Author Topic: Maximizer  (Read 11506 times)

Voxin

Maximizer
« on: October 16, 2006, 09:50:57 PM »
Any suggestions for a build similar to the BBE Sonic Maximizer in pedal format, or something that kinda does the same thing?  A point in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

jonathan perez

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2006, 09:59:01 PM »
what kind of tonal enhancements are you looking for? also, BBE does offer a stomp...
no longer the battle of midway...(i left that band)...

i hate signatures with gear lists/crap for sale....

i am a wah pervert...ask away...

Voxin

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2006, 10:10:19 PM »
Thanks for replying...Yes, I do know that BBE are offering this in a stomp box format, but since I'm new to this forum, I was curious if someone had ever built something like this and if so, how would I go about doing so.  :)  As for tonal enhancements, I'm just looking for something that will tighten and clean up my sound, not neccesarily compression or anything, possibly a booster.  Any suggestions?

jonathan perez

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2006, 10:33:12 PM »
what gear are you using? i, personally, use a tube screamer-type overdrive to cut some of the bass, and add some mids, on my 6505+ lead channel. the gain on 5 is enough on the amp, but a slight volume boost on with the overdrive.

that cleans up my tone...just a though.

anyways, if its bass cutting you want to do, there are alot of circuits that can do that. check out the Austin Gold, it has a bass boost/cut.
no longer the battle of midway...(i left that band)...

i hate signatures with gear lists/crap for sale....

i am a wah pervert...ask away...

Voxin

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2006, 10:38:34 PM »
Well, I mainly use a strat.  My signal is as follows: Maxon OD9, Vox V847 Wah, Tech 21 XXL, EH Little Big Muff, Boss DD6, Boss GE7, Digitech 2120 and finally all to a Vox AC30TB.  I use the OD9 mainly for a boost, but I would like something that could boost the signal llike the OD9 but cleaner and something that I can "set and forget".  Hope that helps.

jonathan perez

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2006, 11:29:35 PM »
ok, so youre looking for a clean boost!

check out all the boosts on generalguitargadgets.

http://www.generalguitargadgets.com/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=30&Itemid=58

check out the brian may boost, i like it...it adds treble, but it cuts like a knife!
no longer the battle of midway...(i left that band)...

i hate signatures with gear lists/crap for sale....

i am a wah pervert...ask away...

Barcode80

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2006, 01:20:33 AM »
http://aronnelson.com/gallery/album19/TUBE_SOUND_OVERDRIVE

i built this thing, and though i haven't gotten to try it through my tube amp so i can test the overdrive properties of it, the boost in it is amazing! lots of crisp treble, though at high levels it does hiss a bit. just my .02.

petemoore

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2006, 01:31:53 AM »
  I can barely 'read' vero.
  One of those transistors is NPN and C on top, the other is PNP C on the bottom. I don't see the value of the trimpot.
  What's going on here...Differential amp? Is there a Schematic by chance?
Convention creates following, following creates convention.

Voxin

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2006, 09:26:08 AM »
Please keep me posted on how it sounds, I'm pretty curious about it.  As for other boosters, any other recommendations?  I'm looking for something very clean that I can leave on almost all of the time that has a lot of punch.  I already have a Maxon OD9 that I use as a boost, but the gain is basically off on it and I would like to free it up and use it for more overdriven type of stuff.  In other words I'm looking for a booster that is cleaner than the OD9 but has just as much if not more punch than it.  Thanks!

