2014 cheap gift to myself - MB500 vs Shuttle 6.2
I've had a really rough year.
Took a huge beating on a real estate deal and the new (6 month) commissioned sales job is not going as anticipated.
I have a 7-Pro and an SVT
Looking for small lightweight play toy; I've had an LMII (not enough personality) and a TH500 (plenty of personality but a little too much wool.
I just tried a Shuttle 9.2 and like the tone.
Amazingly there are brand new MB500's and Shutle 6.2's available with full factory warranty for $399 shipped. These are not seconds but just great deals.
No sense looking at the PF's as I have the Ampeg thing covered.
Will either of these pack the low end punch, authority, clarity, and warmth of either of my Ampegs?
Aside from tone, do either of these have the girth & power of the TH500?
Alternatively I have found 2 Shuttle 9.2's at $575 & shipping and MB800's for $549.
Is it worth the extra scratch for an amp I may not love?
And then there are the Fusions for consideration.
There are no MB's or Fusions in my hood to try out.
So the questions:
* Does the 6.2 and MB500 have the same, and enough quality power for a 2x12 with a rock band in a 75 seat room with no PA support?
* Can I assume that either of these sound warm and clean?
* Any advice greatly appreciated.
We don't all have the same notion of "cheap".
The GK MB500 will have the girth and power of the TH500, tone will definitely be different. The only shuttle I've played was the Shuttle 6 and it was OK. Didn't seem to have the power or tone of the GK.
A lot of it depends on what you mean by "girth", "power", "authority", "warmth" etc. They are all subjective terms.
I have owned a bunch of amps but have been running an MB500 exclusively for a few months. It easily has the volume through my Genz NX2 212 cab to fill even a 200 capacity venue, with a loud rock band, with no PA bass support.
So, volume-wise, it'll be there. As for tone, I find it a very, very clear and articulate clean amp (I don't like or use the "boost" function on it). It's not thick and "chewy" (as we're using subjective terms here !) but the clear top end can certainly be tamed using the treble knob. I find it will simply amplify the signal that's put in, with a decent range of EQ to adjust to your taste or to the room.
I have only played a SHuttle briefly in a shop but I believe it is in the same ballpark tonally as the MB series. From what I've read I think the MB500 will probably give you a tiny bit more sheer volume, although I suspect there's very little between them really.
Both are tonally nothing like a TH500 whatsoever, as they have a lot clearer and more extended top end (if you want it).
Do you mean a 9.2 or a 9.2 Max because the Max is a great head. It is like having 3 heads in one. I think the Shuttles are great heads.. I have no real experience with the GK heads so I can't do an honest comparison but the 6.2 is definitely a bit thicker sounding than the 6.0.
I'm curious about a comparison of the TH500 and the MB500 or 800, if anybody's got comments to offer.
Been happy with the TH500 for the past year. Just was thinking about picking up a backup head sometime, and the MB500 or 800 would be a possibility.
I had an MB500 and sold it. The bottom end was just too much for my liking. The Genz heads are great. I had the 6.0 and 12.0 and sold them b/c I couldn't get enough low end. But I have tried the 6.2 and 9.2 and those are really nice. The EQ points changed in the ".2" versions and there seems to be more bottom to the tone.
I've kind of dismissed the GK MB800 based on my experience with the MB500 but I was at a friend's house the other day and he has the MB800. I was surprised how good it sounded.
I would think the 6.2 would be loud enough with a fairly efficient cab. The 9.2 would just have MORE. :)
Well, I own the GB 6.2, and have owned the GK MB200, which, just about everyone I have talked to says the MB500 is just a louder version of the MB200, as is the MB800 just a louder version of the MB 500. I liked the MB200 as a rehearsal/headphone amp, but did'nt care for the live tone too much. It's definitely loud enough, but, and I'll probably get flamed for saying this, it still has that baked in GK tone, which I've tried to like, but just can't fall in love with. You can twiddle the knobs to death, but it still sounds like a GK, imho. Maybe the Fusion versions of these heads might give you some different tone options, but, I have tried many of the GK heads, new and old, and, although they definitely have the volume, I just can't get next to that " GK " tone.
The GB 6.2 I bought after hearing that this version was better than the 6.0. One thing about the GB heads in general, and I'm not the only one who has said this, is that they seem to be a little boastful as to volume. The TH500 was incredibly louder at 500 watts than the 6.2 is at 600. Now you can talk about gain stages, and how Master volumes have different tapers, etc.. but I also have tried many of the GB heads and noticed this myself : I was expecting alot more oomph from these heads than I got, as compared to other brands. Still, I think you get more tonal options with this head than you would with the MB500, and the " improved" low end in the 6.2 is better in some ways, but I was not totally blown away with the change. The low end seems to have more " girth " to the notes, but it still has sort of a wide, almost diffuse sound on my E string. Not something I can't live with, but I was hoping for more of a game changer with the 6.2.
At this point, if I were to buy another lightweight 500 to 800 watt amp, I would look into the GB Shuttle Max series, or perhaps the GK Fusion series. Having said that, if you want massive booty, and an overall, low mid, darker tone, the AG TH500 is the king. Just my two cents.
