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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a Behringer Ultrafex 3200 enhancer that I used for my small home studio and PA systems. It wasn't being used for anything so I hooked it up between the analog outputs of my digital cable converter and inputs of a Harman Kardon AVR154 that I use for my modest home theater system.
This is a very quiet, nearly silent device. I used some Mogami RCA > 1/4 inch phone plug cables to connect it.
I set the controls very low and turned everything on.
WOW!!!
I watched I-Robot then Terminator III. With very little 'enhancement' I was pleasantly shocked at the improvement.
Being a classically trained musician and many years of playing and exposure to live classical or jazz performances from an early age, I would like to think I have a decent knowlledge of the real, not just reproduced sounds of instruments. I play drums, piano, synthesizers, guitar, bass, and Tuba.
The bass quality through my Madisound MAD1259 subwoofer powered by an O-Audio 500W BASH subwoofer amp was completely different. It actually reproduced bass guitar that sounded like a bass being played through aomething like my friend's Mesa Boogie bass guitar tube amp and 8 10" speaker cabinet. It was not as loud of course. But the tone was there.
You can find similar devices from Behringer, here. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/Signal_Processing_and_Audio_Tools/Sound_Enhancement_Processors/
Or, you can look at the Musician's friend web site for devices from BBE called Sonic Maximizers here http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/BBE-482i-Sonic-Maximizer?sku=180913
Some of the BBE devices have RCA connectors. The Behringer units mostly have 1/4" phone plug or balanced XLR connections, so you would have to get the right cables or RCA to 1/4" male adapters.
Like I said I hooked the Ultrafex EX3200 up between the cable box and AVR inputs. It could also be connected like an EQ unit via tape inputs and outputs.
For those familiar with Windows Media Player's TruBass and SRS WOW effect you have this type enhancement on your PC. You can experiment with it to see the affect on your music or other media files with audio.
I suggest forum readers try these enhancers since they add some more warmth and sparkle to what can be rather thin sounding digital signals. To me it gives the sound an almost tube quality. But they are much cheaper than tube preamps or amps. Plus you can control the level of effect.
Note: I am using this mostly for processing the 2-channel analog signal coming from my digital cable converter. All of these comments are related to processing 2-channel source since I mostly use the Dolby Pro-Logic II Music setting on the AVR154.
I have no connection to any of the web sites or manufacturers mentioned above. My only intent is to help other forum members achieve as good quality sound as they can.
If you want a full history of these devices search for APHEX Aural Exciters. They were the original makers of these types of enhancers. Other forum members know much more about these than I do, I expect.
See Wikipedia article about Aural Exciters here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exciter_(effect)
 

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I am thinking that these devices are basically preset equalizers ... or an equalizer with several presets to choose from, except that it does not actually equalize, it boost various frequencies.
 

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I am thinking that these devices are basically preset equalizers ... or an equalizer with several presets to choose from, except that it does not actually equalize, it boost various frequencies.
Yeah. You can do it with chemicals, too. :whistling:
 

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DBX had an analog unit in the early 90s that did something to boost the low frequencies in around the 40 to 80Hz area. I had one and because my mains go down to 36Hz it made it feel like I had a sub even though I did not but brought it back as it was way to much and did not work properly all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Not exactly like an EQ. Check out the Wikipedia page for more details but it is basically the priciple of adding odd and even order harmonics to audio signal.
Aphex made them first back in the 70's. Recording engineers rented them in the early days because they were so expensive to produce and sell. Wikipedia page says they rented for $35 per minute of mastering process.
Now the technology has been licensed by Aphex, and thanks to low cost Asian manufacturing and the overall low price of micro-circuitry, the cost of these units is very low.
There is a tube version made by Behringer that retails for $159 US.
These processors are used on almost every recording you hear. They are also used in radio and television. Ever wonder how Howard Stern's and Larry King's voices sound like they should have auditioned for Darth Vader? This is how they get that super phat low end, not with EQ's.
Have you ever heard a song on the radio you really liked, then rushed to the record/CD store to by it, taken it home or played it in your car and wondered what hapened to the sound? You probably turned up the bass or your sub amp, but it still was not the same. It's because it was processed by an enhancer and compressors when you heard it the first time on the radio.
That is also probably the reason Microsoft incorporates this technology into TruBass Enhancement fot Windows Media Player.
Try this: Open Windows Media Player,(Sorry MAC guys, I don't know what Apple uses), then choose your favorite song. Now, open the Now Playing drop down box and go into the Ehancements. Select SRS WOW effect, it should open the Enhancements area and you will see TruBass and SRS WOW effect level settings. If it is on turn it off while your song is playing. If it is off turn it on. Then, compare the on off sound.
If you are listening through dinky computer speakers or headphones you will hear the biggest change. Even with laptop speakers you will notice a difference.
Without this processing, most people would not enjoy the music they listen to on their PC near as much.
If you can afford to spend $100-$200 I suggest you get on of the Behringer or BBE processors. I prefer Behringer because they use great Op-Amps that have incredible frequncy range and are so quiet. No Noise.
Try it, I think you will be amazed.
 

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The Aphex effect (AKA the "Aural Exciter") is very much a subjective taste thing. I hate what it does to the signal. You obviously love it. As in all things audio, to each his own! :)
 

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It's a subjective taste thing, as I said. I simply do not like the effect. Similarly, some people do not like subwoofers. :)
 

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I played with doing this digitally in Windows, and it's not simply an equalizer: it adds reverb among others. The effect was occasionally pleasent, but even when it was that same setting would ruin the next song.

I suspect that a major use of this is to compensate for accoustics (add them) during recording and live performance. I don't think, for me personally, it will be useful in general listening.
 
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