Musicians, engineers: ever used a BBE Sonic Maximizer?

This is a pretty esoteric subject, but I’m hoping a few of the musicians on the boards will know what a BBE Sonic Maximizer is.

I’ve always wondered what this device does, and how it sounds. I’ve read the specs and descriptions. It’s supposed to tighten up the bass, and add a sort of “sheen” and intelligibility to the sound. Well, I’ve never knowingly heard one in operation to compare it to unprocessed sound. I wonder if it would be worthwhile to use it on records that I’ve restored. It doesn’t cost much, and I may even be able to get it as a plugin.

If you’ve used one, how much different does the output sound from the input? Does it do its work without using compression or limiting? Is it totally compatible with mono downmixes? That is, when you mix down a stereo recording to mono, is the effect still perfectly audible without any phase cancellations? Is a recording I make using BBE going to sound the same on your stereo as it does on mine? I can think of more questions, but those will do for now.

Hmm, I can’t answer all your questions. It does work on mono sources. It does brighten things and improve bass. It is easy to use too much. No compression. Obviously different stereos will sound different, however bringing up the treble will be heard on two different stereos to the degree that they accurately reproduce treble frequencies.
I like the bbe in vst form. In hardware I noticed adds noise but maybe that was my signal chain. There are better vst exciters out there now: Refined Audiometrics Clas, Ozone 3, T-racks, PSP vintage warmer, Crysonic Spectralive. Still for fast and easy bbe is good. Some people despise it’s “artificialness.” But those people are snobs lol. What are you using for audio restoration?

Discussed here

Thanks for the responses - I didn’t know if there would be any. If I get a BBE, it will be a DirectX plugin. I use Adobe Audition and $2500 worth of turntable to restore audio, no other software or hardware. I’m not into “artificial” processing or “expanded” stereo image, so I’m really curious about what flavor of “better” this device offers.

Well if used sparingly it can brighten things up and increase bass. However it is really easy to go over board and then it can start sounding too hyped. Personally I think Refined Audiometrics Clas sounds much more natural but it is vst. Also, sometimes hyped is what you want. For your purposes, careful eq-ing might be better. T-racks is also good for bringing out definition and clarity and Crysonic Spectralive is amazing although perhaps not subtle enough and it plays with the stereo field.

Here is another discussion for you:

Ken - if you want to email some of the particular questions you have, I can run them past my drummer who is a pro record producer. Btw, the band he is working with just got signed and has one of the most requested singles on KROQ, the influential LA station. He is putting in massive hours to get their CD ready for release given this grass roots interest…