Dubs @ Calico Mix Machine

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Dubs: What they are and why we need them.

Dubs @ Calico Mix Machine are produced for sound systems and dj’s who use them as a station ids. They also are used for defending their sound in clashes. Dubs are custom recordings made especially for an individual Disc Jockey or Sound. It can be on any instrumental and sung by any artist the Dj chooses.

This edition features:

•Junior Reid


•Johnny Clarke

•Teddy Selassie

•Beenie Man

•Black Ryno

•Natchilous Demus


•Little John

•Al Campbell

•Bush Man

•Chuck Fender

What is a dubplate?

•A dubplate is an acetate disc.

•Usually 10 inches in diameter

•Used in mastering studios for quality control

•Dubplates are used in test recordings before proceeding with the final master.

The “dub” in dubplate is an allusion to the plate’s use in “dubbing” or “doubling” the original version of a track.

[1] The name dubplate also refers to an exclusive, ‘one-off’ acetate disc recording pioneered by reggae sound systems but also used by drum and bass and other electronic music producers, DJs and sound systems.

Dubplates will often be either unreleased recordings or exclusive versions or remixes of existing recordings. They are often used as a market research tool to assess the probable sales of a tune once it is released.

They are far cheaper to produce than a pressed vinyl record. However, because the material of the disc is very soft, the groove is worn out little by little with every playback. After about fifty plays the loss in sound quality becomes noticeable.

Vinyl dubplates are a recently developed format which allow extremely durable recordings to be made.

Dubplate special

10″ acetate discs with extra centre hole.

A dubplate special, also known as a dub, dubplate or special, is an exclusive version of a piece of music. Usually (re-recorded) by a reggae, dancehall  or any other genre artist that the sound system is able to solicit for the dubplate.

Digital media & CD are now the preferred formats for these recordings, the use of the word “Dubplate”or “Dub” to describe them has survived.

Dubplate recordings are used in soundclash competitions. Which is when a rival reggae or soca sound systems compete with each other to produce the most imaginative or unusual dubplate.

Lyrics are changed to fit a particular sound system which makes the dub exclusive.

Remarking on the prowess of the sound system, and sometimes the weaknesses of the opposing sound system(s) in a clash.

The Purpose of Dubs

Dubs are an essential tool in a sound clash , the more exclusive the better. But they also form an intrinsic part of the Reggae industry.

“Handle and the blade” recorded by Leroy Sibbles and the Heptones is a notable example of such a special.

The dub recorded for Calico Mix Machine sound system replaced the lyrics “I have the handle, Darling, you’ve got the blade…” with “Calico have the handle, soundboy, you’ve got the blade”.

Dubs usually refer to the invincibility of the sound system in question.Leroy also endorsed other sound system with the international hit . He continued to do so for many years.