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Sonic Maximizer?


Imogene

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I'm thinking about maybe adding one of these to my rig. I'm running a pretty basic setup at the moment: Sansamp RBI pre-amp, Fender rack tuner and a QSC RMX unit for power. Avatar cabs. I play pop/rock/country/R&B with Fender and Musicman basses out of this rig.

 

I'm not disappointed with my sound (and the last thing that I want to do is add more weight to an already heavy rack), but I've heard some good things about the unit that has sparked my interest. Anyone used such a device before? Thanks.

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I've got a BBE Sonic Maximizer (can't remember which unit offhand) in the rack with my Carvin RL 1000, which I mostly use for rehearsals. While I like the way it makes my signal sound, I don't totally miss it when I'm using my Phil Jones amps (which is most of the time). I've considered getting a Sonic Stomp for my pedal board; but just haven't gotten around to it or felt the need.

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Dunno. I used to have a rackmount 362NR several years ago and liked what it brought to my sound at that time, given the band situation then. I recently scored a Sonic Maximizer and can't say that I hear the same effect on my sound. Yes, it will boost either bass or treble, but I don't hear the coherence I remembered. Anyone compare them side by side??

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The modern BBE stuff sounds really great when you're playing by yourself.

 

Problem is, when you're playing with the band, your job is to fill a specific range, and the big brightness you get from the BBE either gets washed out by the rest of the band or it interferes with the rest of the band.

 

Same problem a lot of guitarists have, shockingly enough...

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I tried one a few years ago (the high-end balanced version -- I think this is the 482) and hated what it did to the sound. Tried it on bass, keys, band mix, etc. In every case, even the bypassed signal was heavily coloured. But of course, that's what some people want, but just be warned.

 

I did find that it improved crap equipment, so it has its uses. And if you don't manage your own sound (for the band) at gigs, it can prove useful in undoing some problems with low-end sound systems in clubs.

 

As for using it on bass guitar? Not recommended. It destroys your transients. And not in the way that heavy compression does. You'll lose much detail in your articulations. And as Griffinator says, the altered timbre and tonal balance actually works against you in the context of a full band mix.

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I use a Aphex Bass Xciter, which processes your bass signal in a similar manner, as I've been told. I keep it on constantly when I'm gigging. I'm extremely satified with it.

 

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i find all of those devices mess w/ my overall sound. i prefer the naturalness of my mids so i do not use anything like that anymore. if all you want is to beefup, yes they do suffice. if i where to need that beef, i'd look into a different p/u system. i just picked up a spear axe 'cause it has a bit more beef than my warrior. of course, it doesn't sustain anything like the warrior but for blues, it's fine. i leave the warrior for the more artsy stuff.

my amps are generally of the quality where i tend to run flat or mostly flat eq.

that's just me...

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The BBE is in my rack and I like it just fine. It is a bit touchy but once dialed it really adds clarity.

I like talking about my rack. We should all post pics of our rack.

 

My rack = single-channel comp (front-end), PA amplifier (back-end), two 15+powerhorn speakers.

 

The wood, strings, and fingers do the rest.

 

How's that for a rack? :P

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OK, I've had a chance to mess around with this thing a bit. It sounds like a boost to me (like jlrush said), maybe even a compressor? Sure, it does something but I've discovered alot more from my Sansamp RBI pre-amp than anything else while messing around with the whole thing (this is a gig rig, I don't practice with it at all). That Sansamp RBI has some pretty cool tones and I've mapped a few that I'll try on the NYE gig (country) next Friday. As for the BBE unit, I'll run that too (on and off) and see if it brings anything worthwhile in that environment. To be honest, I hear a difference with that device in my rack but I'll have to gig it a few times to see if its worth the extra five or six pounds.

 

Thanks for the replies and Merry Christmas.

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Imogene,

I have liked using my Sonic Stomp and have had good results with it on all but one occasion. Last weekend I got my first glimpse of what Griff was talking about:

Problem is, when you're playing with the band, your job is to fill a specific range, and the big brightness you get from the BBE either gets washed out by the rest of the band or it interferes with the rest of the band.

 

We were playing a very small, bright room, and for a little while during the first set it seemed the guitar and I (4 pc. band) were filling the same 'sonic space'. I couldn't hear myself well even though I knew I was loud enough, some notes seemed to get drowned out. I noticed that the Process knob was nearly on full, higher than I normally would run it, and I got that turned down, as well as my amp, and the problem went away.

I have had the best results using the BBE by itself, with a passive bass, and with the settings at near 12 o'clock. I haven't used it with my Sansamp, nor do I use any of the boosts on my amp when I have it on. And FWIW, an article I read online said to run it at the end of the chain if you use it with other effects.

I still like the unit, but plan to be more thorough at setup in the future.

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Thats the thing, as far as "sonic space" goes - there are so many variables that depend on who you are, what you do and in what environment. After that, it can be even more complex. Everyone's experience is different (as are everyone's expectations).

 

Thanks for the repies, I've learned alot. I'm gonna hoss the thing out of my van in the snow this Friday (after I dig up [beg, borrow, steal or buy] a few more rack screws) and give it a whirl!

 

Happy New Year.

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I've been using a BBE DI-1000 (direct box)as part of my rig for some time - the Sonic Maximizer is built-in to the unit. Works great and the Lo Contour and Process controls are very useful if you play through the FOH system subs...takes the "muddy" sound out while retaining the punch. I can't imagine playing without it. http://www.bbesound.com/products/di-solutions/di-1000.aspx

 

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Hey Beanyman, interesting post that brings a question from me. I run direct to FOH through my Sansamp RBI. So the signal is not "sonic maximized" via BBE to the house. Now, the same BBE unit that I'm running in my backline rack is also active in the PA rack. My question is, if I was using a DB as you described, what about double processing of my signal?

 

And welcome to the forum.

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You have the 482i, right? How do you have it configured in your signal chain...effects loop at the amp? If that is the case, then you could put a BBE DI-1000 in front of your SansAmp head and run the BBE DI signal to FOH. Personally, I prefer to run the BBE signal to FOH and leave it out of my amp since I don't use the amp for backline support. I run the Thru (bypass) signal from the DI-1000 to a G&K Microbass for my monitor. FOH sends my bass signal back to stage monitors for the other band members to hear. Hope this helps.
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the sonic maximizer is GREAT FOR FINAL MIXES as I have it in my rack of analog effects as part of a post-production chain of effects. I would not use it just on bass and nothing else if you are recording, but for live its another story. it makes a REALLY audible sound which depending on the source can be either a good thing or not. I love mine and turning it off makes my speakers sound like $3 speakes
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