800rb knockout punch

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by origami, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. origami


    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS
    i have had an 800rb for a year and half, but i always just use it for rehearsal plugged into a single neo 2x12 or small ampeg cab. It sounds good, but nothing special and i really can't crank because rehearsal is in a residential area. i love this head because it makes me sort of nostalgic for seeing all those band's with one in the 80s and 90s. i had used house or rented 800rb heads in a backline once or twice (but never with time to really mess with it) and with crappy cabs. Getting to use one is rare because nowadays backlines seem to be ampeg 810s or 410s and ampeg solid state heads, a CL if you get real lucky.

    well, i decided for fun to not use my old reliable (GK 1001rbII) road head and use my 800rb for a gig last night. so i took the GK 1001rbII head out of the rack case, and put the rack ears on the 800 and put it in my rack case. (oddly the 800 didn't rack well, and the holes didn't exactely line up correctly, so i am only using 2 of the 4 rack screws to hold it in, but it seems to be enough).

    i brought both my neo 2x12 cabs to the show since it was an outdoor music fest. i have used both cabs before, but ususally stack them on top of each other to make them tall vertically. this time, i turned them on their side and stacked one on top of the other, and used the 800 head (in full range/ not biamp) to power them and sent my bass signal to house using the GK 800rb's DI.

    my tone on stage and in the house mix was about the best it's ever been, and it slayed the other bass player's tones who played that night (if i can be so bold to say so). I don't know if it was because it was using both cabs instead of one, or because i had the cabs on their side coupling with the stage, or my EBMM stingray was having a good day, but the tone was in the zone on stage, and the house (from the 800s DI). it was the perfect punch. i was like that 800rb came to life once it was able to have a little juice and room to breathe.

    awesome! on stage it sounded great, and i was listening to the tone right out my cabs before they turned me on in the monitors. it was dead on, and usually outdoor sound really sucks. I think the house sound was possibly better than when i use my 100rbII (which is pretty damn good). it didn't have those super sub lows and glassy top like the 1001rb, but way more cut through guitar mids, and i could hear articulation much easier. i think I may be using the 800rb from now on.
  2. shoot-r


    May 26, 2007
    GK 800's....one of the best of the best, IMO.
  3. JGR

    JGR The "G" is for Gustav Commercial User

    Jun 29, 2006
    President, CEO, CFO, CIO, Chief Engineer, Technician, Janitor - Reiner Amplification
    Cool, I have a 2001RB which along with the 800 are my favorite GK heads. I want to pick up an 800 eventually as they do have a unique tone.

    Their presence control is set at 4khz instead of 7khz on all the others (700, 1001, 2001) which seems a lot more useable. The input gain isn't as hot either so it doesn't overdrive as easily. Finally, there isn't as much damping in the power section which also changes the feel of the amp. I would imagine the older tranny design is a big part of the mojo as well.

  4. origami


    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS
    input signal gain... true

    on the 800rb, i am able to actually turn up the input volume louder and get a throaty tone versus the 1001rbII were i have to have the input volume really low or it'll spike causing the tone to be a bit touchy and less compressed sounding.

    with the 800rb, you almost have to turn the input volume to 10 to 12 o'clock because if you did the max headroom thing (power amp volume near full with input volume low to have the most usuable clean signal like i do with the 100rbII) the 800rb will be noisy, because i think the power amps in the 800rb are noisier than in the 100rbII.
  5. MascisMan

    MascisMan Supporting Member

    Nov 21, 2003
    Dallas, Tx
    Hey Mike I want to come over and check out your 800rb. I have been thinking of getting one lately but have never heard one in the flesh....I will send you a PM!
  6. MotorTed


    Apr 16, 2006
    CT, USA
    I recently "re-discovered" my 800rb too!
    I bought it used (no manual either) about 15 yrs. ago. I had always used it as a back up untill I heard a local bassplayer sounding really good with a 1001rb-II. I took my 800 out of retirement. I searched here for tone settings and discovered the magic ratio of input/boost/master and it really came to life. I've heard it described as "throaty, grind or growl." Something about hitting the rails with enough current in a way only the 800 does.
  7. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    To me there is no better sound than a cranked up GK in a full band mix. I'm not overly fond of the tone solo'd, but in a mix.... oh my.... For my money there's nothing more drool-inducing on the planet as far as bass amplification is concerned (specifically through Schroeder cabinets. Yum.).
  8. I've been having a lot of success using a compressor with the 1001rbII. Would love to try a 800rb though.
  9. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    New York
    i dig the 800rb's a lot. one of my favorite bass tones ive heard lately is when i tried out an epifani nyc 1x10t (whihc i bought) using an 800rb...sounded great!
  10. Crabby


    Dec 22, 2004
    I ran an 800rb for almost 10 years and it was fantastic. I used an Eden 210T and 115 full range and the tone was fantastic. I always dreamed of running a 215 on the bottom and the 210 on top which would have been huge sounding.

    The comments about the 800rb sounding amazing at high volume are so true. I always set the boost knob to max, left the filter switches off, bass/treble flat and both mid knobs at about one oclock and the master volume straight up at noon. It was rolling thunder with all the growl you could ever ask for!

