BBE Sonic Maximizer = Good Voodoo

A long time ago, back when 4-tracks using audio cassettes were still the rage for home recording, I was given some advice by one of the more genuinely humble, talented, and kind people I’ve ever met, Jimmy White. He was the manager of Attina’s Music in Fayetteville, Georgia, and he knew everything about musical instruments and the equipment used for them. I, of course, knew nothing about the sort, other than I had a couple of guitars and liked to play them. Jimmy could play better than anybody, and we all knew it. I learned a lot by watching him play songs by Steely Dan or Queen or Joe Pass or anyone else who came to his mind.

I’ll probably talk about him more in these pages, but for now I want to mention the amazing device he demoed for me one day. It was the BBE Sonic Maximizer 462, and it did magic tricks with sound. He had to explain to me a few times how it worked, and my understanding of his explanation is that it processes the spectrum of sound and adds a little delay to certain frequencies in order to clarify and sweeten the sound. I might be wrong about that. It might be unicorn tears and Martian technology. Anyway, it worked, and I bought a 462 that day. It made my rack look a little fuller, which was a bonus. I used it on everything I mixed, from my songs to friends’ tunes to Dumb Bastards recordings. Everything just sounded like they were mastered by somebody other than me, which was a fine thing.

Then came the late 1990s and I switched over to digital recordings, and I couldn’t get a satisfactory signal chain out of my Mac and back in again to do mixdowns, so I stopped using my beloved 462. The digital realm was a little less noisy than analog, so it was almost a decent tradeoff. A few later, I saw BBE was making an audio plugin for the Sonic Maximizer, but for whatever reason they weren’t making it for the Mac’s Audio Unit spec, so I had to wait.

Mine arrived yesterday.

Man, it sounds sweet.

Yesterday’s voodoo tech...

Now available in convenient, pixellated form.