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User reviews on Guitar enhancer products

Like the difference between mastered and unmastered. (BBE - Sonic Stomp)

By feraledge, 27/05/2012
This is an extremely straightforward and easy to use processor that can do wonders for your sound.
I've had a hard time really getting this across through words, but playing one of these does all the talking that you would need.
As far as the actual pedal goes, this is the stomp box version of BBE's 482 rack mount Sonic Maximizer. It does all of the same things, but for one amp or unit instead of two. Runs off of a 9V battery or adapter, one input, one output, two knobs (lo contour and process) and one switch. It's got a heavy duty casing and I've never had reliability issues with one personally. And it's got a hardware bypass to boot.


UTILIZATION

Two knobs, this is about as simple as it gets. Each one handles a different end of the sonic spectrum, so turn it till you like it and then stop.

SOUND QUALITY

So what the sonic maximizer does is, and I'm putting this simply, split the high, mid and low ends of your signal to adjust for your low end punch or high end cut. The idea behind it is that the translation between amps and speaker cabs flattens the signal and looses the full range of the highs and lows. The Sonic Stomp or Maximizer brings those back in by adding a frequency curve/delay. So you get more clarity, or, if you like, more brutality for modern high gain applications.
I lack the overall terminology to explain it, but it almost sounds like the Sonic Stomp/Maximizer spreads out your signal through the speaker instead of just dumping flatly out of the middle. It gives you more control and a lot more dynamic range in how your amp sounds.
I always keep this in the effects loop and that's really where it's most effective. You can use it for some EQ or boost before the pre-amp, but it's really not going to get the same effect as running it in the back end. I've used this with a number of heads and you'll always get the same result.

OVERALL OPINION

Playing death metal with a scooped sound and not wanting to lose mid-range articulation, I can't imagine not using a sonic maximizer. I always keep it running and it's an essential part of my rig. If you're running a gain boost in your chain, definitely try this stomp box out.
Even if you're not going high gain, the simplicity and range of boost makes this effect hard to pass up. Unless you're a guitar > cable > amp purist, it's worth giving it a shot.
I liken the sound difference between using this pedal and not using this pedal to how a recording sounds before it is mastered and after. It's simple and powerful.
I have yet to find another EQ that can have a similar impact. And for the price, it's really hard to justify a continued search.
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Not a toy (BBE - Sonic Stomp)

By Mattfig, 21/06/2012
OK, some people don't understand these things...They play with a lot more parameters than just EQ...Phase relationships and harmonics also play a huge role...

Anyway, it's a dead simple pedal with 1/4 in and out and an on and off switch....

There are no tubes...

UTILIZATION

Sound editing is as simple as adjusting the two parameters...The response is already tailored to be very good...It's a matter of how much of it you want....

The manual is simple as the pedal...There really isn't much to understand beyond where you place it in your chain or loop....

SOUND QUALITY

The sound quality is outstanding....I use mine in moderation and it's a nice subtle push to my tone...I don't use it while recording....Only live....I find that natural is better for recording and using the BBE colors the tone...

It makes all my guitars and basses sound good...And I have over 25....I love this pedal in the loop of my Crate BV-120...Wow, they were made for each other...

This pedal will take your tone and not only fill it up but shape it just so...Two knobs can do a lot more than you think!

OVERALL OPINION

Built like a tank....Sounds awesome...You just gotta remember not to overuse it....It sounds really great when you're on your own playing solo....But with a band, it can get hairy...Too much bass can interfere with the band's tone in general....

I'd buy another....I already own two...

I tried others but BBE has it down...Period...

Highly recommended...
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Make any guitar more versatile with pickup/tone variations (Keyztone - EXchanger)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 11/01/2019
SOUND:



The EXchanger has one primary focus: Due to a pickup’s behavior you are able to dial into an ideal or different sound better. To make this obvious, the sound coming from a single-coil pickup is different from a P90, which is different from a modern high-gain/output pickup, etc. And so, when playing with the same pedals and amp you achieve different qualities in sound based on the guitar (pickups and electronics) used. The EXchanger’s key role is to allow those unique pickup changes so that a Strat can sound more like a Les Paul and a guitar with active-pickups can morph into the role of a Strat. Because the EXchanger is not a modeler, it does not reproduce specific guitars or pickups like you would find with amp/cab sims pedals/software, for example. Rather, as stated, you can get similar characteristics of different pickup outputs so that the same guitar sounds and behaves differently. An obvious example is those players who may like a Strat, but it sounds thin when playing some genres of Rock and particularly Metal. To make up for that short-coming often a player will use higher-gain equipment (pedals/amps), turn up the volume or perhaps try to add some EQ, which can work, but also muddies the signal. The EXchanger’s role is not to make the Strat sound exactly like playing a Dean, Jackson or some other guitar with ballsy pickups, but to enhance the Strat’s own pickups so that it mimics the behavior of those ballsy pickups better.

