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Tubesteader Beekeeper. Any thoughts?

Valves-R-Us

Member
Messages
245
That sounds like a great combo. Spotted someone placing a Snouse Black Box behind the BK for a preferred sound. I was thinking that the BK should be last in line before reverb/delay. The digital BB, in this case, should go in front of the Beekeeper which may 'smooth' out some digital artifacts when the BB is kicked on? Maybe it's not audible either way but seems sending digi-junk to a tube input would be a good thing not the other way?

Having a couple tube devices changes the theory so you could boost after the Bee retaining tube goodness throughout. Nice!
 

sutherland

Member
Messages
3,243
That sounds like a great combo. Spotted someone placing a Snouse Black Box behind the BK for a preferred sound. I was thinking that the BK should be last in line before reverb/delay. The digital BB, in this case, should go in front of the Beekeeper which may 'smooth' out some digital artifacts when the BB is kicked on? Maybe it's not audible either way but seems sending digi-junk to a tube input would be a good thing not the other way?

Having a couple tube devices changes the theory so you could boost after the Bee retaining tube goodness throughout. Nice!
Yup. I am running my BK last in line before Reverb.

Only real challenge with running two 12V valve pedals is powering them. Going with the CIOCKs Eventide Power Mini, which has 4 isolated outs, 2 of which have variable outputs that can be set to run at the following:
- 9V @ 660
- 12V @ 500
- 15V @ 400
- 18V @ 330

12V @ 500 meets both the Beekeeper and Effectrode's power requirements. The last pedal is a Neunaber Immerse. Should be a fantastic Nano board.
 

Tabor

Member
Messages
3,405
Maybe it's not audible either way but seems sending digi-junk to a tube input would be a good thing not the other way?
do you mean digital reverbs and that sort of thing?

I guess my approach is to think of the Beekeeper like it’s a preamp section of an amplifier. Now, I like a slightly distorted tube amp but I don’t like running my reverb, delay, looper, modulation or whatever else ahead of a dirty amp and I don’t have an FX loop on my amp(s) to enable me to put those effects after the low gain distortion from the preamp tube.

So the Beekeeper makes it possible to take a nice low gain tube-preamp sound and put it in front of my time/mod pedals and run all that into mostly clean amps.

As far as stacking with other analog (solid state) dirt pedals I do prefer the BK after the solid state drive so it again acts as the front end of an amp being pushed by a JFET pedal which maybe adds a bit of its own grit. This is where I use the String Theory KE/64 or Fairfield Barbershop.
 
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Valves-R-Us

Member
Messages
245
Right, I made a non-sense statement as the Black Box I referenced sending a 'Digi-Junk' signal would be an analog signal not a processed signal like a Boss OD-200. What I called 'digital' artifacts would be more correct saying - analog artifacts. Something generated with my Wampler BB sounds synthetic in the 'very high' spectrum. Some call it sizzle where it can seem close to fizz i.e. white noise. Thinking tubes may take the spikes out of that waveform and smooth it out a tad?

I see my setup exactly like Tabor's chain where lacking an effects loop may seem like a work around. No actually, there is nothing to work around if you setup the FOA devices properly. Less cabling can be a bonus.
 
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sutherland

Member
Messages
3,243
Right, I made a non-sense statement as the Black Box I referenced sending a 'Digi-Junk' signal would be an analog signal not a processed signal like a Boss OD-200. What I called 'digital' artifacts would be more correct saying - analog artifacts. Something generated with my Wampler BB sounds synthetic in the 'very high' spectrum. Some call it sizzle where it can seem close to fizz i.e. white noise. Thinking tubes may take the spikes out of that waveform and smooth it out a tad?

I see my setup exactly like Tabor's chain where lacking an effects loop may seem like a work around. No actually, there is nothing to work around if you setup the FOA devices properly. Less cabling can be a bonus.
I think I am following. The Beekeeper should be more forgiving when it comes to signal input. The tubes are going to compress more than a traditional overdrive pedal and the High control can trim out any 'sizzle'.

Although the Fire Bottle is a 'valve' booster, a 30db signal is still a strong input signal. As a test, I dimed the Fire Bottle and maxed out the tone and sent it straight into the Clean channel of the Beekeeper. All that resulted in was a very beautiful, singing overdrive. No strange artifacts. No fizz. No odd 'sheen' (what I typically hear with some overdrive pedals that have active baxandall EQs / eg: Xotic).

The Beekeeper is a true valve preamp.
 
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Valves-R-Us

Member
Messages
245
The new Beekeeper shipped today and... wow! The first few moments of testing may end your tone quest at last. It's dead silent and what it does to your audio path could best be described as what we think the BBE Sonic Maximizer is supposed to do. It adds depth, clarity, allowing fine EQ tuning and absolutely maximizes your sound. Everything you read in this thread is true, these may be a Dumble contender indeed?

I found it well made with a light alloy enclosure that appears powder coated. It doesn't get past slightly warm in operation. I think the tubes thrive well venting to air not buried inside a box. There is a power-on delay where it takes few seconds before any LED activity. The JJ's have their lovely heater glow visible. This was the needed pre-amp I was looking for and back to... wow.

