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GK MB800 or Carvin BX1500?

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by MOTORHEADBANGER, Feb 4, 2013.


  1. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a Real Tomato Supporting Member

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    Dec 23, 2008
    Location:
    Sidney, Indiana
    I've been looking for a new bass amp (love my LH500, but I'm looking for something a little lighter and with a different tone). A friend has let me borrow his GK MB500 for a few gigs and considering the success I've had with it and other GK heads, I was looking at a used MB800 in my area, but then a Carvin BX1500 turned up for a really good price. I've heard many good things about the Carvin heads, but have never had the opportunity to play one.

    I'm looking for a head a clean and articulate tone, but can still offer some tight/aggressive mids. I don't need any extreme gain (I'm using a Sansamp Paradriver for that), but the one thing that turned me on to the MB800 was how crisp and defined the top end was. To any Carvin user's out there, I was curious to how the BX1500 (or it's smaller brother the BX500) stood up to GK's MB line, and if the BX heads could dial in a similar tone.
     
  2. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a Real Tomato Supporting Member

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    Also, I've heard about the ribbon cable problem with some of the Carvin heads, is anyone still suffering from this, or have they worked it out by now?
     
  3. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    May 4, 2006
    Location:
    Arlington Heights, IL
    I had a dirty ribbon cable issue with mine - quick fix and only about $75 from my tech.

    Really, it comes down to the GK sound versus the Carvin sound. Carvin's BX series seems to be closer to flat than GK's heads. The BX series seems to have very clear high end, low end that is not super boomy (with the knobs at the neutral setting) and has fantastic midrange tones. Nothing nasally sounding in the mids at all. The real advantage is the Carvin heads have more knobs and a larger ability for tone adjustments.

    I do not think you can go wrong with either head.
     
  4. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    I own the BX1500, and I own a GK MB200. I've been told by other GK users that the MB500 is just a louder MB200, and on up the line. You are dead on about the Carvin. It is the most versatile bass head I've ever owned, with a multitude of EQ options, a compressor, bi-amp function with a crossover, two chanel power amp, or bridge capability, two different EQ options which can be used together or separately, and all the other bells and whistles you would find on more expensive bass heads. The MB 200 has it's charm, but is a one trick pony, imho, and has that baked in GK tone, so, if the MB800 is trully a more louder MB200, you get what you get, which is not a bad thing, if your tone goals lie in that direction. I use it as a backup amp, and as a headphone/practice amp which it excells at, but the Carvin gives you so much more versatility and options, it seems like a no brainer to me. I have not had the ribbon cable issue, but did have a noisey DI, which Carvin immediately took back and sent me a new head. The one drawback to the Carvin is that it has to be rack mounted, but at 11 lbs, a lightweight, shallow rack case is not much of an inconvenience.
     
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  6. husky123

    husky123 Supporting Member

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    The MB800 is not just a louder MB200. It's FET front end gives it something different. That in concert with the serious can of whoop ass it provides makes it sound much, much better.
     
  7. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a Real Tomato Supporting Member

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    That's what I (somewhat) expected. I wonder if there are any handles that could be mounted to the BX1500. (possibly to the rack ears?) I'm not much of a rack person, but I do like a handle or two for easy transport.

    Can the Carvin be aggressive? Not as in tube saturation or dirt, but a focused midrange punch. Kind of like that 1.5-2k grind that people like Geddy Lee or Steve Harris use.
     
  8. petrus61

    petrus61 Supporting Member

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    The Carvin has great features for the price point and will get the job done. The GK stuff definitely has a certain character to it, but its part of what makes them great, IMO. I would go with the GK, personally. The Carvin is plenty loud, with a comprehensive EQ, but their tone has never really moved me. Some will disagree but I find that Carvin is like the better Peavy heads in that they can tackle anything, but without the 'fireworks'. A little generic sounding, very capable but that's about it.
     
