Review: Electronix Submarine

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by coolrunner989, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. So after reading this thread I was interested in purchasing one of these suckers - it seemed like just what I needed. I talked with Osman (the builder/owner) about a week ago and worked it all out.

    Well I got it in the mail today and I am very happy indeed! great packaging, and the first thing I thought was wow this is small! its about 2/3 the size of a boss stompbox, light but solidly-built. You can tell it is handmade - the painting is great, the knobs are smooth the jacks are secure, its all just very well built. I would like to point out that the ID for the power jack (negative center or whatever) is hand-painted on the casing. I think it's a really cool. I opened up the insides and looked but I had no idea what I was looking at so I didnt take a pic. If anybody wants me to I will. The pedal can be powered by either 9V power cable (1-spot, DC brick, etc.) or a 9v battery. It comes with a 9v battery inside, which is handy because you have to unscrew the back cover to replace the battery.

    Here's some pics

    Sound Test

    My Rig is as such:
    Three basses
    MIM Jazz with Symore Duncan pups and Chromes
    Ibanez EDA905 Fretted strung DADGC with Elixers
    Ibanez EDA905 Fretless strung EADG with Chromes

    Boss Tu-2, Boss CE-5, Dunlop 105q, Submarine, then Sansamp PBDDI into the line-in on my macbook, recorded with garage band. A small amount of compression is used on garage band, hardly noticeable.

    Alrighty, where to start.
    The controls are simple - volume knob, tone knob, on/off switch. Big bright yellow LED in the middle lol. Not as bright as my DC brick light, but brighter than any other pedal I have.

    Essentially this beefs up the sound you have without altering it. Each of my basses has a distinct tonal charachteristic to them and this preserved that while adding something "more" to the sound. Clarity, defintion, presense in the lows and low-mids is how I would describe it. Crank the tone knob and you can get more aggressive sounding, tone knob down under 9 o'clock or off and you can get some dub-like lows going on. There is a small amount of hiss with my particular setup if I crank the tone knob, but that is probably just the line-in on my comp, or the nature of the high-frequencies being boosted. With the tone knob at reasonable levels there's no problem, and even at high levels in a band setting you wouldn't hear it.

    well ive made a few clips then i decided to put the sub after my sansamp and see how that sounded, and I like it so im gonna redo the clips.

    they'll get here eventually ;) I gotta eat my newly delivered pizza first

    alrighty, clip time. pardon my poor playing
    Clip 1 - Jazz bass through submarine to the sansamp. First time sub is off, then sub controls are Volume at noon and tone at about 2-3 o'clock, and then I drop the tone almost all the way down to get a rich deep sound.

    Clip 2 Ibanez EDA905F through sub to the sansamp. I mess around with it off, then turn it on with the same settings as clip 1. THen I turn down the tone for a smoooooth sound.

    Clip 3 Jazz bass through sansamp to submarine. I do the riff with the tone knob about 2:30 and then turn it off. Switch to distortion channel on the sansamp (the drive and level knobs cranked, presence about 2 o'clock, blend a little before noon) and then repeat riff with sub on. This is my favorite.

    so in my opinon it doesnt do a whole lot for my tone already, doesnt make me go "wow". BUT it sounds amazing after an OD. It did beef up my low B on my fretless, which is greatly appreciated. I cant wait to try it out with a rat.
    It did do alot for the tone on my EDA905 fretted bass, but I didnt record that little jam session so I'll have to do that later tonight after I'm done studying...

  2. johans

    johans G.U.I - Groovin' under influence

    Oct 28, 2004
    the Bay Area, CA
    can't wait for the clips :hyper:
  3. I've gotta dl an audio converter from m4a to mp3

    clips will be up as soon as that happens
  4. BUMP for clips
  5. Christian Waiau

    Christian Waiau

    Jun 16, 2005
    las vegas/maui, nevada/hawaii
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, Aguilar, Darkglass
    those sounds pretty cool. do you think you could try do some clips without the sansamp?
  6. sure - probly not tonight but sometime within the next few days.
    be warned, it'll sound worse cuz i'm just running in to the line-in on my comp, no external recording device.
  7. Christian Waiau

    Christian Waiau

    Jun 16, 2005
    las vegas/maui, nevada/hawaii
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, Aguilar, Darkglass
    its cool. i just know the sansamp to color the tone too much. whenever you have time to do a rec would be great. im still working on funds to purchase.
  8. yeah I just played with it for a few minutes without the sansamp and I'm surprised at how good it sounded. Not as aggressive as the sansamp, not as much color to the sound but it still puts enough gain on the signal (9db max I think, but I usually had the volume knob about noon, so maybe another 4-5db of gain? I dont know exactly how this pedal works). I'll work on gettin clips tomorrow.

    btw, Osman is the coolest ever. He has answered all my emails, even when we veered off topic and I asked dumb questions lol.
  9. Performance report:
    I was doing some recording at studio yesterday for a gtr/producer bona fide tone snob. One of the several reasons he calls me are for my unusual selection of basses and tones; Pv T-40, Verdine White, Dyna 5, Carvin LB-50, Gibson g-3, the Stink Ray and my fretless basses. On top of the basses I usually end up trucking over many of my effects and preamps and such because he likes to experiment. Some of those signal chains become pretty complex Plus he has a Manley Vox Box that we often use as a bass preamp, and I gotta say that is one piece of gear I have major lust for.
    Yesterday we were using the Dyna 5, Verdine, G-3 and the StinkRay-on all of those basses we wound up using "just the Submarine, please" he wuz really diggin' that little yella box. The Submarine was giving each bass just the right low, low mid presence to sit well in the tracks and the right upper mids and highs for clarity. It was a fairly dense mix of gtrz, B-3 organ and IMO too loud drums, but my basses came thru well enough to pick up the tonal nuances of each bass.
  10. Geddyfleaharris

    Geddyfleaharris Supporting Member

    I tried the ElectroniX Messdrive. Just wasn't quite for me. Solid pedal. But I would say that they have to change the battery changing situation. Having to take the whole back off is a pain. Plus when I took the back off my Messdrive just to have a look I pretty much stripped the screws. IMO stompboxes need a battery compartment where tools are not required.
  11. musicelectronix

    musicelectronix Guest

    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    If I only have large machinery, proper equipment and necessary skills to cut through the metal and install a battery compartment.. I guess no boutique builder does. I always think of the battery inside as a backup, which may only be required if I have a power supply problem during the gig or practice.

