Review: Echo Sound Works Sub Zero 808

There are lots of sample libraries that specialize in orchestral and scoring music. But what about modern electronic music? Echo Sound Works is a small company that covers this exciting and ever-changing niche. In this article I’m going to review their sub bass library Sub Zero 808.

Note: I tested the library using Kontakt, but the samples are also available as WAV files.

Sub Zero 808 – What is it?

As the name suggests, Sub Zero 808 is all focused on sub bass and 808 bass patches. There are 185 samples included, which are organized into four categories: “808s”, “Clean Subs”, “Future RnB Bass” and “No Kicks”. “808s” is the category with the most sounds, some of them also appear again in modified form in the “No Kicks” category, where the kick sound is removed or heavily reduced. This is great when you have found a nice sound in the “808s” category but find out later that you want to change the kick.

The features

If you need to make your own modifications, the Kontakt interface gives you the option to change the ADSR curve, the glide, the cutoff (high and low) and even gives you a unison setting.  You can have up to 8 voices, which you can spread and detune from each other. Unfortunately, when I was testing this, upping the voices led to the sound being played hard left or hard right. If you come across this problem, you could solve this by putting a mono-izer on your effects chain. 

Speaking of mono, you can turn on monophonic playing. This can be useful for a cleaner bass line and cool glides. There’s also a legato mode, although when I was playing with it, it would sometimes cut off notes.

The sound

While I wish those UI features worked a little better, it didn’t really bother me when I was using this library because the sounds themselves are top notch. My disclaimer here is that I’m not an 808 specialist. But what I mean with top notch is this: They sound good, they fit well in the mix and they are fun! They have character but not so much that they’re unusable. Whether you need something clean or something heavier, it’s all there.

When I was working on a trap/chillwave/lofi album recently, Sub Zero 808 was the number one bass library I used – simply because it was so easy to get a good sound. Maybe if you need more experimental and extreme sounds, this library is not a perfect 808 tool for you, but in all other cases, this is a great bread-and-butter 808 library. It should keep you inspired for a while.

Audio examples

Also check out this walkthrough by ADSR:

The service

One additional thing I want to mention: I bought Sub Zero 808 in March 2019. In May 2020 I received an email from Echo Sound Works that there was a free update available with 17 new presets to capture the sound of the 808 in 2020. This was a really nice surprise and makes me think that Echo Sound Works really care about their customers – and it made the library an even better deal. In fact, on their website, Echo Sound Works promises to deliver new presets every year. Let’s see!

The verdict

Sub Zero 808 is a great library that does exactly what it should: Deliver you good sounding, versatile 808 sounds and make your producer life easier.  At the price of $24, this is an all-around good deal. Sometimes you can find it even cheaper at Maschinemasters.com (I’ve seen it for $10 there) or at ADSR.

Pros:

  • great sound
  • very useable
  • different 808 categories
  • ESW promises new presets every year
  • good price
  • 14 day moneyback guarantee (when buying through ESW)

Rating

Sound quality: 9/10
Presets: 9.5/10
GUI: 7/10
Versatility: 8.5/10

Overall Rating 9/10

Value for money (at $24): 9/10

Specs

  • requires full version of Kontakt 5.7.3

Cons:

  • minor feature glitches

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