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User reviews on Exciter/Enhancer products

Use with caution (BBE - Sonic Maximizer 482i)

By James..., 05/08/2011
BBE claims that the sonic maximizer will "replace lost mids in your signal that get lost in speaker to ear discourse" or something like that. Honestly, I remember reading the literature a while back and coming to the conclusion that BBE's advertising for this product was overly wordy and geared toward people who weren't smart enough to figure out what they meant anyway. BBE's mumbo jumbo aside, in layman's terms this is a compressor/eq basically. Don't be fooled. This isn't some kind of rocket science at work here.


Look at the front panel. That controls are simple. You can use this on guitar, bass, or in a live/studio mix. It doesn't matter. BBE basically designed it to improve the tone of anything. It's not hard to setup. Just follow BBE's instructions and turn the knobs till it sounds good.


Here's where I think this unit falls flat. A lot of people swear by this thing. I know a few guitarists and bassists that say it just makes them sound better. I used one of these on guitar years ago. If you aren't playing live, it does make you sound better. But when you start playing with a band, the BBE tends to suck your mids in a way that removes you from the mix. This is true especially when you turn the knobs higher. I found the BBE to be like an addictive drug. You can stick it on an instrument and turn the knob up and perceive it to sound better the higher the knob goes. In reality, the higher it goes the less you get heard in the mix.

The bottom line is, the BBE is really a fancy compressor/eq unit. In moderation, it can add some punch to certain things. But once you go overboard with it, you run a huge risk of being totally lost in a mix.


Considering what the sonic maximizer really is, I can't give it high ratings for value. It would probably be a better idea to spend your money on a good compressor instead. At least it wouldn't be pretending to be anything it's not. The BBE is advertised as magic. Maybe that's because it magically makes you dissapear from the mix. It may seem like I'm knocking it. I'm not. It's still usable. I just think a lot of people misuse them.

Aphex Model 204 (Aphex - 204 Aural Exciter and Optical Big Bottom (New Design 2011))

By MGR/Paolo Snaporaz, 04/12/2002
Purchased from a german on-line shop after reading about it, for some 500€. I was looking for a sound processor capable of making a fat bass tone without losing the attack and without blowing the speakers.
I play an Ibanez BTB700 on Gallien-Krueger RB700 380+50W amp and 4x10"+horn GK cabinet + a self-built 4x4" Bose midrange.

And it really works ! The combination of "optical low end" and "aural exciter" gives a creamy fat sound Mr Jah Wobble would dream about, with sleek tone and crystal-clear attack. In addition it has 2 channels, so it could also be used with any stereo equipment or with bi-amping.
Especially together with drums and noisy guitarists the bass rumbles like a mammooth but doesn't get muddy and undefined.

A little cheap finish, but that really doesn't matter given the excellent acoustic performance.

Easy controls, everything is essential. No gadgets. Finish is a bit cheap but it doesn't matter.

If you're thinking of buying an 8x10" Ampeg-like monster or some 18" speakers for low fat bottom - which is expensive and extremely heavy & bulky to carry around, you should perhaps try the Aphex 204 first'll be surprised what kind of clean PHAT it pulls out of your bass amp & speakers ! Only thing, put the amp controls pretty flat, cause if you already boost the low end and put the Aphex on top of that your Amp won't like it very much.

This review was originally published on

Final Touches (BBE - Sonic Maximizer 882i)

By JimboSpins, 24/09/2012
The BBE 882i Sonic Maximizer is priced at a very low point for how great it will turn your sound around. I have got an extremely clean sound while using the 882i, it leaves +23dBu for headroom and has balanced outputs (active). The unit can be racked though I didn’t have more rack space for it so I just left it sitting off to the side. If you need a Maximizer to put the final touch to your complete mix, then the 882i is exactly what you need, and for only around 250 and even less than that used, you really cant go wrong.


Getting started is very simple with the Sonic Maximizer 882i, and the manual is very easy to understand. The unit is pretty easy to understand on your own though without the need for the book. There are only a total of 4 knobs on the front of the unit and each are labeled. On the back of the unit there are outputs and inputs Channel A/ Channel B.


I have used the BBE 882i to get a complete sound on all of my instruments and whole projects. There are many different software’s in DAW’s that can almost do the same thing as the 882i but I prefer to stick with hardware. I have been using this device for a while now and if its not broke then don’t fix it. I am very comfortable using it.


The BBE 882i is very well built and well made. The sound quality that it produces is second to none and for the price it could be the best Maximizer available. I have used several different similar products but this is the first one from BBE that I have used. I am now looking into a newer version of a Maximizer with more inputs. I recommend using this to put the final touches on your mixes. You will hear the difference.

News Exciter/Enhancer

[Musikmesse] dbx launches 500 modules

Published on 04/18/15
dbx launches a series of processors and sub-harmonic synth in API 500 format, which are introduced at Musikmesse this week.

[NAMM] New BBE 282i Sonic Maximizers

Published on 01/25/14

Aphex EX·BB 500 Module

Published on 06/17/12

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