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Should I Try A BBE Sonic Maximizer?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by kleinenenten, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. So, I just listened in on a local band rehearsing. Getting in some networking in hopes to get some rapport going and have a good community showing when my band starts playing out. They were great! Here's the question: the bass player swears by his BBE Sonic Maximizer. I've heard of them, and have an idea as to what they do, but what is it exactly they do? Specifics to follow...

    I play a 6 string through a GK 700RB-II and NEO 410. I have a bass heavy sound, with some low mids and treble boost and a high mid cut. Coupled with my B3K, I have a sound I love. It sits in the mix nice, cuts a bit (but not too much), and is nice and thick. I use finger technique primarily, and am typically on the lower end of the bass spectrum. The other bass player used a Mesa Big Block and a Mesa 410, with a Sonic Maximizer. His tone cut like crazy! He swears it was the Sonic Maximizer, but I have my doubts. He also had a much brighter sound (don't know his exact EQ), and played much higher on the fretboard (I jokingly said after their rehearsal that they needed a bass player since he player more lead lines).

    I'd like to cut a bit more in the mix. Should I raise my high mids? Should I get a Sonic Maximizer since they're so cheap? Would that work on my rig, using the GK Bi-amp circuit? I've heard the Sonic Maximizer is basically a preset EQ "smile" curve. I turn to you, TalkBass, for your wisdom! What are the pros/cons of a Sonic Maximizer? Thanks in advance!
  2. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Ampeg Amps, EMG Pickups
    Sounds like you're already doing what a Sonic Maximizer does.
  3. Up your high mids and better to buy beer with the money spent on the BBE. IME/IMO
  4. Those things were all the rage once upon a time. And, of course, I took the bait.... Hook, line, and sinker. Come to think of it, I don't even remember how I came to not using it in my rack anymore. But, it definitely does as advertised. Their big selling point was that it was "like lifting a blanket off of your speaker cabs, producing more punch, and clarity." But, as I'm sure some on here will point out, there may be some shortcomings when using one.
  5. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    I used one on my last record. We hummed and haahhhed about if for ages in the control room (trying to decide whether it was actually maximising anything) but in the end we left it on for the tracking and I can't argue with the results. I'd be wary about using it if you've already got a glassy amp though. I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to cut through with a GK and a Neo cab.

    The rig I was using it with was a 1000w Trace and it did actually really bring out the preamp drive and it did make the tone sparkle a little more.
  6. Baird6869

    Baird6869 RIP Gord Downey. A True Canadian Icon. Supporting Member

    I owned a rack version a few years ago.

    In my opinion only..... One of the worst bass related product I have ever bought. Not worth the money IMO and did not improve my sound in any way.

    Maybe it works well with vocals, but for bass I hated it.

  7. In my experience, it was a helpful tool.
    Honestly, it's helpful if your running a long signal with different effects that ends up damping your bass tone, it brings your bass back to clarity and some oomph in the bottom end.

    If you just have an amp and cab, not needed.

    If you have a studio it can be justifiable.

    I was using a BBE 482i rack version. Sold it.
  8. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp Supporting Member

    Sep 18, 2012
    Omaha, NE
  9. Slade N

    Slade N sunn #91 AZ Bands #?

    May 28, 2005
    if your amp needs it, you need a different amp or more likely how to better eq what youve got.

    had a bbe, it wasnt magic in a box it was just another thing in the chain sucking tone
  10. IncX


    Jul 23, 2007
    i owned the pedal version and i always thought it was a 2 band EQ with a default scooped mids setting. it was fun the first few times, as fun as it was when setting your mp3 player into "super bass" mode, but it got old after awhile and you realize it sacrifices too much headroom.
  11. WoodyG3


    May 6, 2003
    Colorado, USA
    I tried the pedal years ago. It added a lot of noise to the signal.
  12. Cirk


    Jan 16, 2011
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have a 262 and like what it does for me. I say give it a try.
  13. Awesome video, confirmed my thoughts. Sonic minimizer was my take on it.
  14. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    If your gear is good, the SM won’t do ya any good imo.

    I used to play through my BBE Bmax preamp that has one on-board, piddled with it a couple times, but I never got anything useful from it, so it stayed off.
  15. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    I have a stomp box version on my guitar pedal board and I also use a BBE active DI with the circuit for mandolin. The theory behind the unit is that it equalizes the phase response so the phase curve goes more linear. On instruments with higher fundamental tones, you get "airier" bass response that doesn't muddle the highs. That's just my take on it. I have no experience using it on bass.
  16. Might be bit of off-topic, but as far as I´ve understood similar type of product in question anyway.

    I just added Aphex 204 (Optical big bottom & Aural Exciter) which I got very cheap to my rig. Rig right now is Sansamp RPM & RBI --> DBX 160A --> Aphex 204 --> Crown XLS 2500 --> Markbass NY122 & Standard 104HF.

    Before adding it I had IMO very good and tight sound already - BUT, gotta say that Aphex made low-end even tighter and opened sound a bit and took my sound from huge to Monstrous.
    At least so far I love it - Gonna carry on tweaking today and see where I can go with it.
  17. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    Imho, the BBE is an excellent door stop.
    Ok, it was useful once on a very poorly recorded snare drum.
  18. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    Spend your money on new strings instead. ;)
  19. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Garbage. Do not buy.
  20. Thanks for the responses, gentlemen! You were fast! Similarly, I've considered an Fdeck to tighten my big low end. Any input?