#1
Can anyone explain how enhancers work, and what is currently on the market? -eg like the old boss EH-2.

The reason I ask is that I use a Boss LMB-3 as a compressor, and recently started fiddling with the enhancer control. I'm really taken with the effect, it adds something like a strat-like quack and attack, in addition to brightness, to my very dark-sounding 335 knockoff with SD Jazz pickups, same with the P100s in my LP special.
#3
Quote by Tony Done
Can anyone explain how enhancers work, and what is currently on the market? -eg like the old boss EH-2.

The reason I ask is that I use a Boss LMB-3 as a compressor, and recently started fiddling with the enhancer control. I'm really taken with the effect, it adds something like a strat-like quack and attack, in addition to brightness, to my very dark-sounding 335 knockoff with SD Jazz pickups, same with the P100s in my LP special.

I'm surprised that you'd call the Jazz dark, they're generally considered quite bright for humbuckers.

But Cath is right - they're really called Harmonic Exciters. They distort the signal very slightly and basically generate upper order partials that make everything sound brighter.
#4
Quote by oneblackened
I'm surprised that you'd call the Jazz dark, they're generally considered quite bright for humbuckers.

But Cath is right - they're really called Harmonic Exciters. They distort the signal very slightly and basically generate upper order partials that make everything sound brighter.


The guitar - an '82 Westone Rainbow 1 - is very dark, and I put the Jazz in it to brighten it up. - I even put single/series/parallel switching in to liven it up even more. The guitar is very well built, and I like the look, but the tone has always frustrated me. The LMB-3 seems to have done the trick.

What about the phase-shifting and "psychoacoustics" that I found in a quick google search? I'm also wondering why they aren't more popular, and whether you could get a similar effect mixing clean and distorted signals.
#5
Psychoacoustics means, "the difference is all in your head."

There are different ways of generating the harmonics. Phase shifting is just another method of doing it. Phase shifting is a type of distortion, in the strictest sense of the word. It's essentially FM modulation, which creates side tones. Please don't ask for a detailed description of what that means, it's too complex and involves a shitload of mathematics. And I've forgotten all that shit anyway.
I've found that most people use enhancers because of a deficiency in their amp. Most of us just buy a better amp.
Last edited by Cathbard at Nov 3, 2014,
#6
Quote by Cathbard
Psychoacoustics means, "the difference is all in your head."

There are different ways of generating the harmonics. Phase shifting is just another method of doing it. Phase shifting is a type of distortion, in the strictest sense of the word. It's essentially FM modulation, which creates side tones. Please don't ask for a detailed description of what that means, it's too complex and involves a shitload of mathematics. And I've forgotten all that shit anyway.
I've found that most people use enhancers because of a deficiency in their amp. Most of us just buy a better amp.


I have a decent enough amp - an H&K St Dual EL84 - but this particular guitar is difficult; the same pickups sound fine in another guitar I have. I'm really a P90 fan, the P100s in the LP Special are excellent for smooth jazzy sounds, but a bit more brighteness (ie harmonic content) on tap would be an asset.
#7
I'm yet to hear a H&K that I liked tbh. But sure, it may be a way around your problem. Personally, I'd try an EQ pedal first.
#8
Quote by Cathbard
Psychoacoustics means, "the difference is all in your head."

There are different ways of generating the harmonics. Phase shifting is just another method of doing it. Phase shifting is a type of distortion, in the strictest sense of the word. It's essentially FM modulation, which creates side tones. Please don't ask for a detailed description of what that means, it's too complex and involves a shitload of mathematics. And I've forgotten all that shit anyway.
I've found that most people use enhancers because of a deficiency in their amp. Most of us just buy a better amp.

Nah, it's harmonic distortion, same as an amp. FM modulation like that makes a vibrato effect (with addition of a time component that makes a chorus).
#9
Some of them do have a mild swirlyness to them. A lot of different methods have been employed over the years. Mostly it's just straight up harmonic distortion though, agreed. But I have heard some very chorus like exciters/enhancers. More going on than simple distortion.
#10
Personally I love my BBE Stomp on most of my guitars. I turn it on at the beginning of a gig and leave it on all the time. I'm not sure what it is doing or how it does it any more than I understand how most effects pedals actually work or achieve their sounds. My limited knowledge of electronics makes it somewhat interesting but not necessary. I just find those effects that I like and use them.

