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Aphex Bass Xciter pedal review

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by Turlu, Aug 31, 2003.


  1. Turlu

    Turlu Supporting Member

    Sep 11, 2000
    Ottawa, Ontario CANADA
    I just bought the stompbox pedal Aphex Bass Xciter and tried it at my gig last evening.

    For that gig, I used the Pedal with a Peavey T-Max head and a Peavey 115 Black Widow Cabinet only.

    The pedal adds warmth and punch to the Tone while not overloading the cabinet. It`s not an added EQ that is for sure. It helps cutting through by giving a better definintion and clarity to the sound. It feels like adding sustain and gives the impression there is another cabinet on the top of the one being used. I did not use the DI yet but I am anxious to hear the difference using a bigger PA system. My Rickenbacker Bass sounded really good last evening.:) :) :)

    You can do great without but it`s a nice tool to have. I had a SansAmp BDDI in the past and I prefer the Aphex over it but that`s just my opinion.
     
  2. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    I like mine and I've bragged on it previous threads, so I'll take this as an opportunity to mention a small negative about the Aphex stompy box... I was really looking forward to using it as a DI box when playing live, since it has a low-z out, but I've been unable to do so. There's an active/passive switch that pads the input. The 18v preamp on my Cirrus sends too hot a signal for the passive option (producing subtle but definite distortion from the Aphex), but with the "active" switch engaged, soundguys have found the signal coming out of the unit to be too weak for their tastes. So, it's back to using the DI output from my amp, which ain't no big thing, really. I take this as a case of unfortunate conicidence that the signal level from my bass and the pad level on the Aphex just don't work together particularly well. Through the amp, there's no problem, either -- I just crank the gain -- no particular noise issues or anything else, either.

    :) Just a very minor complaint from a nitpicky kinda guy...
     
  3. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Hey Secret,

    I'm about to buy one this week.

    So, are you saying that if you run the pedal into your amp, and then send the amp's DI to the sound system... are the sound guys satisfied with the gain level and lack of distortion?

    And are you still getting a quality enhancer/exciter effect from the pedal?
     
  4. BassJaro

    BassJaro

    Jul 30, 2003
    i'm currently considering buiyng one, and i've a question:
    i read that it has a limiter engaged in the big bottom section, so does this baby compress the signal enough to make for a compressor also??

    cheers,
     
  5. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    I have the Acoustic Xciter and I see no compression capabilities in it I would say no to compression but, let someone who uses the Bass Xciter answer this question more definatively (yeah I have GAS
    [​IMG])
     
  6. Alexander

    Alexander

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I have a questions here - I am thinking about getting one of these as well. In my current setup, I run into my SABDDI into either an amp OR direct into the PA. Can I use the Xciter at the same time? Just run from my bass into the Xciter, then into the SABDDI and into the amp/PA? Any issues with that?
     
  7. secretdonkey

    secretdonkey

    Oct 9, 2002
    Austin, TX
    gfab: yes and yes. Also, I took the thing on a quick and dirty studio session and the engineer guy liked what it was doing - but also had a problem with a weak signal - so we simply used the (hi-z) quarter inch output and got what we needed. My issue *may* be simply that the gain characteristics of that particular bass and the Aphex pedal just happen to be a poor matchup, and another bass would work better. I've never even bothered to plug up either of my other basses because they stay at home pretty much...

    BassJaro: I would say that no, the Big Bottom circuit doesn't seem to produce anything that *sounds* like compression. It does seem to enhance sustain, but the note doesn't sound compressed, to me at least.

    Alexander: Yeah, you can use it like any stomp box, at the front of your signal chain. I bet it would be happy in an effects loop, as well.

    :)
     
  8. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Supporting Member

    What secretdonkey said.
     
  9. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I just bought a Bass Exciter yesterday. It does a nice job, and I'm looking forward to using on a gig this Friday.

    With regard to compression, this pedal does not mess with the attack of your note. So, you won't notice any lack of punch or attack. It does seem to add some sustain, IMHO.

    According to the documentation, the "Big Bottom" circuit's peak limiter is what enables the pedal to enhance the low end without causing an increase in signal level. In other words, you get more low end, but your signal is not any louder than before.

    I'm still getting know how it works though. For those that are sitting on the fence on this one, You'll know if you really want one of these pedals once you try them out. They're very cool, but may not be for everyone.
     
  10. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    It didn't do much for me (I have a big rig already) and I'm going to sell mine. $95 shipped anywhere in the lower 48 states, if anyone's interested. eric.moesle@att.net
     
  11. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I took the Bass Exciter to a rehearsal and a gig this week. It's everything they say it is. The pedal performs pretty much as stated in the Bassplayer magazine review and posts in this forum. I'm glad that I bought one, but it may not be for everyone as was the case with Eric M.

    I played it through an old crappy Peavey 1-15 combo at rehearsal and also my iAMP 800 CXL 1-12L, using different basses. Here's some of my personal opinion:

    This pedal will improve the sound of any smaller rig. It will improve the sound of a marginal (or crappy) rig of any size, even the big ones. It will improve the sound of marginal quality and some good basses.

    Finally, I suspect that many people might conclude that the pedal may not do much for a high end bass with active onboard preamp that's played through a high quality large rig. I really liked using the pedal with my Fender Jazz and my Lakland JO5, but I feel it really didn't do much for the tone of my F Bass and MTD 535 (for these basses, it seemed to color the tone with those ultra lows too much). I guess you could say that in some applications the tonal coloration of the pedal is very desirable, while in other applications it is not desirable.

