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BBE BMax or BMax-t??!?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by bass.man.005, Feb 22, 2006.

  1. bass.man.005


    Feb 22, 2006
    Hey everybody I just have a quick question that hopefully somebody can help. I've been looking for a new preamp and I'm trying to make a decision and was wondering what other peoples experiences with this equipment has been like. I'm debating between either the solid-state or tube version of the BBE Bmax. I've also thought about the Ampeg SVP-Pro. Whats the big advantage for having tube technology as opposed to solid-state? I'm really looking for a very clean tone, very undistorted. Thanks for all your help!
  2. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    BMax. :)
  3. mrcircle

    mrcircle peacenik

    Oct 3, 2003
    Boise, ID

    The BMax-t is very warm and "pillowy" while the SS version sounds much closer to what you're describing.
  4. bass.man.005


    Feb 22, 2006
    bump bump bump
  5. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    I'd vote for the BMax-T (or a second-hand Alembic F-1X or if you want a very tight, fast tube pre -- Demeter VTBP-201S).

    More organic tone with more dimensionality than the SS BMax.
  6. bass.man.005


    Feb 22, 2006
    Doesn't tubes always create some sort of distortion to an extent however? I like the idea of an organic, original sound, but I don't like distorting in my tone. Very full low end, with comfortable mellow, not piercing mids and highs. Like a jazz fretless sound almost. You know its there and it fills out the group, but sounds very clean. Hopefully that makes sense.
  7. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    Depends on the circuitry.

    BMax-T, Alembic F-1X, and (especially) Demeter are very clean.

    Some people say the Dem's are a bit lean in the low end, but with the equipment I've used them with, I'd say not lean, just very tight and solid.
    The BBE's & F-1X are just immensely powerful in the low end though.
  8. Kael


    Dec 26, 2004
    Oklahoma City
    :confused: While the Bmax-T is warmer than the SS Bmax, I'd say it's a very long way from "very warm and pillowy". Both are very clean pre's but the T version is a little more 3D to my ear. The SS version is a little "quicker" but the T version is still pretty durn quick.
  9. brooklynbassguy

    brooklynbassguy Supporting Member

    Feb 8, 2004
    maplewood, nj, usa
    The biggest advantage of the T versus ss, is being able to experiment with changing tubes, and tracking down the sound you seek...
  10. CBBass123


    Oct 18, 2005
    Is this Bmax-T better sounding or similar to the SansAmp RBI? I've been thinkin about another pre.
  11. mrcircle

    mrcircle peacenik

    Oct 3, 2003
    Boise, ID
    Okay, okay, so maybe I overstated my case...I was just trying to be helpful in as concise a manner as possible. (Oh, the difficulties of describing tone accurately!) I certainly didn't find the BMax-t to be sluggish, but compared to the other tube preamps I've owned (Demeter, Kern, Read) it seemed lacking in razor-like clarity, which is what I interpreted "very clean tone" to mean. The SS version would be much better for that, I think.

    However, now that the definition has been clarified to mean "organic" and "very full low end, with comfortable mellow, not piercing mids and highs," I'd say the BMax-t should fit the bill perfectly. As Kael said, it's a very 3-dimensional sounding preamp (to my ears, it's greatest strength), full in the lows and neither harsh nor sterile sounding (my interpretation of "organic"). Sounds like just what you're looking for!
  12. lo-freq

    lo-freq aka UFO

    Jan 19, 2003
    DFW, Texas
    What the BMax-T does best, I don't believe the RBI can quite match, but the BMax-T definitely lacks the 'swiss army knife' versatility of the RBI.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Interesting. That being the case: if the user has no interest in swapping tubes, then it makes sense to buy the less expensive BMax.
  14. jburtonca


    Nov 25, 2000
    Ottawa, Canada
  15. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    I've got both the Bmax and the Bmax-t. The Bmax has much sharper highs and mids, due to faster transient response. The Bmax-t won't really give you any kind of OD or audible distortion (not like an Ampeg anyway). It's very warm, very mellow, very full, but almost a subdued preamp. I don't use it, because I like an almost distorted midrange. I have a friend who plays country a lot, so I loaned it to him, and he's tried to buy it from me repeatedly he likes it so much.

    From what your describing, I'd say go with the Bmax-t.
  16. Dan1099

    Dan1099 Dumbing My Process Down

    Aug 7, 2004
    FWIW, the BMax-T may be tube, but it is NOT an overdrive preamp. I can crank the gain all the way on mine and not get tube breakup. I can, however, thrash the input stage of my poweramp. Them BBE's are hot.
  17. afroman

    afroman Supporting Member

    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I've owned both and prefer the warmth and tubeyness of the BMAX-T. I do think that taking from your description, you'll love the Bmax (ss version). It's extremely clean and clear w/o being sterile. It's also stupidily inexpensive and the compressor and sonic maximizer work great. For around $300 it's an amazing bargain.
  18. 4runner

    4runner WARNING!"WALL OF DOOM" does "exceed" 140 decibels!

    Feb 11, 2006
    Hackensack NJ,
    Hey Mrcircle; so we meet again, I didn't know that you use the BBE "BMax-T", I saw it advertised in Bass Player magazine { as my luck would have it }, right after I bought the Millenia Origin, STT-1. How do you Like the BMax-T, and what do you like about it in particular? :bassist:
  19. mrcircle

    mrcircle peacenik

    Oct 3, 2003
    Boise, ID
    Hey there, 4runner! Did you get my PM?

    What I liked about the BMax-T: very warm, organic sound; the most sparkling, "3-dimensional" sounding preamp I've tried; a decent compressor and parametric midrange EQ (I wasn't sold on the Sonic Maximizer, but others love it); it looks really cool. An amazing preamp for the money, I think.

    Why I sold it: I wasn't getting quite as quick, thick and "solid" a sound as I wanted through the cabinets I was using at the time (Bergantino EX/HT mini-stack). In the band I play in, I was getting lost in the mix at higher volume gigs, and wanted something that hit more like a brick than a pillow.

    After trying (and eliminating) the Demeter 201s, I narrowed it down to a Kern 777 and a Read Purity, both of which I still own. (Now I have an NV425 and the rest of the band has to worry about getting lost! :D)