GK MB500 vs. Aggy TH500...input requested

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by gypsyfireman, Jan 6, 2013.


  1. gypsyfireman

    gypsyfireman

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    hi gents. i've done a fair amount of searching and reading up on these guys, but bare with me...

    i'm in the market for a new head. looking for portability, power, tone, and reliability. these two are pretty much the main contenders.

    i gig regularly, and have been (happily) using a gk400rbiv for quite a few years with no backup. After some recent issues with our PA heads, i'm thinking having an extra amp would be a good move. i've been waiting for class D to become more reliable and consistent, and these two seem relatively solid.

    500 watts is more than i use now, but the extra headroom would be nice.

    i'm using a 2x12 dr. bass cab (got it in '05 - works great, sounds good, controversy aside...) at 4 ohms, and it's always plenty for the venues i play.

    my main bass is a Stingray 5, and it goes straight to the amp. no fx.

    very happy with the GK tone. always get compliments on the bass sound.

    i'm thinking about either sticking with the GK family and saving some cash, or jumping it up to the Aguilar for a change of pace. the new head will probably become the main gigging head and the 400rb will get backup status.

    i'm not into crazy treble, and don't do a ton of slap work. i'm usually go for a more punchy tone with a lot of note definition, and i like growly mids and a little touch sensitive drive.

    any thoughts on these two heads? would it be worth the cash to grab the aggy? i'm thinking it would be cool to have a different flavor, and from what i've seen it can get some cool driven tones, as well, which i like. a little edge is good!

    thanks for reading - any input is appreciated!

    cheers.
  2. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    IF the statement above is truly representative of the direction you want to go, it would be the Aguilar TH500 all the way. That is almost a perfect description of the Aguilar TH500 tone.

    However, I call the TH500 the 'anti GK' head, and it will be quite a shock to you (big, fat, warm, mid complex, organic relaxed up top). Sometimes we 'think we want a big change and then not so much when we realize it'.

    Even the MB500 will be a bit different for you than the 400RB... MUCH more deep low end, and a much more extended, sizzly treble response.

    Both very nice. You would feel a bit more at home with the MB500, but it would still be a significant change in absolute low end and that classic 400RB GK grind moved up to a higher frequency level to my ear. The MBFusion500 might be a nice way to split the difference a bit. IMO
  3. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Relax... Nothing Is Under Control. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC Canada
    I have owned the Mb500, currently own the mb800 and own the Aguilar Tone Hammer in pedal form (which is close to the amp pre).

    Ken pretty much nailed the tone profile of the TH. "big, fat, warm, mid complex, organic relaxed up top" is right. I really like it and with the variable mid and AGS, it just brings more to the table then the mb500 (including better DI). The Aguilar stuff is also great quality gear with attention to detail. Moreso than the newer GK amps in my opinion. Then again the MB500 is not a subpar or mediocre amp. Its just that the Aguilar is really quite nice.
  4. gypsyfireman

    gypsyfireman

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    thanks a lot, guys. Exactly the type of feedback I was looking for.
  5. matti777

    matti777 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2007
    Location:
    Edmonton, Canada
    FWIW I like the GK sound and really did not like the TH500 and returned it. As KJung says, it is the anti-Gk head. I got an MB Fusion instead and love it.
  6. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2006
    Location:
    Arlington Heights, IL
    I would order the Tone Hammer pedal off of Musiciansfriend.com and plug it into the "power amp in" of the GK head you have. Then you can hear what just the Aguilar pedal sounds like.

    That will clear up the whole issue.
  7. gypsyfireman

    gypsyfireman

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    you guys have given me more to think about with the MBFusion. Is the preamp different enough from the mb500 to justify the price jump?

    and Gearhead17, you bring up a great point with the th pedal...

