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BMax and Sansamp RBI simple question...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by johnm0187, Dec 18, 2004.

  1. I did a search, and I found a lot of stuff about both these units I did before, but I'm still timed between them. The problem with this search is no one ever actually said what each was good for. So that's my question. I play alternative Dave Matthews type stuff with my band. I also play funk, jazz, and stuff like Pink Floyd. So what is each of these preamps good for, and which one would fit my styles.

  2. I myself use a Bmax, and have found it gives you a nice mellow tone, good thump, that sorta thing. I havn't tried a Sansamp RBI before, so I couldn't tell you how they compare, but some people around here says it gives a good overdrive metal tone.
  3. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    Either preamp is good for any type of music. That's a good thing. :)

    Here's how I'd look at the comparison. If you want versatile equalization (and/or the BBE enhancer effect), then the BBE is the better choice. If you're looking for tube emulation, and perhaps some overdrive and mild distortion, then the RBI will be for you. Note that overdrive/distortion is optional on the RBI: it can be run clean.

    FWIW I prefer the RBI because of the SansAmp tube emulation (I use it gently).
  4. I want a clean sound that is smooth and has a nice full low end, but which of these pre amps fit that best?
  5. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    It sounds to me like the BMax would be a better choice for you. Yes, either can run clean, but if you want "clean sound that is smooth and has a nice full low end" I think the BMax would be the better choice for you.

    That said, I have found the SansAmp to have a pretty sweet clean sound, and you can have a "Fat Tube" sound which I really like for a warm but not "overdriven" sound, and you can go all the way to the "SVT" overdriven sound.

    Guess I wasn't much help......
  6. The RBI sounds so good. I'm still discovering new settings a year later. There is some real nice tone hiding in there.
  7. As a BMax owner, I can say that it does "a clean sound that is smooth and has a nice full low end" very well. And it has a useful compressor and a nice sweepable mid control.

    That said, I nearly always use my SansAmp Bass Driver DI (basically a stompbox version of the RBI) in front of the BMax, because I love the tubey warmth it adds.

    So I guess my answer is, get both. ;)
  8. Chef

    Chef Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    May 23, 2004
    Columbia MO
    Staff Reviewer; Bass Gear Magazine
    You may find the samples of these at www.basstasters.com helpful. I did.

    While helpful and informative, neither of the samples represent the full range of tonal capabilites that can be supplied by either. But that's kinda obvious I guess. I went with the bmax personally...
  9. I've got a BMax and "mellow" isn't a word I'd use to describe it. I suppose it can be if you EQ it that way, but it's quite capable of sounding very aggressive (in a growly, Gallien-Krueger amp with the boost turned up sort of way). The preamp's lows are tight and well-defined, and the semi-parametric mid section is the greatest feature ever and I'll never own another amp without it.
  10. maxvalentino

    maxvalentino Endorsing Artist Godin Guitars/ Thomastik-Infeld

    Now here is an ironic twist....
    I just got a new BMax last week, and I in fact traded a RBI for it! So, I do have some recent experience with both.

    I got the RBI simply because I was having success running a SABDDI in front of my Raven Labs preamp, and thought the RBI might actually work better for my needs...and I felt it good to have another pre lying about ;-)

    Well, I was quite underwhelmed with the RBI. I know a lot of folks 'round here both rave about and have great success using the RBI; this just go to show "one man's meat is another man's poison" (perhaps that is a rather bad analogy...)

    I did not care for the clean tone of the RBI, tho I could see where it would work in many situations (just not mine). The OD is quite good, and if I were doing more rock gigs it would be a good choice as a preamp. It does a nice faux-svt and bassman kind of grind, but I simply could not get past the inherent mid scoop which is built into the circuitry....as well as the somewhat heavy "compressed" tone which occurs with the mix over 50%.

    Nevertheless, it does excel at what it does. And if I were playing a lot of heavier-type gigs I would have held onto this. But, the things I liked about the RBI, I was able to get using the SABDDI. The versatilty was not there for me. The OD sounds and faux svt emulation was quite good, but the clean tone left a bit to be desired (at least to my ears).

    The BMax I find quite the opposite. A wealth of usable tones; from very clean and modern to very round warm and, yes, "tube-y". No it does not do the OD thingy, but you can, as I do at times, run a SABDDI or other dist/OD in front of the BMax and have a wonderful time. Doing this, although, I have found robs the BMax of its' unique input voicing which is very tube like and reminds me quite a bit of my old Alembic Preamp....and quite a bit like a Glockenklang tube preamp I had the pleasure of playing thru recently.
    It has a thick, round tone with gobs of headroom and a very tube-like response...only quicker. The EQ is very versatile (much moreso than the eq on the RBI) and the Sonic Maximizer is a nice addition to add some sheen 'n sparkle. Like the Alembic pre, it features a 5k "bright" switch, which is like an instant transition from "vintage" to "modern" tone.
    I get a fantastic slap sound and a very punchy and tight fingerstyle tone from this pre.
    Like you, I play a lot of varied styles; a lot of R&B and funk as well as jazz, country and some rock stuff. I find this pre to be very versatile and fits well in all styles.

    I have not recorded with it yet..but have some work coming up after the holiday...perhaps this means I leave my Avalon vt737 at home for sessions....

    Now, of course, this is all quite subjective. These are my findings and your mileage may vary. Nevertheless, I have quite a few diiferent mic and inst preamps for different purposes, and I really like this one. It eve works great with piezo pickups (which can be a tricky feat for any pre..)

  11. Looks like I'm going for the BMax. Thanks everyone.
  12. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    This is also what I thought about the RBI I had for a couple of weeks. Great overdrive sound but difficult to get a nice clean sound that cuts through. I found that GK stuff gets me more the sound I'm looking for.
  13. Fuzzbass

    Fuzzbass P5 with overdrive Gold Supporting Member

    I agree that the full SansAmp sound can be mid-scooped and lack cut, but I avoid that by keeping Blend under 50%.
  14. andrewd


    Sep 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    i really dig my BMax. if i want to slap or use a pick, i generally flip on the bright switch and the parametric midrange frequency knob all the way to the right. if i just want it to thump, i do the opposite.

    it sounds good with my ampeg 410