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GK or BBE pre for hard rock tone?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by silky smoove, Apr 18, 2005.

  1. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Okay, so I've pretty much got my preamp choices down to two competitors:

    1. BBE Bmax (likely the SS, but I'm open minded to the T)
    2. Gallien-Krueger 2001RBP

    The type of tone I'm looking for can be illustrated here:
    Listen to the songs "As You Walk Away" and "Broken" (this is my band by the way). As you can hear on the recordings I'm a very "no-frills" type of player, and I primarily use a pick.

    Which of the two preamps do you think will do the job better?
  2. Joe P

    Joe P

    Jul 15, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    An obvious question is "what did the studio engineer use to make the recording?"

  3. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Actually, those were all me :D

    The problem with what I used to get those recordings was that it constituted having two 5-space rack cases (compressors, EQ's, BBE Sonic Maximizer, Sansamp and an old preamp that has since died on me) and a separate head (SWR 8004 T/O/P).

    I'm trying to create a similar (doesn't have to be exact, nor will it be) tone, specifically to what I had on the "As You Walk Away" recording. I've tried a few pre's here and there and these two seem to offer a reasonably close representation. The GK for its core tone, and the BBE for its external "stuff" (compression, sonic maximizer). I'm leaning towards just going with the GK and getting an external compressor, although that would require an extra rack space that I don't have, so that cost has to be weighed into the equation as well.
  4. I think that if you intend to use the BBE process you would want to get the Bmax to avoid the extra cost of an outboard Sonic Maximizer.
  5. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    That's one of the reasons the Bmax is still in the running. I would very much like to minimize my gear as much as possible, but my concern is that the Bmax preamps will sound to clean to achieve the grit I had on those recordings. Does anyone have any thought in that regard?
  6. The Bmax would be an excellent preamp for you needs.
  7. I've only had my Bmax for a couple of weeks and haven't gigged with it yet. From what I know about it so far it would not be possible to get a gritty tone without help. It does have a nice parametric mid and it responds well to effects. I have used my homemade (DOD 250) distortion pedal in front of it with excellent results.
  8. afroman


    Aug 31, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I had the BBE BMAX and it was a great preamp. Very clean and fast responding. But if you want a gritty or overdriven sound I second the opinion that you would need and external pedal or effect. The compressor and sonic max in the BBE are great. And altough I havent tried the GK I would think that its a lot better, with more features.

    I hope this helped...
  9. troll


    Aug 31, 2000
    Chicago area
    I went from a scom plus, to a maxcom in my rig, and picked up a lot of unneeded hiss from my tweets, and it wasn't as transparent on the compression side. Even with it bypassed it was still noisy. Makes me less likely to give their preamp a chance, even though for awhile it was in the running for me, to replace my svp-bsp.

    I've been running without compressor all together and I'm almost digging it more, although a lot of my chords and pops are lost in the mix of a full band :(


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