I have had the mb200, mb500 and mb800... and I think they sound great. Yes, the mb800 is just a louder version of its smaller brothers, but it does have a few other features that I like. I have not tried a TH500 but I do own the pedal version and personally I find the gk sound to be better, but tone is in the ear of the beholder I guess.
My experience with genz was with the max 6 and shuttle 6 I found both to have an over rated wattage spec and the lows were a little weak for me. Havent tried the newer ones.
Personally, I think you'd be happy with the mb500. Nice amp, not huge money. Though to be totally honest I am not thrilled with "aluminum" look of the mb amps.
In other threads, I posed some questions about the MB series, specifically:
1 Are the cabs as good as the heads?
2 Would an MB800 be a good match for two MBE210 cabs?
Answers I got were:
1 Those who own the cabs like them
2 GK heads are conservatively rated. The MB800 is too much power for two MBE210's. Go with the MB500.
So ... to repeat the OP's question: Is the MB500 good and loud? And beefy?.
Also Jim C, where are you seeing these heads for $399? I find the normal price to be $499, with an occasional NOS at $450, or so.
The mb500s are a solid 500w IMO/IME. I have owned quite a few micros (see my profile) and the mb500 compares very favorably in terms of volume... and tone.
Personally, I like the gk amps better than the cabs.
I sent you a PM in order to avoid flames.
There is an internet store on the GK recommended list that sells new MB amps for less than what they resell here in the classifieds. Brand new with a full warranty; no seconds.
Personally, I think a lot of the GK (and some GB) amps that are listed are directed at folks that don't know where to buy and are a hug rip off / then again, let the buyer beware.
Hey Tom, Vic, and Chef - Would love to hear your opinions as I'm sure you have direct experience and own (have owned) the amps in question.
BASSIST and Jim C,
Thank you both for your input. I've read on TB that some, perhaps many prefer GK heads with something other than GK cabs. I haven't heard what an ideal match for an MB500 is though, keeping in mind that that head does not go down to 2 ohms.
Seems like everybody so far is commenting on the GK and not the GB ( except me ), other than to say that the GB heads seem to be a little over hyped when it comes to volume. I really wish I could fall in love with the GK stuff, but just can't quite dig it. Can the Fusion heads give you a wider tonal palette than the MB heads ?
As far as volume, I haven't tried the GK MB line much, but I volume-tested my GB streamliner 900 against my Ampeg SVT 7Pro. The tapers on the volume knob are very different, but I put in good earplugs and turned both amps' master volumes all the way up though my 15/6/1. Guess what? They sounded very close to the same volume.
I now have a ShuttleMax 9.2, which is a great amp, and seems louder than the Steamliner because there are more mids and highs. The wattage ratings may be optimistic, but given how much wattage you need to actually hear a volume difference, I suspect much of what you hear as volume differences is the voicing difference between amps.
I want a small backup amp, and I have considered a MB200, but it sounded thin and plasticky to me in the store. Maybe that's good enough for a backup though.
I have an MB 500, and I can tell you that going into an 8ohm 1x15 (Barefaced), it's easily loud enough to fill a 100 capacity venue, with no PA support, barely going about half volume and nowhere near full gain (probably barely half on that too). It weights nothing, it fits in a gig bag pocket, and despite having the 'GK tone', it handles pedals really well and responds to external tone shaping brilliantly. I've also used it with other peoples 4x12s and 8x12s, and it's been more than enough for them.
Overall its a quality product, and I'd have no problems whatsoever using it as my main or only head.
Never tried the GK cabs, and can't give you any opinions on the other amps mentioned, sorry.
FWIW Fdeck scoped out his mb200 and came up with these settings for "flat" which definitely sounds flat-er to me:
Contour = Off
Treble = 10:00
Hi Mid = 2:00
Low Mid = 1:00
Bass = 10:00
Course, if you like the gk tone, which I do, no sense messing with that. I have used the above settings with my mb500 and a mixer and used it for a PA amp (with an external) eq. It worked great!
BTW, here is a youtube clip I did a few years ago when I had a barefaced Compact. Great pairing and great volume with that cab even at 8 ohms... especially since that cab is fairly sensitive with the 3015.
Forgive the lame clip!
There's a long mb500 vs th500 thread here on TB.
Conclusion: mb500 is king arthur with a sword, th500 is Buford Pusser with a 2x4.
I have had a couple Shuttles. Loud snd versatile, but imo there I'd something too polite about their tone. Very tight and there's some baked in compression that makes them polite for lack of a better word.
Imo -the mb fusion 500 is the best GK yet. I do not need the HP of the 800. If I did, then it is the amp I would try first.
The mb 500 has more going on than just power from the 200... Variable contour, boost, input gains and foot switchable volumes A&B. I like my mb200. I use if for clean, clear power in acoustic settings but it isn't the workhorse my MB2-500 A07 was. Not even close...
What the Fusion brings to the party is softer upper mids and highs. It retains the clean, clear GK low end heft and punch while being less harsh. I had it in the house about a week before offing my Streamliner. There was just no point in keeping it...
GK, not going to get Ampeg'ish without a pedal. GB - not going to get me excited without a pedal. I found the shuttle series boring.
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