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Ampeg BA115 vs. GK MB115

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by strost, Nov 2, 2010.


  1. strost

    strost Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    So I just gigged with a borrowed Ampeg BA115 (older, made in USA) and found it to have plenty of volume for the space we usually play in (mid-sized bar). I started the Master and Volume at 5s and was told to turn down.

    So the BA115 should be enough amp for me (and it's on sale at GC for $300 after rebate right now!). But I like the idea of something that doesn't weight 65lbs and the GK has been getting great reviews. I hope to try one this weekend but wanted to see if anyone had thoughts as to how the volume and headroom of the GK MB115 compare to the Ampeg BA115 - epecially in a gig situation.

    So I guess I'm asking, if an Ampeg BA115 is loud enough, will a GK MB115 be at least as loud? And does anyone have any other thoughts on these two?

    I was leaning toward the GK MB210 but I like the sound of 115s a bit better in general and don't think I'll ever need to add a another cabinet - thus nullifying the biggest selling point of the MB210 (at least for me). Plus $600 is a lot for me to put into an amp.

    Thanks!!
     
  2. strost

    strost Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    Anyone?? Bueller??
     
  3. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I'm gonna dig this one up since I'm looking into virtually the same thing and just played both yesterday (although you may be uninterested at this point or have already made your decision)...

    To my ears, the GK seems as though it will get louder. Although I like both brands, I've been using GK for my amp needs for the last 5 or so years. I really dig the sound I get from the 1001RBII that I have. Consequently, I really like the sound of the MB115. Nice and clean tone that I can dirty up just a bit with some adjustment. Very light as well. All around, I think it's a great little amp.

    The Ampeg I like because I have been using GK for awhile now and just like everyone else, I play something new and go, "Gee, that sounds pretty f'n good!" With the BA115, I absolutely love the tilt-back design. While I understand that I could get a stand with a retangular design, I just don't want to. My concern is that the Ampeg would not be loud enough with only 100 watts available. However, I pushed one pretty good yesterday and it will get considerably loud. To my ears at the time though, not as loud as the GK but the GK didn't have it by much. So, as of now, I'm really considering the Ampeg BA115 because I think it will be loud enough for me and what I want it to do. The drawback? 65 lbs. vs about half that with the GK.

    I'll add that I have never, ever, never, ever been a fan of Markbass. I ate my words yesterday with the 102p combo. WOW! Nice...really nice and a tilt-back design. But, I'm not dropping 1149 for a combo...at least not yet. Really impressed with this combo.
     
  4. ive owned the BA 115, and my friend has the MB115,

    get the GK, it sounds way better, its lighter, its sturdier. ive known friend who had BA115's that died after a year or two. I hated mine
     
  5. Bassist Jay

    Bassist Jay

    Dec 28, 2009
    Sterling, CO.
    Endorsed by K.B. Guitars, Nordstrand Audio Pickups, Von York Strings and Gallien-Krueger Amps.
    What he said. I have a GK MB115 and love it. Ampeg has really gone down hill in recent years.
     
  6. Randy Warren

    Randy Warren

    Oct 26, 2008
    played one last night at a tryout/jam, no drummer, but 2 guitar players, the ampeg kept farting out the whole night, and I wasn't very loud, barely keeping up with the guitarists, next time I'll bring my markbass...
     
  7. Bardolphus

    Bardolphus Put some stank on it... Supporting Member

    Jan 8, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    I'd really like to pick one up but they're SO expensive. I just can't wrap my mind around laying that much down for a combo!
     
  8. DynaFlow

    DynaFlow

    Mar 25, 2010
    Pennsylvania
    I've had BA115 for ten years, until recently it was my only bass amp. I've played a fair amount of gigs with it, straining for power 95% of the time. At 100 watts you find yourself running out of headroom pretty fast in any kind of band situation. The sound is decent, but the design is dated--these days there are better, lighter options out there for not a whole lot more cash.

    So I say definately go for the MB115, it's half the weight and bulk of the BA115, much easier to carry around, and while not so much "louder" per se, it does have more headroom, which is to say you can crank it without farting out (always a constant problem with the BA115). Plus it doesn't seem to suffer as much from the "boxy" tone that can plague alot of 1-15 combos. The MB115 is just the better option all around, no question about it.
     
  9. strost

    strost Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    Hey all- I dind't think this thread was still active!

    I actually ended up splurging for the MB210 after finally playing it and the MB115. I felt like it was more upgradeable with the line out for another cabinet. I also felt like the sound was a bit more versitile. But I loved the MB115 too and it was a tough decision. MB115 was as loud as the Ampeg BA115 if not louder and had a cleaner, more versitile sound.

    Really happy with my 210. Of course a few weeks later I was at another shop and tried a bass on a Genz Benz Shuttle 6 with a Bergantino 210 (I was interested in the bass, not the amp) and started to wonder if I should have held out for something with a tube preamp - nice sound! But then again, that rig was $1200 new (and the bass was more than that). Sigh.
     
  10. Duke21

    Duke21

    Nov 14, 2010
    Narvik, Norway
    What about the new version of the Ampeg BA115? It supposed to have 200W instead of 100W? The price is about just a tad higher. There is also the BA115 version with a tube preamp, but this version cost almost twice.
     
  11. I wouldn't get the Ampeg. I've had one for about six years. The pros are that it's durable and I've cranked the crap out of it and mistreated it over and over again and it's held up. The cons are that I'm always looking for power and in general it doesn't really sound that great. There are much better sounding combos out there. Look used and try to find a GK. It will be worth it. I've never been happy with the Ampeg.
     
  12. shoot-r

    shoot-r

    May 26, 2007
    Illinois
    When funds permit, add GK's 210 extension cabinet under your combo.
    Not only will that double your speaker cone area that'll bring your amp up to it's full 500 watts. Plus stacking the speakers in the vertical will give you the advantages of a line-array system.
    It'll put a smile on your face! :)
     
  13. strost

    strost Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    Why 210 instead of a 115? I always assumed I'd get a 115 if I upgraded.

    Thanks!
     
  14. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
  15. strost

    strost Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
  16. gndboy

    gndboy

    Sep 18, 2010
    Corpus Christi, TX
    I have used both amps on the road in the typical insane variety of situations and I way prefer the Ampeg. The G-K always sounds like a guitar amp that wants to be a bass amp; the little amp that could. The BA115 is large and heavy in comparison, and will win no ribbons for modern technology application. That said, in my opinion it sounds better, and the low end is almost real, as opposed to "made-up" with the G-K. I really like the BA115 with a P bass or a P-J Fender. I must admit the few years I played the G-K I was using an Ibanez bass. The G-K went away and the BA115 stuck around the studio and for little gigs. I have never been able to understand the "hiss" issue with the BA115. Probably because I'm half deaf, and also because I don't dime the tone controls. Nobody has ever squawked my sound because of hiss while using the BA115. Whatever. As currently configured, Ampeg sucks to deal with. I bought my BA115 second hand in Memphis in 2003.
     
  17. My man. are we in the same town in VA? I just had a damn epiphany....

     
  18. strost

    strost Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    Could be. You in Blacksburg?
     
  19. jeff7bass

    jeff7bass

    Apr 9, 2009
    The GK sounds better and is so easy to move it's almost silly.
     
  20. strost

    strost Supporting Member

    Oct 2, 2008
    Blacksburg, VA
    Yeah - any doubts or regrets I have about buying it (and I don't have many) disappear when I pick it up to go to band practice.
     

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