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Need advice... BBE BMAX or Sansamp RBI

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by MKGBasses, Aug 4, 2004.


  1. I'm looking to get an inexpensive preamp and I came down to either of those two, but I'd like to hear some other opinions and which one you'd rather have an why. I'm not partial to either of the two right now.

    Thanks
     
  2. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Hear soundclips at www.basstasters.com

    Thats' what made my mind up. I got the BMax...played through it on Sunday and man o man!!!! I really don't see any need to get anything else.
     
  3. ster

    ster

    Oct 18, 2003
    New Jersey
    Only you could decide. Try both of them. You will notice after playing around with the RBI that not only can you shape the tone traditionally, you can get some nasty effects also.You can blend in the tube emulation or turn it off completely. The RBI is extremely versatile with its array of connections.
    The Bmax is more straight forward. You are not going to get any overdrive or anything resembling the Presence on the RBI, but this could be a good thing if you are not into the effects.It also has a semi-parametric eq for the mids, the Sonic Maximizer and a cool "soft knee" compresser.
    I would also give the Sansamp RPM a look. It is similar to the RBI but replaces the Presence with a mid shift and offers a different voicing. IMHO the Bmax and the RBI are both great for what they do.
    Maybe you could order both from Musiciansfriend or American Musical Supply, choose one to keep and send the other back.
     
  4. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    USA
    ...I know that dissing the BBE Max is tantamount to heresy around these parts, but as far as I'm concerned:

    The King Has No Clothes

    There. I said it. I consider this preamp to be pure poo. It hisses like a cobra and I couldn't get a decent tone out of it with a Sterling. The RBI had better tone, IMHO, but just as much hiss.

    I'd buy a used Ampeg tube preamp of some sort for the same price. Fuzzbass has a quiet SVP-PRO with five brand new tubes in it for around $300. I'd buy that, thank God for the secondary market, and never. look. back.
     
  5. MascisMan

    MascisMan

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    or do a search...its been covered a hundred times... ;)
     
  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
    All electronics generate noise, but excessive hiss is often a symptom of having one's gain structure out of whack.
     
  7. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    USA
    ...and cheaper electronics generate MORE noise.

    I've been using am Ampeg SVP-CL with NOS tubes. A killer pre--vintage SVT tone, no noise ANYTHING like the Max.
     
  8. 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
    How do other BMax and RBI users avoid the noise, then?
     
  9. Dr. PhunkyPants

    Dr. PhunkyPants Guest

    Aug 11, 2002
    USA
    I'm not sure they do. I think I may be more sensitive to it than others.

    Do a search, you'll see that there is a modest constituency of TB'ers for whom one unit or the other is too hissy at all settings.

    I realize the price is right on some of these units. However, for the money, I'd still buy Fuzzbass's SVP-Pro and get real tubes, versus real op-amps (or whatever IC is in those units).
     
  10. I have a BBE bmax. I think it sounds great but i havent played the other one you are asking about. I dont have any problem getting good ound out of it.. Not to menchion it has tons of bottom end to it.. The sonic maximizer is also very cool sounding. Just my input one th BBE..
     
  11. 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
    It seems to me that reducing hiss from a BMax or RBI really isn't all that difficult if you set up the gain at each step properly. That's probably why it seldom arises as a problem. If you have a really high-gain power amp set wide open, and the input gain on the preamp set very low, you will have a less-than-optimal signal-to-noise ratio with any preamp.
     
  12. Transverz

    Transverz believer of the Low End Theory

    May 3, 2004
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hmm... could this be the reason?

    Last night we were recording (drums, bass, rhythm guitar at once) and noticed hiss/noise in the track. Of course I'm quick to go to the overdriven, high-gain guitar. But nope, not the noise we were hearing. Checked the condensors on the drum overheads, snare, kick, toms...nothing.

    Then we checked my direct-lined in amp. I thought, "direct line to mixer? no way!" and we listened, and there it was.

    Maybe it's because to play more clean, I set the gain only to 1/4 of the way, and turned up the line level volume to almost max? Master was at 1/3. If the lack of gain is the source of hiss/noise, then how can I turn up the gain (and get better signal to noise ratio) but still play clean? EQ'ing comes to mind, but I didn't want to mess with what sounded good. More of a recorded problem because it sounded great coming through my cab.

    :eyebrow:

    -T
     
  13. 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
    Perhaps. Try increasing the gain at the input and turn down the line out and master to compensate. Try different settings until you find something that makes good use of your headroom and keeps the signal strength adequately above the noise floor. That's what knobs are for! ;)
     
  14. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    I have the BMax SS and a QSC 2450...no hiss...none...nada. However...I was picking up some sort of TVZ station the other night at practice. Any ideas Bob????
     
  15. ster

    ster

    Oct 18, 2003
    New Jersey
    No hiss here either. I had hiss on my Bmax when I first got it, but not any more. I have no idea why it stopped, maybe a break-in period? I couldn't coax hiss out of my RBI if my life depended on it! IMHO, these are both high quality units, the only reason they are as inexpensive as they are, is because they don't have any tubes which are more expensive.
     
  16. 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
    A TVZ station? Is that a TV station plus a typo? ;)

    Could it have been an AM station? That's the usual type of audible RF interference that happens in audio gear.
     
  17. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Yes that is a TV station with an added extra bonus typo! So an AM station? It was quite eerie to hear none the less. Reminded us of the movies Signs. Where the aliens could be heard over the baby monitor.
     
  18. 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
    If there's a TV on close by, like in an adjacent room, it's possible for the pickups in your bass to pick up enough stray magnetic field from the speakers to be audible in your own amp, especially if you have things really cranked. In one of my recent bands we often used a particular rehearsal studio, and when we really got going after a while with our amps cranked up more and more, in between songs we could hear faint voices and music coming from my speaker cabinet. It was my bass picking up the PAs in the other rehearsal rooms. When I turned down the volume knobs on the bass, the sound went away, and it would also change in intensity depending on what direction I oriented the bass in.

    Picking up an AM station is a different mechanism. AM signals are low enough in frequency to get past some RF protection schemes in audio circuitry, and because the audio signal on is represented by modulating the carrier's amplitude, all it takes is a diode--a semiconductor that passes current more easily in one direction than the other--to make an AM signal into an audio signal. Sometimes just a little oxidation, on some contacts or in a cold solder joint, is enough to create such a diode, and if there's a lot of gain in the subsequent circuitry, it could result in getting a nearby radio station coming through the loudspeakers.
     
  19. Monkey

    Monkey Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2000
    Dayton, Ohio, USA
    When I first bought my Sansamp RBI, I was troubled by the amount of hiss. I emailed the company and they made some suggestions which got rid of the problem. I had the presence and drive controls set too high. I still get some hiss in some rooms if I crank up the presence, but I seldom have a need to do that. In fact, I usually use the RBI without the tube emulation circuitry kicked in (BLEND knob all the way off). I play fretless, and the tube emulation gives me too much of a mid-scoop. I like the clean tone of the RBI.
     
  20. And dat's a fact, Jack! If you've got a BMax or RBI that's "hissing like a cobra" it's either broken or there's user error involved.

    And judging by myself, not uncommon. Many musicians just don't have an intuitive feel for signal processing. It took me years before I figured out how to properly use all those knobs on my SWR 220. Fortunately for me it sounded pretty good with everything centered. :D