Plugin Alliance has released the Brainworx bx_subsynth, which is a processing plugin that they have built around the digital heart and soul of the (discontinued) dbx 120XP Subharmonic Synthesiser, using Brainworx’s M/S (Mid-Side) matrix technology to control the stereo field and add sub, punch, and saturation to sounds.
Inspired by subharmonic synthesis, Brainworx began by modelling the legendary dbx 120XP Subharmonic Synthesizer’s Waveform ModelingTM engine, which generates discrete bass frequencies one octave below whatever is fed into it. But rather than just emulating what had gone before, Brainworx took to improving the feature set of the original processor.
So how, exactly, does bx_subsynth do what it does? Brinworx designed bx_subsynth to generate subharmonics in up to three discrete frequency bands verses the original hardware’s two, by adding a higher (56-80 Hz) Synthesised Frequency bass band for resynthesis — searching for the dominant frequency in the range of approximately 112-160Hz to synthesise a sub-octave from it enabling it to be used on a much wider variety of instruments, including snare drum and acoustic guitar.
The Tight Punch control, which is a 6th-order resonant Butterworth high-pass filter at the input that can be used with or without the subharmonics summed in.
Edge processing permits selecting from two modes of operation — Smooth and Harsh — that compress and saturate tracks.
Moving onto to on stereo imaging, you can choose to process only the mid channel or both left and right channels, collapse the processed bass to super-tight mono, and stretch the stereo image for mile-wide mixing.
Brainworx tell us that bass EQ cannot do what bx_subsynth does. Discrete frequencies generated by bx_subsynth designed to create more space across the bass frequency band for other instruments. Moreover, they say that EQs cannot boost bass in a thin track that is lacking in bottom end to start with, whereas bx_subsynth does not just boost bass, but also adds new bottom end!.
Unlike psychoacoustic bass processors that are designed to trick the human brain into hearing ‘phantom’ subharmonics, bx_subsynth is designed to add real sub-bass.
bx_subsynth has been designed as a tool that can be applied to almost anything...
- Retune drum tracks by dialling in higher subharmonics for rack toms and lower ones for the floor tom to create colossal drum fills;
- Boost different subharmonics on a kick drum and bass guitar to separate their respective sounds in the mix for increased clarity and punch;
- Add subterranean thunder to sustained left-hand octaves on piano tracks;
- Automatically generate a perfectly synchronised bass line from the bottom strings played on an arpeggiated acoustic guitar track — two knob twists are all it takes to focus the bass line’s image dead-centre and massively widen the guitar’s stereo image by up to 400%!
- Remastering engineers can use bx_subsynth to add a fat bottom end to thin vinyl masters and old recordings made on narrow-gauge multitrack tape recorders.
- Sound designers can pump up weak cinematic effects with terrifying lows.