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PostPosted: Fri, Oct 12, 2018 1:50am 
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I've had both of these amps for a while now. They were both made in 2018. With the JBE switch on my JJ, there is still less gain than my BE. There S and Sat switches together put the gain over the top. The Voice switch seems to add a bit of gain too. With all these options on and the gain set around 3:00, it's more than my JJ maxed out. People keep saying the JJ has more gain, but that must not be the case because I have both right here and have compared them for a while. If the JJ is supposed to have more gain and someone who owns both can compare them, I would like to know because that would mean that my JJ has less gain for whatever reason.


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PostPosted: Fri, Oct 12, 2018 9:46am 
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In the Rack Systems forum I believe Dave at one point confirmed that the JJ has less gain. I think it has one less gain stage than the HBE, and is basically the BE with the Sat switch. More important than the gain stages though is the tight and aggressive voicing and character of the JJ and JBE channel in particular.


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PostPosted: Fri, Oct 12, 2018 12:08pm 
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does it matter on year of the BE? just wondering...if the 2018 has more gain than the jj or if all years do?


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PostPosted: Fri, Oct 12, 2018 12:25pm 
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jeff5 wrote:
In the Rack Systems forum I believe Dave at one point confirmed that the JJ has less gain. I think it has one less gain stage than the HBE, and is basically the BE with the Sat switch. More important than the gain stages though is the tight and aggressive voicing and character of the JJ and JBE channel in particular.


Here an update on my situation: I asked Dave about this about a year ago and he said the JJ has more gain than the BE and SS. This has been bothering me, and I know that Dave would not say something that is not accurate, so I went to Guitar Center where they have two new BE-100s and played them. I used the identical Fender ash HSS strat that I have at home to rule out pickups. I have the same Friedman cab.

I got back home and played my BE and it was indeed more gainy than the the others. Another thing I noticed is it's noisier. It only makes a little noise and hiss when the gain switches are on and the gain between 3:00 to max. The other BE's are as quiet as my JJ. This made me think check the tubes, so I opened it up and it's all stock. I bought it new from Sweetwater so the tubes shouldn't have been changed anyway.

There is nothing wrong with my BE. It functions perfectly and always has. Amp electronics are largely beyond my skill level, but I took a careful look at the board just to see if there was a component that looks like it might have been resoldered, but every little solder joint appears to be very clean (shows the high quality of Friedman amps!). You could say it's a mild difference in gain saturation but you can definitely tell without any guesswork. The BE is a fairly high gain amp in my opinion, so this would be like having a JHS Morning Glory or RC Booster at a very low setting.

I swapped the BE tubes with the JJ tubes. For the extra tube, I used a spare Sino preamp tube that's just standard medium gain/low noise. Tested both my BE and JJ again and nothing changed. At this point, I'm pretty sure I've ruled everything out. I used the same pickups, cables, speakers, swapped the tubes, etc. Nothing anywhere can I tell can account for the difference. I know that there are very slight deviances in components when they're manufactured, so could it just be that however the amp came together somehow created the right recipe for a higher gain BE?

Don't get me wrong because I am thrilled that I seem to have been gifted with a saturated BE-100, but scratching my head here trying to figure out why. Lately, I was trying to sell or trade it and keep the JJ, but it might be a good idea to keep this if it is unique. However, I do not want to get ahead of myself so please tell me what might account for this?


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PostPosted: Fri, Oct 12, 2018 8:11pm 
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My understanding is that, aside from voicing tweaks, the gain structure of the "BE channel" on both amps is the same - 3 gain stages + cathode follower.
On the JJ, the "JBE channel" adds diode clipping to the 3 gain stages + cathode follower.
On the BE100, the "HBE channel" adds a 4th 12ax7 gain stage, with diode clipping also available via the Sat switch.
So the BE100 does in fact have more gain / saturation available vs the JJ.

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PostPosted: Fri, Oct 12, 2018 10:17pm 
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fusedbrain wrote:
My understanding is that, aside from voicing tweaks, the gain structure of the "BE channel" on both amps is the same - 3 gain stages + cathode follower.
On the JJ, the "JBE channel" adds diode clipping to the 3 gain stages + cathode follower.
On the BE100, the "HBE channel" adds a 4th 12ax7 gain stage, with diode clipping also available via the Sat switch.
So the BE100 does in fact have more gain / saturation available vs the JJ.


Thanks for explaining that. It seems to make sense. Yes, the other BE's did seem to have more gain than my JJ. I think my BE is a little gainer those those still, so I'd still like to figure that out. I think I'm going to take my BE down to Guitar Center tomorrow and let those guys compare it without saying anything and see what they say.


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