WGTP

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2006, 09:34:49 AM »
http://www.montagar.com/~patj/harmswtn.gif

I think this is supposed to be a "enhancing" type circuit.   :icon_cool:
Stomping Out Sparks & Flames

Voxin

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2006, 03:41:59 PM »
Thanks for the replies!!!!!  After reading a bit more about what I'm going for, I found some mods for a Boss GE-7 that I think will help me tighten up my sound.  Hopefully someone can help me out with that.  :)

Meanderthal

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2006, 08:17:24 PM »
 Actually, the bbe pretty much exactly fits the bill for what you say you're looking for. No, there's no DIY project for it yet,  but I understand someone is currently working on just that... And I can assure you that nothing else seems to do the same thing.
 There is a dx plugin, and a pedal version, both around $100.00. Also, it is NOT an eq effect, although you will percieve a big change in tone. It does exactly what you said- punch on lows, sparkle on the highs, cleans things up, gives more depth. like the difference between lo and hi-fi. Once you turn it on you never want to turn it off.
 Do you need one? No. But you will definately sound better with it than without it, guaranteed.
I am not responsible for your imagination.

oldrocker

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2006, 01:13:16 AM »
Yes, I agree with Meanderthal's comments.  I know why people ask if there's a DIY for a Sonic Max. Because it sounds like an easy thing for a DIY guru to make.  But I guess there is more to it than meets the eye.  With effects like phasers, flangers, chorus and wah's all cloned or redesigned by all knowing effects and electronic gurus, it seems hard to believe a simple tone enhancement effect would be so long in coming.  I guess if it was that easy to re-create BBE wouldn't be doing as good as they are selling their units.  I use a Sonic Max plugin with my Sonar 4 software and it's always used in some way when re-mastering CD's for clients.  My guitarist uses a rack mount version on his rig and it's always on.  For the money they are worth it for sure but as all addicted pedal builders like myself I'd rather build one than buy one if possible.  I'm sure they are working on it and it wouldn't surprise me that soon there will be a sound alike SM just around the corner.  So keep the heat on those soldering irons.

stm

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2006, 09:08:53 AM »
I've been working a DIY BBE implementation for September's FX-X.  After reading all the info I could find, including BBE chip datasheets, I came to a pretty good idea of what it was about and was able to build a nice sounding circuit.  I still need to get the gear to record some samples, thus I haven't posted this yet.

As an avant premiere, the things going on can be grouped in three main categories:

1) A larger delay to the lower frequencies than the mids and than the highs.  In particular, we are talking about a 1.5 msec delay for frequencies below 100 Hz or so, which drops gradually as the frequency increases.  Can be implemented by cascading two properly tuned first order all-pass networks.

2) A shelving-type boost equalizer for the highs and the lows, centered around 750 Hz or so.  It is a second-order type shelving response thus, when highs and/or lows are boosted then impact on mid frequencies is minimal.  IMHO this is key to the good sound of the device.

3) A dynamic expansion of the highs based on the input level of the audio material.  This is the tricky part to implement.


For instance, 1) and 2) can be easily implemented around a state-variable filter (that one which has low-pass, band-pass and high-pass output simultaneously), and then properly weighting and adding each band.  This sounds really good by itself, better than any EQ curve I've tried before.  Also, in spite of the propaganda that says the BBE process can be applied to any kind of music, speakers and gear, I played with the Q and center frequency of the original filter and found a combination which I liked even better for my guitar/combo setup.  This is what I'll post as a simplified DIY version, which is finally built around 4 opamps and some R's and C's.

I also developed (in the sim) a dynamic expansor to implement the 3rd aspect, but then this requires 10 opamps and 2 JFETs, thus it is not what I'd call DIY friendly, and the simpler version makes such an improvement to my tone that I don't feel the need for that now.

As a disclaimer, I must add that the implementation I described probably matches the early version(s) of the BBE process, however more elaborated processing could be going on in newer versions.  Nevertheless the improvement of the simple circuit is amazing considering it is just a cleverly designed eq.

Mark Hammer

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2006, 12:05:37 PM »
This thread - http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=48921.0 - discusses some DIY possibilities towards the end, and also names some of the various commerially available BBE chips that could be used to make a DIY pedal/unit.  Just note that what the "process" does is different than a mere EQ or "exciter" circuit.  Those can certainly render more punch to your tone, but they do not attempt to align the fundamentals and harmonics the way the BBE process does.

