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Notable Productions

Notable Productions

DBX 500 Boom Disco Sub-hamonic synthesizer


DBX 500 Boom Disco Subhamonic synthesizer

Information about how others used this device outside of discoteques.

I also used the dbx 500 Subharmonic Synthesizer on the bass for Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes the Hotstepper" and "Nappy Heads" remix for The Fugees, both of which was produced by Salaam Remi @SaLaAMReMi. More recently I used the dbx 500 on the Mack Wilds "NY A Love Story" album.

Here's @MACKWILDS video single "Own It":

The dbx 500 Subharmonic Synthesizer or "Boom Box" as it was sometimes called is an effects box that does only one thing but does it extremely well. It synthesizes bass frequencies an octave lower than what's fed into it. The dbx 500 was originally designed to be used on large PA systems in clubs and live performances. It not only extends the low end but gives it a big beefy sound that's unmatched by other units. I originally started using this unit on my PA system with Cerwin Vega "Earthquake" speakers and continued using it in the studio for mixing. The dbx 500 has stereo unbalanced 1/4 inch inputs and outputs. There are two sets of outputs which can be selected with a switch. The main outs carry the direct signal plus the effect and the sub outs carry only the effect.

In the studio I ran the unit mono using one sub out and the unit receives signal from a send or buss. It is then returned to the console on a channel where it is further EQ'd and compressed. The unit only has two controls. First there is a Frequency Boost knob which boosts the level of the fundamental frequency and then there's the Subharmonic Level which determines how much subs is being synthesized by the unit. There's a green LED which lights up when subharmonic synthesis occurs. When using this unit be very careful of the level of the synthesized subs as it can easily blow your speakers. I usually put a limiter on the output of the dbx 500. Dbx also made other "Boom Boxes" such as the dbx 100, 110 and the 120a/120x/xp/x-ds series which has more controls. The dbx 500 was released in 1978 and was produced for only 2 years and is very difficult to find nowadays. The dbx 120A can be purchased at

Here's a link to a site that has information on all the different boxes dbx used to make: