Customer Reviews: BBE 882i Sonic Maximizer
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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on November 6, 2011
We have been playing with this device attached to our live PA system for a while and people in the scene ask us for our "punched" sound. Well this is the secret.
This device is a mystery black box that doubles the value of your equipment by flicking a switch.

Apparently the generic term for this kind of device is "aural exciter" (if you want to look for alternatives). This device enhance the harmonic frequencies from the signal that is entering and correct the phase of conflicting harmonics. It avoids conflicting signals to cancel out resulting in a lowered fidelity of sound for higher and lower registers.
Describing it in qualitative terms, the bass will sound loud and contained in the bass low register without invading other instrument sound frequencies. The guitar will shimmer without stepping in the opaque and dark/warm register of the bass instruments, the drum will sound snappy and defined and the voices very clear without been muddled by the other instruments. It feels like it give a protagonist role to each instrument. Everything will sound like a studio recording. And of course you can regulate the amount of enhancement you want to apply if you find it too synthetic sounding.

Each channel has two knobs one for "Lo contour" that seems to work like bass boost an a "Process" that controls the amount of FX and presence.
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First I would like to say that this device does make a difference in how you sound. That said, it is not going to enhance live performances of very loud music, and will work against musicians who depend on distortion and some effects. Put another way, Hendrix would have hated this device, while Charlie Christian may have sounded even better.

It works by correcting the time shifting of frequency and amplitude that results in envelope distortion. This correction is wonderful for music that depends on vocals, mic-ed acoustic instruments or low volume electronic ones. For studio use this is another tool in the engineer's box. Also, it works exceptionally well as part of the sound system for roots/Americana, traditional blues or jazz ensembles on small stages.

The documentation is concise to the point of being terse. However, in the hands of someone who has some knowledge of sound systems and studio components the highly visual nature of the slim user guide is perfect. And it does convey solid information about various configurations and how this component fits into a signal chain.

Overall, it has wider ranging uses in a studio, and is inexpensive enough to be affordable to hobbyists or folks on a budget. The sound enhancement is real, but not as wide ranging for live playing. If you play loud rock or metal and are looking for something to enhance your sound on stage (other than vocals) you may be disappointed. On the other hand, for lower volume music and certainly lightly amplified acoustic instruments, this may make a significant improvement in live performances as well as in the studio.
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on March 23, 2010
The BBE 882i, is simply amazing. It has done more for my setup than anything else I have purchased thus far. I use it with both a Korg Triton Studio 88 key keyboard and a Nuemann tlm 103. The BBE 882i is the second thing in my signal chain (right after my preamp) and the effect on my sound is no less than profound. When used with a Korg Triton Studio keyboard the clarity produced is absolutely stunning( not to say it was bad before, when I bought it new about 4 years back,it was $6,000 us and to this day is still one of the best keyboards on the market) but the BBE 882i makes it sound so much better. When the used with the Neumann 103, once again the clarity produced is amazing (I like the sound it produces better than a u87). I have also used it with much cheaper mics such as the Studio Projects C1 and an Audio Technica 2020 with great results. I would suggest this to anyone who owns a recording studio or has a home studio. One word of advice I would suggest setting all the levels on the 882i to level 6 ( this seems to give the best results with large diaphragm condenser microphones and keyboards).
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on October 5, 2010
I was nearly deterred by the stupid comments of forumites who cast their dumb and uninformed opinions on this processor. They all said that it was worthless and more useful as a door stop. Ridiculous. This is easily the most important piece of my live sound rack for controlling tone. To summarize what it actually does without science talk, once activated it sounds as though you've MAGICALLY pulled a wad of cotton out of each speaker. A large wad. Anyone who has spent a large amount of time around stereos, PA systems, and live sound rigs without a sonic maximizer is literally stupefied when they hear it work. It is a wonder that it is not bundled with every sound component from the factory. Just buy it. You'll laugh at any competitor who doesn't own one as their sound will be muddy and mottled, while yours is crisp and brilliant.

And damn, for the price here, why wouldn't you?
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on December 27, 2012
I know alot about sound. I've used EQ and other outboard gear in alot of situations, but this makes a differnce. Running this through a pair of powered EVs, depending on the room and the environment, it adds alot of extra clarity and punch you can't get just by EQing alone. It's different. It adds presence. Giving you a fuller sound without all the fuss. I highly recomend it!
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on March 12, 2014
Being now retired I only do parties and weddings for friends and family. The reason I retired is health issues and age nearly 69 years old. I didn't want to lug around my old heavy Yamaha club speakers anymore since they weigh over 60 pounds each. I have gone to lighter cheaper Yamaha BR 15's. I setup the maximizer between my mixer and my amph and it improves the performance of the cheaper speakers, to where they are on a par with the more expensive heavier one's. At the list price of 500.00 this unit would be overpriced. At less than 200.00 it is in the right price range. It is much easier to use than a more complicated equalizer as far as adjusting is concerned. All I do is set it at 12 o'clock play music as I walk around the room and then adjust the knobs. Other reviewers are right a little of this unit goes a long way especially in the low end of the sound range. With a 5 year limited warranty thrown in it is a good value. If you are just starting out and can't afford expensive speakers this unit will help. Of course if you can afford top of the line speakers this unit will not help as much since the more expensive speakers already have something similar built into them.
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on May 20, 2011
If you record you probably will find use for this. If you go live then this isn't an option! YOU MUST HAVE THIS IN YOUR RACK!!!! this isn't negociable, the improvement is dramatic. Get your bbe maximizer and test it for yourself... once properly adjusted it works miracle on your current sound system. It is so simple to tweek that it wont take more than 5 min.
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on September 23, 2015
This added the je ne sais quoi to my PA sound.

Helps with vocals a lot - and smooths out the guitars through FOH.

I have used BBE for many years and wouldn't play out without one.
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on December 29, 2015
This BBE 882i Sonic Maximizer really does add brightness and punch to music.

BBE makes a point of contrasting their Maximizer with "exciter" devices which add artificial harmonics to the signal. I agree. I use an Aphex Exciter which does add harmonics (and is great), and the Maximizer is completely different. So let's be clear that the Maximizer is NOT a replacement for the Exciter, or vice versa. I use both of them together - the Maximizer following the Aphex in the audio chain. The Exciter makes music more "robust" (at least that's how I perceive it), and then the Maximizer brightens the sound. A great combination.
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on September 17, 2013
I'm a mobile DJ and have two JBL cabinets powered by two 1000W Crate amps. I was missing some of the low end of my audio and didn't really want to invest in a set of subs and another amp(s). My buddy told me about this processor and I checked it out. I had it in my rack 10 minutes and already was in love with it. The highs are crisp and clean and the lows come out of the mud and greet the ear. It has definitely redefined the way my gear sounds and I'm already thinking of ways to integrate it into my home studio as well.
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