BBE BMAX-T Groove Tube Bass Guitar Preamp with Full-Featured Sonic Maximizer
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- Full Function 4th Generation BBE Sonic Maximizer processor
- All tube Class A front-end with interactive 3-band EQ and interactive “bright” switch
- Hand-selected premium quality Groove Tubes 12AX7
- Jensen transformer balanced DI output
- Quasi-parametric mid-range EQ with 12db of boost or cut between 250 to 1000hz
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Bassists seeking the ultimate in electric bass preamplification will rejoice in the arrival of the BMAX-T. No other bass preamp on the market can approach the total quality, feature set and incredible tone of the BMAX-T. The BMAX-T is a high quality tube bass preamp/processor with applications both in the recording studio and on the road in demanding live applications. At the heart of the BMAX-T is a class A, DC regulated tube preamp section which follows in the tradition of the classic tube preamp designs of the 50’s and 60’s. The BMAX-T features a high voltage (300V) tube front end with hand-picked Groove Tubes 12AX7 tube, providing all of the pre-amp gain and passive interactive tone control. The high-end DI section is transformer-balanced with a genuine Jensen transformer for the ultimate in warmth and presence. 1% metal film resistors, military-spec PC board and custom-made toroidal power transformer complete the no-compromise design of the BMAX-T. While no expense was spared in the engineering and internal componentry, the packaging of the BMAX-T received the utmost attention to detail. From the 1/4” thick extruded front panel to thoughfully designed ergonomics to the red-abalone-topped knobs, the fit and finish of the BMAX-T exudes quality craftsmanship. Applications • The BMAX-T is perfect anywhere an extremely high-quality, pristine preamplifier is required for the bass guitar • In the recording studio where a bass amplifier is impractical due to space or loudness considerations • In performance applications, where players will find the BMAX-T ergonomics intuitive and easy to use
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I have used a BMAX-T for the last 5 years. It has been my go to preamp for live performance and I have been quite happy with it. However, it has some quirks that should be addresed before you choose this unit for a preamp/power amp rack set up.
1. The BMAX-T and the Solid State BMAX use a passive tone stack. So straight up ( middle / 12 o'clock or however you define a center setting) on the EQ is not "flat". This confuses a lot of people who are used to active tone stacks. This has given the unit a bad rap. The Bass and Treble setting are boost only and the Mid is cut only. Know that going in. BBE talks about this in the manual you get with the unit. Setting the EQ at 2 (bass) 10 (mids) 2 (treble) at a starting point will get you the relatively "flat" sound. At that point the semi-parametric mid control will take over your control over the mids. Once I got the hang of this units EQ I fell in love with the full warm tone this thing produces.
2. Older units can have some issues at the input stage that puts too hot of a signal through the unit. They had a tendency to overdrive the input stage on the power amp causing the distortion and scratchy sounds that have been described. BBE will fix this free of charge but I don't think this has been an issue for years.
3. On the Bmax-T (tube version) The D.I. out is a High Quality transformer less Jensen. It's dead quiet and is an excellent recording D.I. I think BBE had this thing unit in mind for studio recording over live performance but none the less the D.I. is excellent for live use but... There is not seperate level control for it. The D.I. is directly controlled by the master volume pot which can be a problem for some people. I personally don't use it live I use a Sansamp BDDI
In my effects chain unless the sound guy complains and then I use a Radial J-48. The BMAX D.I. will work but you may end up running more stage volume then desireable.
4. The unit is a tube driven preamp but it's not a high overdrive type of tone. Cranking up the drive does not produce a distortion type of tone. It doesn't do a grimdy type of of OD like an Ampeg, Mesa or even a Sansamp. If you are looking for that type of tone this is not the unit. This unit gets warmer with a slight fuzzy overdrive when pegged but it's not going to cut it for Metal.
5. The built in compressor is nice but it's a "soft knee" type. It's not going to clamp down or hard. I use it all the time but prior to this unit I didn't use compressors much in my rig.
6. The Sonic Maximizer... This is something I have drank the Kool-aid on. I like them. Some people hate them. Not much to say here. I use it sparingly depending on the.room. however just like the compressor, you can turn it off and completely by pass its circuit. Nothing has brought more arguments on what it does and if it's useful the BBE Sonic Maximizer. You will have to form your own opinion.
I'll close this by saying the BMAX-T is a well built high quality unit and will last for a long time If used for what it was designed for. Set the EQ correctly and it will deliver beautiful warm tone and run reliably for years. I like mine and I have not felt a need to make a change over the last several years. Used in combination with my Sansamp there is nothing I can't cover.