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BBE Bmax defective?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by ster, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. ster


    Oct 18, 2003
    New Jersey
    Hello everyone! I am having some trouble with my brand new
    preamp, the BBE Bmax, the ss version. I think it may be defective. I get a nasty distortion sound from any of my 3 basses, including one with passive pups. All of my cords are fine, batteries are good. I tried a different preamp and all is good so its not my power amp or speakers. It seems to not be able to handle a hot signal, even if I keep the gain low. I think
    I tried everything. Has anyone else had this problem? :bawl:
  2. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    Nope. I have not.

  3. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    PM djnylonpants He's the BBE rep on TB and will help you out.
  4. TxBass


    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    I think you may have a problem cause mine is crystal clear...I wouldn't stress about BBE making it right, they're reputable and it's new. Good luck with getting it remedied!
  5. ster


    Oct 18, 2003
    New Jersey
    Thanks for the replies guys. I just tried again with a completely different setup and I am getting the same result. Just for the hell of it I tried my Sansamp DI as the preamp and it works great. So it is DEFINITELY a defective Bmax. I think I'll exchange it for the SansampRBI. I have NEVER heard of Tech21's stuff to be unreliable.(Thank God for musiciansfreind 45 day return policy)
  6. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    Howdy ster,

    Sorry about the problem with your Bmax. I'm sorry you didn't give us the chance to make it right for you.

    Yours is the first report like this that I have heard and, if for no other reason, it would have been good for us to be able to evaluate the piece to see what might have been done differently.

    Just a word on BBE reliability in general, it might be worth pointing out that we only have one service guy and he sees so few units come back that he spends very little of his day actually repairing anything. And the units he does see are turned around within 24 hours.

    So, I'm sorry if you feel the need to move on, I truly hope we can earn your support in the future. Thanks for giving us a shot.

  7. kmacleish


    Nov 19, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Another $0.02 worth . . .

    I have a BBE preamp that I bought used and have been very happy with. Changing brands because your initial purchase had a problem seems like an overreaction to me. ANY company's product can have an initial problem (which quite possibly could be shipping-induced), and the important gauge is how often that happens and how the manufacturer responds. In short: Don't sell BBE short.
  8. ster


    Oct 18, 2003
    New Jersey
    I know it was an overreaction, I just kind of panicked because I have a whole lotta gigs coming up and I need a preamp. But because of the quick and friendly responses I have gotten, I have decided to change my order back to the bmax because quite simply, its my #1 choice(There is NOTHING better than great customer service). I just hope it works for me this time.
  9. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I can personally testify to Judd's post. I had a problem with a WAY out of warranty 383, and he had it fixed right up for me, and the turnaround was 24 hours. My cost? One way shipping. Now is that cool, or what?

    The BBE repairman must job-share with a Maytag repairman. :D

  10. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    Good news ster!

    IF you experience anything like that again, let me know immediately and we'll figure it out.

    Thanks for keeping the faith.

  11. Bob Lee (QSC)

    Bob Lee (QSC) In case you missed it, I work for QSC Audio! Commercial User

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    One evening in practice an ex-bandmate who had too many beers caught his foot on my instrument cord and pulled my bass rig over. The input jack on my BBE 383 was really torqued and needed replacement.

    I e-mailed BBE and asked for a replacement input jack. Since they're just a couple towns over from where I work, I said I'd come and pick it up.

    It was there waiting for me at the front desk. No charge.

    That's not a big thing, but it's good service nonetheless. And some clueless companies make even small things into big hassles, so it was a real pleasure dealing with BBE.
  12. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    I'm wondering about my brand new BMax, too. It seems to have a lot more hiss than my RBI. Is this normal? I set it flat (per the guide) and it just seems that I have to run it a bit duller to kill all hiss. Not ideal for the studio, from what I can see. For live performance, I bet this BMax really works great. I like the overall tone. Even without BBE process or compression, it sounds great.

    I also noted some finish problems. Probably nothing too drastic, but there is excessive glue around the red abalone trim and one knob has white paint on it. Fit and finish aren't critical to me, but the model was touted as finished to a T. I think that T wasn't crossed.

    I don't know if I'll have AMS replace this one or just send it back. My RBI is very pleasing. I had hoped to use the BMax for my primary sound, but I'm not sure it will survive the satisfaction period. Djnylonpants, do you want to have this one back in your shop? I'll ship it to you at my cost if you'll send it back at yours.

    Any advice on tone control to kill hiss would be welcome!
  13. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    Howdy Arranger,

    Send it back me. I'll have our guy check it and then I'll replace it.

    Email me for details.

    It all sounds quite unlike a nicely functioning BMAX. They are dead quiet and the fit and finish generally "wow's" people.

    In fact, QSC has taken one to be used by their music-store clinician.

    I want it to be the last bass pre you ever buy.

    Send it back. Of course we'll return it on our dime.

  14. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    Thank you for your reply and generous offer, Judd. After further review, it seems that my BMax is probably functioning just fine. I had a Carl Martin compressor that was "breathing" into the BMax and leading me to conclude that my preamp wasn't well. When I turned it off, the hiss was almost completely gone. I'll use the built-in compressor on the BMax from this point forward.

    Somehow, the same effects in front of the RBI are not as noticable. It seems that the BMax is more reactive to effects that are placed before it in the signal chain. I also noticed that my FullTone BassDrive is also a much more pronounced effect through the BMax than the RBI, and I'm happy about that! I am using the Active instrument input in every case due to the effects up front and my active bass pickups, too.

    I took it upon myself to gently peel off the excess glue from the knobs. It came off like stiff rubber cement, luckily, and the excess paint also came off with only a mild solvent. So the finish is now perfect, with no resultant ills. I guess the assembly guy could use some more coffee! Buy him Kona - it's on me. ;)

    I'm impressed that QSC keeps one of your BMax preamps entertained. Perhaps my rig would benefit from one of their amps. Your product is well represented, both by you and the company it keeps.

    This BMax seems to be a keeper for me and I do doubt that I'll be preamp shopping again for a long time. I'll have my "Sansamp RBI vs. BBE BMax" review post up soon.

    Thank you again for your thoughful reply.
  15. Gooseman


    Dec 3, 2003
    Stay with BBE!I've used one for like 15 years,no problems at all.They flat rule when it comes to bass preamps in my book.
  16. MascisMan


    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Just recently started using a BMax through a QSC 1850HD and am extremely pleased as well. I need a good mild overdrive pedal now and should be set! Any recommendations on a mild overdrive pedal that sounds good with the BMax?
  17. Arranger


    Mar 9, 2003
    FullTone BassDrive. Nice subtle to smashing overdrive.
  18. Saetia


    Mar 27, 2003
    I'm interested in trying out BBE's tube pre, but I have no way of trying it out first, at least none that I'm aware of. I was just wondering some of the general charictaristics about it. I'm looking for a warm pre that is fat and punchy but clear and articulate that will work with both fretted and fretless. Not trying to hi-jack the thread but I thought since this is about BBE someone could chime in and maybe PM me some info. Much appreciated
  19. judd levison

    judd levison

    Jun 2, 2003
    Howdy Saetia,

    Two things will get you what you're looking for:

    1) do a search here on the forum for BMAX and you'll find plenty; the good, the bad and the ugly.

    2) basstasters.com - here you can listen to the preamps with various settings and various basses

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