Sonic Maximizers

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
24Farrington
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Sonic Maximizers

Post by 24Farrington » Thu Jul 10, 2003 9:38 am

I've run mixes and individual tracks through the BBESonicMaximizer plug-in, and it just makes everything sound so much better, to my ears anyway. I see myself getting highly addicted to this plug-in. I don't want to use it as a crutch, however. Does anyone have anything bad to say about these type of effects? Also, any suggestion on where to put it in a chain when mastering?

Mason
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by Mason » Thu Jul 10, 2003 10:51 am

This is a great question. I'm curious to hear some other peoples' experience, in general, with the Sonic Maximizer.

The engineer on my band's last recording would sometimes use rack-mount BBEs on the electric guitars (during tracking) and it seemed nearly magic. Like, "What's this knob do? Oh! This one makes the guitar sound better."

I had the mechanism explained to me and while I didn't retain much of the explanation, it has something to do with (and feel free correct, 'cause I could be way off) using EQ to sync up the bass tones with the treble to make the sound source seem to be closer to your ears.

We're mixing those recordings now, and I haven't noticed any unwanted Sonic Minimization on the tracks that used the Maximizer.

xaqary
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by xaqary » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:04 am

thats my understanding also-There is a used one for sale down the street but I haven't had the time to look into so I haven't bought it-I would also love info about this---

raygun
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by raygun » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:27 am

when i first bought my rack mount sonic maximizer i thought it was the best thing ever invented especially for fourtrack recordings. now i have the plugin and use it regularly for clarity on instruments and vocals
do it yourself

takeout
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by takeout » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:28 am

Had one - wasn't into it. I was using it in my bass rig; it basically ended up serving as an extra gain stage.

The mechanism is supposedly that it time-aligns high frequencies and low frequencies so they arrive at your ears at the same time, rather than lows getting there after highs.

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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by SLiM BiLT » Thu Jul 10, 2003 11:55 am

I used to use one on the mix buss when recording with a Fostex R-8. It was great for "undoing" some of the negative effects of the cheap noise reduction on that deck. That is, it brought back the clarity and sparkle. But you had to be way careful to not overdo it as it could end up sounding harsh on some playback systems. When I use it now it is when tracking an acoustic guitar to make it stand out more, especially in a dense mix of a rock song.

mikebuzz
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by mikebuzz » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:08 pm

The sonic maximizer does do some syncing of freqencies but mainly it adds harmonics the source ( it increases the amount of harmonics ) the freq it does this at is controlled by the tone knob ?? (freq control knob forgot the name )

These have been used in mastering tracks to open up the sound so to speak

Later
Buzz

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trodden
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by trodden » Thu Jul 10, 2003 12:14 pm

I've been warned on using it on the mix buss... but i cannot remember the specifics why.... i think it may have to do with the "crack" aspect of it and going overboard. But for creative processing of individual tracks i'd say have at it. my only experience with them now is the two bass players in my band use them both in their rigs. They play downtuned distorted basses with ampeg heads and cabs, it really bring the "big Bottom" back that is kinda pinched with distorting the bass. like that magic "make us heavier"box.

AstroDan
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by AstroDan » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:02 pm

I've heard that it corrects minor phase issues. I don't know, never used one. A popular argument is "why don't they just put these in home stereos?"

takeout
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by takeout » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:16 pm

AstroDan wrote:I've heard that it corrects minor phase issues. I don't know, never used one. A popular argument is "why don't they just put these in home stereos?"
They do; check the shelf systems next time you're in Best Buy. Half of them have a "BBE" button on them.

Kyle
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by Kyle » Thu Jul 10, 2003 1:48 pm

A producer/mastering engineer here in Portland asked me if I ran the mono drum mix (single mic recording) into a sonic maximizer when he was mastering an album of mine. The answer was "Yes I did, how did you know?" He explained to me that SM's throw a bunch of stuff in and out of phase and that some frequencies get canceled as a result. He could tell because the drums sounded unnatural due the phase cancelation and the sheen of the SM. Certain frequencies sound cleaner and more present, others get canceled. It was my first time using one. I'm glad that I only used it on one song.
Kyle

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swingdoc
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by swingdoc » Thu Jul 10, 2003 2:25 pm

I like em for the live rack, as I do think it cuts down on "listener fatigue".
I had a similar experience as above. I took a demo in to get mastered at a very reputable mastering guy here in Seattle. On one track, he asked, do you have a BBE on that guitar? It was lightly used on a background pad-like acoustic.
yup.
He was adamantly against them even for individual track treatment (especially for the mix bus) as they can create an unnatural "gliss" and creates some pretty difficult phase cancellations and acentuations.
He really picked it right out. Maybe a good ear just doesnt like them. After he pointed it out, and I could "hear it" as well, I tend to agree..
I still keep one (BBE 882) in th rack however, and occasionally use it to glisten up a dull traack....very sparingly..

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Russian Recording
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by Russian Recording » Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:04 pm

I will have to vote nay on the BBE.

I was conned into buying one at a Guitar Center about five years ago and thought it was going to make my recordings "sweet", "clear" and "huge". At first I though it was totally awesome, but for some reason I felt guilty... like I was cheating. I though, "it does't matter if my stuff sounds whack, Ill just run it through my magic "pink" box [that's what my friend used to call it]). Then I found that I wasn't really cheating. As I became more familiar with my ears, spent years listining to sounds critically, and became more experienced, I realized that the BBE sounds really fake, really cheap and in essence it was cheating me. Basically, if it costs $200, it's got 4 knobs, and it's only job is to "make things sound better", it's bogus. If you can find it on a consumer stereo system, you're probably going to want to steer clear. Get your stuff to sound good at the source. I feel that it seriously degrades the integrity of the signal. I guess if you use it sparingly it might be a useful tool in a pinch, but my advice is dont put on your main buss, and whatever you do, don't track every instrument you have through it!

Actually, that might be a good way to see its negative effects. If you have it as a plug-in, put it on every channel of a 24 channel tune and then see how it sounds.

mike

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NewAndImprov
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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by NewAndImprov » Thu Jul 10, 2003 3:28 pm

24Farrington wrote:I've run mixes and individual tracks through the BBESonicMaximizer plug-in, and it just makes everything sound so much better, to my ears anyway. I see myself getting highly addicted to this plug-in. I don't want to use it as a crutch, however. Does anyone have anything bad to say about these type of effects? Also, any suggestion on where to put it in a chain when mastering?
I have a client for whom I do "ghetto mastering" that I've managed to wean from the BBE. He used to run his mixes through it. Now, I've cinvonced him we can make it sound better without it, and after applying mix compression, the effect of the BBE really stands out, and not in a nice way.

An engineer that I once recorded with (and really respected), used to run his toms submix through the Aphex Aural Exciter. I actually bought one used, but rarely use it now.

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Re: Sonic Maximizers

Post by stillafool » Thu Jul 10, 2003 4:57 pm

You might want to check the original quality of the recording. I've tried running everything through the BBE plugin (recorded through a Universal Audio 6176, and apogee converters into nuendo and sonar), and found that it made everything sound alot worse. Having said that, I was fooling around with my laptop and it's built in speakers, and I found that it made everything I tried it on sound better. If you don't have the best quality pres and converters, and your material is destined for a low quality source (laptops, mutlimedia speakers) it might help a bit.

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