    So why did I sell it? One of those weak GAS attacks. I love the gear I have now but will always love that GK tone.
  11. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    I've heard this a bunch regarding GK's. Push them and it opens a whole new world of tone. That's why the 700RB is very popular (even though on paper the way to go seems to be the 1001RB in that price range). With a bit less power, it is easier to hit the sweet spot without melting the other band members (it's still okay to melt the gui****). :cool:
  12. gkbass13

    gkbass13 Supporting Member

    Mar 29, 2006
    New York
    not to derail anything, but cheers from albany, lync!
  13. ReidK

    ReidK Jst sy n t lsy cmprsn.

    One warning: check the labelling on the connectors for the high-frequency speaker. If it says "8 ohms only" or words to that effect, DO NOT put a 4 ohm speaker (or 2 8s in parallel, etc) on that output. The amp will burn out quickly if you crank it (and maybe if you don't).

    This is considered one of G-K's dumber moves. I don't know if they addressed this limitation in later versions of the 800, but if yours has that warning, heed it.

    Or, if you're a geek, you can put a 4 ohm power resistor (at least 50 watts, more is better) in a ventilated chassis box with a couple of jacks in series with the resistor. You can use that as a buffer between the amp and the speaker, and it will let you run a 4 ohm cab if that's all you've got. You'll waste about half of the HF amp's power making heat instead of sound, but you can have your highs and your amp will survive. Just make darned sure the resistor is in series with the speaker and not parallel. :eek:

    The low-frequency amp has no problem with 4 ohms.

  14. scuz

    scuz You can't be angry ALL the time!

    Mar 24, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    +1. I'm rocking a lone MAG115 and the tone is unbelievable. I can't wait for my 410L because I've heard of its massive punch, and I think it'll pair up much nicer with my 800RB than my 15".

    And SO reliable! After a show the other night, I had enough alcohol in me to start Peteing my equipment. That is, smashing it into itself to make noises. I could do this without fear of breaking my 800RB because I KNOW it to be bulletproof. Same with my MIM Jazz.
  15. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Fusion Cats Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    I bought an 800RB literally the week they hit the market, and gigged it hard until the late 90's when I stopped playing bass (dumb move) and sold all my gear (also dumb).
    It was a great sounding amp, no question.
    Even so, I was surprised to find, when I started playing again last year, that this little powerhouse was still in demand and hadn't been superceded by newer technology.
    GK really hit one out of the park with the little 800RB.
  16. origami


    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS
    the older 800s used to have 2 outputs for the 100watt amp so you could run one 8 ohm cab or 2x 16 ohm cabs. now they just have one out put for the 100 watt amp at 8ohms. the 300 watt amp is 2 outputs to run 2x 8ohm cabs or one 4 ohm cab.

    the biamp funtion is cool with the right cabs, but it does sound a little better in full range with most cabs. the head doesn't like the tweeters on very loud because the power amps are noisy. i can see why people used 2x10 cabs without tweeters (like hartke's or the top two speakers in a peavey 1820 cab) with the 100watt high amp in biamp with the 300watt low amp powering a 15" loaded cab for subs.

    as said.. i think the power amps in the 800rb are more noisy in comparison to the 1001rb or 700rb. so it is definately a blessing that the 800 does better taking a hotter input signal, so you can actually have the input volume higher than the master (a big no no on the 1001rb*). the louder the master volume is on the 800rb, the more noise (especially through tweeters) there is. so i set my input at 40-50% and @25% mater volume.

    i keep the boost 40-60% with great results and loud. i don't like the sound when the boost is past 70% the boost is best when it is a componant of the tone and not the basis of it.

    *the 1001rb really hates hot input signals i actually use my zoom B2 to pad the input maybe 8bd-ish and also add light to medium limiting, and it seems to really really help. iwas having trouble with speaker killing volume spikes before that.
  17. Lync

    Lync Supporting Member

    Apr 13, 2004
    Right back at ya Brother!
  18. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Not sure what the fuss is on the 1001 RB II input sensitivity. I hit mine with a Dark Star, Nordstrand Big Singles through a Bart pre without the pad engaged. The pad is out and the gain is in the 10 to 11 o'clock range with no clipping. Sounds fine. Same with G&L MFD humbuckers from an L2500. Running the Contour at about noon and the Boost about the same warm's it up. Presence is off, EQ is noon'ish with maybe some upper mid and/or treble cut depending on which cab's I'm running.

    When I needed a 2 channel amp a couple of years ago, I front ended the 1001 with an Alembic F2B. That pre wants to be hot! I took the mono out to the instrument in and engaged the pad. No issues there either.

    I think part of the deal is that the 800 and 1001 are quite different amps. Both of them are solidly in the GK family tone wise but they each setup in their own unique way.
  19. origami


    Jun 26, 2005
    Big D TEXAS
    maybe my amp is just spooked, but i can look crossways at my input gain on my 100rbII and it'll start blinking 'peak', and it'll send some farts to speakertown.
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