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Bought myself a used BBE 383 preamp...

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by rboyce, Oct 2, 2005.


  1. rboyce

    rboyce

    Oct 12, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Hey.

    For awhile I've been thinking about making the switch from a head to a preamp/poweramp rackmount rig. Well, I was able to buy a used BBE 383 preamp on eBay for $70 (plus $10 shipping). Thanks to the many informative threads on this board about BBE preamps old and new, I felt that I couldn't really go wrong at that price with the BBE 383 (assuming that it is in good working condition when it arrives).

    Anyway, now that I've got the preamp, I'm looking for some recommendations on a power amp. Temporarily, I'll be using either a Hafler P1500 or a Tubeworks Mosvalve MV-962, but I'll (obviously) be looking for a more suitable power amp. Any recommendations for power amps in the used marketplace that I should keep an eye open for? Right now, the only cabinet that I'll be running through is an 8 ohm Peavey 410TX, and I doubt that I'll ever run through more than 1 cabinet at a time. I also don't play that loud anymore - I think 250-300 watts at 8 ohms should be more than adequate for my needs. So, I'm more concerned with power ratings at 8 ohms rather than at 2 or 4 ohms. Also, I'm not looking to spend too much, either - under $250-$300 would be great. And the Peavey only has a 1/4" input, so I don't need a power amp with Speakon connectors.

    Any input/experiences would be appreciated (including suggested settings for the 383).

    TIA,

    Ray
     
  2. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    That is a very good price for a solid preamp. That was my first preamp, and I used one pretty hard (2-4 gigs per week) for a number of years. My advice would be to keep the punch circuit in at all times, avoid the compressor at all times (or maybe set it up to only come on as a limiter), I think it had a seperate button for a limiter (if it does, leave it disengaged, as it is a tone hog). That preamp really benefitted from the BBE process, so I would use that most of the time. I think I set both the Process and Low Contour knobs around 11 o'clock. Then, just EQ to taste (and to fit the rest of your gear). I thought that the frequency points were well chosen, and that it was a pretty good EQ section (though a band or two of parametric would be nice).

    One thing to watch, the XLR DI out is very hot, so warn the sound guy ahead of time, or come up with some way to pad the output.

    Again, great score for the money!

    Tom.

     
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    Nice score Ray! Like Tom, the 383 was the first preamp I ever owned. It was inexpensive, sounded good, and easy to use. That took alot of the intimidation out as I started shopping for my first power/pre rig. You won't be disappointed with it.

    I paired up my BBE with a Crown XLS series power amp. They can easily be had within your price range, and will provide plenty of power for your Peavey 410. I powered an Eden 410 with mine. I never had any problems with it. I don't ever remember the fan coming on more than necessary, and it never ran hot.

    -Mike
     
  4. Another good power amp to look at for around 300 bucks is a QSC RMX 850. I used to use mine to power a GK Neo 112 ( I know, serious overkill, thats why it isnt used anymore). Those can be had for around 200 if you look used and theyre real workhorses. I dont know if theyre still having it, but when I got mine, you got a free 6 year warrenty with it. They also have some nce features, like your usual limiters and such, but they also have a high pass filter to keep extreme lows out of your system (this can be turned off). They dont have a 1/4" speaker jack, but the guys at procablesnsound.com will make you the cable you need for a very reasonable price and have it to you quickly. Theyre the only place I get my cables now. Good luck.

    Dave
     
  5. tombowlus

    tombowlus If it sounds good, it is good Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2003
    North central Ohio
    Editor-in-Chief, Bass Gear Magazine
    Heck, now that I am thinking about it, I am actually selling the very amp that I used with that 383 for most of the time I gigged with it... :D

    But, to add something other than a blatant hint, I would add that if you could find one in your price range, the Crest CA-series amps are tremendously good and can often be found for a reasonable price.

    Tom.
     
  6. Bob Lee (QSC)

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

    Jul 3, 2001
    Costa Mesa, Calif.
    Technical Communications Developer, QSC Audio
    I use a BBE 383 in my "A" rig. It is a very decent preamp, although, as as tombowlus suggested, the compressor could've been done a lot better. Also, the nature of the EQ circuitry is that when you adjust the knobs, you get a lot of change in boost or cut at around mid-rotation, and very little change in about the last quarter-turn before full clockwise or counterclockwise. That latter characteristic makes it a little difficult to do really subtle EQing. ;)

    But all in all, it's a very nice pre, and it's nice that it has an output section capable of providing full pro-type line level signals.
     
  7. rboyce

    rboyce

    Oct 12, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Thanks for all the informative replies, regarding both my new-to-me BBE 383 preamp as well as power amp recommendations. People on TB seem to really like the QSC and Crown stuff, so I'm gonna keep my eyes open for a used one.

    Of course, as I'm sitting here considering low-cost (but decent quality) power amps, I get an email from MusiciansFriend advertising a Nady XA-300 power amp for $99! 300 watts at 8 ohms bridged mono (which would be a perfect match for my cab). Does anyone have any experience with Nady power amps, especially this specific model? I know, made in China, but that's a ridiculous price.

    Also, is anyone familiar with any of the solid state Marshall power amps from the 80's? I've got a local lead on used Marshall 400 watt power amp for CHEAP money. I'm not sure of the model number, but I think it might be the Marshall 3540.

    TIA,

    ray
     
  8. rboyce

    rboyce

    Oct 12, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Me again.

    So, in my on-going quest to find an affordable and complimentary power amp for my newly acquired BBE 383 preamp, I stumbled upon a used Carver PM350 power amp at my local GC. They have reduced their asking price to $175. The problem is, they (of course) don't have any info/specs on the amp, and I didn't have enough time to have them remove it from their rack.

    So, does anyone out there have any experience with the Carver PM350? If so, could you tell me the input/output options, as well as power ratings/options? And if you've been relatively happy with its performance and reliability? I've already checked the Carver website for documentation, but I could not find anything for this specific amp.

    Thanks again,

    ray