    I'm thinking GK one way or the other...adding a pedal for a different flavor down the road.
  8. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Location:
    NEW YORK
    Wow a GK with an anti GK. Revelations. I would try them out as I did. Kjung said they are different (TH500 and MB500) and they are. Way more different than the MB500 and Fusion 500. There is a slighter difference as the mids and highs are a little smoother. But I can see someone likeing the MB better. Try first.
  9. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2003
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    I have both. As stated, different sounding, but better is subjective. I picked up the TH500 to try something different. I like it a lot, but for me, it will never take over the GK. Different strokes I guess...
  10. Bassist30

    Bassist30 Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2004
    Location:
    NEW YORK
    Curious how do they differ with you AE 212?
  11. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    +1 that they are very different. I still have my Markbass F500 (which is kind of half way between the TH500's dark, fat, big, chewy tone, and the GK bright, agressive, wide, sizzly tone). Different flavors that are great to have.
  12. nutdog

    nutdog Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Location:
    In the dog house.
    Worm can closed. :D
  13. KJung

    KJung Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin and Upper Michigan
    :)
  14. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    I don't know as much about Aggie amps as i do about GKs, but i will say this about GK vs. just about anything else i've played--

    If you start with the GK's EQ at noon and make subtle tweaks- it is really difficult to get a bad sound out of a GK amp (to my ears anyway). It may not be as refined as the Aggie, but when you need to plug in and be heard in a mix, it's really hard to go wrong with a GK amp.

    As you can see from my avatar, I play a lot of ampegs. I didn't get my first GK til 2010 and was blown away by the amount of tweaking i DIDN'T have to do. My main amp now is a GK MB800 and I really like how it seems to breathe new life into all the gear surrounding it- basses that i didn't think i wanted to play anymore are suddenly more interesting sounding. The same goes for cabs and effects. I have 2 Genz Benz NEOx-212Ts that i never really did a great sound out of. I thought maybe 12s just weren't for me cuz so many people like those cabs and they get such rave reviews. Then i ran one off the GK (can't use both cuz they're 4ohms) and WOW. I suddenly have a cab that i love. It's almost like when i bought the GK i got a bunch of new gear with it at the same time.

    I don't know if everybody has that kind of experience with GK. And heck, maybe the aggie is capable of the same kinds of "transformations" on the gear around it.
    But my money's on GK from here on out.
    ymmv

    oh and the song here in my sig. was recorded with a pbass into MB800 with 10s. it's mic'd- no DI. so it might give an idea of the sound of it. eq all pretty much at noon and no fx really (a little compression on the master track but nothing specific on the bass).
  15. gypsyfireman

    gypsyfireman

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    well it's cool to see so much GK love in here. i've really been pleased with my current head, and the more i think about it, it makes sense to keep things in the same family with the next one due to my familiarity and affinity for the tone. the MM + GK combination is killer. i don't want to buy a nice head unit that is naturally different and fight with it, either, trying to get the GK sound out of it.

    so mb500 vs. fusion 500...
  16. SJan3

    SJan3

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2010
    I used a 400rb then 800rb for better than 20 years with a Stingray and never found an amp that made the Stingray sound better; good mid punch and Stingray slice, IMO.
    However, I've since come back to p and j basses and I prefer my Tone hammer 500 with the Fenders. More organic, mid complex and big booty!
  17. NKBassman

    NKBassman Nerd Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2009
    Location:
    Winnipeg
    I played them both back to back at the store a few moths ago and preferred the MB Fusion over the MB500. It had a slightly smoother top end and nicer natural overdrive. That being said, the Aguilar TH500 had an even nicer overdrive than the MB Fusion.
  18. hasbeen

    hasbeen

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Disclosures:
    Vice President, KMC Music Inc.
    I agree with everything here:bassist:
  19. gypsyfireman

    gypsyfireman

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2008
    Location:
    Buffalo, NY
    just called up RMC. Fusion500 is on the way. Great price, btw, and very cool guy. I'll report back.

    Thanks for the insight, gentlemen. It's great to have a sounding board, and the experience and knowledge base here is terrific.

    Next gig is in a week and a half, but from there out it should get pretty busy into feb and march, so i'm looking forward to getting to know this little guy.

    cheers.
  20. Jerry Ziarko

    Jerry Ziarko Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2003
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    +100% I couldn't agree more. that is what I've always loved about the GK pre. I can't say the same about the 1001RB I owned.

    Your going to love that amp. The frequency switch for the contour control is a very cool feature.

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