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BBE Sonic Maximizers

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ThePaste, Apr 27, 2001.

  1. Who has one and who loves 'em?

    And I have a question, is it a preamp? As in, could it be used in conjunction with a power amp and cab?
  2. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    I have an old 401 and am TOTALLY addicted to it.
    I simply DON'T PLAY without it.
    The 401 is mono and is just an FX unit that I put between preamp and poweramp. The BBE is the last FX unit before the poweramp.
    I want to get a new stereo BBE some time in the future.
    They also make a bass preamp that sounds ok., you can also use the regular BBEs as a preamp, but you might miss a EQ.
  3. Get one, you won't be disappointed.
    How's that for an endorsement? Where's my check?

    Seriously, they are very cool gadgets to have. I use one on my PA also. Spices things up nicely, fills the sound out all the way.
  4. ive got a bbe 482 sonic maximizer and i absolutely love it!!!!!! i run it with a 400+ boogie
  5. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I have a 482.

    It's always inline.

    Nuff said...
  6. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I'm hearing from you guys, that BBE Sonic Maximizers are great, and I'm interested.

    Can you tell me more about the BBE's. What exactly do they do? How do they improve the bass sound? Which model would you recommend?

    I've been reading a lot of good reviews about them, but I'd like to know what do they do, becuase I haven't heard them or tried them.

  7. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    Central Illinois
    ok, I'll be odd man out i bought the sonic maximizer 10years ago and I didn't notice much other than the fact it semed to boost the mid range on my rig.
  8. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    I don't know, maybe they weren't the same unit ten years ago, I love mine. After doing several A/B routines with it in and out of the signal, I never play without it.

    It's controls are simply a Lo Contour(low freq) and Process(high freq). How high you set them determines the amount of phase corrected frequencies in each respective range. That's basically all it does, it uses delay and phase correction to achieve a cleaner, more punchy sound. I keep mine around 4-5, any more seems to yield diminishing returns.

    It processes the sound in such a way that it cleans up the entire frequency range. I would have to say the name 'Maximizer' is warranted because it seems that with this unit ON, I get the absolute most clean volume out of my heads. At all volumes, it really does the signal justice.

    All I can say is try one if you can, and see what you think. There are very few units that come along that I grow attached to right from the start, but this unit was was one of them.

    I have a 482, it has dual channels with independent controls for each channel. I think they make a unit with only one channel as well, which might be ideal depending on your requirements. I suppose results may vary depending on what amplification you use. Given a decent amp, this thing performs wonders.

    I urge you to try one if you can.
  9. John Weigel

    John Weigel

    Aug 19, 2000
    I have 2 462s: one in my living room stereo and the other one in my recording/performing rack. According to BBE's literature ( and a couple of reviews I read,which were probably based on BBE's material) the Sonic Maximizer is designed to correct inherent phase problems with amplifiers and speakers. Here's how it goes: when we hear natural sounds, we sense the higher frequencies as arriving first, followed by the mids and then the lows. An amplifier/speaker system (of whatever stripe) reproduces that sound out of phase so that you hear the low frequencies arriving first, followed by the mids and highs. The BBE divides the frequency spectrum into 3 bands, and lets the highs through without any delay; adds a small amount of delay to the mids (controlled by the "process" knob) and another delay to lows (controlled by the "low contour" knob).
    Maybe all this is true and maybe it's not but I have my BBEs permanently wired into my two systems. The only time I turn one off is when I'm playing back a recording I've done that incorporates the process. In that situation the highs get harsh and glary sounding... you only need one dose of it! This is an effect that records very well, by the way.
    The test is always what something sounds like. The BBE brings recorded and amplified live music to life in a way that you can't describe but you can clearly hear. (BBE advertised it as the "sound even the producer could hear"!) I had one of the very early models and the effect was fairly subtle, but there: with the 462s the difference is dramatic. (The current generation is the 482, which I haven't heard.) The early ones (like the 422 I had) were not very robust and did not take kindly to the rigors of live sound, but the newer ones have been trouble-free.
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    My take on the BBE (I own an older one, 422?) is that the better the rig, the less it does for you. I like to run my 4-track mixes through it.

    Well designed audio gear will have less phase misalignment in the first place. This is what people describe as "transparency" or "detail" or "imaging" when they are describing esoteric audio gear.

