I spent an hour today playing through both of these amp heads. Gotta say I was really impressed with both of them. I guess I was surprised that amps so tiny could put out so much sound.
Here are links to the manufacturers Web site for both.
Visually the Ampeg is clearly going for the Old School vibe. The GK almost looks like a wireless router. It really is that small. Ampeg weighs in at nearly 10 lbs, the GK just under 2 lbs. Yes 2 lbs!
Both have similar features on paper. Both have a headphone jack, audio in jack (for connecting a music source like iPod, etc.), and Gain. Ampeg sticks with a 3fband eq (bass, mid, treble), the GK separates the mid frequencies with two knobs. One for high mid and one for low mid. GK goes with a -10db pad switch, Ampeg -15db button. Ampeg throws in a limiter button with a clipping led indicator. Both are 200 watts at 4 ohms and 140 watts at 8 ohms according to manufacture manuals which are located here. http://www.ampeg.com/pdf/SVT210AV_OM.pdf http://www.gallien-krueger.com/produ...630-A_MB200.pd
Points go to the GK for size and weight for sure. It's amazing how small the thing really is.
Now on to what you really care about
: the sound.
My test bass for both was a new Lakland 55-01 with maple neck.
Cabinet tests were an SWR Goliath JR (8 ohm) 2x10 with tweeter and the Ampeg SVT210AV which is the 2x10 cap that you can by paired with the Micro-VR. For a 2x10 cabinet the SVT210AV impressively small.
I started with the Ampeg Micro-VR which sounded very good. Certainly has the renowned SVT sound – to some degree. I wouldn't put it side by side a true SVT and expect it to hold its weight. But there was enough similarity I'd say. I played first through the SVT210AV cabinet. Mids and highs sounded great. Lows too... until I started in on the B string. That SVT210AV started farting away big time. I was very unimpressed with that cabinet. Volume was decent. Actually surprised me. But it farted too much. Couldn't hold up to the Lakland B string. Overall the combo had a nice vibe to it. You'd easily dial in a sound you like. I would say its a great combo for a small practice session. It would make an excellent dorm room set-up small music room set-up. Another thing I didn't like was that the fan kicked on immediately when powering up the head. It was always on.
I then switched to the GK head with the Ampeg SVT210AV cab. Woah. More sound right off the bat. More head room right away. Cool blue power LED that starts red and then fades to blue when the amp is ready. No fan on power-up. Extremely quiet. I'd describe the sound as a bit more fat. Very punchy though. But again playing on the B string and the cab totally farted out. But even with the underwhelming cab the GK sounded better than the Ampeg. More full. Even at the bottom end.
I then went back to the Ampeg Micro-VR connected to the Goliath JR 2x10 cab. Wow what a difference. Much more punch and presence. The farting was gone. Actually sounded really nice. At that point I was thinking to myself that I loved what I was hearing and that the GK would have to be simply amazing to beat this. No matter how I set the dials I was dialing in tones I liked.
Then I connected the GK to the Goliath JR. Immediately I knew I had to have the GK. Totally punchy. Fatter bottom end. It was almost as if the GK had 100 more watts. Honestly seemed like comparing apples to oranges with the volume. The eq knobs on the GK provide far more tonal variances than the Ampeg. Slights turns changed sound quick remarkably. I absolutely loved what I was hearing. The contour switch didn't do much for me.
Will you get as much versatility out of these micro heads as their bigger brothers? No. But for the heck of it I then tried a Backline 600. More power, more controls. Everything flat the GK MB200 actually sounded more alive to me. Don't know how else to describe it. The little guy is just so easy to use.
After listening in on my "testing" the store owner acknowledged my decision and said he clearly thought the GK was the better sonically. It was clearly apparent to him as a bystander listening in.
I think both the Ampeg and GK are amazing little packages. But for me there was no comparison. The GK totally impressed me on all fronts. It's amazing that something literally the size of your wireless router at home is putting out this kind of power and sound. Even with earphones plugged in the sound is wonderful. I played for an hour tonight with no cab. Just my Shure earphones.
As a new owner of the GK MB200 I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a backup head, practice head, or anybody really who wants a great sounding, easy to use head. I brought it home and paired with my SWR "Twelve Pack" 2x12 (with no tweeter) 400 watt cabinet and am very happy.
Great job GK! Looks like you have another winner on your hands.