BY DAVID ABDO
By definition, “streamlining” refers to the process of making something simpler or more efficient. And this certainly
appears to be the direction behind the new
Streamliner amps, a series of class-D bass
amps from Jeff Genzler and his team at
Genz Benz. While other amplifiers in the
Genz Benz line offer tone-tweaking options
like FET and tube preamps, active parametric equalization, and global signal-shaping
circuitry, the Streamliner holds true to its
name with a simple, user-friendly control
configuration and an all-tube, class-A preamp section.
The Streamliner 900 has a very different look
than its class-D cousins in the Genz Benz
Shuttle series. The chassis is aesthetically pleasing, with extruded aluminum sides that convey
a sense of durability. The knobs feel substantial,
and their smooth rotation contrasts with the
finer movements of Shuttle pots.
What makes the Streamliner so unique
lurks within its clean, well-designed interior.
Removing the top plate reveals a six-stage, all-tube preamp with three 12AX7 tubes—one
for Gain, one for the Bass and Treble controls, and one for the active Mid EQ. Genz
Benz also integrated its proprietary Heat
Abatement Technology, which effectively—
and just as importantly, silently—cools the
unit during operation. Another unique feature is the Streamliner’s 3 Dimensional Power
Management (3DPM) technology—a limiter
that compresses lower frequencies while leaving upper mids and highs untouched. This
creates a feel similar to tube compression
while protecting the class-D power amp.
The Streamliner’s front panel is simple and
straightforward. The 1MW input matches
well with high-impedance pickups—
whether they’re in a passive electric bass or a
pickup-equipped upright. Next to the input
and conveniently placed Mute switch, the
preamp section has a Gain switch for over-
driven tones. Used in conjunction with the
Gain and Volume knobs, it enables you to
achieve a variety of tones—from clean tube
warmth to a nasty snarl.
Warm-Up/Pro-tect (red), and