BBE Sonic Stomp
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BBE Sonic Stomp

Sonic Stomp, Guitar enhancer from BBE in the Stomp Boxes series.

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content in English
rarson 03/26/2008

BBE Sonic Stomp : rarson のユーザーレビュー (content in English)

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The BBE Sonic Stomp is a "sonic maximizer." I would guess that the circuitry inside this is probably similar to other BBE rack mount sonic maximizers. I might add that I used to own a very expensive Alpine car stereo head unit that included a BBE function, and the effect of the pedal sounds very similar to the sonic massaging that the head unit's BBE function performed.

"Sonic massaging" is probably a good, if vague, way to describe the effect of this pedal. It's not quite an EQ or tone control, but works in almost a similar way, as it sounds like it is altering certain frequency responses. It is simple with only two knobs (Lo Contour and Process), and it's pretty darn hard to find a setting that doesn't improve the signal. Simple is always a good thing in my opinion, and the control setup does a fine job of allowing some good tweaking.

The manual talks a bit about phase and amplitude correction, and this pedal apparently corrects timing of different frequencies to restore the original sound lost by limitations in the loudspeaker setup. Thus, following this, there are two things to take from the explanation: that every setup will likely have a slightly different "optimal" setting, and that this effect will likely be hard if impossible to get from an EQ. So perhaps the apparent result of using the pedal might sound similar to using a certain EQ setting, but what is really going on is quite different, and much more complex.

Configuration is standard for a stomp box, with an input, output, 9V jack, and battery clip. BBE gets brownie points in my book for making the battery easily accessible with a simple door on the underside of the pedal, no disassembly or screw driver necessary. It also came with an adapter, but I am using this pedal with a Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2 Plus, so I didn't need it. But I do appreciate the fact they included one.

UTILIZATION

Simple: two knobs. Lo Contour "regulates the amount of phase corrected bass frequencies." To my ears, it provides a function similar to a tone knob in that it provides more emphasis on the bass frequencies at high levels, and more emphasis on high frequencies at low levels. I was looking to make my sound fuller, and coincidentally enough, I have mine set to 5 (right in the middle). Seems to provide a very nice, even sound enhancement.

The Process knob regulates the amount of phase correction. And it sounds to me like a mixture of the dry and wet output. Less process equals less of the effect. I like mine set to about 6 1/2. You have to turn it up a bit to enjoy the enhancement that the pedal provides, but turning it up higher seems a bit much to my ears.

The manual provides a nice overview and attempts to explain some background behind the BBE effect. It's interesting stuff, if you can understand what they're saying, and I admit I'm no sound processing master. It makes sense to me, but I'm not totally sure I fully grasp it. Luckily, all you need to utilize this pedal is a good set of ears. Just play with the settings and you'll be able to hear a good improvement to your sound and figure out how to set it best. And since it's not all that complicated, it probably won't even take ten minutes to find the perfect setting.

The manual suggest you place it last in the effects chain just before the amp. I see no reason why anyone would ever do otherwise, because whatever isn't in the chain isn't being processed, obviously. You can also place the BBE in the effects loop, but I haven't tried that yet.

You will never forget that this pedal is on, because the ultra-bright blue LED won't go by unnoticed.

SOUND QUALITY

I had read some reviews prior to owning this pedal where people said they couldn't hear what the pedal was doing, or they couldn't notice a difference until they played for a while with the pedal and then turned it off. I just find that hard to believe, because once you start bringing the settings up a bit, to me the effect is very noticeable. It's not overpowering, and the effect is rather subtle, but I'm just surprised people have said they couldn't hear a difference. I felt it was an immediately noticeable improvement in the sound.

Once you turn it on and dial it in, you won't turn it off. There's no reason. BBE processing pretty much makes everything sound better, as it did with my old head unit. Turning it off will make you realize how flat your sound was, and you'll scramble to get that BBE goodness back as quick as possible. It improves the quality of the sound, without really coloring it. In other words, I would say that it's more for "presence" than "tone."

I will be buying one of the rack mount Sonic Maximizers for recording purposes and to process my synths. They sound great to my ears already, but I'm sure that BBE will make them sound even better. If you're looking for a full, "big budget" sound, you can't go wrong with BBE (and their products AREN'T expensive, which is a big plus for the home musician). This stomp box would likely make any input sound even better, but I want the rack in addition for stereo processing.

OVERALL OPINION

I review everything as realistically as possible. Realistically, nothing is perfect and I try to avoid giving perfect 10s. But in my opinion, a 10 is deserved for a product in which you can't find fault.

That's just it, I can't find anything wrong with this pedal. The manual is good, the design is cool and feels very sturdy, they include both a power adapter and a battery, and the signal processing is great. Okay, so I paid $100 for it from Musician's Friend, and I probably could've gotten a different brand of sound exciter for less money. And yes, I didn't A/B any other brands for comparison to this. But I can compare it to other BBE processing products, and it's as good as they get. Someone less concerned with the quality of their sound (not the sound itself) might not care about the effect it gives, or might not even notice it, and might think of it as a waste of $100. But I'm striving to get the best sound quality possible, and I think it's worth every penny. It makes the sound a lot fuller and seem more professional.

So sure, maybe it's not for everyone, and because of that, perfect 10's might not fit someone else's taste. But to me, this pedal was everything I was hoping and expecting, plus more. So in my opinion, it actually deserves the 10s. BBE processing in a stomp box, how great is that!

And yeah, if I had to buy it again, I definitely would.