What?? A Rob Papen synth that hasn't been reviewed yet?? Alrighty then, I'll do the honors...
Clean looking and easy to learn. If you're familiar with Predator, you'll know your way around SubBoomBass -- exact same style. Everything is logically laid out where you would think they would be. Clicking on all the mini-windows brings up a pop-up menu listing all the options for that feature....and, like in Predator, there are a lot of them :). On a personal note, I love the urban, graffiti look of the GUI and that orange background color...really has a nice oldskool vibe.
If you're not using the samples and just sticking to the VA waveforms and small number of digital waveforms, the sound is identical to Predator's, assuming you're not using some of the effects that are only in SBB, such as the bass enhancer effect. What I mean to say is, it sounds good :). Predator is one of my favorite synths, both functionally and sonically, and SBB definitely has Predator's sonic mojo. SubBoomBass also has samples. They're intended to be used as building blocks for unigue sounds, so don't expect Kontakt quality there (although I'm sure Rob could make some wicked rompler synths if he wanted to!!). When using these samples in creative ways, you can make very unique basses, pianos, organs, ethnic style polysynths and rythmic effects which cannot be done in any of RP's other products.
Ok...now we're talking :). SBB is advertised as a bass machine, but it's actually quite adept at creating sounds in other categories as well, such as searing leads, emotive pads and intriquing special effects. People say that SBB is "Predator Lite", but that's not entirely true. Yes, it uses the Predator engine and the similarities between the two are obvious when demoing the two side-by-side, however, there are 3 very distinct differences.
1. As I said before, SBB has samples for oscillator choices on top of the usual Saw, Square, Sine, Noise and a few digital waveforms. The samples range from tuned ethnic percussion to abstract textural content.
2. SubBoomBass has a Waveform Sequencer. Predator does not. This option alows the synth to change oscillator waveforms in a rythmic fashion and opens up a slew of possibilities that neither Predator or Blue will give you.
3. SubBoomBass has a bass enhancer in the effects section. Predator does not. I find this effect VERY, VERY handy for creating cone-shattering subs frequencies you can both FEEL and HEAR. Let's see my beloved Predator synth try to do that :).
Features-wise, SBB has one free LFO, a filter LFO, Pitch LFO, one free envelope, a 4 X 4 free modulation matrix, an effects section with it's own special 2 X 2 mod matrix, 2 oscillators (with PWM available), 2 multimode filters, an excellent preset browser (just like the type Predator has).
Honestly, I didn't even bother to read the manual. It's so bang-on easy to use.
A snotload of very good bass and sequence presets. I only knocked of 1 point because of a personal preference...SBB can do so much more than just those types of sounds. But then again, Rob wanted to meet the demand for a quality go-to bass synth, and with SBB, I would have to agree that he certainly pull that off with finesse. While I'm here, I may as well engage in a little shameless self-promotion :)...there's a bank of 40 Rave/Early House presets for SBB here: http://www.teamdnr.net/products/soundsets/underground-revival.
VALUE FOR THE MONEY:
For what you pay, it certainly has more value than the money is worth. It is Rob Papen's lowest-priced product but, like any RP synth, it oozes quality, is feature-rich and sits great in a mix.
Haven't had a crash with it yet nor have I noticed any bugs.