Introducing BassMX

Introducing BassMX

One of the things I have always enjoyed on my Amiga is watching demos. Close the curtains, turn off the lights, turn up the volume and enjoy.. Especially when using a Hi-Fi system with proper speakers instead of the little speakers in the 1084S monitor.

As a bit of an audiophile, the one thing that has always bothered me a little is the Amiga's perfect channel separation, also sometimes known as "drums on one speaker and the bassline on the other". This can cause the sound to feel unbalanced. I know that some people have been advocating to simply switch to mono, but that is a bridge too far for me - I'd like to keep it stereo.

So here is my solution, called "BassMX". It takes the audio from each channel, filters it so that only the low frequencies are kept and mixes that with the unfiltered audio from the other channel. In short, it mixes the bass.

In theory this means that the bassline and drums are now on both speakers while the locations of other instruments are unaffected. In practice it depends on the actual instruments used. While the bass drum will be centred, the high-hat will not be, for example. Similar with a slap-bass, where the slap part will still be only on the original channel but the bass sound itself will be on both channels.

Listen for yourself

I'm aware that this is not something that everybody will like, and that is fine of course. Below I have provided a couple of audio files that show the effect that BassMX has so that you can make up your own mind about it. Please note that BassMX is meant to be used with a stereo setup, this includes not just speakers but also earbuds and headphones. If you are using a sound system with a subwoofer then you may not hear much difference.

 Lotus Turbo Challenge 2
 (by Barry Leitch)

 Phenomena - Enigma
 (Musiklinjen by Firefox and Tip)

 Sanity - Arte
 (Livin' Insanity by Moby)

 Budbrain Megademo 2
 (YoAfrica-dia by Diablo)

More information?

If you're interested then two earlier posts describe the design process.

Dave from the "This week in retro" podcast has mentioned BassMX in episode 141 and explained what it does. In episode 143 he shows off his BassMX and talks about it more.

There is also a nice review by RobSmithDev on You/Tube, where he demonstrates the difference between having standard Amiga sound and using BassMX sound.

There is an article by Duncan Styles in issue 27 of Amiga-Addict magazine (page 51).

And I'm also posting irregularly about this and my other projects (such as my Amiga programming books) on X/Twitter.

Where can I get one?

I have them currently available for sale on eBay. The shipping should cover most countries.

They are also available for purchase on the well known website in Germany.

I do sell them directly (outside eBay) as well. In any case, feel free to contact me by email at "bassmx12 (at) edsa (dot) uk" if you got any questions.

What else is there?

If you own a 3D printer then on the Thingiverse website there are two 3D print designs for BassMX cases available. One designed by user dvoelkel and one designed by user phlphl.

Posted on