Hands-On Review:Open Labs DBeat and DBeat PRO, Ultraportable smart instruments with a computer brain

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By Matt Presley
Product Development at Open Labs, Inc.

The new DBeat from Open Labs allows musicians to run away with their creativity…literally. As the first professional studio you can play live onstage, DBeat is light enough and small enough for you to stow inside your carry-on luggage.

A studio powerhouse

DBeat is where power and portability meet. Capable of running virtually any Windows-based music application or Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software, DBeat is your computer, mixer, MPC, virtual instrument (VST) host, and mastering station in one box. It will even burn your CDs or DVDs and distribute your music online. If you’re hip to the digital game, there is also an integrated multicard reader and external USB inputs.

A revolution

DBeat is the first professional studio that you can play as a musical instrument. Compose, record, mix, and master, all "in-the-box," then use it to perform any way you like. Weighing less than 20 pounds, DBeat can be carried onto most airplanes—making it extremely portable.

A VST hardware brain

DBeat is the perfect companion for traditional electronic keyboard players and a simple solution for playing your favorite VSTs onstage with rock-solid stability. You can run more than 200 standard VSTs at once using Open Labs' critically acclaimed RiFF virtual instrument host software, which is integrated into each DBeat.


Open Labs Dbeat Production Station

Full of features

DBeat touts features such as a 12.1" touchscreen that allows you to create on-the-fly set lists comprised of songs and parameter controls—bringing your virtual instrument to life. Physical controls, such as nine assignable faders, are perfectly matched for those that require drawbar controls for organ instruments.


Let's not forget that DBeat comes standard with over 4 billion sounds, making it the world's most well-dressed hardware sound module. If that's not enough, every DBeat is capable of cloning your favorite virtual instruments. By using Open Labs' MimiK keyboard cloning software (included in DBeat Pro), you can clone any hardware keyboard workstation, synthesizer, or sound module to boost your possibilities.

A producer's dream

DBeat is the ultimate tool for any producer, regardless of genre. Massive processing power, instant multitrack recording, integrated MPC functionality, a multicard reader/writer and DVD burner, Internet connectivity, plug-and-play ability with third-party keyboard controllers, and the instant opportunity to produce more than 4 billion sounds are just a few features we've perfected with producers in mind. DBeat allows you to compose more music, produce better songs, be more creative, and make more money.

The first true DJ instrument

DBeat lets you elevate yourself to the next level as a DJ. Produce, remix, and perform in ways you've only dreamed about. Consolidate your laptop computer, controllers, audio I/O, and cabling into a single portable instrument that you literally can set up in 30 seconds.


Prefer vinyl? No problem—DBeat lets you plug in your turntables via Serato Scratch or other time-code vinyl solutions to beat, mix, and scratch. But that's only the start. The audio chain can then be routed into Ableton™ Live, allowing you to use the built-in effects or any other VSTs in real time, on the fly. Cue points, single hits, or drops can be assigned to the BumpMP™ drum pad controller, allowing you to play along with the track you're spinning. You can even plug in microphones, run Auto-Tune and vocoder vocal effects, and mix them right into the tracks.


DBeat is serious enough for the pros—whether scratch or electronic—but simple enough for the aspiring DJ.

Features & Specs



  • 26" W x 5"H, x 14"D
  • Weight (base configuration) 20 lb.
  • 3.0GHz Intel® Core2 Duo®
  • 320GB hard drive
  • 4GB memory
  • High speed dual-layer 8.5GB/disc CD/DVD burner

Control Surfaces

  • Trackball with 2 buttons
  • Mix/Edit controls
  • BumpMP™
  • DJ panel with Penny & Giles™ crossfader

Connections & Audio I/0

  • Comprehensive I/O capable of up to 24-bit/96kHz audio with 4 in/6 out including 2 phantom-powered mic-pres with instrument inputs, S/PDIF, and MIDI I/O
  • 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • FireWire 400 port
  • Gigabit (10/100/1000) Ethernet port
  • DVI-I video port

Included Software

  • Open Labs Riff™
  • Open Labs MimiK™ (available only on DBeat PRO)
  • Ableton™ Live 7 (available only on DBeat PRO)
  • GURU™
  • Deckadance™