Doug_H

  • Guest
Re: Maximizer
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2006, 12:34:33 PM »
I got a nice rack version from ebay for $40 or so. I suppose that satisfied my curiosity. I would guess it is implemented via a dsp algorithm. It's a nice effect, subtle and not earth-shattering. It adds a nice bass response for my strat and "clarity" with a thick-sounding overdrive. For humbucker/high-gain stuff though it can sound "processed" and "sterile" if you are not careful with how you set it up. I can see why metal players like it as you can use it to really pump da bass and scoop da mids. I'm not using it with my amp right now but I'm going to experiment with it with the p.a. for FOH and for cd mastering and etc.


Voxin

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2006, 01:28:41 PM »
Thanks for the advice, it is greatly appreciated.  I found the maximizer great when playing loud because it does make things a little cleaner, but while playing at low volumes, it tended to make my sound as you say 'sterile'.  That was the rackmount unit and I think that the pedal version might be a good option.  I've been thinking about this pedal for some time now, but just can't make myself spend the money on it considering I will only be using it once in a while.  Hmmmm....

stm

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2006, 02:55:51 PM »
This thread - http://www.diystompboxes.com/smfforum/index.php?topic=48921.0 - discusses some DIY possibilities towards the end, and also names some of the various commerially available BBE chips that could be used to make a DIY pedal/unit.  Just note that what the "process" does is different than a mere EQ or "exciter" circuit.  Those can certainly render more punch to your tone, but they do not attempt to align the fundamentals and harmonics the way the BBE process does.
Just note that what the "process" does is different than a mere EQ or "exciter" circuit.  Those can certainly render more punch to your tone, but they do not attempt to align the fundamentals and harmonics the way the BBE process does.
Mark, based on the datasheets on the process implementations I studied, and in particular the NJM2150 (New Japan Radio) and BA3888S (Rohm) datasheets, I can say that the BBE process is not that special or particularly more complex than other audio signal processing we are used to, which are Equalizing and Expanding.  My personal opinion is that most of the fancy pseudotechnical descriptions behind BBE aim for marketing and mojo so as to raise the technical aspects of process itself to a sublime level.

I RECOGNIZE and AGREE with the good sonic qualities of the process.  That's out of question here, however I'd like to demistify the obscurantism around the technical aspects of this subject, as every time someone talks about the process I tend to perceive a halo of awe and supernatural respect on the subject.

The "Process" is just a mix of high-frequency eq + dynamic expansion of the already existing high-frequency content, i.e. it doesn't generate new harmonics like an exciter would do.  "Dynamic Presence" would be a perfectly good name, and perhaps indeed more representative of what's really going on with the highs.  Of course the term "Process" sounds more technical and add some extra mojo.

In particular, the NJM2150 implementation is just an Eq, as it doesn't have the high frequency dynamic expansion part.  Well, either that, or the dynamic expansion part was totally removed from the datasheet, which I find questionable as the actual circuit values and the detailed frequency and phase (which together allow reconstructing the group delay) response curves are presented in great detail.

The BA3888S has essentially an identical Eq implementation, with the addition of the dynamic highs expansion and a noise gate to cut down hiss when no signal is present.

Both datasheets state clearly that they won't sell the IC's unless you have a signed agreement with BBE Sound Inc.

As for the Bass, it is a simple matter of eq'ing the lows via a 2nd order shelving frequency response, which happens to be already available as the main filter is based on a state variable topology which already has low-pass, band-pass and high-pass outputs.  The "Lo Contour" name for the bass is again marketing in my opinion.  It could be perfectly called "Bass", "Bottom", "Deep Bass" or "Bass Boost" and do a better justice to what's going on with the low frequencies.

