While The Dubes didn’t make as much sense to me as acoustic instruments, they really did shine when “electrified,” and sounded better in a P.A. than a single-tube guitar amp, and best when recorded directly into a digital recorder and treated with EQ and some reverb. When shelving EQ was applied to notch out a few egregious frequencies, The Dubes really came alive. The 18" had extended bass resonance, and the 15" and 9" made good complements to complete a bass, tenor, and soprano trio.
The internal microphone seems to be very capable of bringing-out tonal variety, and the Dube can exhibit qualities of the cajon, conga, wood bongos, udu, and a metallic sound (that reminds me of a tuned paint can or spaghetti pot) all at once. Slaps, edge tones, fingers, and palm and scraping sounds are easy and fun to make, but again are much better represented electrically rather than acoustically.
While models are available with the choice of Shure PG52 microphones (Pro), or another microphone option (Standard), I could not discern what the Standard model microphone is, or if the Dubes sent to me included the Shure microphones or not. According to the company, the Standard Dube mike is more for educational purposes as children and beginners don’t really need to hear the specifics of the sound, just volume. Whereas in The Pro Dube the mike is for the more advanced ear, and for those who need to hear bass, treble, etc. What I do know is that they sounded good to my ear. It should also be noted that the company is planning some upgrades, and a reduction in the price, so look for those in the next few months.
A great, innovative idea that looks cool and will be very eye-catching, but make sure that you plug it in. Also, some type of stand will not be an optional luxury for professional use; hopefully an official product is available by the time you read this or soon after, but if not you’ll need to experiment to find what works for you. It’s an awesome instrument on its own terms. The Dube is not a cajon, conga, or bongo, but it does have elements of each in its unique sound, and therefore could be just the thing to fill multiple spots in your percussive arsenal.
Model & List Price
9" (Standard/Pro) $255/$400
12" (Standard/Pro) $355 / $510
15" (Standard/Pro) $455/$605
18" (Standard/Pro) $530/$665
(Price quotes approximate, and subject to pounds sterling—to—dollar conversion rates)
Features: Various sizes; various/customizable finishes (White, Black, Natural, and design-your-own); rubber corner protectors; internal microphone; built-in recessed handle; carrying case with shoulder strap available separately.