For the last few months I have worked Subpac’s S2 in a number of different settings. I had been interested in the product since I first saw it debuted a couple years ago, but I could never decide how I felt about it. I remember watching reaction videos of huge artists trying it out for the first time, and as I tried to wrap my head around what the thing even did, there was one question floating around in my mind: is it a gimmick? The short answer is no, it’s not. At all.
When I first busted open my Subpac, my first surprise was how tiny the thing is. It’s only 17 inches (43 cm) tall, and I quickly found myself doubting that something this little could have the earth-shaking output I was expecting. The other thing that threw me off was the control panel – it has merely a button, a knob and 2 1/8th inch inputs. It too is very small, and when I found out that it’s also the battery supply for the entire unit, I expected to find myself hooked into direct power most of the time. Also included in the box was a standard aux cable, a charger, and a couple straps to attach the unit to a chair. I shrugged at how simple it all looked, and got started hooking everything up.
Setting up the subpac is pretty straightforward. You simply route the provided aux from either your computer if your using RCA’s, or from your interface directly into the control control panel. Alternatively you can set it up as a bluetooth device as well (though I found the audio to be a little choppy at times using this). Other than the straps which are a little weird to get on (could have to do with my chair), the setup was very easy and I had the whole unit up and running within 5 minutes. It’s honestly quite comfortable once you get the positioning right, and for the most part I found that I would have no issues just leaving it on the chair 100% of the time. That’s key, because once I turned the thing on I instantly knew I would never want to produce without it again.
I’m so impressed. The Subpac sonically expands what I am able to experience through music in a way that is unexpectedly satisfying. It almost emulates what you would feel in a concert setting with a full on system – that chest thumping bass which makes electronic music such a unique thing to experience live. The difference is clarity. Every vibration is delivered in direct contact to your body at an adjustable level. To me it even feels more accurate than some studio setups I’ve used with a full on subwoofer, it’s just a different experience altogether. I feel like my monitors only provide half of the experience I expect from listening to and/or making music now. There’s a stunning amount of low end content that I outright was not aware of in my mixes, and the Subpac has allowed me to edit these areas with a level of confidence I’m not used to. There’s no guesswork involved anymore. Overall I have nothing but good things to say about the core functionality of this product, it is now an essential component of my studio setup.
The Subpac S2 is a seriously amazing piece of gear. The design is comfortable and portable, the interface is basic and effective, and the battery life is surprisingly impressive. After months of use I find myself rarely reaching for a charger, and I use this thing ALL the time. My main complaint has to be the cables – having your chair directly attached to your system (and to and outlet if the unit is plugged in) can be a true pain in the ass. I’ve had a few close calls from either rotating or moving back my chair and subsequently ripping my interface off of my desk. Overall though, there’s no going back once you have this product. For the price, the S2 is a serious game changer in the studio.
Pros and Cons:
- Powerful, accurate response
- Straightforward setup and use
- Comfortable design
- Surprisingly long battery life (~8hrs)
- Adjustable output
- Bluetooth is a little spotty
- Cables can get reaalllyy fucking annoying
- Straps are a bit awkward on some chairs
Bottom Line: 8.5/10
Subpac Products are available for purchase here