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FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / BBE Sonic Maximizers

Next 20 Messages  
Contributing Member

Greater Boston

Where suspense is never in short supply.
Nov 11th, 2005 02:12 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When you take any signal and feed it to a normal signal chain--a preamp, EQ, Amp, etc.--and out through a speaker, it's going to lose quality. It's one of the great negatives of amplified music : any signal fed to a speaker will lose quality due to problems that all speakers have with phase and accurate amplitude reproduction.

This causes fundamentals and harmonics to be out of order or even reversed, making the sound muddy. Certain frequencies may be overemphasized because of phase problems making the sound inaccurate and just plain bad.

This BBE unit's circuitry puts the clarity back in your signal by correcting those problems. The circuitry gives the speaker a signal that it likes, one that it can re-produce more efficiently and with clarity and loudness. It makes the waveform that the speaker reproduces closer to the natural, unamplified musical signal.

Sonic Maximizers

(This message was last edited by fendrguitplayr at 04:10 PM, Dec 26th, 2005)



"The kid with the big white guitar"
Jan 9th, 2006 10:04 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Every guitar player should have one of these. I've used this with both acoustics and electrics and never turn if off. Great flexibility in shaping and boosting tone, at a great price.



Mar 13th, 2006 11:51 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Wonder how it compares to the Xotic RC Booster??

Contributing Member

Greater Boston

Where suspense is never in short supply.
Aug 24th, 2006 07:59 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Anyone know if the stompbox version is the same as the rackmount version - sound wise ?

Contributing Member

City by the Bay

"The kid with the big white guitar"
Aug 24th, 2006 11:47 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Stratbrat - it is different then the RC Booster. fendrguitarplayr nails it application.

I leave my BBE Sonic stomp on ALL THE TIME. Whether I'm playing clean or dirty or using any and all pedals, the BBE just produces the best signal and sound. The only knock I've heard about the BBE Sonic Stomp is that is adds a processed or digital tone, but I don't hear it.

I love my RC Booster but the BBE Sonic Stomp is the best $80 addition to my rig.

Contributing Member


Aug 26th, 2006 05:20 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had one that I used briefly in my home studio. I used it once in line on my vocal mic and really liked the end result. I tried it once in our PA live for vocals and thought it sounded thin and processed. Oddly enough, I wasn't able to duplicate its result in the studio again. Got rid of it and bought the directx plugin. Still haven't found "it".


Adelaide, Australia

6 strings, 4 fingers and 240 volts
Sep 15th, 2006 12:44 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

How is a piece of circuitry going to know what phase anomolies and resonant peaks YOUR particular speaker may have and therefore accurately compensate for it???

If this circuitry is based on correcting real identifiable/measurable problems with speakers, then why doesn't every piece of audio related gear have it included???

It sounds like snake oil to me.....

Can you share the science this is based on?



Steve Dallman
Contributing Member


Nov 13th, 2006 07:15 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

BB SM's came out originally as an alternative process to the Aphex Aural Exciter. The Aphex takes a high pass signal, creates even order harmonics (distortion) and mixes that signal back with the original signal. The process doesn't sound like distortion, but extends the high end.

For all the mumbo-jumbo about phase this, annomalities that, I believe (and I could be wrong) that BBE designed a process that produced a similar sonic result as Aphex with a different process. Upon examination of the circuit, the stages do create phase changes, but I'm not sure the phase changes were intentional, but a result of the circuits.

There is a known phenomena. If you hear three signals, and if they hit your ear at different times...even milliseconds apart, your brain will perceive the sound that reaches your ears first as the louder signal.

So you take the audio spectrum, split it into 3 bands, and delay the middle band a few milliseconds and delay the low band a few more. Your ears will hear the high end first, the midrange second and the bass last. The milliseconds are too short to hear or perceive those delayed signals as delayed, but the brain perceives the high end as louder, even though it may not be.

In this delay process, phase shifts do occur. So are the phase shifts intentional, or simply a result of the delay process, and BB is just describing the phase shifts as intentional?

BB stepped ahead of Aphex by including a bass control which can balance the increased high end. Aphex eventually added a low end control and a good one at that, which increases the low end without requiring larger speakers or power amps.

Aphex products were incredibly expensive in the beginning, so much so that only top shelf recording studios had them.

Prices of both processes have come way down over the years.

It is common for people to overuse this effect. It's best in small doses. The suggested setup for Aphex Aural Exciters when they first appeared was to turn up the process until you can just hear it, and then back it off a hair.

