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Aphex Bass Xciter Pedal review (MF price $139)

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by DanielleMuscato, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. DanielleMuscato


    Jun 19, 2004
    Columbia, Missouri, USA
    Endorsing Artist, Schroeder Cabinets
    Aphex Bass Xciter


    Price: $139 US
    Controls: Four knobs (Lo Tune, Lo Blend, Hi Tune, Hi Blend) adjustable 1-10, and a stompbox-style on/off switch
    In/Out:1/4" in, 1/4" out, XLR out (can also be used as a DI)
    Power: 9 volt battery or A/C adapter



    On a 1-10 scale, this is a 10, "Must-Have." I don't often write reviews unless something is really bad or really good, and I also have a passionate distaste for stompboxes. I have this pedal mounted in my rack because I consider it an essential piece of equipment. This pedal improves my overall sound from good to outstanding, and for $140, it's the best value in my rig.

    The unit is extremely solidly built - all-metal stompbox, metal pots, etc. My only complaint is the A/C adapter, and that is because of its shape. It doesn't plug into my power conditioner without bending the cord sharply, but that's a very minor concern that could easily be addressed with a 1-foot extension cord.

    Quite simply, this unit makes my bass sound awesome. The lows are tighter and fuller at once, without muddiness; the highs are clear and bright without snap. I can only describe the slap tone as "sticky," and very clearly defined. It sounds like the difference after removing earplugs!

    The list price of this unit is $199, but the street price is closer to $140. Even at $200, I would consider this a good value. I would gladly pay $250 for a rack-mount version. After hearing the difference for the first time, this pedal became an instant and permanent part of my rig. I think that this pedal is an EXCELLENT value for the difference it makes in my sound.


    As I mentioned, I wish the A/C adapter had no wall-wart, but that is a very minor issue and easily resolved. I also wish this unit were rack-mounted, instead of a stompbox, since I keep it on continually and the rest of my rig is rack-mounted (Furman PL-Plus, Ampeg SVP-Pro, Crown K2).

    A gem at any price, a steal at $140.

    Rating: 1 (low) - 10 (high)
  2. dbaser


    Jan 22, 2005
    Mobile, AL
    Nice review. I have been looking at these for a while... Got any clips? The demo on their website isn't "real world" :)
  3. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yup. He's exactly right, people.

    An effect? Uhh.. yeah - for "low-fi" when I turn it OFF.

    AND..(!): You wanna hear an ODB-3 sound spactacular? Simply put an Xciter BEFORE it - I use settings approximately 6.5, 8.0, 7.0, 8.5 (L-to-R) - then set the ODB however you want; it'll sound great.

  4. Luis Fabara

    Luis Fabara

    Aug 13, 2000
    Ecuador (South America)
    Audio Pro - Ecuador
    I have 2 Aphex 204 coming to my door at this time.


    That would be... the "Rack Version"
  5. bassjam

    bassjam Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2004
    Lakland Basses, G&L Basses, Genzler Amplification
    this is ironic-i just picked one up used just because i wanted to try it.i have the punch factory i bought used a few weeks ago also.it worked once engaged but the stomp switch was faulty and needed replaced.i called aphex and they were GREAT.eventhough the unit was out of warranty the said they would take care of it if i wanted to send it back.very cool.i opted for them to send me the switch and it came in 2 days with an aphex t-shirt.anyway they were very cool and helpful and asked me if id checked out the xciter.they recommended it for my application(big gigs with as small of a rig as possible)i ran accross one and grabbed it.

    i used it on one gig only so far but was very impressed.i tried it with a focus and schroeder 1210.aphex claims that the xciter makes a small box sound bigger and ill agree.the 1210 sounds great to me anyway and the xciter really fattened it up.im not into effects really but i do like this.im still working with the controls a bit but it seems pretty easy to dial in what you like.i dont know if you can form too solid of opion bassed on one gig as sound changes from room to room.but i agree with the original poster-this will most likly be a keeper.
  6. tplyons


    Apr 6, 2003
    Madison, NJ
    I've been lookin at getting one, just as soon as I'm out of my finacial pickle.
  7. dadodetres


    Dec 19, 2004
    how about using it with a BIG rig?

    does it mainteins the mids good? say a Jazz bass with the bridge pup only and tone at 0
  8. "aphex claims that the xciter makes a small box sound bigger and ill agree."

    Yup, and I think augmenting a small amp is its best application. When I use mine with my rack rig at volume tho, I noticed my ears hurting a bit after a while. It could be just my settings at the time, or there could be some element of distortion involved in the 'psycho-accoustic' processing, dunno. I don't see it as having much utility with bigger amps.

    Please note that I'm not slamming the Aphex. On the contrary, I think that with a small amp it does a superb enhancing job, which is why I'm keeping mine. Thumbs up.
  9. xan


    Sep 10, 2004
    Perth, Australia
    I am a big fan of the Bass Xciter. I use it with my Behringer 120W combo and it makes it sound like a great amp (which we all know it really isnt).

    I am not sure either how it would work with a big amp and cab. It would probably still even out your sound quite nicely.

    Just to confirm what was said earlier, there is a rackmount version of the bass xciter, and its dual channel!: http://www.aphex.com/204.htm
  10. Razor


    Sep 22, 2002
    Bigger difference using it before as opposed to after the ODB? Reason I ask is because I was going to run the Xciter as the last "effect" in my chain to use the DI for a wet signal.
  11. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Oh, yes! I think it makes an ODB sound WORSE when placed after. But BEFORE? - Man! -real full and synthy!

    One thing that amazes me is that when I use the ODB for an overdrive sound, I essentially set the drive for maximum-before-fuzz (the onset of 'hard-clip crackle' or whatever), and the Xciter very noticeably allows me to increase gain-before-fuzz! I mean when I'm using my regular (great!) overdrive-sound, and turn off the Xciter - Egads, it just gets wimpy and CRACKLY! ..Engage the Aphex, and oh-Baby. Smoooooth!

    Try it!

  12. bassjam

    bassjam Supporting Member

    Aug 2, 2004
    Lakland Basses, G&L Basses, Genzler Amplification

    i have'nt tried it with my big rig yet.i have a stewart/demeter rig and a few schroeder cabs so that would be fun to try.what i noticed in my gig was that it smoothed out the mids a bit and i had to boost mids on my bass.but im just getting to know the controls so i may be able to tweak that some.still cut through on stage very well though.i agree that it is a great tool for smaller rigs.
    the only thing i wasnt crazy about was the di.it tried it and our soundman said the signal was very weak.i tried the active/passive switch and it was no better.ive always liked the di signal from my focus so i ended up going back to that.