B.B.E B-Max Pre amp (review)

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bill h, Jul 21, 2003.

  1. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    I got one of these pre's a few weeks ago and I would like to do a review of it.

    To star of with is this thing rocks. The sound is very clear!!! Not colored in any way.

    It has a Passive and Active inputs. A toggle for more Bright, Knobs for Gain, Treble, Mid, Bass, It also has a PARA MIDS with Frequency (250 Hz to 1 KHz) with a Mids gain. Also has a build in compressor with a on/off toggle. There is also the Sonic Maximizer with a LO Contour and a Process knob. And last is a Master out. With one DI out on the back.

    The thing Rocks. I like it very much.(only two gigs and one practice with it) It give much more volume without having to have it loud. Thanks to the compressor and Maximizer. Cuts through the mix of the rock band I'm in.(two guitars one drummer one singer and me) a lot of sounds can be take in out of this pre with some good fiddling of the knobs.
  2. BMAX - All in all a good sounding transistor pre. Didn't quite get it for me as it is solid state and lacking tube "warmth".

    I'm trying the BMAX-T as we speak. A little too soon to comment. So far, the T is smoother sounding then it's solid state brother.

    Overall impression so far is that the tone control set-up is somewhat quirky (on both pres) and takes awhile to adapt to. Bass and treble controls straight up is like 50% boost, no boost being all the way to the left. Apparently no cut. It's either "flat" or more. Hmmm.

    I can see this is going to take some time to get used to. I was clipping the inputs of a QSC PLX2402 with the input gain at anything above 9:00. Finally figured out what was causing the distortion. Bass was a Zon Custom set flat in the active input of the pre. Starting to get some decent tones now that I've got a handle on the gain stage and tone controls.

    One wish - tuner out. Yes, I know I can run it off the effects loop.
  3. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    Hey Eric,

    Thanks for the review. I appreciate your giving the preamps a whirl

    Just for the record, anyone who is familiar with the Alembic preamps or Fender Bassmans will find the BMAX' tone controls are indentical and operate in the same way as those.

    But, yes, if you're not familiar with this set-up it takes a few minutes to acclimate yourself.

    As you found out there's a ton of bottom-end available so you really need to watch how much "bass" gets added. you might distort your amplifier's input or cause your speakers to bottom-out.

    Good luck and have fun!
  4. dirk


    Apr 6, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    Anyone A/Bed this with a Sansamp RBI?? Or used one in conjunction with the RBI or a SBDDI??

    Just curious as to the tonal differences cool tones you got combining the two.

  5. I've owned the RBI and currently own the BBE Bmax. BBE can go deeper and has a ton of bass. The RBI was never able to get deep enough for me.
  6. Just ordered a BMAX today. Can't wait to try it. I'm currently using an RBI. I'll post the
    A-B comparison review as soon as I get it.:D
  7. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    SW, OK
    From what I've heard of these (by WOM), I'd like to have one of each, split my bass signal and switch &/or blend between the two. Maybe even feed two seperate power amps going to different cabs (articulate on one side and juicy on the other).

    I like the speed/articulation and punch of a good SS preamp. I also have come to appreciate the round, full, enveloping tone a good tube pre can give.

    [I wish Mesa sold the preamp portion of the M-2000 as a seperate unit (great variety of good tones available there).]
  8. dirk


    Apr 6, 2000
    Memphis, TN
    This is the eventual setup I hope to achieve. When I get the money to get a new preamp I want solid state, but I want something that can do a good tight hi-fi articulate growl as well as a fat juicy thick meaty warm tube tone. This is probably too much to ask in one preamp, but a good dream nonetheless.

  9. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    The PV Max pre has both tube and SS channels and you can blend them or switch between 'em.