Subharmonic generators have been around for years, going way back to the original hardware – the dbx 120A. The problem with this and many plugins that followed is that they generated a sub signal that was out-of-phase so that it sometimes felt detached from the original signal. Modern subharmonic plugins are much better at this, especially the latest from Leapwing Audio called RootOne.
Relying on an analysis-synthesis algorithm, RootOne uses pitch-detection rather than the pitch-shifting used in early sub generators. That means it can generate a clean, phase-aligned subharmonic signal that sounds like it’s supposed to be there rather than feel tacked on.
RootOne consists of 3 main subharmonics controls called Sub (36Hz), Thump (72Hz), and Punch (144Hz). These is augmented by a Saturation control. You can also blend its output with the original signal thanks to the Original control, and there’s an Output control for final gain staging since the signal will be inevitably be hotter.
The subharmonics controls are actually looking at the part of the signal that is an octave above in order to generate the sub frequency. For instance, the 36Hz control looks to see if there’s any 72Hz in the signal in order to generate the lower frequency. Likewise for Thump and Punch.
All controls are augmented with additional parameters below each virtual fader. These include Drive, Dynamics, and Decay. Saturation also has Drive, as well as a Color control and Low Pass filter as well. Each band can also be soloed from the S control beneath the fader so you can better hear what it’s doing.
This is another of the new generation of plugins that’s fairly easy to use, but can also be endlessly tweaked if you want or need to. If you just stay with the main Subharmonics and Saturation controls, you can easily get what you want in short order. The parameter controls on the bottom of the plug take everything a step further.
RootOne is compatible with most computer platforms and formats, being available for Mac OSX (10.10+), Windows 8, 10 (64-bit only), and in AAX-Native, VST, VST3 and AU plugin formats.
Leapwing Audio RootOne costs $149 and there’s a free fully functional 30 day trial download available. You can find out more here, or watch the video below (don’t listen on computer speakers or you won’t hear what it’s doing).