thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

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c-level
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thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by c-level » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:15 pm

I just dug mine back up, wired it into my patch bay and am now running my JX8P and J106 thru it. the results are actually quite bright and quite flattering. it adds equal presence to the high end of bassy analog synths. its an old 462 unit. ive done some researcher on other forums and everyone says "dont use it on mastering/busses just as an insert" when do you find it useful? when is it too much?

if anyone else has a history of/guide site plz link me i was unable to find one but would like to do some tech research.

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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by rschnier » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:24 pm

As the late Joe Meek would say: "If it sounds good, it is good." In other words, trust your ears.
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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by garranimal » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:49 pm

c-level wrote:ive done some researcher on other forums and everyone says "dont use it on mastering/busses just as an insert" when do you find it useful? when is it too much?
I can see why they say this. In reading Rick Snoman's Dance Music Manual, pretty much my music bible for mixing and mastering secrets, he describes this a harmonic exciter. Aphex being the first to develop the technique of mixing a signal with it's own distorted version, making the result more clean, crisp and bright. Now who in their right mind would want to add distortion to their final master?

I would, and do, use the BBE plugin version on all my mixes! I love the way it sounds. And as sound goes, everyone has their own objective approach - and yes their own ears. The BBE does cook the sound, so I add it to the very end of the mastering effects chain right before the final output brick wall limiter. I think if it is acceptable to use a BBE in a mastering situation, then using subtle amounts is the key.

The BBE also is especially wonderful in live sound. That's why I've taken a hardware unit to some DJ gigs before and it really adds some punch, clarity, and definition now I can't live without.

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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by meatballfulton » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:13 pm

The better sounding the source is, the less you should use. Watch out for ear fatigue, at first it sounds great but over time can be annoying and edgy. It's the MSG of audio processors 8-)
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by madtheory » Thu Jul 05, 2012 10:33 pm

Yes, watch out for ear fatigue. These things need good monitoring. From what I see in the studio pics thread, very few people have a treated room and good speakers. So it's easy to use an enhancer to compensate for the room. So your mix will suck everywhere else.

So if you're putting it on two excellent sounding synths, that would say to me you have a monitoring problem.

It's all very well to say "if it sounds good, it is good" but you can't truly tell how "it" sounds if you've a sucky room.

Apart from that, I always found the Aphex boxes to be a lot better than the BBE. We had both at the studio I used to work in. I used to only use the Aphex occasionally on elements of a mix, like bad cheap guitars for example. It was also used to enhance (when required) clients tapes for CD transfer- mostly home recorded 3.75ips reels.

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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by c-level » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:13 pm

madtheory wrote: So if you're putting it on two excellent sounding synths, that would say to me you have a monitoring problem.
The JX's levels are a bit off, its jack/level fader need to be cleaned, at times I can understand people calling the DCO's tinny. In the meantime the BBE brightens things up on the way into my interface. No doubt my room/speaker placement is a bit iffy but I tend to monitor at a relatively low level anyways.

In the future perhaps I'd like to master my tunes thru it, but the going out/in my interface is a whole nother can of worms I need to open.

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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by meatballfulton » Fri Jul 06, 2012 3:55 pm

Aphex and BBE work differently.

Aphex adds distortion then high pass filters it to add only the (artificial) upper harmonics.

BBE uses time delay to compensate for phase shifts in the signal chain, splitting the sound into two bands and adjusting the delay between then to bring out the upper harmonics that were obscured by phase shifts.
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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by rschnier » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:52 am

meatballfulton wrote:Aphex and BBE work differently.

Aphex adds distortion then high pass filters it to add only the (artificial) upper harmonics.

BBE uses time delay to compensate for phase shifts in the signal chain, splitting the sound into two bands and adjusting the delay between then to bring out the upper harmonics that were obscured by phase shifts.
Exactly. When these units first came out, the recommended/conventional wisdom at least at that time was that the Aphex was more-suited to individual instruments while the BBE worked best on the entire mix; e.g. during mastering. I have both units (and the hardware and plugin versions of the BBE, which I've found to be pretty much identical) and would probably agree that the Aphex should be used quite sparingly if used on an entire mix. The "MSG of audio" analogy is quite accurate. And clearly if your room isn't accurate, your ears will be more-easily misled.
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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by Projectile » Sat Jul 07, 2012 5:20 am

meatballfulton wrote:Aphex and BBE work differently.
BBE uses time delay to compensate for phase shifts in the signal chain, splitting the sound into two bands and adjusting the delay between then to bring out the upper harmonics that were obscured by phase shifts.
Haha! Is BBE still using that old bullshit line to sell sonic maxamizers? The whole phase shift description of how a BBE sonic maximizer works is pure marketing BS made up by the BBE sales department. All analog filters produce phase shifts! And that's what the BBE sonic maxamizer is: A filter. It's mostly just a fancy EQ. If you look at the schematic, the main part of the guts are just a standard state-variable filter that you can find in any audio circuits textbook. The only other part of interest is some sort of peak detector that subtly affects the amount of high frequency boost (exciter).

That doesn't mean it's not a useful device. I won't pass judgement there. But please, let's not kid ourselves. It's a glorified EQ.

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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by rschnier » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:08 pm

Could be true, but in my own experience the BBE unit changed the sonic character in ways that (at least to me) seemed different from what an EQ would do.
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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by _dan » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:39 am

I used it alot with my micron. For a while my mixer went from a tc compressor to the 482i, then I sent the RCA outputs to the computer and the other out to the monitors (poor mans monitoring solution). Of all the BBE I've owned the 482i has been the most reliable. I like it for overall mixes where dynamics are less important, i love it on vocals and individual synth patches.
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Re: thoughts on BBE sonic maximizers?

Post by meatballfulton » Sun Jul 08, 2012 12:15 pm

Projectile wrote:The whole phase shift description of how a BBE sonic maximizer works is pure marketing BS made up by the BBE sales department. All analog filters produce phase shifts! And that's what the BBE sonic maxamizer is: A filter.
So it does adjust phase shift if it's a filter. :facepalm:

Thanks for playing ;)
I listened to Hatfield and the North at Rainbow. They were very wonderful and they made my heart a prisoner.

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