The Model 402 Aphex Aural Exciter was produced during the mid 70s, and it was instantly popular. However, there were only a few units produced, and they were never available for sale—they could only be rented, and the price was not cheap. These devices used a tube-powered processor that added harmonics to the audio signal, and many of the big names of the era loved them. It could add or enhance the details on each track and on the overall mix. Following the huge success, Aphex created a cheaper solid-state version for retail, and it looked like the monstrous tube units were gone. However, that all changed when Waves got their hands on one of the original tube-based devices and recreated its distinctive sound.
The Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter is a cross-platform plug-in that brings everything the original product had right to your studio. It comes in Native and TDM versions. It features mono and stereo configurations, and you can record in resolutions up to 24-bit/192 kHz. While the original model may not have had these features, Waves wanted to bring the Aural Exciter into the modern world while still keeping its amazing sounds. To that end, they kept the original’s idiosyncrasies. For example, the first Aural Exciter created different sounds when used on a mixer’s channel insert than it did when using the aux send/return path. Waves has recreated both types of sounds and created a mode for each, the MIX2 and AX modes. It’s easy to switch between the two and get the most out of them.
If you want to capture sounds from the past, you’ll love this plug-in. It sounds especially great on snares, vocals, and electric bass. You can purchase the Aural Exciter individually, but it also comes as part of the Waves Mercury Bundle. By itself, it retails for $250 (Native) or $500 (TDM). The Mercury Native costs $6,300; the TDM version is $9,900.