It might be just me (and it wouldn't be the first time) but the “your amp sucks, my amp is better” line is getting tired. People buy what they buy because they like what they heard before they bought it. To my ears many of the uber expensive high gain amps out there would not work for the style of music I play but they work for a lot of people and they like them. Great. What sounds good to me may sound bad to someone else but I wouldn't comment that someone's amp sucks because I personally don't like it. It apparently works for them and their style of playing. They make chocolate ice cream, vanilla ice cream and a hundred other flavors because we all have different ideas of what tastes good.
#11
Quote by Rickholly74
Personally I love my BBE Stomp on most of my guitars. I turn it on at the beginning of a gig and leave it on all the time.... People buy what they buy because they like what they heard before they bought it.


indeed. i am not even going to touch that one.

i find many people have no idea what they want. they chase a tone that is generally heard on some album, then they try to make their guitar sound like a well produced album, usually with poor results.

it goes something like: they like the tone on some metallica/KSE/etc album, then they end up using way too much gain and they are lost in the mix.

i usually don't give too much gear/tone advice because people don't want to hear what i have to say, they just seem to want someone to reinforce what they want to hear. i will generally give the most generic advice possible: record yourself and be brutally critical of what you hear.
Last edited by gumbilicious at Nov 4, 2014,
#12
Quote by gumbilicious
indeed. i am not even going to touch that one.

i find many people have no idea what they want. they chase a tone that is generally heard on some album, then they try to make their guitar sound like a well produced album, usually with poor results.

it goes something like: they like the tone on some metallica/KSE/etc album, then they end up using way too much gain and they are lost in the mix.

i usually don't give too much gear/tone advice because people don't want to hear what i have to say, they just seem to want someone to reinforce what they want to hear. i will generally give the most generic advice possible: record yourself and be brutally critical of what you hear.


I'm not sure why the thread took this turn. FWIW, my amp choices have nothing to do with what I heard on a recording, and everything to with playing acoustic exclusively for 30-odd years before I got interested in electrics. I'm not, and never have been, some kind of wannabe rocker - the closest I come to electric guitar heroes are Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth. All I wanted to know was what I am hearing through the LMB-3, and what pedals might have a similar effect.

Rick, are you saying that the BBE Stomp is similar? What info I've been able to find has been about pedals no longer in production.
#13
For the most part BBE products and Aphex products add something that is not there. Aphex do it in a slightly more pleasing way but after a while both start grating on my ears, I feel what is called a "listening fatique".

I am with Cathbard on this one, usually the deficiency is somewhere else but people are fooled in the short term with an "enhancer".

In the case with the H&K and the guitar - not sure what it is, could even be listening environment, maybe a place with brighter walls will sound more interesting as I've noticed. Mot likely you need something else to spice that signal, probably a different amplifier, something closer to old school Marshall Bluesbreaker, i.e. class A tube amp.
#14
Quote by diabolical
For the most part BBE products and Aphex products add something that is not there. Aphex do it in a slightly more pleasing way but after a while both start grating on my ears, I feel what is called a "listening fatique".

I am with Cathbard on this one, usually the deficiency is somewhere else but people are fooled in the short term with an "enhancer".

In the case with the H&K and the guitar - not sure what it is, could even be listening environment, maybe a place with brighter walls will sound more interesting as I've noticed. Mot likely you need something else to spice that signal, probably a different amplifier, something closer to old school Marshall Bluesbreaker, i.e. class A tube amp.


I dunno, I don't think it is the amp. I only use it clean, at low volume about like an acoustic guitar, and it is very bright to the point that it is approaching hi-fi. I chose it side by side with things like a Deluxe Reverb. I actually liked the Mesa Express 5-25 better for chimey cleans, but it was too noisy. As an example, it works fine with P100s, which are not the easiest pickups to amplify well, just about every single coil I've tried, and the SD Jazz in a different guitar. It is really just about this particular guitar/pickup combination and how the LMB-3 (enhance, compression ratio and threshold) affected its tone for the better. I'm interested in the phenomenon, and I still haven't got any clear answer about similar pedals.

In any event, getting a different amp has its problems. How to go about finding an amp that is better than what you consider very good? I don't trust recording, I have no heroes on which to model my choices and I have not yet encountered anyone here with similar interests - near-clean and clean electric slide. IMO the only way I could do it is by a straight side-by-side comparison between what I have (amp and guitar) and the new stuff. That would mean at hauling my amp and guitar on a two-hour plus drive to a store with a decent selection.

This will give you some idea of the kind of sound I like:

Scarborough Fair


It is an LP Special with P100s, recorded direct to PC through a Pandora Px4 IIRC on the Champ setting. - I don't think it is very Champ-like, but it is bright.
#15
Quote by Tony Done
I'm not sure why the thread took this turn.


it was just a tangent, i was addressing something he said and not something you said.

Quote by Tony Done
FWIW, my amp choices have nothing to do with what I heard on a recording, and everything to with playing acoustic exclusively for 30-odd years before I got interested in electrics. I'm not, and never have been, some kind of wannabe rocker - the closest I come to electric guitar heroes are Ry Cooder and Sonny Landreth.


i don't really care. i wasn't addressing you.

Quote by Tony Done
All I wanted to know was what I am hearing through the LMB-3, and what pedals might have a similar effect.


Rick, are you saying that the BBE Stomp is similar? What info I've been able to find has been about pedals no longer in production.

the BBE is somewhat similar. the BBE was some elaborate pedal that was supposed to sync up different frequencies or something but they ended up slapping some EQ shaping into the device and it became popular afterwards.