I'm very glad I read posts discussing the goodness to be had here where it not only exceeded my expectations, it makes me wonder why it's not getting huge demand? Well, with a one week waiting time and four days to ship USPS, it's sorta boutique pain? Kidding, great Emails from Tubesteader when it ships and when arrived. If you're waiting to 'get a deal' on Reverb, forget it. Nobody's selling 'em - Because they're that good.

I switched the factory knobs to cream for a vintage thing. It looks like a Chocolate Sundae. Yum!

Capture.JPG
 

Valves-R-Us

Member
Messages
245
Love these celebratory settings and that one has some mid-scooped grind to it!

I found testing very revealing. You first setup the amp clean as normal. Then, turn on the pedal's clean side blending EQ and pedal volume to taste keeping unity. Now, switch back to the amp only. I could not adjust the EQ settings on the amp to even touch what the pedal is doing when enabled. What does all that mean? Means it is a true always-on pedal. 'Cause when I turn it off things become a bit sucky.

I like the second channel's OD crunch as darker and clips differently from my other gain box making for a great crunch contrast. The other favorite is a Bluesbreaker box in front of the clean channel. Sooooo goooood.

I confess I only have three pedals on my board. (a 12" board can limit ones choices here) So it goes Pantheon > Beekeeper > Keeley delay/verb > Amp. Okay, that's technically four pedals but one is a combo. That's it, all done, and that would be all I need. (Hmmm?)

You often see up here the guy that replies with a one word recommendation like - 'Klon'. Then they often follow it with -'you can thank me later'. I think I may have turned into that guy! It will take restraint to not suggest 'Beekeeper' and, yes, even add the thank me later line! This thing is so good you become a minister of tubeyness.

Beekeeper - You Can Thank Me Later (kinda makes no sense but gonna run with it)
 

dshobe

Rocky Mountain Way
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,406
The new Beekeeper shipped today and... wow! The first few moments of testing may end your tone quest at last. It's dead silent and what it does to your audio path could best be described as what we think the BBE Sonic Maximizer is supposed to do. It adds depth, clarity, allowing fine EQ tuning and absolutely maximizes your sound. Everything you read in this thread is true, these may be a Dumble contender indeed?

I found it well made with a light alloy enclosure that appears powder coated. It doesn't get past slightly warm in operation. I think the tubes thrive well venting to air not buried inside a box. There is a power-on delay where it takes few seconds before any LED activity. The JJ's have their lovely heater glow visible. This was the needed pre-amp I was looking for and back to... wow.

I'm very glad I read posts discussing the goodness to be had here where it not only exceeded my expectations, it makes me wonder why it's not getting huge demand? Well, with a one week waiting time and four days to ship USPS, it's sorta boutique pain? Kidding, great Emails from Tubesteader when it ships and when arrived. If you're waiting to 'get a deal' on Reverb, forget it. Nobody's selling 'em - Because they're that good.

I switched the factory knobs to cream for a vintage thing. It looks like a Chocolate Sundae. Yum!

View attachment 286280
Love the look. Gonna have to copy you!
 

sutherland

Member
Messages
3,243
I confess I only have three pedals on my board. (a 12" board can limit ones choices here) So it goes Pantheon > Beekeeper > Keeley delay/verb > Amp. Okay, that's technically four pedals but one is a combo. That's it, all done, and that would be all I need. (Hmmm?)
I only have three on my board as well:
- Effectrode Fire Bottle
- Tubesteader Beekeeper
- Neunaber Immerse MKII (I always use reverbs and rarely use delays...but the Immerse has an echo that is good for the rare times I do)

The Beekeeper is surprisingly versatile. I keep thinking that I need one more drive, but the truth is, the Beekeeper covers a lot of bases:
  • multiple shades of clean (Fender, Dumble, Mesa)
  • low gain and high gain Dumble and Mesa Mark tones
Paired with a great boost in front, and you get a fantastic multi-channel setup.
 

Valves-R-Us

Member
Messages
245
Great tone examples where 'surprisingly versatile' hits the mark.

The Beekeeper should not be thought of as a dedicated, two-channel pedal where you control the channels precisely and individually. The pedal's second 'channel' uses shared, cascading gain where you may have to manipulate settings before switching OD in or out? One example would be rolling the CLN vol down a tad before switching over to OD or it will have too much gain. That of course means you roll it back up after deselecting OD. I see the Bee as a one channel pedal with an OD/Boost feature. That's how it's represented not a channel switching preamp.

I pretty much select favorite tones without any knob drama. The clean Bee channel is always on for 'correction' and the improved clean sound. Primary dirt comes from the Bluesbreaker when kicked in. The OD channel is preset to make a nice Dumble-ish breakup on demand. Three tones are all on tap and footswitch selectable. Not exactly channel switching, but works dandy fine with my massive three pedal array. The Bee replaced a J. Rockett 'The Dude'. The Dude has a very similar 'soft' clipping and warm crunch but sounded compressed and veiled compared to the Bee in OD. There is indeed a common 'D' tone thing happening with the two pedals. The Bee just does it so much better - Bye Dude.

