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aphex bass exciter - worth it with a good cab?

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by nappingcracker, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. After some research, it seems that this is a good all around tool for playing with tone and fat sound. But reading some forum posts, will I hear the difference with a good cab (subjective)? I have an eden 2x10 xlt, with a crappy behringer 3000t head. I use a ehx bass microsynth, a akai intelliphase phaser, and a fuzzwah pedal.

    what can I expect? I have no means of trying out this pedal, I have used sansamp pedals on my friends rig, and I could get some neat tones with that.

  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Mine are some of the posts you've probably read (I said that it even makes the worst preamp in the world sound good - which would be the one in the Tascam Bass Trainer. Also boom boxes and home stereos).

    BUT... I wouldn't be without it on my big-rig (GK700RBII into a JBL 2X15 + 1"-throat horn PA cab - the JRX125).

    Not only that, but I'm the house sound guy at a large, music-centric coffee house; the musicians in the regular bands that play there fight over who gets to borrow it when they play there. guitar, bass, acoustic, keys, groove boxes and sequencers - whatever - all sound better through that thing! (It's also a balanced direct-box with ground-lift, that can be used with or without the Big Bottom and Exciter processing) I think this saturday I'll try putting it in a lead singer's channel insert.

    Another thing is how it makes distortion sound. It changes the whole character of whatever distortion pedal you put it in front of (OUT of the Xciter, and IN to the distortion - it doesn't sound so-good after distortion, I found). I use an NS-2, a CS-3, the Xciter, an ODB, and a CEB-3 for my killer distortion sound, but that thing alone turns an ODB-3 into a monster-thick, smooth and authorative-sounding distortion!

    Though I use several effects and processors, the few times that I really needed to travel light, or set up fast, I brought only the Xciter along with me in the bass case.

  3. cool, thanks! so if I have many tone killing effects (the synth, square wave, phase etc all ontop of one another) the aphex should go in front of these? Only one way to tell...

    Aside from that, it sounds like you recommend it for all situations. I have a five string MM bongo with active sc/hh and its eq is pretty good for messing with tones. Would the aphex add even more "depth" "boom" "dub" whatever sound (depending onwhat was dialed in)?

    If this will work well with the synth for some dub and jungle type sounds, i am sold.
  4. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    I definately highly recommend it.

    Remember that it has two distinct processors in it. The Big Bottom is technically a low-frequency compressor, but not your conventional one. More technically, it's an "upward compressor". The compressed low-end is mixed-in with the straight, clean signal - because of this, the initial attack transients are never chopped-off your signal. What happens is that as the note decays, the low-end is 'supported' by the big bottom. Even tiny amounts of this is really effective (this adjustment is made wth the... "low-blend", I think it's called? It's second from the left); I usually run it up at about 7.5 or 8.0 (on the markings), but I don't have a beefy MM bass; you might run it a tad lower. The Big Bottom circuit also performs some kind of 'frequency dependant phase shift', or something like that - I gather it's similar to the enhancement method that BBE uses in their Maximizer. The other control (far-left) determines how high up into the mid-bass the Big Bottom does its thing - I run it at about 5.5 or 6.0; higher than that gets too boomy.

    As for "depth, boom and dub": From my definitions of these terms, I'd say that 'depth' is what Big Bottom is all about - beefy, Man! 'Boom' (a rather negative term, to me) would be achieved by turning the "low frequency" (I can't remember the exact markings on the knobs! I mean the one all-the-way to the left) 'too high' - like up past 6 or 7. Dub-tone would be enhanced by running the Freq knob medium or low, and turning the 'low blend' up real high.

    The other part of the Xciter is the "Exciter" - the process that made Aphex famous! It operates only in the high-freqs; it actually creates new, musically-relavent high-frequency components, and adds them back to your original sound. The controls are the same - freq and blend - except that because it's for highs, the freq knob is 'backwards' as-compared to the Big Bottom side because you're adjusting how LOW it effects the sound, instead of 'how high' (on the B.B. 'clockwise is more'; on the Exciter, 'CCW is more'). If you turn the freq control too far to the left, it gets 'squawky'. The Exciter section can give you anything from obnoxious squawk to a subtle glassy shimmer - OR leave it off, and only use the B.B.-part.

    I'm really not afraid to have you spend US$150 on my word. From everything you've said you're looking for, I bet you'll like it!

  5. Very helpful, Joe; just what I needed to know!

    The gurlies will thank you!
  6. bugbass


    Apr 8, 2004
    I was exited about this box when I bought it, and used it alot. But I rarely do anymore. I found myself tweaking the eq on my amp all the time, cause my bass did not cut through like it used to. The reason is obvious; when you get more top and bottom, you get less mid.

    Bottom line: This box isn`t always all good