BBE Acoustimax
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BBE Acoustimax
MGR/Kevin Alan Mattson 10/26/2005

BBE Acoustimax : MGR/Kevin Alan Mattson's user review

« BBE Sound Inc. Acoustimax / Sonic Maximizer »
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World famous as, Kevin (The Ultra-Lounge Lizard) Mattson, I was a solo club act throughout the 70-80s golden era of live music. Every club, hotel, restaurant lounge wanted a live act back then. And there was a big niche for versatile soloists who could cover singer/songwriters like Croce, Taylor, Chapin, Fogelberg, Simon, etc.

Now senescing in Duluth, I have a publishing company and a small recording studio where I continue to produce smash hit CDs.

More seriously, I have been recording, producing both live and recorded music for more than 30 years.

I was deeply impressed by BBE's "Sonic Maximizer" software recording plug-in. (I'll review that too in Recording_Gear.) I emailed BBE and asked if they had a product that would improve the sound of an acoustic pickup on my 12-string Larrivee. They suggested their Acoustimax preamp with Sonic Maximizer. It runs $200 at all the dot.com music dealers.

The Acousimax is top quality, quiet preamp with 3-band EQ including a sweepable midrange knob. It would almost be worth the $200 for the preamp alone. But it also has BBE's Sonic Maximizer effect.

This effect is remarkable because it seems not to add, but to remove the sense of "effect." The Sonic Maximizer technology compensates for the inherent distortions in audio caused by the physics of loudspeakers in particular and other transducers and electronics in general.

The bottom line is that the audience hears a much more realistic, rich intrument.

I'm sure this preamp would work equally well for any acoustic instrument with a pickup.

The box has two stomp switches, one mutes the box, the other engages the Sonic Maximizer circuit.

I must mention the versatile outputs on the back of the Acoustimax. In addition to the standard Line Out, there's an XLR output making it a high-class direct box. There's an FX loop TRS jack, and an always-active Tuner Out jack so you can tune even if the mute switch is engaged.

The display is as simple as can be. LED's indicate the status of "Power," "Mute," "Sonic Maximizer," and "Clip."

Only one thing: The cheap, generic power supply. The tiny guage wire from the wall-wart to the plug won't take much abuse.

The Acoustimax requires an atypical 12-volt 300mA AC(not DC)output power adapter. It has no marking on it to associate it with the Acoustimax, so label it and don't try to replace it with a "DC" adapter.

First, it's an all-metal tank. It truly is a stomp box you can stomp on.

Next, it has lovely, smooth-turning metal knobs for each function — no foofoo cheap digital controls.

Finally, it has solid foot switches.

I you play an acoustic instrument with a pickup system of any kind — piezo,mic, or blend — the Acoustimax will serve as a great preamp and direct box. And BBE's Sonic Maximizer section will let your audience hear excellent depth and richness from your instrument.

This review was originally published on http://www.musicgearreview.com