Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

BBE BMax question

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by White_Knight, Apr 23, 2004.


  1. White_Knight

    White_Knight

    Mar 19, 2000
    USA
    Hey all,

    So, as I wrote before, I have purchased a BBE BMax recently and really enjoy it's sound. One question though - is it me or must the preamp gain control be kept very low to avoid distortion? I use a passive Fender fretless jazz bass into the passive input. Even with the tone settings at 'flat' (Bass:2, Treble:2, Mid:10), I can get the preamp to distort with the gain control at 5 when digging in. Granted, cutting the mids or enabling the compressor will solve this, but it just seems odd that the preamp would run out of headroom so quickly.

    Currently, I run the EQ section flat except for a boost of the mids (using the para-EQ) at about 450 hz or so, the boost is approximately 7 out of 10, though the manual says that this is a cut/boost control, so really I am only boosting about 6db or so if I understand things correctly. BBE is engaged with the lo contour at 2 and the process at 5. The master control has no effect on the distortion obviously, as it only controls the volume leaving the unit itself. In this situation, I can't run the preamp gain any higher than 2 without distorting when I dig in. For reference (though kind of apples to oranges), I could run my Crate BX-100's preamp gain at 7 out of 10 and still dig in pretty well without distortion (and with that I ran the EQ flat except for a 3db boost at 50hz).

    I'm not looking to return it and I don't think anything is wrong with it, I guess I'm just sort of curious why there seems to be a lack of headroom, especially with essentially no EQ boost of any kind when flat. Forget boosting the treble or bass unless I am willing to reduce the gain or cut the mids. That said, if I reduce the gain obviously everything is fine and I can make it back up with the master volume and the volume controls on my amp, but I've never used an amplifier or preamplifier where you have to keep the gain at such a low level. Is this normal? Is this perhaps just a characteristic of the passive EQ (as most amps I have used utilize active EQ's)?

    Again, I'm really pleased with the sound, just curious why the input gain needs to be so low (for the record, using the active input helps only slightly with this lack of headroom, though I can still distort it pretty easily when running around 5-6 on the preamp gain).
     
  2. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Thats strange because I run my BMax gain around 7. the Bass around 2-3, the Treble at about 4-5, and the Mid at 10. I also have the bright switch turned on. I get no distortion at all. Im running it through a QSC RMX 1850HD to an Ampeg SVT-410HLF if that matters. I have the compressor on and it dialed in around 2.
     
  3. lbanks

    lbanks

    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Haven't noticed any distortions unless I push the bass pass 5. My normal set is Gain-3, treb.-2, mid-5, bass-2, EQ 2/5, Comp-2, Max.-2/5, bright-off. I'm using QCS RMX-850, bridged 4ohms into a Acme Low B2. I've not run the Gain pass 5, except when sending the signal directly to the computer.
     
  4. White_Knight

    White_Knight

    Mar 19, 2000
    USA
    I see that both of you are using compression. I messed around a little today, and using the compressor, there is no distortion what so ever. Even with the compressor on the lowest setting, it seems to activate the compression right before the preamp would begin to distort. So question - is compression necessary? Sorry that I seem so out of it, I've just never used a compressor before and I'm used to just running the gain as high as possible before distortion, then using the output gain to adjust the volume. With the BBE, it seems like I am doing the exact opposite. Is this normal for most preamps (that is, not being able to run the input gain very high)?
     
  5. CaptainWally

    CaptainWally Supporting Member

    Oct 21, 2000
    Sandy Eggo, CA
    Had the same issue --- the BBE-Max just puts out uber gain. Compensate by lowering the gain - the volume won't suffer.
     
  6. TxBass

    TxBass

    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    same here. this thing is just a very "hot" preamp, both in the bottom-end and gain. there is no loss of signal or volume and more than plenty to work with. kinda nice to not have everything cranked to "10" to get it to change the tone.
     
  7. White_Knight

    White_Knight

    Mar 19, 2000
    USA
    Thanks for the reassurance everyone - it's good to know that there isn't anything defective. I really do love the tone that comes out of this thing, so smooth and warm sounding - especially for it being totally solid state. Thanks again all. All the same, maybe I'll acquaint myself with the compressor a little more.
     
  8. Could you describe the tone more? I've heard nothing but really good things about the Bmax, and I am thinking of getting one. I know of a place that is selling them ridiculously cheap, if anyone wants to know what it is, email me and I will tell you.
     
  9. White_Knight

    White_Knight

    Mar 19, 2000
    USA
    Well, I'll try to describe it. Keep in mind that I play a fretless jazz bass with flatwounds through a 15" cabinent: nothing to hi-fi about all of that. Anyways, I would describe the BMax as very 'live' sounding. Think of it this way, say you have a nice set of studio monitors and everything sounds great on them, but they're monitors. They aren't subs. And though they are good, they also don't seem to really capture the essence of bass, ya know? Well, the BMax is like the overall sound of adding a sub to a set of studio monitors: very clean and clear, crisp if you want it, warm and pillowy if you don't. Most of all, gobs and gobs of deep, room-shaking bass.

    The closest thing that I can compare it to is an Ampeg but with more clarity - vintage sounding (warm, low) but at the same time it has the capability to add a bit of hi-fi (SWR comes to mind). Sorry, that's probably not too much help, but hopefully it gives you some sort of idea.
     
  10. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Thatis one of the best descriptions of the BMax I have read and I totally agree.