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3000 posts

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Topic # 6714 18-Feb-2006 01:03
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If you don't know what BBE is, it's not "bass boost enhanced" or "Bass Boom Extra" but actually a proper analogue process often used to master a CD to make it sound a lot crisper before the pressing stage. They seem to have gone a little more consumer recently with guitar effect pedals rather than the older rack mounted, $5000 units they used to sell. The little chips that can be torn from the products can be used for guitar effects and one was successfully modded by myself one.

BBE Sound

BBE is not really a "Audiophile" system, more a "pro audio enhancing" though it's highly effective when processed audio is played through so-so consumer grade speakers. With good speakers (tested on JBL pro montors, Missions, various Kef based systems and some rather nice kit speakers from Jaycar (JC-30) as the highs can be a little shrill. It also contours the bass to make it sound more punchy and clean but not Boom Boom Boom bass.

I does a superb job of processing MP3's however and brings out a new life in them.

Since about 1992, they have been licensing the technology to Aiwa and more recently, some large Sony Televisions have it.

I have torn two from older Aiwa stereo's which just contains far too many op-amps, 7 from memory to make it sound any good. (BBE does help an awful lot in these dungers and those lovely indonesian-sweatshop-made speakers however)

T-Bass has nothing to do with this however and this is handled by the actual DSP. this is just "Bass Boosting" (at 80-170Hz) yewww.

Note this is pretty crude and new capacitors and a new PCB wouldn't go amiss.

I will post a step by step guide to removing one and the pinouts so it may be used in external use for enhancing and crisping audio.

The chip to look for is a little high density 30-40 pin DIL chip which should be surrounded by small electrolytic capacitors (best Aiwa model list shortly) and have two "polyester greencap" capacitors at the input side.
This needs to be carefully sawn out of the donor stereo. (I might draw a circuit diagram if I get the time)
When the little beastie is out, it's ready in it's bare form to feed line level audio in and get BBE processed audio out at line level, it's really just a glorified preamp.
You should really mix it with the incoming audio stream as it tends to be on the "crisp" side. (Perfect for FM broadcast however)
Power supply is 9v, supplied through the small resistor which is on the board.

Pictures and better instructions soon when I rip my lastest one out.

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3000 posts

Uber Geek


Reply # 28914 20-Feb-2006 21:46
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Well Picked up the stereo, BBE chip extracted, Worked like a dream, I forget how good they are. It sounds a bit thumpy on the deep end but I notice they have resistors on the input whereas I used polyester capacitors on the old one I ripped which gives the slight bass cut it needs.

pics of the rip below

Here it's located

ready for sawing


Done (not quite, I'll photomask a proper PCB and put on better caps and variable filters and mount in a nice robust little box)

Overall, A Roaring Success, I should make a few of these up, they really do work well on mp3's, better than DFX or any rubbush like that. They work great with live music, gives is a real presence.

3000 posts

Uber Geek


  Reply # 29809 4-Mar-2006 14:25
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After doing a search last night to find more on the BBE process, one of the first pages that come up randomly was right down the bottom there is a download for a Software DirectX BBE Sonic maximiser. Or HERE

It's a DirectX plugin module so you'll need the AdaptX plugin for Winamp to allow it to utilise it as a plugin. Extract all files to the /Plugins directory of winamp.

I don't know much about it and it's not quite as good as the hardware version and can't find any info about it so use at your own risk. the only clues to it's exitence is which is also a different version.

The little Chip is a Gen 2 I belive, the software is a gen 3, The latest is gen4,,, I could hear no difference between the Gen4 $5000 rack unit and the Gen2 Aiwa chip when tested together in a studio 6 years ago (no 7 years ago.. scary)


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