    With cheesy systems, the BBE sounds like you just lifted a blanket off the speakers. With great sounding systems, it's not needed.
  11. John Weigel

    John Weigel

    Aug 19, 2000
    As I said earlier, the processing of the older 422 was a lot subtler than the newer ones. With the 422 I had (I bought it used but had new chips put in after it cratered live) it brought out things like timbales and cymbals but left everything else alone. The 462's add a lot more presence to everything. With the 422 there was no particular problem with doubling the effect (recording with it and leaving it in the signal path on playback) but the 462's won't allow that...I imagine the 482's are another step up from that.
    In any case, I love the results I get and I record almost everything into Cool Edit Pro on my computer using the BBE. The exception for now is my playing partner's voice: the combination of the frequency response of the room and his voice emphasizes the upper mids in an unpleasant way when I record throught the 462.
  12. AssMan


    Dec 2, 2000
    Minnesota, USA
    Does anyone have/use/tried the BBE 264?
  13. pmkelly

    pmkelly Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    all these guys no way too much about the stupid things.... I have a 482, it has four knobs and cool lights, and a cool swirly-dealy blue paint thing on the front.... really looks cool in a rack..... Oh, by the way, I don't think I could live without one.... I don't know what it actually does, and KUDOS to the guys who do, but it really adds to the sound, without taking it too far. Too much bang for the buck.... Get one, you will like it, I hope, or I will sound like a dufus....
  14. KB

    KB Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2000
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I am now getting interested in one of these things. I have a mid-level rig (Carvin R600 III with Carvin 2x10 and 1x15 speakers) and I am curious as to how it would sound with this rig. Does anyone with a carvin setup use this? How about SWR or Eden?
    I'll have to see if I can find one locally to try out, but I still would like to hear more people's opinions on it. So far everything I've read is very positive.


  15. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    DR Strings
    That's probably why I don't have one anymore. I've had stereo and mono units and found I got better results without them. I guess after the novelty wore off (about a gig or two) I got bored with it.
  16. dblbassted


    Mar 21, 2001
    Memphis, Tn.
    I ordered one yesterday. I tried the 482 and liked it a lot, but couldn't justify the cost when I'd only run it in mono. MF just dropped the price of the 264 to 60 bucks. Email me in a week and I'll let you know how it sounds.
  17. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    My rig is composed of a Hartke 3500 with a Peavey 410TXF (new model/front-ported).

    Will I be better of getting the BBE 264 for $60 from MF or spend the extra $140 for the 482??
    I only have the Peavey cab, which only has one input, so which one woul be better for me???

    What is the differece between the two models? I know that the 482 is stereo, but do I need two cabs to be able to run it stereo??

    Pardon my little knowledge about this, but I'd really love for you guys to help me.
  18. John Weigel

    John Weigel

    Aug 19, 2000
    Afro, I'd go with the 462 after my experience with the 422: the 264 is basically designed for home stereo use and I fried the chips in my 422 when I used it for live performance in a club.
    You should be able to run one channel of the 462 for your bass rig without harming anything: a friend uses a 462 that way in a mono PA rig.
  19. AssMan


    Dec 2, 2000
    Minnesota, USA
    It's only $60 now? Cool. It said in the catalog that it was a musicians friend exclusive, so I assume you can't really find too many other places. I can't see paying that much more for the stereo one, though I do have a stereo rig (Carvin RC210 redeye and a 15" cab), but I figure I'll patch it into the effects loop besides, I don't think the 15 would benefit much from it much anyway. Just post how you like in this thread when you get it. Thanks for the help.
  20. seamus


    Feb 8, 2001
    Though you have a stereo rig, you can get by with a mono unit just fine. I have a stereo rig too, but I do not run this unit via fx loop(though some people do).

    My signal chain is:

    Bass>>>TU-2>>>SABDDI>>>BBE 482>>>Head

    I run the BBE as the last thing before my input reaches the amp. It sounds fine the way I have it now, so I never tried it out in the fx loop.

    I could get by with a mono unit, but I bought the 482 so I could have both my bass and g****r rig running through it at the same time without ever having to switch out.


    Wanted to add this since I saw this thread was dug up. I do run mine via the FX loop now. It's more seamless for setup purposes and sounds good there.

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