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Rating and Reviews: BBE BMax Bass Preamp

Replicating the sound of classic tube preamps, the BMAX lets you craft the perfect tones for recording or DI with its finely-tuned EQ and Dynamic controls.

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"Simply Outstanding!" submitted September 3, 2014

By Bobby H in Phoenix, Vegas, Nashville, AZ
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Musical Background: Professional
Music Style: New Country, Rock, Jazz, Pop.
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Overall: Let me just say first,... I have been playing professionally for 25 years or so and have owned nearly every boutique bass amp and preamp under the sun. That includes Alembic F1-X, Glockenklang, Trace Elliot, EBS, Demeter, GK, Hughes & Kettner, Ampeg,Kern etc, etc. I play, Status Graphite basses, Wal, Spector, Fodera, Sadowsky's and Carvin Vanquish basses (Fretless & fretted). Why this beauty slipped past me is baffling? I later learned that BBE is a small family company and doesn't have all the slick marketing dollars to flood the music scene. Turns out the gentleman that designed this pre for BBE designed it after the luscious Alembic F1-X for the blooming bottom end and full 'Middle' tone. The top end was designed around a Glockenklang Soul-O bass preamp. (Two of the industry favs at ANY price). Win, win! So, already being a fan of the smooth, buttery single knob compression from the EBS Fafner bass head,.. I was intrigued to see this method of compression applied here. And yes, it works as it should. set it about 1:00 and leave it. Done! Now the details... also already a big fan of the BBE time aligning technology, this extra feature adds that 3 dimensional sparkle. And low thickness. Imagine a blanket being lifted off of your favorite speaker cabinet! Just to clarify, This preamp is NOT a pre that 'Overdrives' your tone. (Billy Sheehan would have not much use for it)! Lol! But!... Think, Leland sklar, Jimmy Johnson, Marcus, Mark King, Geddy Lee during the Presto, Power Windows, Vail Johnson, era... etc. With military grade circuit boards and pots used throughout this baby is built SOLID! Pots are thick and creamy. I tour extensively,... Front of house engineers at The MGM, Treasure Island, Toby Keith's, the Tropicana ALL have commented on this pristine bass preamp! Complements of the 'studio grade' Direct Out. (Keep in mind 'FLAT' setting is approx Bass @ 2 MID @ 10 and Treble @ 2) Use sparingly : ) All of this boutique, WITHOUT the boutique price! Amazing. Just Buy It! : ) Bobby in Phoenix, Vegas & Nashville.
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"Very Good Product It Just Takes A Little Patients" submitted July 27, 2006

By a customer from yahoo.com
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Musical Background: Amature rcok musician & Sound Engieneer
Music Style: Christian Rock, Classic Rock, 80's Alternative
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Sound: Good Solid State Tone. I would say it's somewhat Hi-Fi in it's tone character. It does color your tone some so it's not a clean Hi-Fi like a G & K sound is but it's not as gritty old scholl like a SS or Tube Ampeg or Ashdown. Sort of in between. I prefer this preamp with my active basses I play active Fender Jazz basses as well as a MM Stingray 5. Works great with those. I don't have my tone dialed in as well with my passive Fender Jazz basses. I'm just having to experiment more with the EQ on the passives Jazz. Still sounds good but I'm not quite there yet. I am using this Bmax with a QSC 1450 power amp and Avatar B210 Delta & B212 Delta cabinets or with an Ampeg SVT 410 HE 4 ohm cabinet. Works well with everything. Feature: This preamp has a built in compressor that works quite well. I have heard people complaining about it but I have not had any noise issues. I have heard some people say that in the recording studio you might detect some slight buzzing. For live playing it's not a problem. I run my chorus Boss CEB-3 Chourus pedal, TU-2 Tuner, NS-2 noise suppressor' and ODB-3 Distotion pedal through the effects loop. I like a little tube simulation and run My Sansamp BDDI direct into the instrument input. Everything works great and the loop is nice and quiet. I like the Sonic Maximizer thats built in as well. I have always liked that product for PA racks and it really does a nice job of cleaning up the signal. Makes the lows very clear cleans up any muddy sound and makes the mids clear and punchy. Put together very well. Nice solid knobs and a 1/4" aluminum front plate. Very nice Ease of Use: This preamp took some time to get used to. The Bass & Treble are boost and the Mid control is cut only. Then there is the Para-Mid knob. I'm raised on Ampeg so lots of knobs get me confused. It's hard to find an actual flat setting. the manual says it's "reasonably flat" at Bass 2 Treble 2 & Mid 10. It's sounds flat...I guess, but you just have to play around with it to find "your" tone. I'm still experimenting after two months with my passive basses but my actives are sounding great through the Bmax. Quality: Built very solid, looks very nice, I like the red knobs. they look "classy", not "cheesey" like the red knobs on a Trace Elliot (good product just ugly knobs). Came out of the box cosmeticly perfect and everything works good. No issues with build quality at all. I heard some Bmax came out with a gain circuit that was too hot at the instrument input. It is a bit hot but I seem to have got one that is ok. I use mostly active 4 & 5 string Fender & Musicman basses and have had no problems with the input clipping my amp. I gig with a back up Peavey MAX head but I really don't see this thing going down on me. It's a good quality product and my other BBE products have always been reliable so I expect it to last. Value: It's worth the money. It's actually on the low end of the bass preamp scale in terms of price because it's solid state but it's a very good quality product. Manufacturer Support: Can't really say since I have never had to deal with them on any of the BBE products that I own. I guess I'll give them a nine for not making me have to call them. The Wow Factor: I have to admit that the looks of thing got my attention. It's looks like a an expensive piece of gear and those knobs are cool. I tried it out based on the looks alone. After playing it I reliazed it could sound really good to. When I went to the pre/power set up instead of the head it's the first preamp I thought of. Overall: I expect to run this BBE unit for a long time. The only thing that may change for me is the fact that I like tubes and may go the tube route instaed of SS. I will audition the BmaxT for that and see how it compares to a SVP Pro. If it was lost or stolen I would (actually State Farm) would buy another Bmax. It's a good product and I'm happy with it.
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"BBE Bass Preamp" submitted May 3, 2012

