Raven Labs PMB

Discussion in 'Amps, Mics & Pickups [DB]' started by Wil Davis, Feb 4, 2002.

  1. I received my Raven Labs PMB last week and had a chance to try it out at a gig last Saturday. Works really well with the K & K Bass Max / Golden Trinity combination. Much greater range of sounds available - not as small as the K & K amp, but much easier to adjust, and is much more flexible. I found that I could improve the sound by playing around with the phase switches (there's one per input). The unit is beautifully made (as is all of Steve Rabe's stuff!), and I understand that the good (All Hail) Bob Gollihur is about to stock them... (I got mine from Bass Northwest before I realised that Bob would be carrying them). They're not cheap, but they really do work, and they are so easy to use!!!

    - Wil

    (PS: I do not work for Steve Rabe, or Bass Northwest, nor am I in anyway associated with (All Hail) Bob Gollihur - I just want to pass on my experiences with what I think is a great product...)
  2. VicDamone


    Jun 25, 2000
    Did you shop for the best price?
  3. As far as I know, Bass Nothwest, were the only people carrying them at that time - I didn't really look around. Often, the "lowest price" carries with it a 2 or 3 month waiting list. I happened across this on the BNW site - recently I'd been thinking of how I could improve on tweaking the settings (difficult to do "on-the-fly" with the K & K box) and this seemed a good solution. I gave them a call, and Chad said that they had them in stock, and would take it back if it didn't do what I wanted it to.

    - Wil
  4. Nuno A.

    Nuno A. Velvet Strings Customer Service

    Jul 9, 2001
    HEY WIL.....
    I'M UNDECIDED .....LABS OR K&K????

    NUNO A.
  5. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I got mine a couple of weeks ago and am really enjoying it so far. A lot more headroom than the K&K preamp, and a ton more features. It does seem to have a distinctive color on the low end, but it's a very pleasing color. I tried it with a low pass filter, and it sounds amazingly clear, really lets the upper register sing with a very warm tone that still cuts. Very nice unit.
  6. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Yes, I stock them, and sell them separately or in combination with K&K stuff. http://www.urbbob.com/raven.html
  7. B String

    B String Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    I would agree. The ravenlabs
    blender is like a swiss army knife
    type of preamp. Very high quality.
    Very usable. I know a few guys who
    go from the blender to the effects return
    on their Gk 150's and 200mb's. Works
    great. Its a nice piece.
  8. Joe Smithberger

    Joe Smithberger Supporting Member

    Mar 8, 2002
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Will the PMB mount on a rack shelf in a single space or is it too tall? Any ideas how it would work in an SKB Roto? Would it be impossible to reach the back panel?

    I am using an old Yamaha PB-1 preamp for electric bass and a Tech 21 ADI for my double bass. If I could fit the PMB in the single-space used by the Yamaha, I could use the same gear for everything and just carry my little 2-space rack with the PMB and my Stewart power amp. It would also save a bunch of messing around when doubling.
  9. Bob Gollihur

    Bob Gollihur GollihurMusic.com

    Mar 22, 2000
    New Joisey Shore
    Big Cheese Emeritus: Gollihur Music
    Size: 6.7" W x 2.26" H x 6" D.

    The 2.26 height makes it too tall for a single 1.75 inch rack space; I doubt the SKB would have an extra 1/2" play above the rail, but you could check.

    The PMB is a nice box.
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    It's definitely too tall. But I plan to buy a slightly oversized (depthwise) rack for my iamp800, and just keep the PMB1 plugged in in the back of the rack. Before the gig, I'll just stick it on top of the rack with dual lock (steroidal velcro) and then stash it back in the back when the gig is over. I don't know why they don't just make a one-space rack unit, but they don't.
  11. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    A word of warning to PMB-1 owners: when the batteries go on one of those suckers, your amp will make a sound that can make your blood freeze! Last night on the gig I got what sounded like a sine wave feedback loop sound while warming up and doing soundcheck. Of course I assumed that my iamp800 (the most expensive piece of gear with me) was frying at first, then eventually narrowed it down to the batteries on the Raven Labs unit. Turns out that with the PMB-1, the preamp can be "on" even if nothing is plugged into it, which must be what happened during the 3 days between the last gig and this one.
  12. Been there, done that (got the earplugs...) - I should have warned you about that in the earlier postings - it's one of the few disadvantages of the Raven Labs PMB (frightened the living daylights out of me the first time it happened!) Nowadays I mostly use the "wall-wart" power-supply which came with my PMB.

    - Wil
  13. Like others here, I love this unit. Like Wil, I always stick to the wall-wart power for mine, clumsy though it is. Right now, I run mine into an older Contra, or into house mix. works great, with a variety of mic/pickup combinations.

    But I sure wish Euphonic audio would combine the same Ins and Outs selection and the same dual channel functionality of the PMB into their amp line.

    The Acoustic Image ClarusII comes close. Chris, wondering what considerations led you to choose a Raven PMB/EA iamp800 combo over a ClarusII? Power only? Or did you get to the iamp800 first, then add the PMB later when you wanted to add two channel capabililty?
  14. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    To be honest, I got the iamp800 on a hunch based on how I felt about EA speaker cabs. And yes, a lot of that was based on power. Every amp I've ever had has sounded good up to the point where you run out of headroom, and I've long had the feeling that the term "headroom" applies twice to any amplifier: Once to the preamp section, and once to the poweramp section. I was happy with the sound of my K&K preamp, but it doesn't have a great deal of headroom. Combined with the Clarus, that meant great sound at low volumes but lack of headroom on both ends of the chain...and the only way to make up for that was to carry an extra speaker cabinet to change the load to 4 ohms and move more air.

    I got the PMB before the iamp, and noticed a considerable amount of added headroom, but still not enough for some situations without the added speaker. Hence, the desire for more power, and more transparency of sound for DB (transparency is the first thing to go when headroom is maxed). The iamp is the cleanest amp I've ever heard for DB.
  15. thanks Chris, sensible analysis.

    Now, if EA would just do a version of the iamp800 adding a second channel for mics to the preamp section, with independent tone shaping controls, both 1/4" and balanced input plug formats, and a decent phantom power supply built-in,

    hmmmm. . . that might just be THE box for double bassists
  16. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I had kind of quit using my PMB-1 for space/weight considerations until I got my new bass with the Fishman Full Circle on it. The PMB seems a good match for the FC, so I've been using it this week.

    Here's a question that I don't think has come up before: What's the difference between the input impedences on the two different channels of the PMB? Please don't just post numbers, as this technologically challenged person needs them interpreted as well! Specifically, I played a gig last night which involved some funk-type playing at high volume. The FC didn't feed back, but it was too "open" sounding (too "mic like") for that type of playing. When I used the Double Bass Max from K&K, the sound was not as natural as the FC, but the DBM retained its character into any volume level, and this was great for "forceful" high volume playing. Could I use the PMB to blend or switch between these two pickups on this particular gig, or would the input impedences allow only one pickup or the other to plug into an optimal input? (hope that made sense...)