    Thanks for the coolest reviews and sound clips by the way!
  12. Geddyfleaharris

    Geddyfleaharris Supporting Member

    Thanks for the explanation. I understand about the metal cutting and agree with your point of view of the battery as being back up.
  13. bongomania

    bongomania Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    And, FWIW, it's true that the vast majority of boutique pedals do not have a battery door. Nearly all of them use the exact same sort of housing and the exact same sort of battery arrangement.
  14. After reading all of the posts and listening to sound clips, it is still not clear to me what the Submarine does that the tone/eq controls on an amp or preamp can't do. Can anyone clarify that for me? Certainly the reviews are great as is the price, but the question that I have is what will this thing do for me that I can't already do?
  15. I think it depends on where you put it in your signal and what you already have - what I've found it useful for is boosting and solidifying my distortion
  16. This description appeared in another thread regarding the ElectroniX Submarine:

    "1. When the tone knob is turned all the way to the left, frequency curve is downward-sloping from left to right.

    2. When the tone knob is turned all the way to the right, the frequency curve is upward-sloping from left to right."

    That description matches the way I would describe the "Timbre" control on a Thunderfunk amp.

    Has anyone had an opportunity to determine just what this pedal does?
  17. musicelectronix

    musicelectronix Guest

    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    See below
  18. musicelectronix

    musicelectronix Guest

    Jul 8, 2007
    Hüstın, TX
    Lead Designer, Zeibek Boutique Pedals
    Electronix Submarine is a JFET based preamp, as it is advertised.

    - You can use it before a PA as a preamplification stage
    - You can use it to restore gain drop after certain effects
    - You can use it as a direct input device just before the mixing console
    - You can use it to give some punch to your amp
    - You can use it after overdrive type of effects to add some low end to your signal

    and most certainly you can use it where you think is a good place and appropriate for a preamp

    Most people seems to think that submarine beefs up their sound, adds a warmness and smoothness to it, enhances the low ends or clarifies the high end and is just useful as a regular preamp would be for some situations and settings. Some people claims gain structure is somewhat similiar to vintage specs. It isn't a tone control, it has a tone control.

    I attached the freq/gain graph to this message to ensure better understanding.
    submarine graph.jpg

    Now what's inside..

    Submarine is inspired from an older mesa all tube amp's preamp stage. Basicly the design consists of 4 building blocks:

    in -> pre-gain stage -> buffer stage -> tone stack -> gain stage -> out

    Pre-gain stage: helps you to control signal amount that is fed into the circuit. this part is important to control the overall clean output. As of today, I haven't seen any instrument with extremely hot output that overdrives the submarine, however, if it does you will have a solution for that.

    Buffer Stage: controls signal amount before amplifying it through gain stage, lower the impedance of the magnetic pickups and do some filtering. the output signal of the buffer stage is very close to unity gain and has a total impedance of 100K or lower.

    Tone Stack: helps shape the signal to a common EQ curve that would be percieved as musical and warm. Also the tone control is located here.

    Submarine is designed to cut some lower mids to a certain point or in other words it cuts some of the freq.s, which are known as the rhythm guitar frequencies (around first 3 strings of the guitar). This allows submarine equiped bass rigs to sit rather nicely in a mix with rather louder signals without disturbing guitar's channel per say. However, the higher mids, trebles and lows are boosted to get a higher clarity out of the masive bass signal.

    Gain stage: A non-inverting amplifier that is capable of boosting the signal up to 7-8 dB depending on the EQ shape.

    I always like the gain characteristics of a vacuum tube. It sounds more natural and more musical, IMO. Other than that, I always hated ICs (particularly opamps in that case) when it comes to musical applications. The closest solid state preamp to the vacuum tubes should be designed around JFETs.

    I hope this answers many questions about what submarine really does :)

    Happy Holidays everyone!
    superheavyfunk likes this.
  19. I use the Submarine to make switching basses an easier and quicker thing, but you could also use it to make quick tonal changes. My main basses, Carvin LB50, already have the volume and tone I am looking for but I also like to use other basses, a SVM Fretless Jazz and a Gibson G-3, that have a lower output and benefit from the boost & tone tweakage of the Submarine.
  20. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Columbia, MD Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    I'll tell you what the Submarine does --- sounds freakin' great! I bought two - one for me, one as a present. Now I'm considering purchasing an additional one as a back up. Not that I think it may break, but just in case it's lost or stolen.

    You will not be disappointed in this pedal unless you think it will make you play better.

    My uses:

    1) Keep it flat and it seems to make the bass more musical.

    2) Roll the tone toward treble and use it as a slap setting.

    3) Roll the tone down a little for fingerstyle warmth.

    4) Roll it down all the way for great sounding dub.

    I would love to have a dual submarine pedal. On/off switch and channel switching. I'd use it for slap on one channel and fingerstyle on the other. The only thing missing would be a DI.

    My single gripe is that the LED is too bright. I know it's done somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it's a little too much and I wonder how much it drains the battery.

    The pedal rocks!