BBE Sonic Maximizer users?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by hentor2112, Sep 9, 2013.

  1. hentor2112


    Jul 20, 2008
    Pacific NW
    I was looking thru the site trying to find a thread on this but didn't see much. Can anyone offer any opinions on if these devices do much for their sound, and are they designed more for live playing or recording - or both? And if recording with one, is it run in-line or thru an effects loop? Thanks for any help!
  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I used to own one, and frankly, if a bassist came to my studio with one, I'd have them bypass it entirely.

    It's one of those "a little goes a long way" type effects. I found it gave a great sound at home playing solo, but really buried me in a live mix. That said, I've heard of plenty of guys really liking it.
  3. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    I used to use one. Forgot to turn it on one day and realized it sounded better without it. I still use it in my PA rack, where it actually is pretty helpful sweetening up vocals.
  4. ma4rk


    Jun 28, 2012
    Sydney, Australia

    It'll help bury you in the mix.

    Saying that, it's nice to have one in your home studio - pro engineers will probably get you to not use it.

    Mine went on & off my board many times until I traded it.
  5. silky smoove

    silky smoove

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    I have a DBX channel strip with a similar LF and HF enhance circuit. I use it on vocalists without much presence in their voice, but only in small amounts. In that regard I do have a use for that type of circuit, but as part of a bass rig I'd pass.
  6. same here....tried it on bass, didn't like it.
    I use it sometimes on the stereo drum buss, to broaden the spectrum......once in a while on vocals or keys, or if a not so great recording has a stellar performance, that's when I use it.
  7. hentor2112


    Jul 20, 2008
    Pacific NW
    Thanks for the responses; very helpful!
  8. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's Supporting Member

    The Sonic Maximizer is basically a high frequency equalizer/expander. The more highs you have, the more it boosts them.

    It can add nearly 25 dB (!) of high end boost so you have to be very careful about clipping the next stage, and it can sound very brittle.

    Because of the extreme HF boost, it also has to have a fixed bass boost to help try to "balance" the sound.
  9. walterw

    walterw Supportive Fender Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 20, 2009
    the classic maximizer analogy is to salt on food;

    if the food is yucky or bland, dumping salt on it makes it edible; if it's a good,well-cooked meal, more salt will ruin it.
    CameronJohnson likes this.
  10. Tractorr


    Aug 23, 2011

    When you first turn these things on you go wow that sounds great because what the device does to the high end. Then after awhile you realize that it doesn't really sound better. Also, you are better off just experimenting with the controls on your amp. Most decent amps will give you a better, less artificial tone when you get them in the sweet spot.
  11. chicago_mike


    Oct 9, 2007
    Chicago - LA - Rome
    Endorsing Artist : Genz Benz
    Its really just a 50hz and 5Khz EQ. After dissecting, repairing and throwing away a few of those its nothing fancy and really should be avoided.

    The EHX attack pedal is similar.
  12. srxplayer


    May 19, 2004
    Highland, CA
    Good Analogy. I like the Sonic Maximizer technology but there are times where it's not needed or needed in small doses or it will ruin the mix. Used properly it's a nice tool.
  13. Floridabwoy

    Floridabwoy Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2008
    Jacksonville, Fl
    I use one on my subwoofer channel on my pa. It just evens out the lows IMO.
  14. MCS4

    MCS4 Supporting Member

    Sep 26, 2012
    Fort Lauderdale, FL
    My preamp (BBE Bmax) has a built-in Sonic Maximizer. I never run it past 25% of its range, mainly because the BMax already has a scooped (Fender) tone stack, but I do end up keeping it on more often than not. Every once in a while I'll play for a bit with it off, then flick it on, and I generally find the "on" tone to be very slightly more pleasing. It's not a big enough difference that I would buy a stand-alone Maximizer stomp or rack though.
  15. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    There are plugin versions. Give them a demo try.
  16. Projectile


    Feb 5, 2009
    Despite all of the associated marketing nonsense, it's basically just a typical scooped "smile" EQ preset in a box. What makes it a little bit different than a normal EQ is that there is an expander attached to the highpass part of the filter, so it boosts the highs more when you play harder. That's really all there is to it. The whole part about aligning phase is just a bunch of marketing bull IMO. Any analog EQ causes phase delay at certain frequencies. The BBE sonic maximizer is no different in this respect. This phase shifting is usually seen as a negative side effect of analog EQ, but somehow the BBE marketing team has spun it around to make it sound like it's some sort of intended benefit. Complete bollocks if you ask me!

    Personally, I think a dedicated graphic EQ would be more flexible and useful, but if you tend to like that kind of scooped EQ preset, then it can simplify things, and the expander can add some intensity to the attack. Though, they often make your bass get lost in the mix due to the mid cut.

    From a purely technical standpoint, I think it's a cool little circuit. You don't see a whole lot of state-variable filters or expanders in stomp box circuits. It's kind of unique and interesting in that respect.
  17. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    I have one, it is awesome to stick under the front lip of a speaker cab to angle upward so you can hear it better.
    Best use of the bbe sonic maximizer i've found to date.
  18. hentor2112


    Jul 20, 2008
    Pacific NW
    Thanks again for the responses.
  19. Zooberwerx

    Zooberwerx Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Virginia Beach, VA
    I use one to sweeten up our marginal monitor system. It certainly works better with a sound reinforcement system than it does in a bass rig. I have no experience with recording. They're dirt-cheap secondhand...and for good reason. The Aphex 204 is a much better choice IMO but works along different lines.

  20. nojj

    nojj Guest

    May 20, 2013
    I have an 882 I use in the studio on the room recording system.