GK MB500 terrorized the Orange Terror
My experience for what it's worth. Family gave me a Tiny Terror Bass 500w hybrid for Xmas. I'm a diehard GK player.
I was eager to get my hands onto the Orange, as they sound incredible in clips and get rave reviews. Another local bassist plays one through an Ampeg fridge with a Jazz bass, and I play my GK MB500 through a fridge with a P bass. We did a gig recently and it seemed he was much louder. So the seed was planted again regarding tubes vs ss, and my guitar playing bro grabbed an Orange Terror. I also own an SVT Classic, so I am at least familiar with tubes.
My hope was that the Orange would give me the GK punch with some added "perceived volume" and some of the "overtone" rich goodness that the SVT possesses.
What happened was the GK really blew the Terror away for me. The Orange definitely had a fuzzy/wooly/dark/tubey tone. I had no problem getting it above 2! In fact, I tried every combo of Vol/Gain and the 3 tone knobs I could. I played a whole set with two of my main basses, and I just could not hear the fundamental notes well at all. The tone itself was very good ALONE. When the drums/guitar kicked in, it was just mushy/muddy and lacked the definition I'm used to.
After we rehearsed, my bro and I A/B'd the heads for a while.
The GK is LOUDER with volume to spare. I had to run the Orange to its limits to keep up. The Orange seemed to break up in a way that the fundamental is lost. GK punched harder and the note just feels and sounds more clear, rich, and focused. I assumed the pre-tubes of the TB would be louder and punchier outright, and they just were NOT.
The GK's tone options are much easier to dial in than the simple 3 on the TB. Having the contour/2 mid/boost features opens up a lot of options to hone in a sound. The TB is a sort of one-trick pony, but it is a great tone. I had the best luck with more volume than gain, and mids either off or cranked.
My final deciding point was that the GK's growl/grind held its own, but the sweet overtones on the TB are very nice. I grabbed my Diesel Dawg pedal that I never use and added it to my GK and said "if the DD/GK can handle the TB's distortion then it's over". The DD and GK punched harder and growled far more than the Orange. The Orange is a sweet harmonic overtone sound that reminded me of a really good distortion pedal. The GK's bite and attack was harsher and louder at the same time.
So the Orange Terror returned to it's home at Guitar Center. Can't see it getting live time due to lack of focused punch.
Yeah I know it's all a preference. Indeed it is. I just thought I'd stir the pot again for some holiday fun.
I learned that I love my little Napoleonic GK. I learned that the Ampeg SVT is the real way to go for tubey goodness with real punch. I'd love to try another hybrid and see what it does versus the MB.
I played the tb500 thro a masa 410 at sweetwater and found it to be bland and without any character
It's probably the focus of mid range from the GK punching through?
The Terror is not a tube amp.
It's a solid state amp with a tube preamp.
The Bass Terror I had made way more power than I need, and was hardly "bland" tone wise. However, it did feel and sound pretty tubey, so, if clean and punchy is your thing, I can see why you would prefer the MB500, for sure.
The Terror bass amps really benefit from swapping in a 12AT7 for the stock 12AX7, IME. You can still get plenty of gain, but with more clarity.
I'm the same when it comes to G.K. heads.
In 1984 I traded a problematic Ampeg SVT head in for a brand new G.K. 800 head.
I auditioned other heads over the years, but nothing sounded as good to my ears as the 800 did.
I used that 800 for 26+ years so I thought it might be time to seriously look at a newer head, so alittle over a year ago I jumped on the micro head band wagon with a G.K. MB2-500, finially a head that pleased my ears as much as the 800.
I've not stopped auditioning other heads (thanks to talkbass gas) but I've not yet tried another head that I've liked over the MB-500!
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