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Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by Art VanDelay, Dec 3, 2018.
I notice they sent him some nice G&L guitars, too.
I had one and could hear the difference in tone— sounded clearer, less muddy, but was subtle. Sold it because I didn’t feel it worth the pedal board space.
I think this is what it boils down to for me, too. Probably a nice-to-have for recording. But, playing live? I don't think so.
its like a fender logo for a parstcaster, it doesn't change anything but it makes the owner feel better. Company should change their name to Placebo Audio.
I've used one for over 15 year's. I place it at the end of my signal chain, right before the amp.
To my ear's, it clarifies the audio signal... clean's it up, if you will.
BBE say's it aligns the frequencies in a way that get's rid of any "mud."
And, that's how I perceive it.
I've used it for home recording project's with success, and wouldn't perform live without it.
I always thought their technology was better suited for full-range/PA systems rather than comparatively narrower stringed instrument signals, but they've had a good run with some guitarists and bassists.
I think the Process and Lo Contour controls are adjusting multiple EQ bands. That is, when you turn either knob, it's the equivalent of moving multiple sliders on a big multi-band EQ in various directions. That's how I've always heard it.
I own one, used to use it in my rack system in the 90s. I keep it in a PA rack now. To me, it's like pressing the loudness button on a home stereo. It seems like some crispness or 'hifi' gets added to the sound. It does not add any mids, just highs and lows.
As a kid, I remember being in a studio when the Aphex Aural Exciter first came around... the guys were working on a pretty big record and using it and everyone really thought it was a HUGE advancement... I think I was along for the ride...
If you get a vinyl copy of Linda Ronstadt's "Hasten Down the Wind" and a vinyl copy of "Prisoner in Disguise" I think you'll readily hear the difference. Same people working on both albums... but the clarity and 'preciseness' of the sound allows you to hear the performances more immediately... as if you were in the room.
we used the BBE in our PA rack for years... it is probs still in there... when I AB'd it, everyone always chose 'in'.
Well, the only explanation for this pedal I need is its graphics!
I have a rack model as well as a stomp version. It does help with clarity. When used right it is very subtle, but nice. I could see how it might cause ear fatigue after a while, especially if set too high.
It does sound a bit “unnatural” when overused. I’m not actually using mine at the moment, but I ought to give it another try. Since it is subtle (when used right), it’s easy to justify removing it first when board space is at a premium.
I've used them for a long time for PA with good results and comments. I have a Sonic Stomp in my pedal chain, but I bet I haven't turned it on in two years or more. Sometimes in a heavily carpeted or really dead room I'll use it, but for the most part I've lost my taste for it on guitar.
george massenburg disagrees... which in the sound world would not be the space I'd want to occupy.
pretty cool pedal... two delay settings in one pedal with two activation switches... I had one... I gave it to someone, maybe Lerb?
It's the kind of thing you might worry about if you're operating a PA system outside and there are people in the audience a hundred feet away or more
I see zero purpose for one on a guitar effects pedal board. imo.
I've never heard, heard of, seen this BBE pedal. The last 2 off-board Fishman preamps I've had included a Brilliance control which seems to function similar to what some folks are describing for the Sonic Maximizer/Stomp. ?Maximum Sonicizer? To my ear there's crispness and note separation added. One can overdo compression + brilliance with this preamp to the point where it sounds squished and tinny and needle sharp, and you suspect synapses in the audience may be disintegrating. Here's the current Fishman I have; the Brilliance control is all the way over to the right next to the EQ section:
It does something, but what it does must be only loosely related to BBE's "explanation." Too many variables ahead of the device in a given audio pipeline for it to be "correcting" anything.
They claim it's distinctly different from the Aphex Aural Exciter. In a full-range system, my opinion is that it is slightly less ear-fatiguing than an Aphex, but otherwise sounds pretty similar.
Interesting sidenote (at least to me): Given two sonically-identical passages of music, one with a near-zero noise floor, and one with some "hiss" (i.e. uncorrelated noise) practically everyone will perceive the sample with the hiss as sounding "brighter" or "clearer." This is part of the field of psychoacoustics, where what we hear and what we think we hear are two different things. In this case, our ear or our brain integrates the hiss (which is just high-frequency noise) to some degree with the high-frequency content of the music passage, making it sound as though the uncorrelated noise was part of the program material, and voila!, brighter.
I believe I read somewhere that the original Aphex was little more than a high-pass filter feeding a clipping circuit, which created just a lot of high-frequency distortion, some of which one could add back into the original signal via the "exciter" knob. Phase shift is a consequence of filter networks across their passband, so I imagine some additional phase shift for "realignment" and gating were in the "excitement" circuit as well, but basically it was just a fuzzbox for highs.
While the BBE may use a different technique, the "phase alignment" explanation is too simplistic to be entirely accurate.
I have these two gems:
Oh that Soul Vibe sounds fine, like brandy wine!
The BBE site used to provide more detail.
“Loudspeakers have difficulty working with the electronic signals supplied by an amplifier. These difficulties cause such major phase and amplitude distortion that the sound reproduced by the speaker differs significantly from the sound produced by the original source.
In the past, these problems proved unsolvable and were thus relegated to a position of secondary importance in audio system design. However, phase and amplitude integrity is essential to accurate sound reproduction. Research shows that the information which the listener translates into the recognizable characteristics of a live performance are intimately tied into complex time and amplitude relationships between the fundamental and harmonic components of a given musical note or sound. These relationships define a sound's "sound".
When these complex relationships pass through a speaker, the proper order is lost. The higher frequencies are delayed. A lower frequency may reach the listener's ear first or perhaps simultaneously with that of a higher frequency. In some cases, the fundamental components may be so time-shifted that they reach the listener's ear ahead of some or all of the harmonic components.
This change in the phase and amplitude relationship on the harmonic and fundamental frequencies is technically called "envelope distortion." The listener perceives this loss of sound integrity in the reproduced sound as "muddy" and "smeared." In the extreme, it can become difficult to tell the difference between musical instruments, for example, an oboe and a clarinet.
BBE Sound, Inc. conducted extensive studies of numerous speaker systems over a ten year period. With this knowledge, it became possible to identify the characteristics of an ideal speaker and to distill the corrections necessary to return the fundamental and harmonic frequency structures to their correct order. While there are differences among various speaker designs in the magnitude of their correction, the overall pattern of correction needed is remarkably consistent.
The BBE Process is so unique that 42 patents have been awarded by the U.S. Patent Office.”
“The 482i Sonic Maximizer restores natural brilliance and clarity to an audio signal by the use of two integrated functions. First, it adjusts the phase relationships between the low, mid and high frequencies through adding progressively longer delay times to lower frequencies, creating a kind of mirror curve to neutralize the effect of loudspeaker phase distortion. Second, the Sonic Maximizer augments higher and lower frequencies as loudspeakers tend to be less efficient in their extreme treble and bass ranges. The end result is a dynamic, program-driven restoration which reveals more of the natural texture and detail in the sound without causing fatigue that is often associated with exciter effects, psychoacoustic processors or excessive use of equalizers.”
“The Sonic Stomp is a stomp-box version of our ever-popular Sonic Maximizer. The Sonic Stomp was carefully designed to deliver the samesonic improvement as our rack-mounted 482i Sonic Maximizer, adding clarity, definition and punch to any instrument.”
That sure is a lot of big, fancy words being used to describe a 3 band EQ with a bass knob relabeled "Lo Contour" and a treble knob relabeled "Process".