Aphex is a brand of audio signal processing equipment. Aphex Systems was founded in 1975 in Massachusetts. The company changed its name to Aphex in 2010.
Formerly Aphex Systems, the company is now Aphex, LLC, wholly owned by DWV Entertainment. Aphex moved in 2011 to Burbank, California and manufactures primarily in the Burbank and L.A. area. Design facilities are in Park City, Utah.
Aphex builds products for the professional audio, broadcast, fixed installation, touring-sound and home-recording markets. It has developed a number of technologies and products, such as the Aural Exciter, Compellor, Dominator, Expander/Gate and Expressor, plus the Model 1100 Two-Channel and Model 1788 Eight-Channel Ultra-Precision Remotely Controllable Microphone Pre-Amplifiers, and the Model 2020 Mk III Broadcast Audio Processor. A key element of all the dynamics processing products is the Voltage Controlled Attenuator, the Aphex VCA 1001. Another key element is Aphex' input and output circuitry, using electronic balancing techniques instead of transformers. In the late 2000s, Aphex introduced a digital signal transport product, the Anaconda 64-Channel Bidirectional Digital Snake.
The Aural Exciter is said to enhance clarity and intelligibility by adding phase shift and musically related synthesized harmonics to audio signals. The Big Bottom circuit combines a low-pass filter and dynamics processor to compress and delay incoming low-frequency information. The process is reverse amplitude dependent, meaning that more is applied as the input level drops and less as the signal gets hotter. Together the dynamics processor and time delay create sustained bass frequencies that are perceived as being louder yet do not noticeably increase peak output.
Aphex started selling the professional units, and introduced two low-cost models: Type B and Type C. The Aural Exciter circuit is now licensed by a growing list of manufacturers, including Yamaha, MacKenzie, Gentner, Emu and Bogen. The so-called Big Bottom circuit was added in 1992. Later revisions of the Aphex Aural Exciter included the Model 104 Type C and Type C2 units. The most recent version is the Model 204 Aural Exciter and Optical Big Bottom.
Functionally similar units from competing manufacturers are generically known either as 'psychoacoustic processors' or more commonly just as 'enhancers'. Broadly comparable products are now available from BBE, Joemeek, SPL, and Behringer, Aphex is considered the "gold standard" and benchmark of audio signal processors. While most are analogue signal processors, Aphex has created a variety of digital processors and software versions of its technologies for use in products and in licensing.
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