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Bass Exciters (Aphex, BBE, MaxxBass etc.) cool or crap?

Discussion in 'Bass' started by covenant66, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. covenant66

    covenant66 Guest

    Does anyone really use these bass exciters? Does anyone know any top selling albums using them on bass or kick drum? Across all genres, let us tell of our experiences.

    I, personally, have never had any of these items sound any good, including Maxxbass which took me a long time to realize. Maxxbass is great for me on a flash animation that you know is going to be over some low grade computer speakers but what about in serious audio applications.

    Please don't respond to this post if you have not had experience with a good analog setup or some high quality AD/DA conversion. (No Delta 66's, Echo Darlas/Gina, and Soundblaster users).
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA

    Well, I don't have too many positive things to say about them in general, but not entirely negative either.

    The BBE stuff - I don't like it. I've used both hardware and software versions and found it to be virtually useless. Even at "light" settings, the treble lost focus (when using their "exciter") and their bass bloomed (a bad bloom - as in moved out of center)

    The Aphex stuff - when used lightly, can be kinda cool. The exciter is the best exciter on the market. The Big Bottom retains bass clarity. In general, I don't find many applications where I desire this too much though.

    MaxxBass - in hardware form (software in an external box) I find it to be similar but a tad more refined than the Aphex. Again, it can only be used in small doses. If you try to revolutionize your mix or save a bad mix with any of these devices, you're screwed.

    However, if you're hoping to coax a little more umph out of your mix and don't have access to a good EQ and Compressor, this is a decent way to go.

    I'm hoping to get ahold of the new Waves MaxxBass - the one that has the compressor/limiter/maxxbass all in one. I forsee me using the limiter more than anything else, but the MaxxBass might be a decent touch now and then.

    As for hardware vs software versions - I can hear a noticable difference between the $200 hardware version and the bundled software version. In most or all cases, I prefer the sound of the outboard version.

  3. MilesAway

    MilesAway Guest

    I use the BBE Sonic Max. plugin on my kick-drum fairly often. When used tastefully, it can add a great "thud" that i can't seem to get with EQ/Comp alone. Obviously, this isn't my first-choice for mixing but i work with a lot of under-budget projects and have mic'd up a LOT of really sh*tty kick drums so it's saved my ass more than once...
  4. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    I do audio post production for film and television and use the BBE Sonic Maximizer plug-in on sound FX, mostly to add beef to impacts, body falls, car crashes, etc., and sometimes on ambiences. The sounds on which I use the BBE are never stand alone but part of layers.

    I have, on occasion, used it on poorly recorded location audio (dialog) with mixed results; sometimes it works great, other times it makes the problem worse.
  5. therecordingart

    therecordingart Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Honestly....I think these types of units are great when you want to try making a source sound completely opposite of what it sounds like in original form. For example...a kick drum in a metal song. It doesn't have to sound like a great natural kick...you want attack, punch, and nothing in between.

    It entirely depends on the application...I can see them sucking ass for nice acoustic arrangements, but good for scooped metal mayhem.

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