I included various guitars with the accompanying demo video, including a Strat with vintage pickups, an 8-string with active pickups, and a few guitars between. I was impressed as to how the 8-string could sound very Strat-like, although with more meat on it. The Strat fattened up and could produce more of a well-rounded acoustic tone with the Supa’Clean mode, and a Strandberg guitar that is meant for Prog Metal actually beefed up nicely with the Modern Power pickup selection. Of course, the characteristics inherent with P90s, Les Paul 50th Anniversary and Wide Range humbuckers all shone through very well with each guitar. HOWEVER, each guitar still retained its underlying tone, but with the characteristics of the chosen pickups, e.g., more low end, a more even EQ throughout, more punch, more sizzle, etc.

Generally speaking, the EXchanger is quiet, depending on the pickup choice, but also the pickups currently in your guitar and the other gear used, e.g., high-gain amp vs. clean amp. Any modest hummmm or ssshhhh can be eliminated easily with a basic noise gate, although you don’t hear any such signal disturbance while playing (only when you and the band/background music are silent and if you listen for it and definitely not while playing clean-ish. The footswitches are silent for the most part… the odd time I heard a ‘click’ when turning on the unit, and then other times I did not. Not a big deal.

OVERALL IMPRESSION:
The Keyztone EXchanger is not a simple EQ pedal… and if it were then many musicians would be dialing in some Hot Texas pickups for a thin-sounding Strat, or could make their regular humbuckers sound like P90s. It’s not happening, which is why guitarists regularly swap out pickups in favorite guitars. In effect, the EXchanger is a pickup enhancer that removes the limits of a pickup’s configuration (pickup + cable length + guitar potentiometers) and does so my separating the input tone from the output tone. This is done by making the input frequencies flat (from the guitar going into the EXchanger) and then reengineered to mimic the characteristics of different pickups so that your guitar could emulate bright vintage single coils, Rockabilly style pickups, super clean piezo/acoustic sounding pickups, etc. At about $220 USD, the EXchanger is an average and reasonably priced pedal when considered generally. But based on how much it can do for your tone and the sculpting of different sounds with the same guitar and I think it’s of excellent value. Tonal differences with the EXchanger are so obvious when playing clean or with a hint of dirt. And although the differences are more subtle in high-gain or distorted environments (due to more signal alteration) there still are apparent tone differences – enough, in fact, that I use it regularly in my compositions when I want different sound qualities when chugging heavy chords or playing lead. Someone with a few dozen guitars with various pickups may not see as much value in the EXchanger, but I suspect most people do not have a horde of guitars with 8 different pickups among the bunch. But even if that were the case, think about that one guitar you enjoy playing the most and how you wish it had pickup characteristics of a different guitar in your collection and you begin to get the point behind the EXchanger’s potential value.

GENERAL USE:
Obviously whatever pickups you have in your guitar will remain – but what the EXchanger does is alter their characteristics relative to those of a different type of pickup. This means being able to enjoy the pickups you have, but also to enjoy other tones that may be suited better in different instances (e.g., wanting more punch or low end for heavier rock music). To give an example, P90 soap bar pickups are characterized as ‘thick, slightly gritty with serious midrange presence and reasonable high-end response and punch.’ And so, if you have a Strat or even a guitar with humbuckers that tend to be thinner, more low end or without much midrange response, then those pickups will morph to represent P90s to a good extent (but will not make you sound like musician X playing a guitar with P90s… just keep that in mind). And so, once you select the characteristics you want to give your guitar (8 different pickup types in the EXchanger), so that it sounds more like a different type of guitar, you are able to fine-tune it even more with the Dark/Bright knob and the Bright Boost switch, which help to account for both cable length (longer cables can muddy or darken the signal) and pickup type (dark pickups will require more brightness to produce more of a vintage Strat sound, whereas a Strat will require more Darkness to emulate humbuckers better). Once you select the type of pickup you want and any dark/bright enhancement to zero in on the tone better, you are ready to go. Pickup selection is easy, requiring you to stomp through the selections (via the Tone Select footswitch) to the desire pickup – which then can be engaged or disengaged via the Bypass footswitch. Since power consumption is only 14mA, if you choose to use a 9v battery there is a ‘battery low’ LED indicator.

OTHER DETAILS:
Measuring in at 120 (L) x 85 (W) x 33 (H) mm (4.72 x 3.34 x 1.3 inches) and weighing 275g (0.6 lbs), the EXchanger has an aluminum chassis with a brushed metal finish. Its power 9V DC output is located in the back, whereas the guitar input/output both are located along the sides and slightly more than half-way up the pedal. The two stomp switches are far removed from any LEDs, switches, knobs and input/output cables to prevent any stomping mishaps. The Tone Select footswitch has a hard click, whereas the Bypass is soft-switching. The Bright Boost switch has a solid feel to it and is slightly longer than most switches of that type (making it easy to grasp and toggle). Both knobs are metal and the pots are solid in feel when moving the knobs. The Dark/Bright knob clicks in place (seven locations, with the middle at 12-noon representing neutral ground). The Level knob rotates smoothly without any locking positions. All LEDs (for tone/pickup selection, on/off and low battery) are small and slightly countersunk.
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News Guitar enhancer

[NAMM] TC Electronic unveils the BodyRez pedal

Published on 07/09/15
TC Electronic will showcase at Summer NAMM in Nashville today a new pedal that will enhance the sound of acoustic-electric guitars.

FEA Labs The Growler

Published on 03/16/10