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Having a hard time choosing a rack preamp..

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MascisMan, Mar 6, 2004.


  1. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Guys help me out here. From research I have done I have narrowed it down to these 3:

    Avalon U5
    Ampeg SVP-Pro
    BBE Max

    I know these are all completely different preamps in their own rite. Unfortunately I dont have access locally to test drive these preamps before purchase so I have to go on good advice and the store having a good return policy.

    I play in a Alt/Country/Rock band. Hard drummer, pianist, single guitar player (Gibson LP, Fat Telecaster through sometimes Marshall JCM 800, sometimes Sunn Model T w/4x12), and two singers. We mix it up with plenty of clean and distorted tones and also have a variety of slower and more upbeat songs. One common theme is that we are LOUD! Think Pete Yorn/Neil Young/Queens of the Stone Age/Dinosaur Jr. and that kind of summarizes what we do.

    The preamp would be going through a QSC 1850HD and into a Ampeg SVT-410HLN with the possibility of a 2x12 or 1x15 being added in the future. The guitar is a Fender Jazz with a BAII bridge and soon to have DiMarzio Model J's.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Im thinking I am leaning towards the BBE because it has such a great clean tone and I can always add some overdrive in the chain in the future via pedal. Plus it seems pretty versatile with the added compressor and sonic maximizer.

    I think the SVP will not be able to clean up completely like I want it to.

    The Avalon I am completely unsure of but it looks good on paper and sounds good on basstasters.
     
  3. If you like to know that your amp will work distortion free every time, (personally, randomy isn't good enough) and won't buzz, stay away from the SVP.
     
  4. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    The more I read about the BBE the more I am leaning towards it. Tons of great reviews. Tons of versatility. Quiet operation, great customer service, etc.

    So maybe now I am down to the Avalon U5 and the BBE Bmax. Anyone tried both of these in person?
     
  5. AndroWal

    AndroWal

    Sep 28, 2003
    Ojai, CA
    I have tried the U5 for recording...really clean and hi fi. Haven't tried the BBE. I use an Eden WT800 into an Epifani 410UL...love the combination, but the reason I state this is that Epifani has a new preamp you might want to check. Their cabs are so good, I am thinking of checking the Preamp also.
     
  6. TxBass

    TxBass

    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    I've been using the Bmax SS version now for three months. At first it was almost too clean for me---if that makes sense. I wanted some overdrive so I just added some effects and a decent chorus and that has fixed my "issues". I like the sonic maximizer and the compressor on it is nice as well. You will have zero problem getting tons of bottom end with it. I have the bass dialed way back and it's still so full.

    so...I guess after three months I would say that I am very satisfied with it after having spent enough time playing with it to adjust to my needs.

    best of luck with your quest! :cool:
     
  7. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Hey TXBass what effect did you add to get your overdrive?
     
  8. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    I have a feeling the Epifani preamp is going to be mucho dinero! :(
     
  9. lbanks

    lbanks

    Jul 17, 2003
    Ennui, IN USA
    Yep, can't add anything to that. Good summation....
     
  10. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Heres an interesting question...

    Can the BMax-t clean up closely to a regular BMax? I know the BMax-t has the single tube for more warmness but how does it clean up? Maybe the BMax-t would be better for me if it can do a little bit of both?
     
  11. vanselus

    vanselus

    Sep 20, 2000
    Boulder, CO
    None
    Out of your list, I'd go for BMax. It's got TONS of booty. I'd skip the tube version - it's very loose comparitively, and for your band, I think you'll dig the quickness of the regular Bmax.

    The Avalon is an amazing box, but the flexibility isn't there (and it's not designed to be). For recording, I haven't found anything better.

    Let me know if you have any specific questions I can answer. I hope you find exactly what works for you!
     
  12. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    I have a Demeter HBP-1 that is pretty incredible, IMO. Also the Avalon stuff is good.
     
  13. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Hey Vanselus great site! www.vanselus.com

    I see that "out of my list" you would choose the BBE BMax.

    Just curious since you have obviously tried tons of different preamps and combinations (basstasters), what would you recommend overall? Given I cant afford Aguilar.
     
  14. TxBass

    TxBass

    Jul 3, 2002
    Frisco, Texas
    Sansamp BDDI...that combined with the Bmax is a perfect combination for the stuff I do. And I've been using the heck out of my DOD FX62 Chorus lately.
    Again...good luck with your continued quest! :bassist:
     
  15. While I haven't tried the Avalon or BBE, I do own the SVP-PRO. From my experience with other Avalon gear, I would expect the U5 to be very clean and transparent sounding, but not terribly flexible. As for the BBE preamp, I've found most BBE gear to be initially impressive sounding, but the BBE process somewhat unnatural.

    The SVP-PRO can be quite clean if you back off on the DRIVE control and keep the input gain down. It's probably the warmest and "most-tubey" sounding of the bunch. I find mine a little bit looser than my Eden, but still great for more organic tones. The SVP-PRO can also add some nice tube growl if you crank up the DRIVE. Although others have complained about noise, mine seems to be reasonably quiet.

    I should add, that for Rock tones, the Ampeg is definitely my choice.
     
  16. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    Chicago
    If you buy a U5 to try it out...be careful where you get it. Most big chain stores have Avalon gear in their recording department. Both GC and Sam Ash have recently adopted very different return policies from their instrument amp departments.

    GC charges a 10 or 15% restocking fee and Sam Ash will only give you store credit, where if you bought a bass amp at either store, you can return it for a full refund.
     
  17. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I am a former BBE user. Get the BMax, it is great.

    -Mike
     
  18. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Hey MJ5150 just wondering, why you changed from the BBE and what you are using now?
     
  19. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Lacey, WA
    I got rid of my rack system in a major downsizing move. My band situation did not call for a power/pre set-up so I got rid of it.

    I now use an Eden Metro.

    -Mike