techniques with software, with — I would argue — some success. I'm not a big fan, necessarily, but I think the latest album has matured. And I would never hold them up as an example of dub per se, just people mixing it with other techniques. But for people applying these techniques to, well, plugins, they certainly come to mind.

    That said, I agree, on artistic merit the other folks deserve credit.

    I'll admit, I did this entry in a hurry, and didn't think it through. But I'm glad I did, anyway — it started an interesting discussion.

    Anyway, most of my listening tends toward the really old stuff — so I'm trying to think about how you could make this effect sound radically different, which for me will probably mean chaining it into some digital effects. I'll get back to you. It won't sound like TC, or the Orb.


  • Guest

    I think Mark Stewart (Pop Group, etc)and Adrian Sherwood (On-U) were pretty big innovators in dub advancement. Obviously the hard work was done previously.. but they took it somewhere else. Very else in the case of Mark Stewart.

  • Serge

    Thievery Corporation are excellent at what they do. They never claimed to be the next King Tubby. Their sound is a hybrid of various styles; dub is just one influence and ingredient in the recipe.