Certain genres not only exist as part of the musical style itself, but also, to a large extent, exist due to the sound design and effects that are incorporated in itself. Reggae, dub, and all its various hybridizations — such as dubstep, dub techno, or jungle — all share a specific sound aesthetic. Chords and rimshots are drenched in reverb and echoes; endless spirals of tape-delayed vocal parts; warmly saturated and crisp drums, all rounded off with a deep, dry bassline. Classic dub-fx established by genre-defining legends such as King Tubby or Lee Scratch Perry are still in high demand.
Obviously, there are a lot of delays, reverbs, and saturation effects out there, but only a few hold up to the appeal and authenticity required for making solid dub-based music. Native Instruments compiled the best and most authentic sounding user made effects, perfectly suited for your next spaced-out dub excursions, all downloadable for free and ready to use within the REAKTOR player.
Combining a vintage mono-synth, tape-delay, reverb, phaser, and flanger, the Juice 3 is an all-in-one dub solution. The synth engine, as well as the effects, are all modeled after their real-life vintage models.
The following sound clip was produced with only using the mono-synth and the built-in effects. The Minimoog emulation is capable of creating fat basses, warm lead sounds, and even three-voice chords, if you use all three oscillators at once and detune them to the desired chord intervals.
Check out Juice 3 here.
Modeled after the iconic Roland RE-201 Tape Delay and Reverb, the Base Echo’s strong point is obviously reverb and delay, which are amazing, of course! But, due to the fact that the sound is being processed through tape, in this case, tape emulation, you can also use its hidden quality as a tape saturator. Even the most standard and dry drums sound amazing when being tweaked correctly with this ensemble.
Check out Base Echo Re-012 here.
Authentic audio degradation
This tape-noise and flutter simulation is legendary by now. At times it even sounds more authentic than the 80s itself. Apart from being an amazing sounding flutter and noise effect, it also has a great sounding compressor and drive.
This sound clip below focuses on the compression and drive potential, perfectly suited for fattening up your production and give it that extra saturation gold.
Check out the VHS Audio Degradation Suite here.
Vintage lo-fi aesthetics
Kim Joris Boström, the author of this ensemble, describes it best in his own words:
“Somewhat all these “tape saturation” plugins are way too subtle… At least when I’m listening to my old tape recordings, they do not sound smooth and warm, they sound rotten and filthy, they’ve got this atmosphere that I like but that I would not be able to recreate.”
Check out Grungelator here.
Channel strip compressor +
This great sounding compressor with additional saturation, reverb, double chorus, limiter function, phase analyzer, EQ, and stereo image processing is the perfect tool for fattening up your subs and enhancing the low-ends. Due to the extra effect features, it is a versatile tool on individual tracks as well.
Check out Channel Strip QC05 here.
Providing tons of modulation possibilities, the WonderEcho is much more than just a simple tape/ping-pong-delay. Added to the classic control possibilities a good delay offers, WonderEcho goes much further, including a built-in groove modulation section, a filter control-matrix, stereo expander tool, EQ-filter, and even a ducking function, all laid-out for the grooviest echo excursions possible. The excellent sound and deep modulation options almost make it an instrument itself.
Check out WonderEcho here.
Prismic multi-layer dubs
Extremely versatile and endless modulation possibilities. The ensemble offers “4 input taps, 2 stereo delay lines, individual pan position, saturation effect, extreme modulation amount for pitch shift effects” and more. Check out the sound clip for referencing, and start your own prismatic multitap-delay explorations.
Check out 4 taps 2 lines one earth V2.0 here.
Updated surf king
For very analogue and dub-sounding spring reverbs with Reaktor Blocks, you need the Surf King. An update to the 2007-built original Surf King ensemble by Micheal Barker, the Updated Surf King is capable of getting that signature, moist sounding spring reverb that sounds great on snare-drums and tom-hits.
Check out the Surf King Spring Box here.
Get that spring reverb on the metallic side of the sound spectrum, perfectly suited for outsider dub experiments. By dragging up and down the 3D-animated spring, you can determine the spring’s actual length and drastically change the character of the reverb. Sounds great on drums but also works with pads and chords, adding that extra myth.
Check out Springy here.