Regarding the "time alignment" between the lows, mids and highs, I can state that the 1.5 msec delay mentioned in the related literature is a consequence of the state variable filter itself.  When the "Lo Contour" and "Process" are set to the minimum, and leaving apart the dynamic expansion of the highs, one ends up with a 2nd order all-pass filter that has a group delay of exactly 1.5 msec below 100 Hz or so.  Adjusting the "Process" knob and the dynamic expansion on the highs do not affect the group delay on the lows, thus this particular "time delay" maintains.  When the "Lo Contour" is increased the 1.5 msec time delay varies a little, but remains essentially within +/- 10% of its original value or so, thus the delay relationship between the different frequencies maintains.  In other words, the frequency-selective delay can be thought of rather as a consequence of the Eq implementation.

Ah, but someone might argue that the big merit of the Eq lies in the inherent time alignment it introduces, beyond the high and low frequency equalization, and that this is essential to the good sound.  Well, that's what I first thought, however when I decided to try the delay alone, i.e. having the filter set just as an all-pass, A-B testing revealed the difference in the perceived attack and brightness when playing chords was really small.  There were differences, but very subtle. I tried different delay times and Q's for the pure 2nd order all-pass network in an attempt to find an optimum, however I would rather describe the options as different, but none of them significantly better than the others.  Perhaps this time alignment is better noticed when reproducing the material through triaxial speakers with passive crossovers, as each band will be delayed differently and there is more to correct.  I don't know for sure, and my interest here goes to the guitar domain where most of the times you don't have crossovers.

In summary, the simpler Eq only implementation (without highs expansion) made a BIG improvement in my guitar & amp sound, however when I tweaked the frequency and Q of the eq filter the sound I could get became out of this world!  Really.

In particular, for the neck humbucker pickup and the amp with all knobs at noon, my favorite setting was 12 dB boost for the highs, 6 dB boost for the lows, central filter frequency reduced to 70% its original value, and filter Q increased a bit.  Now the 6th and 5th strings produce fat and deep bass without detracting from the clarity of the highs.  Doing chord work produces very nice cutting sounds with the strums.  Notes across all strings sound balanced.  I know that I am sounding like a marketing person, but I am not trying to sell anything here.

I recognize that the dynamic expansion part might add an extra dimension to the sound, but currently my sound improved so much that I don't feel like I need more for now, especially with the customized tuning of the eq/filter.

I know why people ask if there's a DIY for a Sonic Max. Because it sounds like an easy thing for a DIY guru to make.  But I guess there is more to it than meets the eye.  With effects like phasers, flangers, chorus and wah's all cloned or redesigned by all knowing effects and electronic gurus, it seems hard to believe a simple tone enhancement effect would be so long in coming.  I guess if it was that easy to re-create BBE wouldn't be doing as good as they are selling their units.
I think the lack of commercial clones is due to the fact that the process is patented, and neither the name nor the implementation might be used by a manufacturer without being running into trouble.

The lack of DIY clones can be justified considering that the IC's that implement the BBE process are not sold to the general public, thus you cannot readily clone an existing device.

The option left is to reverse engineer the process itself in order to make a custom designed implementation, while dealing with the different sources of obscure pseudotechnical information that lead to believe it is something so special that it just can't be made up.

I think the above reasons justify why there hasn't been an attempt of a DIY version... until now.

I insist that my intent here has been only to demistify the technical beliefs around this, without detracting from the sonic improvement of the process which is real.  In fact, I admire how Mr. Berry was able to market and protect his invention.  Just think how it is spread massively in audio and TV consumer equipment!
« Last Edit: October 18, 2006, 03:51:47 PM by stm »

Mark Hammer

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2006, 03:21:03 PM »
Like they used to say on Family Feud, "Good answer!!"

WGTP

Re: Maximizer
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2006, 03:57:29 PM »
That may explain why I like using a T/notch filter at the end of distortions.  The phase relations are probably not the same, but the EQ sounds similar.   It also helps get a Mashally/EVH type brown sound when done at the right frequency with the right amount of bass "boost"  :icon_cool:
Stomping Out Sparks & Flames