SPL 9736 Stereo Vitalizer Jack #10


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The enhancer market was created by Aphex in the 1970s with the launch of their first product, the Aphex Aural Exciter. Originally charged for on a per-minute basis, the Aural Exciter was the first attempt at enhancing audio by adding harmonics to the signal. It wasn’t exactly a new idea – guitarists with valve amps had been doing it for years – but this was the first rack unit aimed at mix enhancement

The Model 9736 is the later version of the Vitalizer Jack with the black-and-blue splatter paint front panel. It is a redesigned & updated version of the old model

The front panel controls are

• Bass
• Mid-Hi Tune
• Process
• Brilliance
• Stereo Expander
• Vitalizer bypass switch

The Bass control offers Soft or Tight via a variable control and the Mid-Hi Tune control selects the centre frequency of the enhancement, the separate Brilliance control affects the high end and there’s an overall level control via the Process adjustment. The Stereo Expander has a separate level control

It’s hard to describe the effect of the Vitalizer so I’ll quote straight from Sound on Sound:

“In the world of aural enhancement, SPL stand, if not alone, then apart. Most enhancers or exciters produce their effect — brighter, more detailed sound — by generating certain amounts of controlled distortion. SPL’s Vitalizer family uses an arcane mix of EQ, phase and level manipulation to produce punchier, more detailed mixes, without (so SPL claim) introducing extra distortion”

“Detail and clarity are much over-used words in mixing circles, but the Vitalizer… really does provide them in spades”

“The Vitalizer… really works — indeed, its effect on the bass end of a track is indescribable”

The Vitalizer isn’t something I’d use on the mix bus, though there are many who would. I think it would be far more useful for treating loops or stems, for changing the perspective of sounds in the mix, and to give a little sparkle to something that’s getting lost. For me, the Vitalizer is best at processing loops and samples, because the low end controls do things that simply can’t be done with EQ. The stereo expander is extraordinary, a really useful tool for controlling perspective. The best thing about it is that the signal remains intact in mono, so your super-wide sounds won’t disappear when you listen in mono

It’s worth noting that SPL produces extremely high-end equipment used by some of the top mastering studios. Their approach is to apply technology to come up with new ways of solving problems. All the SPL products I’ve used have impressed me with their sound quality and I respect the fact that they don’t make “Me Too” products that copy other manufacturers

Photos show a Vitalizer sold previously

Analogue processor with unbalanced inputs & outputs on jack sockets. Operating level is 0 dB. Power is via a 2-pin connector and a power lead with standard UK power plug is supplied. Euro adaptor available on request

1U device suitable for mounting in a standard 19" rack. Built-in power supply with two-pin mains connector. UK power cable supplied as standard, Euro cable supplied on request

Owners manual


Sound on Sound Review



In excellent used condition with minor case scratches & some rack rash. Tested & working 100%.  Power cable supplied on request. Photos show a Vitalizer sold previously