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Thinking of getting a BBE BMAX-T.. advice?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by JayX, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. JayX


    May 17, 2006
    Cardiff, UK
    Hi guys, I'm upgrading my rig from a Hartke HA3000 head over to a pre/power setup for the first time, and have been offered the BBE Bmax-T and from reading as much as I can it seems a pretty great option, and have only seen positive things about it. Alas, in the UK in my town there's not much in the way of music stores so I can't really try before I buy in most cases so have tended to blind bought my gear based on opinions and brand-trust etc, so thats what I'm kinda going on here.

    Currently before my amp stage I'm running the MXR M-80 which whilst I used the distortion channel I particularly love for its clean boost, its fantastic and makes my rig sound so much meatier. I also have an Alesis Nanocompressor going into this. Lookin at the Bmax I'm hoping its compression stage is going to be good enough to sell the nano (afterall the nano has more buttons as its designed for different instruments etc, so a more purpose orientated option should be as good in my mind) and the same with the M-80 and the BBEs "sonic maximiser" that they seem pretty proud of.

    I mainly play hardcore (think punk/metal tones if you're not that familiar) and I've heard the tone is really clear and that was from a review of the transistor version, so hoping for nice warmth from the valves and the ability to have a nice broad range of tones with the controls.

    So for those who know their gear better than me, does it sound like I'm doing the right thing? I'm hoping the sale of my head, compressor and m80 will cover the price of my pre/poweramp and give me a better rig with more flexibility.
  2. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    You should fill out your profile.

    I don't know if going with the new stuff will sound any better. I personally have not tried any of the equipment you mentioned except for the Hartke HA3500, which is a pretty good amp. I have only heard good things about the MXR M-80 too.
  3. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    I have a BBE non-tube BMAX. It was pretty tricky to get the hang of the EQ, but it can deliver a very clean boost. The compressor is OK, but not my taste for anything other than very light compression. It backs off in a funny way (YMMV).

    I think my BMAX is good for slapping, does well for a smooth clean Hi-Fi kind of finger-style sound, and is very flexible. The BMAX-T and the BMAX were both reviewed a couple of years ago by one of the Bass Magazines (I forget which one). The main comments were that the BMAX-T was warmer (duh) and that they both were good, very "quick" (especially the non-tube model), and could be too bright if not handled correctly (don't use the BRIGHT switch and turn the tweeter volume down). :p

    I am keeping mine, but also just added an ART tube channel preamp (a discontinued model). I like it better than the BMAX, so far. The compressor reminds me of the old Tech21 Bass Compactor without the noise--I get good punch AND as much sustain as I want without the weird soft-dip quality of the BMAX. :cool:

    I expect to acquire a couple more pre's before thinning the herd. I need to use each one quite a bit to see if it fits with my power amp, cabs, basses, and styles of playing. :bassist:

    BTW, Compressors are a whole other topic...check out Bongomania's useful compressor reviews and the compressor megathread. There are links in his signature. :D
  4. JayX


    May 17, 2006
    Cardiff, UK
    Cheers for the replies guys, I've beefed the profile out a lil bit now but most of it isn't applicable to me (the idea of me teaching someone would have me jailed.)

    The HA3500 is an entirely different beast to the 3000, if you google the two model numbers its surprising how many things are different. I'm sure the guts inside are fairly comparable tho.. the hartkes are generally pretty nice, and considering it was a blind and most likely rushed buy, its not one I was disappointed in.

    The MXR is cracking, it adds an incredible amount to the sound.. but I'm hoping the Sonic Maximiser part of the BBE will do such a similar thing that I won't need the MXR anymore. Hopefully I can survive and have the MXR still when the BBE comes in and I can mess about and make an informed decision. I'm pretty happy to sell the compressor anyway as a basic one onboard is pretty much all I need, so I'm not too worried about that element.

    I managed to get the soundcard on the PC I was using last night working, so I managed to hear the samples on basstasters, and I'm liking the tone of the maxT as much or more than pretty much anything else in range which is a good sign. I prefer it to the s/state which I know some people aren't so thats lucked in! I've told the guy selling it I'm happy to go for it based on that, so fingers crossed!

    Thanks for the post guys, Jim I know I might be just about to think I'm making the last big purchase for ages now.. but I know how easy it is into slipping into the need to change, so I totally feel where you are! Thanks for your personal opinion on the pre, also helps me with the confidence!
  5. I have the BMax-T and like it very much. If you are using an active bass through it, you will have a bit of trouble as the preamp has a lot of gain (so you won't be able to turn it up much). There are "fixes" for this.
    If you're using a passive bass it will work better for you.
    I found it very clean and clear with a big sound, and the tube does add fullness. The built-in compressor works well and the variable mid control can really change the EQ a lot. I don't use the BBE maximizer circuit much, but it can help in a low volume situation.
    Also, the T version has the better Jensen DI (which does sound very good IMO).
    I would suggest this preamp to anyone. :D
  6. spideyjg


    Mar 19, 2006
    San Diego
    Depends what you do with your mids IMHO. The BMax EQ is boost only treble and bass, cut only overall mid, and a parametric mid that can be boosted or cut.

    It works for me because I like essentially a flat setting which I can get good enough with and like to boost a certain mid depending on the need. The EQ in it works for me but if you like an overall mid boost you will not like it.

  7. Jim Carr

    Jim Carr Dr. Jim Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2006
    Denton, TX or Kailua, HI
    fEARful Kool-Aid dispensing liberal academic card-carrying union member Musicians Local 72-147
    +1 good advice.
    I also agree with an earlier poster that not having an EQ defeat switch is a short-coming. My Art Tube Channel has one and it is always in use. Still, I like my (not tube) BMAX, and don't mind having gone through a lot of tweaking to discover what is stated by Jim above in the quote.

    I predict you will like it! :hyper:
  8. JayX


    May 17, 2006
    Cardiff, UK
    Again, thanks for the advice and comments.. its nice to read from someone who didn't get on with it. The Ergo is a-typical of a bass of its pricepoint with regards to output.. active circuits on passive pickups, so will see how it handles it. Personally, I cut my mids anyway, so the EQ from my point of view makes sense, and I'm looking forward to taking it one step at a time (ie get a tone I like with just the EQ, then add the Mid Parametric (i think this is similar to the intensity control I have on the hartke, just within a more specific range) , then add compression, then add the sonic maximiser. As was put well.. if I don't get on with it, I'm sure I can make my money back and go for something else instead. Fingers crossed I like it tho, as I'm selling most of my gear for it! (Can't afford xmas otherwise!)


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