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Topic: Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup? (Read 4378 times) previous topic - next topic

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  • Yaztromo
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Old user here, haven't posted in a long time.

I really like the sound the BBE chip in my ageing Aiwa produces on the first setting. These amps were never built to last, and it is starting to behave oddly. Forgetting it's settings, or switching itself back on when it is turned off. For an Aiwa its had a good run, but I'm expecting it to fail at some point.

I'm wondering, if there is anyway of producing the same effect as BEE on a more modern amp?

I read up on the supposed problem that BBE is "fixing", but I guess it does not matter to me whether the chip is applying some simple EQ or something more clever, I've just become very fond of the way it alters the sound.

Using EQ in software is not an option, since most of my listening is straight from C64 SID chip or Amiga 1200.

Do "BBE Sonic Maximisers" do the same thing? Are they even made anymore? Maybe I can rescue the chip from the amp when it dies and use it standalone?

I realise most of you probably frown upon colouring the sound like this, but I guess I do not mind as long as I'm enjoying what I hear, and it does sound nice to me 

Any advice much appreciated.
John
  • Last Edit: 26 March, 2013, 05:52:26 PM by Yaztromo

  • DVDdoug
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #1
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Do "BBE Sonic Maximisers" do the same thing?
I assume that's a trade secret.  If BBE or Ahpex tell you want they are doing, anybody can duplicate it.    If you buy an equalizer or compressor, you know what you are getting.  But, this "magic secret" stuff is always secret.


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Are they even made anymore?
Yes.

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...since most of my listening is straight from C64 SID chip or Amiga 1200.

...I realise most of you probably frown upon colouring the sound like this, but I guess I do not mind as long as I'm enjoying what I hear, and it does sound nice to me
That only applies to music reproduction which needs to be accurate, not music production which needs to be creative.     

And, i don't think anyone here is going to give you a hard time about coloring your reproduction either as long as you understand that's what you are doing.  (I like to use some Pro Logic soundfield effects when listening to stereo music on by home theater system.)

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Maybe I can rescue the chip from the amp when it dies and use it standalone?
If you've got the schematic, understand electronics, and have the patience, it could be worth a try...
  • Last Edit: 27 March, 2013, 03:25:03 PM by DVDdoug

  • matt_a
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #2
ive got both the Sonic Ultramizer and Sonic Maximizer which are the Behringer ripoffs off the BBE and Aphex Exciter. Both really cheap about £60 each!
I prefer the Aphex unit which works using an opto compressor and a transconductance amp for harmonic generation.
Just a small amount often peps up a drab record.

The BBE acts more like two shelving filters at the frequency extremes with a gradual linear phase shift.

http://www.radio-flier.com/bbe_data.htm

http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-pdf/...RC/NJM2153.html

Hope this helps.

  • mzil
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #3
My recollection is that BBE and other "aural exciters" emphasize (exaggerate) the relative level of the harmonics over the fundamental tones, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is also some general treble boost or other EQ "sweetening" going on as well.

edit [This post was composed prior to seeing the above post]
  • Last Edit: 27 March, 2013, 04:41:50 PM by mzil

  • Yaztromo
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #4
Thank you all for your comments. I quite like your radio flyer link matt, a good investigation into the technical aspect behind the bbe voodoo. Although I did struggle to understand most of it 

By the looks of it, going with the Ultramizer coupled with a modern amp looks a safe bet, I'm no good with electronics and ripping out the guts of the Aiwa was a last resort anyway.

From the picture of the back it looks a little complicated to connect to an amp. What I'd ideally want is two RCA phono inputs going in from my source and two coming out that could then go into the back of the Amplifer as an input. Am I understanding how it works wrong?

The website says
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Servo-balanced inputs and outputs with ¼" TRS and gold-plated XLR connectors


Which means nothing much to me at the moment.


  • db1989
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #5
ive got both the Sonic Ultramizer and Sonic Maximizer which are the Behringer ripoffs off the BBE and Aphex Exciter. Both really cheap about £60 each!
I prefer the Aphex unit which works using an opto compressor and a transconductance amp for harmonic generation.
Just a small amount often peps up a drab record.
Aphex Exciter can also be done purely in the digital realm: I have two synths that include it among their repertoire of effects, and their effects units, as with the rest of their components, are exclusively digital.

The website says
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Servo-balanced inputs and outputs with ¼" TRS and gold-plated XLR connectors
Which means nothing much to me at the moment.
In what sense? TRS stands for tip/ring/sleeve, meaning that the jack has three connections, one on each of those regions, with two active connections that can transmit a channel each of a stereo signal. XLR is a 3-pin connector, most familiar from microphones; these are mono (in all but perhaps a few highly esoteric applications of which I’m not aware) but have the ability to transmit “phantom power” to the connected device at 48, 24, or 12 V. Balanced connections duplicate the signal to two wires, 180 degrees out of phase with respect to each other, which is done to reduce interference; thus, TRS and XLR are ideally suited to this mode of transmission as they have enough wires/pins. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balanced_audio
  • Last Edit: 28 March, 2013, 05:46:33 PM by db1989

  • Yaztromo
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #6
@db1989

Right now I understand.

So I could go from unbalanced RCA to TRS using a simple cable like this and 1.4inch headphone adapter?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/3-5mm-stereo-Phono...7615&sr=1-3



  • db1989
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  • Global Moderator
Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #7
For reliable answers, I have to defer to more knowledgeable members. However, I decided to do some more simple research on your behalf.  It seems that connecting unbalanced devices to balanced ones is usually possible but might result in a halving (6 dB loss) of signal and potentially the resulting increased noise floor; however, servo-balanced devices can prevent the loss of signal.

  • DVDdoug
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #8
So I could go from unbalanced RCA to TRS using a simple cable like this and 1.4inch headphone adapter?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/3-5mm-stereo-Phono...7615&sr=1-3
No!    Two problems - That's a 3.5mm (1/8-inch) connector, and you need a 1/4-inch connector.  It's also "stereo", with the tip going to one RCA connector, and the ring going to the other.

An adapter like this (or a similar cable) with a TS connector (2-conductor) will usually work to convert a balanced (3-wire) connection into an unbalanced (2-wire) connection.

It usually works, but it doesn't work with all equipment, since it grounds the ring connection in whatever you are plugging into.  That's almost never a problem with inputs, but grounding outputs can sometimes cause trouble.  But again, most equipment is diesigned to accept this type of adapter.

There are converter boxes that do the conversion "properly" (electronically or with a transformer), but you'd need one on the input and another on the output, and it's an added expense.

This page will tell you more than you want to know about converting between balanced & unbalanced connections.

  • DVDdoug
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Can I emulate the Aiwa BBE chip in a more modern setup?
Reply #9
The Behringer web page says:
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Getting Connected
All inputs and outputs accept balanced XLR as well as balanced and unbalanced 1/4" connections. Both the 1/4" and XLR outputs can be used in parallel, when two outputs are required.
That means you CAN use an "unbalanced"  1/4" TS plug-to-RCA adapter, or a similar adapter-cable with a 1/4" plug in one end an an RCA connector on the other.