Yamaha PB-1 versus BBE B Max

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Bass Viking, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. I have a Yamaha PB-1 preamp that sounds great and has served me well. I'm thinking of buying the B max as I've heard alot of good things about it. Is it a big step up soundwise?
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    counting the seconds till brad shows up. :p
  3. morebass!

    morebass! I'm listening Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I have a PB-1 and bought a BMax (and returned it). To my ear the Bmax was slower and very scooped in comparison. I prefer more mids and a tighter response but if you're into a scooped slap sound the BMax might be better
  4. I had both. Years ago I had the PB-1 (when there were few choices for bass preamps) back then I loved it, sounded great, built-in crossover, parametric eq, effects loop, headphone jack. Back around 1985 I think I paid about 300 new. The only reason I sold it was I stopped playing for a while.

    The Bmax also has bells & whistles (maximizer, compressor) but differing from most people on TB I wasn't thrilled with the compressor & had little need for the maximizer. I liked the sound of the Bmax but I think I liked the PB-1 tone more.

    Hmmm, I wonder when Yamaha is going to start searching these boards & realize they had a great product on their hands.
  5. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    Tha's a whole lotta seconds;)

    The BBE will sound different... if it's a "different" you like it'll be a step in some direction.

    I've checked out both BBE preamps and wasn't impressed with either. YMMV.

    I'm a big fan of the Yamaha but don't use seperates anymore.
  6. I've never heard a PB-1 but the SS BMax it's pretty well accepted that the BMax has really fast transient response. It reminds me a lot of Gallien-Krueger stuff in that regard. Did you try the BMax or the BMax-T?
  7. morebass!

    morebass! I'm listening Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    It was the BMax and it was definitely slow to my ear. I've had several GK heads (still have a 400RB) and like their sound better. To its credit the BMAX had a certain richness in the lows that was nice. To mimic that with the GK I'd have to have the contour on. Maybe all the processing (compressor and maximizer) made it sound slow to me. On the only gig I used it on I ended up with Mids on 10, bass and treble on about 2 and parametric boost somewhere in the mids. By myself or in the studio it sounded better - but such is the way with the scooped mid tone). Another thing that may be a plus or a minus was that I had to set the gain very low. Maybe good for a low output bass - both my basses are passive but relatively high-output as such. All in all the BMAX was not a good match for me but perhaps a good lower-cost alternative for someone who likes the fender/alembic/swr tone.
  8. sneaky pete

    sneaky pete

    Feb 10, 2002
    Yakima, WA
    I've played thru several BBE's and haven't been inpressed. Personally I don't subscribe to the hype of the BBE stuff, it did have it's place cleaning up recordings done on tape and a few other things though. I've been using a PB-1 for four years now and love it. For a while I used a bass POD PRO and really liked it but I didn't use the FX cuz they sucked. Really all I liked were the EDEN pre and tuner. The PB1 I have is realy beat to hell, there are a couple knobs busted off in the back and the para EQ is really noisy in the cut/boost but quiet when at 12:00. Basically it's a volume and 3 band eq.

    I've noticed the XLR and 1/4 outputs are very hot, does anyone with a PB1 have the same problem?

  9. morebass!

    morebass! I'm listening Supporting Member

    May 31, 2002
    Madison WI
    I don't know if it's the 1/4 output or just the whole unit itself but with my passive fenders I have to set the volume at less than 11:00. Usually I have it around 10:00 and my attenuators on my power amp are at 12:00 or less. Otherwise I'm clipping the poweramp.
  10. Doug Parent

    Doug Parent Supporting Member

    May 31, 2004
    San Diego, Ca.
    Dealer Nordstrand Pickups.
    PB-1 is a GREAT pre-amp.
  11. I have two PB-1 pres (one is in my large touring rack the other in a smaller rack for local gigs and sessions) and over the years have kept going back to them after trying different components. I came across this thread because I'm gigging tonight and was thinking about the venue and what I should bring. I've been trying a BBE B max recently and have had mixed feelings. The last time I played at this place I was having a hard time getting definition on stage w/ the BBE and since the BBE sounded too 'warm' for that room I immediately thought of pulling the yamaha out and using it tonight. I'm sure I'll be able to get what I need from it - IMO it's EQ is a bit more musical than the BBE.
    Side note; recently some studio techs in LA have been raving about the yamaha pm-1000 mixing boards from the 70s-early 80s and how fantastic the pres are - very close to a Neve sound. According to them, the old PB-1 should have very similar parts as the pm-1000 boards hmmmmm. I don't know for sure if that's accurate but both are built like tanks. It wouldn't surprise me in the least if A/B'd against current boutique pres that the PB-1 would rate very high. I haven't done any real testing but I've been a session bassist long enough to know a decent bass sound. (I hope!) The BBE is a very nice pre, but the compressor and maximizer, I dunno.. not my cup of tea, I guess. The PB-1 has a crisp, clean 'class-A' sound if that's what you like, and there a steal if you can find one in good shape. Just thought I'd chime in for an old and trustworthy piece of gear.
  12. I've had a PB-1 since they were new on the scene, and I've always loved it. I don't always use it since I use a Ampeg B2R for a lot of smaller gigs and my touring gig right now uses all in-ears, but I've been all over the world with that thing and it's been the cat's balls the whole time, very good piece of gear.
  13. KUMS


    Dec 27, 2005
    What amp do you use with the PB-1?
  14. If you're asking me I use a Hafler Pro5000 right now, and in the past I have used SCS amps as well....
  15. A9X


    Dec 27, 2003
    Sinny, Oztraya
    I use a Yamaha P7000S with mine.
  16. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    I used a Crown CE1000 with mine before I sold it... It was a great Pre, I just moved to a tube head.
  17. I don't know if you realize it or not, but these settings you
    describe are the settings in the owner's manual for "flat".
    Maybe with more time you'd have liked it.
    Oh well, I just thought it was interesting that to get a sound
    that you liked, you ended up with it set to "flat".
    Just my two cents worth.
  18. Dan Molina

    Dan Molina TalkBass Secular Progressive

    Jul 17, 2002
    Murr Town, California
    Most people say it has a scooped sound when they don't know the flat settings. That's that's when you use the other mid settings to compinsate.
  19. I love my PB-1. I have it, and an Alembic F-1X.. they have distinctly different personalities.

    The PB-1 is every bit the classic, quintessential bass preamp that the F-1X is, one solid state, one tube.

    Get a PB-1 in good shape, and you'll never be sorry you did- especially since they sell nowadays for about the same used prices as the BMaxs do.