None of the Beekeeper videos I reviewed sound much like it. The recordings seemed valid, the players were legit, not exactly poor sounding, but like so many demos they don't capture the true sound. A Snouse representative was posting up here about a Blackbox comparison where he described the videos as no more than a 'cooking show'. Thinking he was right.
 
Messages
717
Great thread!

Been thinking about a tube preamp pedal for a while, came close to getting a Blackbird more than once, but always held back at the last moment. Might have had something to do with the price, and maybe it’s more than I need, anyway.

After reading this thread, I caved and ordered one, based on the posts I’d been reading.

Hoping to use it to give a more tube-amp like response to my fuzzes and other dirt into my solid-state Yamaha THR100HD with the stock 2x12 cab. I DO have some nice tube amps, but I have been using that Yammie a lot, recently. It’s a great amp, imo, and doesn’t need to peel the paint off the walls to sound really good. The only caveat is that it doesn’t like a few of my fuzz pedals.

If not, no real loss, as I will still be able to put it to good use with the ‘74 Bassman with a 12” EV oversized cab and Visual Sound Stallion 212 in my main set-up.

Thanks, everyone!
 

Puneet Wagh

Member
Messages
335
So glad to have more people on the thread. I've been having the Beekeeper as my always on since I got it (along with my Cali76). It brings a lot more dimension to my vibrolux when I can't turn it up at home and especially shines with my strymon Iridium - making it feel much more like an amp.

I tend to boost it with my (KTR) and then have my Snouse Blackbox right at the end because I use the bright and deep switches a lot depending on the kind of tone I'm going for. Seriously though, just the OD side with some reverb and delay is pretty much the perfect lead tone.

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Valves-R-Us

Member
Messages
245
Seems my initial review needs a couple updates.

(1) I mentioned the LED delay when powering up the pedal. They flash on after a couple seconds when applying power. I thought it was the pedal's internal power-up action. Nope. It was a function of the provided 650mA, 12V supply. I switched over to a 1A Yamaha unit that brings up the LEDS instantly on power-up.

(2) Reading the below Quote from Tubesteader, I thought it made sense to stack the gain stages with knob interaction being expected. What I didn't know was this is exactly what the Dumble Overdrive Special does. Watched a YouTube where they demonstrate the same slightly fiddly actions by stacking the ____. Is that channels? Gain stages? Cascading triodes? Whatever they are, it works dandy fine with the Beekeeper.

"The topology of the Beekeeper consists of the two cascading channels, “stacked” on top of each other. So the “CLN” channel is also a part of the “OD” channel. And the amount of the overdrive can be managed not only using the OD control but also through effective use of the CLN_VOL control."
 

olly_blan

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
9
(1) I mentioned the LED delay when powering up the pedal. They flash on after a couple seconds when applying power. I thought it was the pedal's internal power-up action. Nope. It was a function of the provided 650mA, 12V supply. I switched over to a 1A Yamaha unit that brings up the LEDS instantly on power-up.
Just a quick tip - regardless of the LEDs, please allow for about 1 minute warm-up time before playing when powering on the Beekeeper from the cold state. This will help to prolong the lifespan of the tubes.
Once the tubes are warm, the Bypass footswitch will act the same way as the Bypass switch in the tube amp, so the pedal can be played right away after pressing the switch.
 

Valves-R-Us

Member
Messages
245
...please allow for about 1 minute warm-up time before playing when powering on the Beekeeper from the cold state.
Note: the above quote was a lame attempt to catch Olly with my cunning idea.

The thought was discovered from practical use. Using the Clean always-on is a nice setup even when switching OD in for a little more break-up. But a third favorite sound can be dialed turning down CLN and bumping up OD where it likes to sing. I use and like all three. Solution? Two pedals. One as currently setup and the second pre-dialed for OD+CLN. Cunning 'eh? Okay, no but here it is...

> There may BEE a market for a CLN only, single tube (with EQ) in a reasonable sized format? Like the Prince of Tone is half of the King. That baby would be a fine tool to build other setups not needing the OD feature. Perhaps 'Son of a Beekeeper' or SOB as it would appropriately be coined? The Paige is a big hit so could the little Bee, be a contender?
 

dshobe

Rocky Mountain Way
Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,406
Note: the above quote was a lame attempt to catch Olly with my cunning idea.

The thought was discovered from practical use. Using the Clean always-on is a nice setup even when switching OD in for a little more break-up. But a third favorite sound can be dialed turning down CLN and bumping up OD where it likes to sing. I use and like all three. Solution? Two pedals. One as currently setup and the second pre-dialed for OD+CLN. Cunning 'eh? Okay, no but here it is...

> There may BEE a market for a CLN only, single tube (with EQ) in a reasonable sized format? Like the Prince of Tone is half of the King. That baby would be a fine tool to build other setups not needing the OD feature. Perhaps 'Son of a Beekeeper' or SOB as it would appropriately be coined? The Paige is a big hit so could the little Bee, be a contender?
Excellent idea!
 




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