    As always, try it out before you buy.
     
  12. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    I don't know what the differences between the models the specs are at the bottom of the page http://www.aphex.com/pages/products/1401.htm minor frequency range differences (and not all that much different at that, certainly not significant) I have the acoustic Xciter and I tried it with my four string Bass (Mustang clone) and I do like what it does but, I can see that there will be differences between rigs.
     
  13. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    I bought both the Bass Xcviter and Acoustic Xciter.
    I found the Bass model to be a bit aggressive in the lows and highs...and a bit "unnatural" sounding as things got turned up. But, I find the Acoustic Xciter to be very useful, and natural sounding.

    The Acoustic model has a more focused and detailed mid voicing, as well as a higher input impedence.
    It does not goose the extreme lows and low mids as the bass model does...yet it does something very sweet for both electric/magnetic PUs as well as Acoustic/piezo Pus.

    As a DI it will not replace my Raven Labs APD, Avalon U5 or Radial, but it does work just fine.

    Lately I have been using it with my "sans electricitie" rig: A Line 6 DL4, and Pignose Hog 30 amp....all battery operated for solo bass busking! It really adds some dimension to the Pignose.

    Max
     
  14. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I'll agree with maxv on the goosing of the lows and highs with the Bass Exciter.

    Most of the time it does this in a complimentary manner, however, with some bass guitar and rig combinations it's a bit too much and not really needed.
     
  15. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
    I bought the model 1401 “acoustic” version and have been fiddling with it for the past several days. At low volumes it actually takes some “touch” away, but at moderate volumes and higher the slight extra punch and the slightly fuller tone are just what the doctor ordered.

    The one disappointment for me is the relatively high level of hiss it adds, but I am fussy about hiss and don’t use any other pedals partly for that reason. I tried three signal chains with it: 1) Pulcinella Level 5 w/passive Aeros => Aphex => Avalon U5 => Stewart World 1.2; 2) bass => Aphex => GK1001RBII; 3) bass => GK1001RBII => Aphex in effects loop. The first and third of these work fine, but for some reason when I use the Aphex between the bass and the GK it hisses like crazy. I tried three cabinet combinations: 1)Bergantino HT-112; 2)Bergantino HT-112 plus EX-112; 3) Epifani T-112. All these trials were just in my practice space, so I don’t know what will happen in a big room.

    The Aphex makes any of the speakers sound fuller, and adds a little punch. I tried all sorts of settings and ended up with all four controls on “5”, the straight-up setting.
    The bottom line for me: I sometimes take just one 1x12 cab with me to practices and quiet gigs and wish I had brought a second 1x12 to get a fuller sound in the deep bass. The Aphex is going to come along instead of a second cab in these situations. So my every-day rig becomes the GK with the Aphex in the loop plus the HT-112. I got some short GeorgeL cables and put the Aphex on top of the GK, since I can’t see any reason to use the footswitch, I’m just going to leave it turned on and tweak the knobs once in a while.

    The ability to use almost any standard wall-wart is nice, too. I had a couple of old power supplies in my junk box (for long-gone speaker phones, I think) and they work just fine. I am a little bit tempted to send the 1401 back and get the model 204. It would work nicely in the Avalon => Stewart setup, but I would have to get a bigger rack bag, and it weighs 6 lbs, and on the GK it would block the fan somewhat, yadda yadda yadda. So - probably not.
     
  16. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    It's too bad there is only one user with both the Bass Xciter and the Acoustic Xciter to compare both models but, it seems that those that use the Acoustic version and the one that uses both seem to favor the Acoustic Xciter over the Bass. It would be nice to have a sort of shootout of at least these two if not also the Guitar Xciter to see which one is the most useful. I will give an unqualified thumbs up to the Acoustic Xciter but, I use it with a piezo pickup electric violin (which was the real reason I bought it) I don't mind one little bit that it really helps the electric bass sound too (just needs to be tweaked for each instrument). I guess they could have done some model line consolidation at Aphex and made a one size fits all model which the Acoustic Xciter seems to be.
    I hadn't noticed the hiss factor to be that pronounced but, I use a lot of filtered sound effects (moderately not the kid with a new toy settings) which tend to add to the noise factor anyway. It might be that I just like white and pink noise it seems to fill in the backdrop a bit but, I do try to control it and not let noise get too out of hand as it make my playing become to unfocused.
     
  17. bassclef112

    bassclef112 Supporting Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    New York City, NY
    I agree with gfab333. It's a neat device but some basses definitely benefit more than others. I found best results with passive bright sounding basses. My active higher end basses (Ken Smith, Alembic) got a bit muddy with it.
     
  18. Alexander

    Alexander

    Aug 13, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    I just picked mine up this weekend and played out with it once. I LOVED it. I used my Thumb and it really enhanced the lows and brought overall balance to the bass across the entire neck. I have not been real happy with the sizzly highs I get out of the Thumb, but this softened it quite a bit. The tone was punchy and thick. The sustain was great - hit an open E and let it ring as long as you want. I also played this into a SABDDI and when I turned down the blend, or favored the bridge pickup more, that growl came out big time. Nice...
     
  19. bben

    bben

    Feb 28, 2002
    Santa Fe, NM
  20. alankroeger

    alankroeger

    Sep 1, 2003
    It really doesn't matter as I have had it for a few months the bonus factor here is that the 1401 works well with piezo guitar and violin with the bonus being that it really helps the electric bass too. I find it actually works best with the bass more then the electric violin (my primary reason for buying it) I can recomend it without reservation.