The blending of these two "parts" is done with a very simply laid out front panel. Aside from a bypass switch, there are only five knobs on the front panel. The first is the MONO BALANCE control. This pot allows the user to place the extracted mono information anywhere in the stereo spectrum. The MONO GAIN control is simply a volume control for the mono information. By turning this knob all the way counter-clockwise, all mono information is cut, and you're left with just the stereo information. The third knob is the STEREO SPACE control. It controls the amount of "phase modified" stereo signal that is sent to the outputs. By setting this knob to the full counter-clockwise position and leaving the MONO GAIN up, you can cut out the stereo portion of your input and send just the mono information of the input to the output. Finally, there is an OUTPUT LEVEL control and a HEADPHONE GAIN control which are both self-explanatory. The back panel is just as simple with input jacks and output jacks plus an interesting SIDE CHAIN input and output which we'll look at in detail later.
We tested the B.A.S.E. unit on several types of input, from music to promos and simple voice tracks to jingles. To say the least, the B.A.S.E. system is input dependent, meaning that no two inputs resulted in the same sounding effect at the output. The more stereo information an input had, the more pronounced that information was on the output. Slight adjustments of the MONO GAIN altered the overall output considerably. Slight adjustments on the STEREO SPACE did the same. In the production room, this box would definitely need to be close at hand because each individual input would require its own tweaking. There is no question that the effect is noticeable. If it isn't, you just crank up the STEREO SPACE or decrease the MONO GAIN.
We piped several different pieces of music into the B.A.S.E. box. On some songs, instruments appeared that weren't nearly as noticeable before. An electric piano that seemed stationary at first, seemed to swirl around the stereo spectrum after introducing the B.A.S.E. process. Jingles came to life with a much "broader" separation of the stereo vocal tracks. When added to commercial production music and synthesizer promo/sweeper beds, the tracks jumped out of the speakers.
We took spots and promos that were already produced and sent them through the box. Anything that was primarily left or right channel became more present. In some cases, the stereo information almost covered up the mono voice track. This was fixed by simply turning the STEREO SPACE down or cranking the MONO GAIN up. One interesting result of using B.A.S.E. on pre-produced spots and promos was an apparent increase in the amount of reverb on voice tracks. We concluded that this was a result of the fact that the voice track was mono while the reverb was stereo, therefore, as STEREO SPACE was increased, the reverb was increased. Because of this, the best time to use B.A.S.E. in production might be during the mix. There is so much difference in the effect from spot to spot, or promo to promo, that you simply cannot set the box up and leave it. It must be set for each individual input. However, since there are only two main controls to play with (STEREO SPACE and MONO GAIN), setting the box up for an input is very fast.
The SIDE CHAIN input and output on the rear panel allow for some interesting applications. This side chain is connected to the extracted mono portion of the output. Mono information can be taken from the B.A.S.E. unit, sent to an equalizer or other effects box, then returned to the B.A.S.E. unit where the processed mono information can be controlled by the MONO GAIN and MONO BALANCE pots. Use your imagination with this feature!