By Mike Alvarez in Moscow, ID
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Musical Background: 30 years playing guitar and bass. Amateur recording.
Music Style: Rock, Blues.
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Overall: This is the first time I have used a rack mount bass preamp. I have used many guitar preamps in the past so I figured I'd give this one a shot. Easy to use. Adjustment are minimal but effective. Sound is good and clear. The added maximizer is nice as I have a separate unit for guitar. Well constructed. BBE makes quality equipment and the sound quality is top notch.
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BBE BMax Bass Preamp Customer Review submitted June 13, 2011

By a customer from aol.com
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Sound
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Musical Background: Bassist/vocalist w/over 40+ years exp.
Music Style: classic-rock,psychedelic-rock,Southern-rock
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Sound: From the time I got my BBE B-Max,I realized that,aside from my new Crown "XLS 1000" power amp,this preamp was one of the BEST essential additions I could've ever made to my bass rig!!!...for the money,this dedicated bass preamp opened up a LOT of "tonal vistas" that I'd never before had! From the start,the BBE preamp was very simple to hook-up to my power amp,was easy to install,and,for the past 7-8 years I've had it,not ONE problem of ANY kind occurred!!!...the owner's manual was easy to go by, well-written,and left very few questions,if any,to ask...I've owned BBE products before,and,like all of the others,was built like a tank!-the front controls are easy to use from the git-go,and provided way more tonal choices than any other product of it's kind! After tweaking with the wide array of settings,it was more "consumer-friendly" than any other brand of preamp I've ever used! But the BEST thing it's got going is the value for the bucks!!!-VERY well priced for the awesome tonal variety this excellent piece of gear allows!-it's probably the BEST,most essential piece of gear in my rack!!!-way to go,BBE!!! Feature: For me,at least,this preamp not only has BBE's patented "sonic maximizer",but is one of the BEST values in it's price class!!!-I couldn't imagine using ANY other brand-PERIOD!!! Ease of Use: Far and away,the absolute BEST dedicated bass preamp for the price!... Dependable,reliable,and rugged!!!-that about says it ALL!!! Overall: After over 7 to 8 years of rugged "road use",it'll be in my rack damn near FOREVER!!!!-I've not had ONE problem of ANY kind,and reliable as sunup and sundown!!!!!!
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"I like it, high learning curve though." submitted September 22, 2011

By a customer from gmail.com
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Musical Background: Proffesional
Music Style: Jazz, rock, funk
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Sound: I haven't really been able to play with it much. The input is very sensitive and the eq mid dosnt really growl like I am used to. I have received compliments about the sound when I use the sonic maximizer, and the sound man loves the the direct out. Feature: I wish the eq was more standard, and the compressor had a bit more control. Ease of Use: I give it a 4 because it is not plug n play, maybe when I get the tone dialed in better I will give it a better review. Quality: So far seems very sturdy, but it's still new. Value: Yeah it's good, still new. Manufacturer Support: Don't know yet, hopefully never will. Overall: We'll see.....
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"Poor performer" submitted February 18, 2005

By a customer from you.com
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Musical Background: active musician
Music Style: Contemporary Christian, Swing/Jazz
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Sound: HArd to get a good tone. Clips easily even with passive pickups. The compressor introduces noise and oesn't provide compression that I need. I have dropped back to a dbx unit. Feature: good feature set, if it worked well. Quality: It hasn't "broke" Manufacturer Support: I called and emailed support about issues with the performance of this unit. I never recieved a call or email back. Overall: I am looking now and wish I could return the unit.
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