I have both Aphex and BBE enhancers, as well as a few others, like Roctron, Alesis, Boss, DOD, etc. They all have their place.

Contributing Member

City by the Bay

"The kid with the big white guitar"
Nov 13th, 2006 01:23 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks Steve. Wow, great information!

Welcome back and my condolences.

3 chord


I don't have anything clever to say
Nov 13th, 2006 01:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Steve, I'm not sure I know you but I read your profile and, well, very sad times for you lately. I hope things are going o.k. and I am sorry.

About the Sonic Maximizers, I have never tried one but I was wondering if it would give my PV Classic 30 a little more sparkle to the high end? My only complaint of this great amp is it's midrange heavy.


Wisconsin, USA

Nov 13th, 2006 08:35 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This seems like a really odd thing to put into an effect pedal. Couldn't you get the same thing out of an EQ pedal, or for those (and I've seen a few write ups like this) that leave their SM on all the time, the EQ built into the amp. Why would you really need a pedal whose only function is to increase high end?

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member


Nov 15th, 2006 06:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The process is quite different from simple EQ. It adds a clarity and "breathiness" that can't be duped by EQ. Think of your tone with really dead strings, and then with a fresh set on. With the dead strings, could you just EQ them to sound like new strings? Hardly.

FWIW, treble boosters (and I'm not suggesting a BBE is a treble booster) have been used for years by guitar players to get their signature tones. Eric Clapton with his Marshall combo in the Bluesbreakers, Ritchie Blackmore with his Marshall Majors in Deep Purple, Toni Iommi in Black Sabbath, Brian May in Queen...and countless others.

For people who build their own effects, a germanium transistor based treble booster is one of the most popular builds.

You should hear a Dallas Rangemaster through a tweed Deluxe, or a Silvertone.

A BBE increases presence and clarity without adding any noise, and can lift a guitar in the mix the way no treble booster or EQ would.

It can add a "professional sheen" to bland mix.

Next time you hear a Def Lepard song, pay close attention to the vocals. The open airiness you hear is produced with an enhancer.

A BBE can improve intelligibility, and can help the PA reach further into a room.

Contributing Member

Greater Boston

Where suspense is never in short supply.
Jan 4th, 2007 01:21 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

>>A BBE can improve intelligibility, and can help the PA reach further into a room.

And using it with a Fender Twin or Pro Jr makes the amps sound like they're on steroids. Tone is just undescribably good, IMO.

Contributing Member


Jim O.
Jan 5th, 2007 07:38 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I have a Sonic Stomp and I don't turn it off. It does all the good stuff mentioned above, and it works on ss or tube amps in my experience.

Contributing Member

I am not a complete

idiot - I have several pieces missing!
Jan 15th, 2007 11:59 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

They're very good for live situations where you just set up and run without two hours of serious sound check and tweaking. I know a couple guys who have become addicted to them because they are so easy.

One of the live users refuses to use any such circuitry in the studio because it does unnaturally alter the signal. When you take the time to get it just right, the maximizers tend to result in that overprocessed candy-ass '80s glisteny sheen.



Celtic Bill
Jan 16th, 2007 12:32 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I run a BBE 362 in my P.A. rack, and a Sonic Stomp in my pedalboard rig. Wouldn't leave home without 'em........


usa/east bay sf

Ain't no time to hate
Mar 22nd, 2007 02:40 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I sold my BBE rack unit a couple of months ago - I really liked the clean, it improved the 'glassy' highs with enhanced bottom - but when I kicked an amp into overdrive, you could really hear the digital signal processing, not a natural sound.



the best gift in life is music!
Apr 6th, 2007 06:47 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

i have a sonic stomp that i dig alot. sounds best to me on singlecoil pic-ups. adds just the right bottom end. sounds best on my rig when playing clean.

(This message was last edited by rainking68 at 06:51 AM, Apr 6th, 2007)

Gear Head


Aug 19th, 2007 12:04 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I run a Sonic Stomp through the effects loop of my Peavey JSX head. I think it's great. I think the most accurate analogy I've heard, is from BBE themselves. "It's like eyeglasses for your amp"


Nicoma Park, OK.

"Let the music do the talking"
Aug 21st, 2007 07:14 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I used a BBE unit in my guitar rack for ages and the results were like night & day.

I did a sound job for a friends band and used the BBE on their sound system, their next gig they had one in their PA rack.

Next 20 Messages  

FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / BBE Sonic Maximizers

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