  9. UncleFluffy

    UncleFluffy Gold Supporting Member

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    BX1200 here, earlier version without the tube.

    Carvin sell a 2U rack case (the SV2) with a handle on the end that fits the BX1500 nicely. (You may be able to haggle a little if you get them both together, won't hurt to try).

    With the amount of EQ options available you can dial in most anything (with the right cab).
     
  10. cableguy

    cableguy Supporting Member

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    Jun 4, 2009
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    North Bend, WA
    Carvin sells a headcase that has a handle for their heads. It would probably put it between 15 & 20lbs at that point. With your sansamp in front you would have no problem getting the Geddy sound.
     
  11. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Don't know if handles can be attached or not, but a lightweight rack bag seems like a good option, and comes with a handle and probably a strap also. Yes the Carvin can get agressive, especially if you make use of the graphic eq, and boost the appropriate freq. It does have a preamp tube that can be switched on or off, but, honestly, I never noticed a difference and just leave it off. Carvin has a 10 day return policy so, if you can figure out if you like it in that time frame, give it a shot.
     
  12. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    Not really. If you are looking for the natural GK aggressiveness, the Carvin WILL NOT deliver that. Punchy midrange in the low mids and 600hz zone; for sure.
     
  13. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a Real Tomato Supporting Member

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    Maybe punch wasn't the right word. I was thinking more of a growl or grind. (think bright roundwounds and a low setup)
     
  14. Jarrett

    Jarrett

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  15. ::::BASSIST::::

    ::::BASSIST:::: Progress Not Perfection. Supporting Member

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    My previous amp was the bx1500 and my current amp is the mb800. If you need a ton of tone shaping features its hard to beat the bx1500. However, I prefer the build quality of the mb800 and feel its going to be a more solid, reliable amp long term. The ribbon cable IS an issue on the bx1500 and I also found the bx1500 clipped (way) too early for a 900w bridged (at 8 ohms) amp.

    Getting down to brass tacks, **if** I could be assured the bx1500 was going to be dead reliable I would pick that amp over the mb800 due its feature set, which is quite remarkable. For me, I need to know my amp is always going to be dependable and thus I have settled on the mb800.
     
  16. Gearhead17

    Gearhead17 Supporting Member

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    If the bass itself is putting out those sounds, the Carvin head will deliver that tone without an issue. Just do not count on the Carvin to create it's own "growl".
     
  17. 2milehighspike

    2milehighspike Supporting Member

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    I have a soft spot in my heart for Carvin gear. They sound great and can dial in alot of tones, but GK dials in my tones, and is stone cold reliable. My MB800 was one of the first one shipped, made in China, and has been used in over a hundred multi hours gigs and sessions without a hiccup.
     
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I wouldn't even think twice about that choice. MB800 all the way.
     
  19. jnewmark

    jnewmark Supporting Member

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    Hmm. Did you actually have a ribbon cable issue with yours, or was it the handfull of TB'ers who did have an issue that scared you away ? I don't think you can say it IS an issue, because alot of us who use the head have never had that issue . And how can any amp company assure you that you will never have a reliability issue with their product ? This forum is filled with threads from people who are having issues with amps of every make, including GK. Look at the mess the MB line was when it first came out. Still, if you like the MB800, then it's all cool.
     
  20. MOTORHEADBANGER

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a Real Tomato Supporting Member

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    Well, I actually wound up with neither. A friend of mine ordered the BX500 and allowed me to test it out when it arrived. I really dug the tone of it, but there was just something about the GK's that drew me in. I found a GK MB2-500 (rev A07) used for a really low price and jumped on it.
     
  21. bwoodman

    bwoodman Supporting Member

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    May 9, 2004
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm considering a BX1500. FWIW, I've nothing but trouble with GK heads - the new MB units and going way back to the 800RB - they all spent more time in the shop than on stage. Once fixed, I promptly sold all of them while they still worked. I guess it's just bad luck on my part because a lot of folks love their GK's.
     

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